The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 9—1:45 p.m.]
302. Confidential[ly] in outlining today the trend of their present deliberations the Foreign Office referred to the practical[ity of] merging the Council meeting into the greater meeting of the Assembly at the end of this month and gave me to understand that England would favor the abolition of sanctions under the cover of this meeting of many nations. The difficulty in the interim lay in meeting the viewpoints being expressed by the small powers especially Greece and Turkey. The abolition of sanctions, the Foreign Office emphasized, was a separate question which did not concern the recognition of Abyssinia in which Italian League situation Italy must take the initiative in making some gesture toward meeting the position of the League. If sanctions are abolished and the way clear to the reestablishment of Italy in the League the Foreign Office thought that the Straits Conference would then assume its “justly limited importance.” Foreign Office seemed unenthusiastic about League reorganization fearing such an attempt would merely end in the destruction of the existing Covenant.
The French Ambassador returned from Paris last night and I understand does not feel the new Government has had any time to study its theories in the light of the existing situation. Observers following events are fearful lest with the French and British both far from anxious to take any lead at Geneva a situation of drift may ensue.