765.84/4687: Telegram

The Chargé in Italy (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

220. The first reaction among Foreign Office officials to Eden’s speech78 is one of gratification in so far as the references to sanctions are concerned, although a certain sense of disappointment is noted in that no reference was made therein to the eventual renewal of cooperation by Italy in the problems confronting Europe. They also are apparently disturbed by Eden’s reaffirmation of the naval accords among the Mediterranean countries. This reference, however, I understand from British circles, was intended to reassure the smaller Mediterranean countries who are in fear of future aggression on the part of Italy and may be explained on that basis.

The possible developments in the Geneva meetings at the end of the month are still a source of anxiety to the Italians. From British sources I understand that efforts have been made by England in informal negotiation between representatives of the British and Argentine Governments to dissuade Argentina from insisting at the Assembly on a declaration of nonrecognition of Italian sovereignty over Ethiopia and to agree to a compromise on the basis of the reaffirmation for the future of the doctrine of nonrecognition of territory acquired by force and of the appointment of a commission to study and report on the conditions in Ethiopia with special reference to eventual recognition of Italian sovereignty. This commission would not hand down its report for approximately 6 months.

It is apparently accepted as settled that the Italian Government will submit a statement to the League and that it will include assurances as to the recruiting of a black army in East Africa, the protection of the native population, and the safeguarding of foreign interests there. It is also said that the Italian Government may agree to report to the League on the foregoing matters from time to time.

Repeated to Geneva.

  1. See supra.