765.84/3847: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Long) to the Secretary of State

68. During the Council of Ministers meeting this morning Mussolini, before proceeding with the discussion of the regular agenda, made a statement on the following points which is published in full this afternoon.

Referring to the recent Italian victories in Abyssinia he expressed the gratitude of the nation to the troops in East Africa.
He then referred to the recent action by the Congress of the United States as regards neutrality26 and said: “It approved a pure and simple extension of the present neutrality law to May 1, 1937. It therefore rejected any proposal to extend the list of commodities now subject to embargo and paid no attention whatsoever to League solicitations. As Italians we cannot but note this line of policy of the United States with satisfaction but I desire to add that American Representatives and Senators who refused any embargo on oil and other raw materials have first of all rendered precious service to the cause of world peace.”
Mussolini called attention to the failure of the recent attempt27 to solve the Danubian question without Italy and declared that no such solution could be reached without Italy’s participation and without consideration of her interests. He added that in this connection Schuschnigg,28 Waldenegg,29 Goemboes30 and Kanya31 would be in Rome on March 18, 19 and 20 to engage in a conference along the lines of the Rome protocols.32
In reference to the Naval Conference33 Mussolini said that no agreement of a political nature could be signed by Italy while she is being threatened and while an extension of sanctions is being advocated.
He then referred to the courage of the Italian people in the face of sanctions and stated that Italy is making an effort not only to [Page 192] avenge the “dead of 1895 and 1896 but to guarantee the paths of the future.” Italy, he added, is serving the cause of civilization and the regime is making every effort to bring about “a maximum of economic independence without which a nation may tomorrow be violated by the arrogance of richer nations.”
  1. Passage of H. J. Res. 491, extending the 1935 neutrality legislation; for text, see Congressional Record, vol. 80, pt. 2, p. 2239, or 49 Stat. 1152.
  2. The attempt of Milan Hodza, Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, to revive interest in a Danubian pact; see vol. i, index.
  3. Kurt Schuschnigg, Federal Chancellor of Austria.
  4. Egon Berger-Waldenegg, Austrian Foreign Minister.
  5. General Vitéz de Goemboes, Hungarian Minister President.
  6. Koloman de Kanya, Hungarian Foreign Minister.
  7. Rome protocols of March 17, 1934, between Italy, Austria, and Hungary; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cliv, p. 281.
  8. For correspondence concerning the London Naval Conference, see vol. i, pp. 22 ff.