Page 2, 1st October 1943

1st October 1943
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Page 2, 1st October 1943 — ABYSSINIA AND THE POWERS
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ABYSSINIA AND THE POWERS

Became Our Enemy," is difficult to discover, as one can hardly believe pail would publish a proposal that Britain should be instrumental in handing any part of Ethiopia to Italy. That would hardly be " Christianised diplomacy " in the view of most British people. The author of the article refers to Article 13 of the 1915 Treaty, which induced Italy to enter the first world war on the side of Britain and France. This Article promised, as he states, that if Britain and France increased their African territories at the expense of Germany, Italy should claim some " equitable compensation, particularly as regards the settlement in her favour of the questions relative to the frontiers of the Italian colonies of Eritrea, Somaliland and Libya and the neighbouring colonies belonging to France and Great Britain." Your correspondent adds: " There could be no rectification of the frontiers of Eritrea and Italian Somnliland except by the annexation of Abyssinian territory, unless the British Government were disposed to hand over parts of the Sudan, British Somaliland or Kenya: and no one expected that the full satisfaction would come from such a source."

The above Article, however, promises " equitable compensation," and compensation afforded by annexation at the expense of an independent nation which was not a party to the Treaty can surely not be described as equitable. Moreover, the sense of the clause surely is that the frontiers of Eritrea, Italian Somaliland and Libya where they touch those of Britain and France will be changed in favour of Italy. Your correspondent's contention that " no one expected satisfaction to be given to Italy by the surrender of British or French territory " is not justified by the text of the 'Treaty. Moreover, the Powers which promised territorial compensation to Italy should in justice be the Powers to provide it. It is intoterable that Governments should make agreements between themselves to annex the homelands of other peoples.

Your correspondent's assumption that Italy did not receive the compensation promised by Article 13 of the 1915 Treaty is not, however, correct. In fulfilment of this Treaty, Jubaland was ceded to Italy by Britain and a large tract in North Africa by France. Italy received also 'valuable and extensive territories in other parts of the world.

In short, your correspondent's statement that Britain promised a part of Ethiopia to Italy under the Treaty of 1915 cannot, I believe, be sustained. Were the allegation true, this act would be roost discreditable.

Your correspondent alleges that a further Anglo-Italian Agreement made in 1925 promised " to give certain parts of Ethiopia to Italy if Italy gave us another part of Ethiopia." The 1925 Agreement is not one of which our diplcnnatists have reason to he proud. It was not, however, an agreement to annex parts of Ethiopia. Its purpose was economic; Britain was not to compete with Italy in one part of Ethiopia, and Italy Was not to compete with Britain in another part. By an exchange of nows the two Powers also agreed to use their joint influence to induce the Government of Ethiopia to give Britain a concession to construct a barrage on Lake Tsana and a motor road between the Sudan frontier and the Lake, and to secure for Italy a concession to build a railway from the frontier of Italian Somaliland right across Ethiopia.

Britain and France served copies of their notes touching these matters on the Government of Ethiopia, The Emperor, Haile Selassie, at once protested to the League of Nations, and also to the Powers concerned, that pressure was being brought to bear on him which violated Ethiopitin independence.

In the French and British Parliaments, and also in letters to the SecretaryGeneral of the League of Nations, Britain and France denied any intention to bring pressure to bear on Ethiopia and declared their only intention was not to compete with each other. Ethiopia would be left, they protested, entirely free to make any desicions she chose in relation to any economic or other matter, and that their Agreement was purely a matter between themselves. How then can your correspondent suggest that these notes of 1925 constitute an agreement with Italy to annex parts of Ethiopia?

Your correspondent goes on to die. cuss the Hoare-Laval proposals of 1935, when Italy was about to invade Ethiopia, He asserts that Sir Samuel Hoare found " we were committed by our twice-signed word to give Italy what she wanted in Abyssinia," and he decided, en a balance of ugly alternatives, that " the least dishonourable thing " was that we should assist Italy to annex a part of the country.

The Hoare-Laval plan proposed to hand a large part of Ethiopia to Italy, and to give her a control over the rest of the country of so drastic a character that there would have been no further independence for Ethiopia had the scheme been accepted. As your correspondent rightly states, there was an Outcry in our country of so indignant a character that Sir Samuel Hoare was compelled to resign. Italy then proceeded to invade and occupy the key points in Ethiopia, but neither Ethiopia nor her British friends ever accepted the alleged conquest as final. As we all know after a long, patient and brave struggle by the Ethiopian people the Italians were finally defeated and expelled with British aid.

You urge editorially that we should examine our diplomatic conscience, and you ask: " Have we now overcome Italy's mistrust in spite of her having given us cause for suspicion in the past?" But I would ask: is Italy disposed to give evidence of repentance and reformed intentions so as to over come our mistrust? Is she prepared to abandon all attempts at aggression and conquest?

E. SYLVIA PANKHURST, Editor, New Times and Ethiopia News. 3, Charteris Road,

Woodford Green, Essex.

SIR,-The intention of the article which you published by " Tamolpid," entitled " How Italy




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