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The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I - Volume 2



CHAPTER VII

ITALY'S PEACE PROPOSAL-CONVERSATION WITH THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY-COUNSEL FROM OUR FRIENDS AND ADVISERS



As the carnage in Ethiopia worsened, and reports about it mounted, Our friends attempted, to find ways to stop it or, at least, to reduce its magnitude. The realization of Italy's determination to wipe out Ethiopians completely as a race, prompted offers of negotiation from several quarters.

Even before the Italians had occupied Gore, the first [scheme came] from the Abyssinia Association through Professor Stanley Jevons, who offered his suggestion... to put Western Ethiopia under a mandate of the League of Nations.... The notion was based on the idea of a man named Professor Gilbert Murray, who approached the Abyssinia Association and proposed that the best way to discuss the question of Ethiopia's freedom [would be to obtain] the acquiescence of the emperor to the administration of the country as a mandate.

Italy on her part offered the following proposal. To the north, all of Tigray was to be ceded to Italy, Axum and Aseb to be left to Us; in the east, We were to be given Harer, ceding the surrounding borderland to the British and French In the south, Bale, Arsi and all the lands between Lake Zwai and Lake Marghereta [Lake Abaya] and all the territories in the west were to be handed over to Italy, while the rest of the country was to be confirmed for Us. The sovereignty over all territories was to be given to Us, but We were to employ administrators and advisors from Italy. Italy tried to tempt Us with this arrangement in exchange for several million lire but... was unsuccessful.

Moreover, while We were in exile, Mussolini sent an emissary with a message:

I have heard of Your Majesty's financial predicament. I am willing to buy you a palace in a country of your choice and in addition, to give a million guineas to you so that together with your family, you can live in peace for the rest of your life off the interest of the original deposit. It is because of you that I am unable to obtain recognition for Italy's claim on Ethiopia. Sign a statement and release your claim over Ethiopia in favor of me.

We replied, "I left my country not to sell it but to seek justice for my people and my country. The history of Ethiopia will not be despoiled by a guinea stained with the blood of Ethiopians." He proposed this idea in March 1937. A year later [Mussolini] made another proposition, saying, "I offer you one million pounds and a portion of your country. If you accept the basic idea, we will not be bickering on the division of the territories amongst ourselves; we will work the matter out."

We rejected this offer outright, underscoring that We came to seek justice from a League comprised of fifty-three states and would await their sincere judgment; and the matter was concluded.

* * *

Based on these kinds of dealings, rumors spread that We and Italy were close to agreement. The matter was even raised in the British Parliament, where the Archbishop of Canterbury... testified that Ethiopia would not compromise her territory for the sake of reconciliation. In response We sent the archbishop the following words:

I am aware that, on May 27 [Ginbot 19] Your Grace was moved by Christian sympathy... to deliver good words before the House of Lords, reflecting your sympathy and concern about my country and myself....

The fact that, before, during, and after the war, I was committed to reaching a negotiated settlement conforming to the interests of my people, is not hidden from the knowledge of Your Grace.

Knowing that a settlement based on patience and goodwill is more enduring than one dictated by force, and bearing the great responsibility that my people bestowed upon me, I have done whatever I could to avoid anything that intensified animosity and brought peace efforts to a deadlock. Being aware of the danger that might befall them in an event of the failure of such efforts, my people followed me with confidence and trust and without presenting any obstacle. I recount all this to you not because I regretted anything that I have done to this point.... I never acted spontaneously but made choices and took actions after seriously pondering and carefully selecting what I deemed best. I leave the final judgment to history and the consciousness of the world.

My people and I believe that the Almighty God, who cares about the loss of one bird, is even more concerned about the decimation of an entire people. In this we take comfort. For me, in particular, who follows the unfolding situation as an outside spectator, this conviction gives me an additional encouragement. The atrocities perpetrated on Ethiopia have disturbed the conscience of the world, especially that of the English people, who have graciously given me hospitality. I have always known that the love for justice is in the minds of the English people. Now I have found confirmation of this fact.... [in] the recent debate in the House of Lords on Ethiopia, in which Italy's actions were condemned as unlawful.

I have had several occasions to talk to Lord Halifax [then Minister of Foreign Affairs]. He has assured me that the British government would support any agreement that... serves the interest and honor of my people. I recognize that the support of a great government and people who love justice is very important; I therefore valued the words of Lord Halifax.

I do not want to be a tool which the Italians can use to solve their problems and destroy my peoples' interests. I can not permit anything to happen that assists them in making my people eternal prisoners in soul as well as body. Since ancient times, Roman rule has not been reputed for its clemency. It would be presumptuous to remind Your Grace of the rule of the Roman church.

I have not found the language and words of the fascist government to be alluring but, rather, repugnant. If I were apathetic, I would have been ready to ignore the past and to start negotiations all over again. However, since I have to be concerned about the well-being of a people, I have to compare and contrast what is bound to happen in the future with the experiences of the past.

I know that there are some people who believe that the fascist government will relinquish Ethiopia when the problems become too great for them to manage. What are these problems?

The first problem [for Rome] is that Italy's claim over Ethiopia remains unrecognized. This problem seems close to resolution. The [Italians'] second problem is financial. If recognition is granted, it is doubtful that the money situation would be a problem. The only formidable problem is the indomitable spirit of the Ethiopian people. If Italy's claim to Ethiopia is recognized, it will be allowed to do whatever pleases it, even separating souls from bodies; so what else remains to be considered a problem? Does not recognizing Italy's claim amount to legitimizing the atrocities perpetrated against the people? The Italians have not made a secret of what they are doing in Ethiopia. It is clear that they sought the land, not the people; they have shown this in practice.

There were those who believed that, when faced with difficulties, Mussolini would seek reconciliation, and they likewise readily assumed that I might begin to compromise if I ran into problems. I worry that my friends might be misled by such things. Moreover, when I learn about the plight of Ethiopian exiles, whom I consider as my family, the future becomes completely dark and bleak, causing me infinite agony and anxiety.

I spell all of this out to make clear that I will not accept any agreement that would not compensate... the people upon whom heinous crimes were committed. I am concerned more for the freedom of my soul than for the misery of my body. Indeed my people feel likewise. I beg my friends not to forget this. The sympathy that the British people has shown for Ethiopia is boundless, and the leaders of this generous people should know that I am prepared seriously to consider any reconciliation that would be just for my people.

* * *

[We also received] advice from people who presented themselves as friends. They started by saying that Your Majesty's people are being exterminated, their misery continues. Make some kind of compromise and save them, let the British government mediate between Your Majesty and Mussolini.

We tried to do everything possible, lest later, if things went bad, We regretted those things left untried. Much effort was expended at trying to reconcile with Italy. However, since Italy's intention was based on arranging with Us to purchase Ethiopia, all anticipation of a way out through reconciliation vanished.

Other ideas were received from different sectors:

Let Italy rule Ethiopia under a mandate. The people would be happy if Your Majesty returned to Ethiopia. It is good to accept Italy's rule of Ethiopia under a mandate for the time being so that it would be possible to expel Italy at a convenient time afterwards. If Italy becomes the ruler of Ethiopia it will be possible to expel her after the people have been civilized.

However, these were not acceptable on Our part.

Naturally, governments act to advance their own interests. We had to think strategically so that We would not be forced to commit an irreversible mistake; or be accused of complicity in activities or destructive crimes which would complicate Our problems. We acted in this way so that others would not be able to say We deserved everything that happened to Us.

No government considered that it might encounter a similar fate down the road. They therefore changed their minds daily, wavered in their thoughts continually, and did things about which they were not sure and confident. There was no advice We could rely upon as being a salvation for my people.

* * *

We can not pass without mentioning the names of our chief officials and expatriate intellectuals who remained around Us, to counsel Us during Our diplomatic struggle abroad and in Our duel of wits at the League of Nations. Amongst Our followers, those who helped Us in political affairs were Blatengeta Herui Wolde Sellassie, Dr. Martin Workineh, Ato Wolde Giorgis Wolde Yohannes, Ato Lorenzo Taezaz and Ato Ephraim Tewoldemedhin. Our minister in Paris Blatengeta Wolde Mariam Ayele, betrayed Us and defected to the Italians; in his place the Secretary of Our legation, Ato Aklilu Habtewold, served Us as acting Charge d'Affaires.

Among the foreign lawyers, the prominent ones were Professor Jeze, the Englishmen Professor [J.L.] Brierly and Mister Raestad, formerly a foreign minister of Norway and later a senator, an Englishman called Professor Stanley Jevons, Professor Rolland [Baron Edouard Rolin-Jaequemyns], a Belgian citizen, and others. Typical of the kind of advice Our assistants used to give Us, We cite the following from Professor Jeze as an example:

Deauville, Nehase 17, 1929 [August 13, 1937]

To His Majesty Haile Sellassie I
Emperor of Ethiopia.

Your Majesty,

I. When Lorenzo came to me to seek advice at Your Majesty's instruction, I was already about to write Your Majesty offering my ideas about the forthcoming meeting of the League of Nations. I have been grappling for a long time with the questions Ato Lorenzo presented to me. Since I am a prisoner of a profound love and sincere commitment to Your Majesty as a person and to Ethiopia, I am closely following every development at the League of Nations that benefits, directly or indirectly, the Imperial Government and the Emperor of Ethiopia.

II. A few months ago I had a meeting with Professor Jevons. And lately he sent me a letter requesting my advice on a forthcoming debate in the League of Nations. I advised him to drop what was to be done at the League of Nations. He understood the reason for that [and] I have no doubt that he has presented my views to Your Majesty.

The advice 1 gave him is that which I have repeatedly brought to Your Majesty's attention. It is not the best and most conducive time to present this idea to the League of Nations.

III. On August 14 and 15, some French newspapers summarized a news item carried by the Sunday Referee of London and printed a statement which indicated that Mussolini had come to Bath to ask Your Majesty to return to Ethiopia under Italy's protection. The papers also reported that you rejected any negotiations unless they were undertaken through the League.

Ato Taezaz could not confirm to me the authenticity of the article written in the Sunday Referee about Italy's request to Your Majesty. If talks have begun with the current French government, it is vitally important that I get confirmation and precise information about this matter.

Therefore, I beg Your Majesty to send someone to explain what is going on. I doubt if Mr. Mussolini would come up with a reconciliatory idea. The duce's life style has always been pretentious. While claiming that he has founded an empire for Italy, bestowing the title of Emperor of Ethiopia on Victor Emmanuel [III, r. 1900-1946] and demanding the letters of credentials of ambassadors sent to Rome be addressed to the King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia, is it likely that he would recognize Your Majesty as Emperor of Ethiopia, forsaking all the glory and pride he has earned in this way? If there are people who might come to Your Majesty as envoys of Monsieur Mussolini, it would be supremely wise and cautious, before beginning any negotiations, for Your Majesty to make sure that they are authorized with the right credentials.

It is necessary to guard against people bent on deception who come to Bath as envoys but present their own agenda. These kinds of people would be ruinous to Your Majesty's plans. I am sure that Your Majesty's usual wisdom and care will outwit them. If this is not handled with caution, and a mistake is made, it would result in irreversible damage to the Imperial Government of Ethiopia.

IV. Does this appear as though I am saying Your Majesty should stay out of negotiating for reconciliation, even with properly authorized messengers?

My committed loyalty to Ethiopia's cause forces me to suggest that Your Majesty should not reject all negotiations. Before giving any clear-cut response, it is necessary to scrutinize and understand the proffered terms. Now may be the time for Your Majesty to make a sacrifice, to save what can be saved and be prepared for what is to come in the years ahead.

Strict objectivity will help us to examine the present situation and to decide what is best for Ethiopia . It is incumbent upon us to do what is right and real and to desist from wishful thinking. Your Majesty does not have the power to expel the Italians from Ethiopia. At this moment there is no government to help Your Majesty in this matter. These are the facts which should be borne in mind.

V. What is good for Ethiopia should be considered soberly, without emotion. Two possibilities are apparent.

The first one is that the European problem, connected with the incident in Spain and the problem with Japan, may lead to the outbreak of a full-fledged war. The war is going to be between Italy on one side, and France and England on the other. If this should happen, it would require Your Majesty being asked to return to Ethiopia to help rally the people of Ethiopia against Italy. The British and French governments would also help you. The fate of the Imperial Ethiopian government would then be closely linked with the victory of the British and French governments. It is in anticipation of such a turn of events that I always advise Your Majesty to guard against uttering words that may cause the British or French governments to withdraw their cooperation and hinder them from working in concert with Your Majesty.

Is a world war going to break out? I am unable to imagine it now. More than ever before, Britain and France are desperately searching for peace. Although dangerous situations that could lead to an outbreak of a world war have developed one after the other, both the British and French peoples have united to prevent a world war that would destroy European civilization.

The second possibility is that war may not erupt. If so, would France and Britain want to cooperate with Italy about Ethiopia? This is difficult to predict.

Without doubt [peace] would be to Italy's advantage since she is engulfed by problems. She has expended a fortune on the war in Ethiopia. She still spends a lot of money to maintain her soldiers there. To exploit the country efficiently, she needs considerable capital. But [in banking circles] she has become untrustworthy. For this reason, she wants to settle the Ethiopian matter quickly. For you to reach an agreement [with Italy] would dishearten Ethiopian officials. At the same time it would pave the way for Italy to get financial aid from abroad. This is the reason why the Italian press is constantly telling the world that the Ethiopian affair will be over soon.

However, do France and Britain derive any advantage from settling the Ethiopian matter in this way?

Italy's friendship with Spain is bound to increase the burden on Italy as the European situation worsens. It is not in the interest of Britain and France to ease Italy's burden at this juncture. Ethiopia is [now] just like a mouse trap for the Italians. Many thousands of Italians have already gone into the trap. In case war starts , they are going to be prisoners of war.

If Britain, France and Italy achieve a rapprochement, it would be harmful for Ethiopia; thus Your Majesty should take great care not to say or do anything that would help draw these governments together.

VI. These days there is fear that France and Britain might recognize Italy's claim over Ethiopia. If they do, it will deal a final blow to the League of Nations, which has already been rendered shaky. Italy yearns for legal recognition but she would be pleased to gain any recognition short of that. It would be enough for Italy if the French and British governments simply say that the Ethiopian state has vanished due to Italy's occupation.

Currently some governments are discussing the idea that the legal viability of a state is determined by the existence of an executive. A state is not something that exists as an idea. It is something that is concretely visible. Looking at what took place a year ago, the real government of Ethiopia was not on the ground in Ethiopia. When any state is hindered by obstacles, and the nature of the impediments is clearly visible, is it not justifiable to conclude that the government is no longer in existence? Moreover, the longer the obstacle persists, the fewer the chances for the state to revive, [and] the greater the likelihood to assume that the... state was obliterated. Next, the state itself becomes non-existent. There is then no need to have a decree that gives legal recognition to a government that has destroyed another government and country by means of force. This logic holds the greatest danger for Ethiopia.

France and Britain have vested interests in Ethiopia. The Italian occupation does not render these interests null and void. It is incumbent upon France and Britain to safeguard their interests. Unless they negotiate with the Italians... there is no way that they can safeguard their interests. If the Italian occupation of Ethiopia is allowed to stand, the hope for the return of the Ethiopian government vanishes, and Britain and France may be forced to give legal recognition to Italy's coercive occupation or do something that amounts to giving legal recognition. As time passes... effective occupation of another country prompts legal recognition. There are two ways of averting this, through force or negotiation with Italy.

As there is no possibility of force at the moment, this idea is eliminated. What is left therefore is negotiation with Italy. That is why I suggested that it is not wise to ignore Italy's peace proposals without examining them closely.

VII. Is the danger mentioned above likely to occur in the near future? Is there any chance that, at the forthcoming assembly of the League in September 1937, [Italian Ethiopia] will be given legal recognition and the matter closed? I do not think so. At the moment the case has become a matter of concern for many of the smaller countries. Since they are afraid that the same thing might happen to them down the road, they will oppose the idea of making a hasty decision. The bigger nations are well aware of this. So they will forego the kind of actions that will foment opposition. Had Italy not depleted her money and strength and if she was not involved in the unending European situation, it would have been wise for her to leave everything to time so that her deeds would be accepted and her position strengthened. However, she is in a hurry. Italy needs the legal recognition of the British and French governments or, at least, acknowledgment that the Ethiopian state is no longer a credible government. Except for the two big governments, Italy is not concerned about what others may do.

At the last meeting of the League, the proposal of Poland, which had been inspired by Italy, failed because all member states did not accept it. In fact it caused all the smaller nations to rebel. Mexico in particular strongly opposed it, and many countries backed her stand. France and Britain avoided involvement but showed no interest in pleasing Italy. Is their attitude going to change at the forthcoming conference? The reasons that restrained them in the past will in the future stop them from being actively involved. Therefore, since Rome's friends in the League will try hard to justify Italy's effective occupation or to establish that Ethiopia's statehood has vanished, I think Your Majesty should be cautious not to provide them with any pretext that would serve this purpose.

Therefore, the advice I give Your Majesty now is to do what you did a few months ago. That is not to send an envoy to the Geneva conference of September 1937. If an envoy is sent it will inevitably raise the issue of representation. It will entail the question of probing whether or not the Ethiopian state is credible and legally in existence. It is important not to provide any reason that would make [the League] investigate this matter.

In the absence of an envoy, it is important, just as it was last May, to send an unequivocal letter that would require the League to guarantee the rights and freedom that the people of Ethiopia deserve under section 10 of its charter and to respect the agreement it freely entered into. If Your Majesty accepts this idea, I am prepared, when the time comes, to help draft the letter to the League under your instruction.

VIII. Ato Taezaz had asked my advice about what Your Majesty should do for the Ethiopian exiles. Since the situation... is an issue of helping kinsmen, it is understandably a matter of concern and worry; I do not know how they are currently maintained, and I am not sure about how soon the matter should be raised. If the information I have received is correct, I have heard that there are talks going on between the French and British governments and the Ethiopian Legations in Paris and London. The passports that these Legations are issuing to the exiles are to be accepted by the British and French officials. I have also heard that the protection [diplomatic immunity] granted to them by the French and British governments has not been revoked. I am sure that many other countries would also accept the passports issued by the Ethiopian Legation in Paris and London without question. If this is so, have the Ethiopian exiles faced any difficulties travelling from one country to another? Have they been deprived of any of the help given to other foreigners? Your Majesty alone knows if any power has refused to accept the passports issued by the Legations in Paris and London.

IX. Ato Taezaz asked me what would happen, if in the end, Your Majesty were to return to Ethiopia.

In July 1936, when we met in Geneva, I strongly urged Your Majesty to return to Ethiopia. At that time Your Majesty's officers and soldiers were campaigning in Gore. Today the whole situation has changed.... Gore has also been occupied by the Italians. I strongly advise against Your Majesty's return to Ethiopia without the financial and military support of the British and French governments.

Undoubtedly, even now Ethiopian officials are resisting the Italian invasion. But the resistance consists of only sporadic and isolated gunfire. There is nothing that might be regarded as outright war. Your Majesty's return to Ethiopia would not improve the situation or augment the magnitude of the fighting. With shortages of money, weapons and munitions, the Ethiopian people cannot defeat the Italians. Your Majesty's presence in Ethiopia would provide the Italians a pretext to kill everybody. There would be another round of massacres. Apart from this the Italians would gather all their air force together to seek out and destroy the area where Your Majesty is said to be found. They would wipe out Your Majesty's few remaining soldiers. They regard Your Majesty's disappearance [from the scene] as relief from a frightening and feared enemy and would do everything in their power to destroy Your Majesty. If this happened, it would dishearten all the Ethiopian peoples and officials and destroy all ideas and future plans for Ethiopia. But if Your Majesty is alive in Europe and able to launch a vigorous opposition against the crimes committed between 1935 and 1936, the continued [international] antipathy toward Italy will make it harder for her to get recognition. As I have explained to Your Majesty and according to the evidence I secured, neither France nor Britain would allow Your Majesty through their territories on Your route to Ethiopia. They suspect that, if they did this, Italy would undertake a strong retaliation that might result in a clash between the nations of the world.

I think I have answered all the questions raised by Ato Taezaz. Once again I wish to renew the assurances of my highest consideration, friendship, and loyalty to Your Majesty. I will be in Deuville until the end of August.

Gaston Jeze

* * *

The letter sent from Ato Lorenzo Taezaz:

London, October 10, 1937

Your Majesty:

I humbly bow... before you and greet you in the name of the Savior of the world.

Contrary to everyone's prediction, Your Majesty's government by the grace of God remains unerased in the register of the League of Nations. The future is also in hands of God. The current international political situation and what is likely to happen seems to be favorable for Ethiopia's salvation.

The general 'impression' of the 18th Assembly seems to be in Ethiopia's favor. The European nations resent Hitler's and Mussolini's politics. If a powerful country can forcefully take over a country and destroy all boundaries, many of them feel that the same thing may happen to themselves in the future. They had hoped that once Italy secured Ethiopia, she would work in harmony to bring peace to Europe. However, before the Ethiopian matter was resolved, Italy aligned with Spain and started to encourage the atrocities Japan is perpetuating in China as though it were appropriate. Many... [nations] do not want to see the Ethiopian affair buried, saying, although We cannot use force to oppose Italy, by upholding issues of principle, We can make things difficult for her.

Three Latin American countries (headed by Uruguay), in an attempt to please Italy, tried to gain acceptance for the proposal Italy forwarded through the 6th political commission, going around and pleading with each delegation; but they did not get sufficient votes. This was done in secret so that it would not be revealed in case they did not get enough support. But the idea had been presented to Monsieur Helium, and he was the one who exposed it. This was counted as a small moral victory for us.

Meanwhile, many of the representatives liked the brochure we issued... under the name of the Abyssinia Association because it gave a brief account of the current situation in Ethiopia. Coincidentally the reports in several newspapers about the fighting in Dese, Mekele, Adwa, and to the south, showed that, Italy's claims of wholly occupying Ethiopia were untrue and affirmed that the people had not ceased putting up resistance; this worked out in our favor.

The following suggestions are some of the ideas I elicited from various people with whom I discussed our future actions and options.

First possibility: the League of Nations never condones Ethiopia becoming an Italian colony. On the other hand, it cannot force Italy out of Ethiopia. There is therefore a suggestion to place Ethiopia under Italy's rule as a mandate of the League of Nations. Your Majesty, on realizing that this would be for the good of your country, would work harmoniously with Italy and the League of Nations towards Ethiopia's progress and development. If you do not want to comply with these conditions and return to your country, it is suggested that you abdicate in favor of your son.

If there were a choice, the mandate would be given to another country; however this option does not exist. War would be the last resort to dislodge Italy. Britain and France do not want Italy's total destruction, because her strength is vital to maintain the balance of power and European security.

As it is impossible to develop the country without money, Italy is said ready to accept a mandate for Ethiopia because she needs to rule the country in tranquility in order to get financial credit from other governments.

This mandate should cover all of Ethiopia. If Your Majesty, for the sake of retaining nominal freedom for Ethiopia, would accept a small portion of the country and leave the rest to Italy, it would mean a permanent division of the country. Rather it would be better to accept the mandate for a few years, in order to take a course which would lead to the restoration of Ethiopia's full independence when the right time for such action arises. The Fascist government is headed toward total destruction.... The lifetime of one person cannot be reasoned as more than one second compared to Ethiopia's existence [as an entity]. That is what they say.

Second possibility: let Italy appropriate the portion of the country which she intended to snatch at the beginning of the war, and [let] the rest of the country proceed to the highest stage of development in independence under the sovereignty of Your Majesty and with the assistance of the League of Nations. At a convenient time, Italy would be made, peacefully or by force, to return those areas under occupation. At all events, the main thing is to make sure that Ethiopia's independence is not obliterated. If France and Britain had the will, they could make Italy comply without recourse to war.

Third possibility: it is a good thing that the Ethiopian affair was not buried at the last assembly; from now on Ethiopia will not disappear. To begin with, the power of England has now reached a stage where it can prevent Italy's will from taking effect; second, should war break out in Europe, Italy would side with Germany, and France and Britain would approach Your Majesty to return to your country and support them. If this happens, Ethiopia's fate becomes obvious. Britain and France will provide military assistance. In return, they ask that the country be ruled peacefully in the future and that their interests in Africa be promoted more than others. Ethiopia is expected to recognize this "collaboration" with them and... show signs of friendship. Until all this happens it is best for Your Majesty to keep your dignity and wait patiently without showing any evidence of losing hope and without entering into any futile agreement with Italy or doing anything that might politically upset the British. If Your Majesty has any financial problems, you should inform the British people, who provide for ordinary political refugees, let alone a monarch who has sought refuge under their flag.

Above all Your Majesty should encourage the associations, which were set up in various countries, to continue their propaganda activities so that the Ethiopian case will not disappear from world public opinion. It is also good to encourage the newspaper called [New Times and] Ethiopia News so that its work may continue in a more informed manner and with greater diligence. It would also be helpful [for NTEN] to have a section on Ethiopia among the associations and within the League of Nations. This will help to remind the members of the associations of Ethiopia's case, whenever the League comes into session. [NTEN] should have the authority to sponsor resolutions or change and modify the resolutions sponsored by others.

At the moment it is unthinkable to ask the League for assistance for the Ethiopian exiles. To begin with, no government would vote in favor of providing help, not due to unwillingness to assist, but each would prefer to keep silent rather than to displease Italy. In the second place, each would choose to keep quiet rather than to give Ethiopia's enemies the chance to propose Ethiopia's expulsion... [because its] government did not pay its contribution to the League of Nations. Nevertheless it would be good to inform the various private aid organizations, established to help Ethiopia, of any problems that the exiles are encountering.

Another thing I observed while in Geneva was that the Muslim nations have resolved and joined ranks to preserve their interests and independence. The governments of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and Arabia were able to forge an alliance. The Europeans, who usually sought to make them fight each other, are now enmeshed in serious troubles and quietly acquiesced to their move. In the future this alliance will fill world history with its concern more for Ethiopia than for Europe. These people look like us and are our neighbors... Italy is working to foment disharmony and hatred between Christians and Muslims, [and] I think it is important to find ways and means to foil Italy's intentions... in order to keep the question of Ethiopia's independence from disappearing from the sight of the Muslim governments. I would think that if three Ethiopian Muslim clerics could be found, it would be fruitful if they were to travel between Egypt and Arabia campaigning for Ethiopia's cause. If the money to be expended for this purpose is not available, I think they themselves could find ways of securing financial assistance from their friends, provided that they really understand the cause they are working for. With regard to your desire to have talks with Mexico's envoy I have presented your request to him, and he has shown his willingness to arrange a convenient time and place.

Your humble servant,
Lorenzo Taezaz


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