Ethiopia asks League of Nations to act against Italy

GENEVA, Oct. 5, 1935 (UP) -- Ethiopia today demanded that the League of Nations punish Italy for invading her borders; that the punishment take the form of military force to halt Italy's conquest of the country.

It was the first time in the history of the League that the dangerous Article XVI (providing military punishment for an aggressor) had been invoked.


Her demand for application of sanctions to Italy as an aggressor, and therefore a covenant-breaker, was made shortly before the council was to convene at 5 p. m.

It was contained in a four page note handed to Joseph Avenol, secretary general to the League, by Tecia Hawariat, Emperor Haile Selassie's spokesman here. Hawariat recently informed the United Press that he was going to give up his diplomatic post and return to fight for his country.

It is understood that the basis of the categorical demand for sanctions is the "brutal facts" of Italian aggression.


The demand served, in the opinion of some observers, to make it almost impossible for the League to avoid going to Ethiopia's protection without losing the last shreds of its prestige providing the council concurs in Ethiopia's branding of Italy as a covenant-breaker.

There were grave faces among the diplomats charged with trying the Ethiopian -Italian case before the council as the hour for the public session approached.

Earlier they had received the report of the committee of 13, which, while it did not brand Italy as an outlaw, strongly condemned the Italian attitude. In outlining the "circumstances of the dispute" the committee used phrases tantamount to an anti-Italian judgment without actually finding the Fascist government guilty of aggression.

It was officially announced that the council, after adopting the Committee of 13's report, will immediately try to designate an aggressor. In doing so, it will consider much documentary material in addition to the report of the committee.

The three final paragraphs of the committee's report throw into high relief the contrast between the Italian and Ethiopian attitudes since the clash at Ualual on Dec. 5 which brought the quarrel between Mussolini and Haile Selassie into the area of international diplomacy.


They point out that Ethiopia has accepted all proposals for a peaceful settlement, whereas Italy has consistently refused to admit that the dispute could be settled in accordance with the League covenant.

Expounding the Ethiopian attitude, it says that Ethiopia sought to have the League settle the Ualual incident, but agreed to submit the matter to arbitration when Italy demanded such action under the 1928 Italo-Ethiopian treaty.

A member of the Committee of 13, representing all members of the Council except for Italy, revealed that the League council probably will request commanders of the Italian and Ethiopian armies to order an immediate halt of hostilities pending peaceful settlement.

A member of the committee of 13, leaving the midnight conference at which the report was completed in a stormy atmosphere described the document as an "act of accusation."

Representatives of Russia, Turkey and Poland disapproved some aspects of the report, but were overruled. They may bring their objections more forcibly to the fore in the meetings today of the full committee and the council.

The Ethiopian note demanding application of economic as well as military sanctions top Italy, cited paragraphs 1 and 2 of the four-paragraph Article XVI, the consequences of applying which are greatly dreaded by peacemakers.


The first of these paragraphs reads: "Should any member of the League resort to war in disregard of its covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15 (under the last of which the League's peace-making efforts have thus far been conducted), it shall ipso-facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other members of the League, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking state, and the prevention of all financial, commercial, personal intercourse between the nationals of the covenant-breaking state and the nationals of any other state, whether a member of the League or not."

The phrase, "whether a member of the League or not" is fraught with grave perils for Europe and the rest of the world. For, should some non-League member, such as Germany or Japan, seek to furnish Italy with the sinews of war after declarations of a League boycott, the possibilities of a clash between the League and one of these non-members would be heightened.

The second paragraph of Article XVI reads: "It shall be the duty of the council in such a case to recommend to the several governments concerned what effective military, naval or airforce the members of the League shall severely contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League."


The partial text of Ethiopia's note reads as follows:

"The Ethiopian government respectfully but firmly asks the Council to declare:

"Firstly, that these indisputable facts constitute an act of war by Italy within the meaning of Article XVI of the covenant.

"Secondly, this resort to war, ipso facto brought about consequences laid down in Article XVI, paragraph 1.

"Lastly, the Ethiopian government respectfully asks the Council to fulfill the duties devolving upon it under Article XVI, paragraph 2, and put an end as soon as possible to the hostilities just begun in defiance of the law and the solemnest obligations.

"Here and now the Ethiopian government proclaims its people's resolve to defend their independence and integrity of their territory to the last drop of their blood. They will endure the unjust war, which has been imposed upon them as long as is necessary to defend their age-long inheritance.

"They will not give way to force, despite the superiority of the implements of war and the massacre accumulated against them by the merciless enemy."

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