Statement by the Secretary of State (Hull), September 12, 1935

In view of the deep concern of this Government and the wide spread anxiety of the American people over recent developments which appear to constitute a grave threat to the peace of the world, I consider it desirable to recapitulate the steps thus far taken by this Government in contributing in every practicable way toward a peaceful settlement of the present dispute between Italy and Ethiopia.

On the evening of July 3 the Emperor of Ethiopia summoned the American Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at Addis Ababa to the palace and handed the Chargé a communication in which the Emperor stated that he felt it to be his duty to ask the American Government to examine means of securing observance of the Pact of Paris.

The Chargé was instructed to reply to the Emperor as follows:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Imperial Majesty's note of July 3, 1935, and to inform Your Imperial Majesty that I immediately communicated its contents to my Government. I have been instructed by my Government to reply to your note as follows

"'My Government, interested as it is in the maintenance of peace in all parts of the world, is gratified that the League of Nations, with a view to a peaceful settlement, has given its attention to the controversy which has unhappily arisen between your Government and the Italian Government and that the controversy is now in process of arbitration. My Government hopes that, whatever the facts or merits of the controversy may be, the arbitral agency dealing with this controversy may be able to arrive at a decision satisfactory to both of the Governments immediately concerned.

"'Furthermore, and of great importance, in view of the provisions of the Pact of Paris, to which both Italy and Abyssinia are parties, in common with 6l other countries, my Government would be loath to believe that either of them would resort to other than pacific means as a method of dealing with this controversy or would permit any situation to arise which would be inconsistent with the commitments of the Pact."'

On July 10, during a call of the Italian Ambassador made at the request of the Secretary of Stale, the Secretary made to the Ambassador a statement as follows

"Although we are not familiar with the facts or the merits of the questions at issue between Italy and Ethiopia, we are deeply interested in the preservation of peace in all parts of the world and we are particularly interested in those international arrangements designed to effect the solution of controversies by peaceable means.

"Being convinced that world progress and economic recovery are urgently in need of peaceful conditions, particularly at this time, we feel impelled to impress upon the Italian Ambassador our increasing concern over the situation arising out of Italy's dispute with Ethiopia and our earnest hope that a means may be found to arrive at a peaceful and mutually satisfactory solution of the problem."

On July 11, the Secretary of State conferred with the British and French Ambassadors. He, called attention to articles which had appeared in the press wherein there was placed upon the American Government's reply to the Emperor of Ethiopia an interpretation implying that the American Government had abandoned the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the pact therefore was "dead".

The Secretary said he felt this interpretation was entirely contrary to the sense of his note to the Emperor, which had emphasized the principles of the Pact of Paris and had given evidence of this Government's interest in the settlement of this dispute by peaceable means.

On the same day, at his press conference, the Secretary of State pointed out that naturally the American Government, as had frequently been stated previously, is deeply concerned about the preservation of peace in every part of the world and is closely observing conditions and developments.
On July 12, in response to various inquiries of newspaper correspondents, the Secretary of State made a statement as follows:

"The Pact of Paris is no less binding now than when it was entered into by the 63 nations that are parties to it. By form and designation it constitutes a treaty by and among those nations. It is a declaration by the governments of the world that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another. Furthermore, it is an agreement and a solemn obligation that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts among nations, of whatever nature or of whatever origin, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

"The United States and the other nations are interested in the maintenance of the pact and the sanctity of the international commitments assumed thereby for the promotion and maintenance of peace among the nations of the world."

On August 1, the President issued a statement as follows

"At this moment, when the Council of the League of Nations is assembled to consider ways for composing by pacific means the differences that have arisen between Italy and Ethiopia, I wish to voice the hope of the people and the Government of the United States that an amicable solution will be found and that peace will be maintained."

Thereafter, during the month of August, expression of this hope of the people and Government of the United States was communicated in telegrams from the American Government to several other governments.

On September 3, having discovered that an American corporation was a party to a newly granted commercial concession the conclusion of which had added to the perplexities and difficulties confronting the governments and other agencies which are intent upon preservation of peace, the American Government took prompt steps toward removal of this obstacle to peaceful settlement. In connection with that matter, the Secretary of State said at his press conference:

"The central point in the policy of this Government in regard to, the Italian and Ethiopian controversy is the preservation of peace-to which policy every country throughout the world is committed by one or more treaties-and we earnestly hope that no nations will, in any circumstances, be diverted from this supreme objective."

Now, this Government feels called upon further to express the attitude of this country.

The Government and people of the United States desire peace. We believe that international controversies can and should be settled by peaceful means. We have signed, along with 62 other nations, including Italy and Ethiopia, a treaty in which the signatories have condemned war as an instrument of national policy and have undertaken, each to all, to settle their disputes by none but pacific means.

Under the conditions which prevail in the world today, a threat of hostilities anywhere cannot but be a threat to the interests-political, economic, legal, and social-of all nations. Armed conflict in any part of the world cannot but have undesirable and adverse effects in every part of the world. All nations have the right to ask that any and all issues, between whatsoever nations, be resolved by pacific means. Every nation has the right to ask that no nations subject it and other nations to the hazards and uncertainties that must inevitably accrue to all from resort to arms by any two.

With good will toward all nations, the American Government asks of those countries which appear to be contemplating armed hostilities that they weigh most solicitously the declaration and pledge given in the Pact of Paris, which pledge was entered into by all the signatories for the purpose of safeguarding peace and sparing the world the incalculable losses and human suffering that inevitably attend and follow in the wake of wars.

Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 274-277

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