No. 78 NAI DFA 126/37

Confidential report from Francis T. Cremins to Joseph P. Walshe
(Ass. /18) (Confidential)

Geneva, 31 August 1937

I have to state for the information of the Minister that the position in regard to the rumours of postponement of the Assembly remain as they were when I last reported on the question, i.e. no one has taken any steps to propose postponement. It may be taken that the Assembly will open on the date fixed, the 13th September, 1937.

There is no definite information here at the Secretariat or amongst my colleagues (I have discussed the matter with Mr. Walters1 and others) as to whether H.M. Hailé Selassié will send a delegation to the forthcoming Assembly. The general impression is, however, that such a delegation will be sent. Dr. Riddell (Canada) tells me confidentially that such an impression prevails in London, and that the British Foreign Office expects that there may be a good deal of trouble at the Assembly in connection with the Ethiopian question. He had some information also that the British were thinking of arranging, if possible, a meeting of Dominion representatives in London before the Assembly with a view to explaining and exploring the situation.

The first question that will come up, if an Ethiopian delegation is sent, is the question of the Credentials, on which I have already fully reported. Mr. Walters expresses the opinion and so does Dr. Riddell, that on that question the Credentials Committee are likely on the facts of the position as they exist this year to decide against the Ethiopian credentials. The matter would in that case go to a vote in the Assembly, and no one at this stage can give any reliable forecast of the result of the vote. There will undoubtedly, it is thought, be much opposition to voting an Ethiopian delegation out of the Assembly. The position is in fact much the same as it would have been in May last - at the Special Session - except that it is considered probable that a greater number of States would now be prepared to support the Credentials Committee, if they reported as indicated, in view of the developments in the International situation, and especially of the efforts at entente between Great Britain and Italy. The Anglo-Italian pourparlers, if in any measure successful, are likely to be followed by Franco-Italian pourparlers. Much will depend on the state of these conversations.

The other question is that of recognition of the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. I am informed that there is no question whatever of such recognition being accorded by Great Britain, and undoubtedly such a question would stand no chances whatever in the Assembly. Signor Mussolini has stated in fact that he would not expect it. I enquired if there is any likelihood that the Polish Declaration at the Special Session will be followed by similar Declarations at the coming session. No information as to this is so far available, nor is it known whether any State is likely to make a definite proposal of recognition, although this is regarded as by no means impossible. Egypt has been mentioned in the Press as likely to do so.

The Polish Legation here state that they have no information so far and no instruction. The Minister will not however return to Geneva until about the end of this week.

[signed] F.T. Cremins
Permanent Delegate

1 Francis 'Frank' P. Walters (1888-1976), Under-Secretary General and later Deputy Secretary General of the League of Nations.

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