15 APRIL 1938, Page 6

At a moment when the recognition of Italian empire over

Abyssinia is being discussed in connexion with the Perth- Ciano conversations the actual condition of the country itself is not irrelevant. Information reaching me from a source I have reason to trust confirms statements on that subject which have appeared in one or two papers in the past week. Mr. Butler stated in the House of Commons on Monday that he believed the Italian authorities to be in military occupation of virtually the whole country. In military occupation they may be, but even their lines of communication are constantly cut, ambushes are frequent, the capital, Addis Ababa, is deserted by its Amharic popu- lation, and the Italians can with difficulty be fed because the natives refuse to come to market. The correspondent of an American paper is said to have cabled extracts from a private memorandum addressed to Signor Mussolini, in which it is admitted that outside a radius of fifty miles from each Italian garrison the native Rasses are ruling as before the war. Italian financiers have failed to provide anything like the sums necessary for the development of the country, and more colonists are going home discouraged than arc arriving from Italy. Reports from so many sources tell the same story that there can be little doubt of its substantial accuracy. It will be two years next month since the we nominally ended. * * * *