15 FEBRUARY 1935, Page 1


THE alarmist rumours disseminated at the beginning of the week regarding Italian mobilization and an ultimatum to Abyssinia have fortunately no substance. There have been precautionary troop movements on a limited scale, but the published terms of the mythical ultimatum appear to be entirely imaginary. Both Italy and Abyssinia have declared officially their desire for a peaceful settlement, and if that desire is genuine, and persists, there should be no serious danger of war. The facts about the alleged attacks on Italian troops are obscure, particularly in the case of the further incident at Afduki on January 29th, but they are capable of being investigated. The whole trouble arises from the existence of a non-demarcated frontier, and till the business of delimitation in situ is carried out there will abivays be a danger of further conflicts. Italy and Abyssinia agreed at Geneva last month to enter on conversations as provided for in the 1908 treaty between the two countries, but sonic question of the interpreta- tion of the treaty itself, in its relation to an earlier treaty of 1807„arises, and it is obvious that the submission of disputed questions to some form of arbitration is essential to a satisfactory settlement. It would -be a great mistake to think that because Abyssinia is a small, and Italy a Great Power, the balance of right must necessarily be on Abyssinia's side.