4 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 2

The State of Abyssinia There is abundant evidence that all

is very far from well in Abyssinia from the Italians' point of view. Messages to many different London papers from Aden, Port Said, Djibuti and other centres, suggest that the Italians have firm hold of no more than four or five towns and a limited area round them, and that for the rest the native chiefs are still in control and guerilla warfare is in perpetual progress at heavy cost to the forces of occupation. According to one message—the latest—sick and wounded Italian soldiers are steadily being evacuated and heavy reinforcements are being sent out to cope with the situation. Prices for would-be settlers, of whom there appear to be few, are prohibitive, no capital is available for development, the natives will bring no produce for sale because they mistrust the paper money they are offered. Nothing of this is surprising. What would be surprising would be Italy's ability to finance the development of a country whose old rulers she has defeated without being able to establish effective rule herself. In those cir- cumstances the influentially-signed letter in The Time on Wednesday in opposition to any suggestion that the Italian conquest of Abyssinia should be recognised by League States, is, or ought to be, superfluous. To recognise the fruit of the violation of treaties would be iniquitous. To recognise it when the fruit has not even been garnered would be to add to iniquity folly.