CHAPTER XXVIII
"I HAVE A PARTNER, MR. JORKINS"

Mussoliniwas not appeased. Early in July he had the British Government informed that any attempt to induce France to follow in Britain's wake would split Europe into two camps and compel Italy to seek her own security through military alliances.1

Speaking from an open lorry (July 6), he inveighed against the "abject" Italian Government that had stopped fighting after the defeat at Adowa in 1896. With a Government like his in power, things would go differently this time:

" Abyssinia, which you are going to conquer, we shall have totally.
We shall not be content with partial concessions, and if she dares resist
our formidable strength we shall put her to pillage and to fire. You will
have formidable armaments that nobody in the world suspects. You
will be strong and invincible, and soon you shall see the five Continents
of the world bow down and tremble before Fascist power. . . . To those
who may hope to stop us with documents or words, we shall answer with
the heroic motto of our first storm troops: 'Me ne frego', 'I don't give a
damn.' We shall snap our fingers in the face of the blond defenders
of the black race. We shall advance against anyone—regardless of
colour—who might try to bar the road. We are engaged in a fight of
decisive importance and we have irrevocably decided to go through
with it."2

The more Il Duce persisted in his defiant attitude, the more all those in England who intended that the Covenant of the League should be enforced, clamoured that the sanctions contemplated in the Covenant should be announced forthwith.

The Italo-Ethiopian affair was again taken up on July 11 by Sir Samuel Hoare before the House of Commons in a comprehensive expoil of British foreign policy. According to Sir Samuel, the League should be considered "not from the angle of the past, but from the angle of the future". One should think much less of what it had done and had failed to do in the last fifteen years than of what it might do in the next fifteen years "if given a fair chance".

After postponing for fifteen years the League's ability to enforce

____________________
1
Villari, Storia diplomatica, p. 103.
2
The text of this speech was sent in mimeographed copies to all Fascist organizations in Italy. Yet the official text given out to the Italian Press on July 7 merely stated that the Duce "had pronounced words of greeting and incitement to the Blackshirts". Everything would lead one to believe that Mussolini, after sending out the text of the speech, realized, or was made to realize, that he had gone too far. He therefore forbade the official publication. But the document had already reached some foreign correspondents in manuscript form.

-237-

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