CHAPTER XLVII
ENTER CHUCRY JACIR BEY; EXIT
SIR SAMUEL HOARE

Mussoliniwaited a whole week before giving his answer. He was encouraged in these dilatory tactics by a factor which would seem incredible, were it not corroborated by unimpeachable evidence.1

While De Bono was still in command in East Africa, Badoglio, Chief of the General Staff, and Roatta, head of the Intelligence Service, were not optimistic about the outcome of the campaign.

At this point, a Levantine adventurer of Mexican citizenship, called Chucry Jacir Bey, proposed himself as mediator to persuade Haile Selassie to accept peace. He claimed he could even stage a battle on the spot and at the date that would best suit the Italian General Staff, a battle resulting, of course, in an Italian victory. He could even get Haile Selassie aboard a plane and fly him into territory occupied by Italian troops.

This humbug was taken seriously, and on December 10 two agents of the Italian Government and the Levantine-Mexican adventurer signed a formal contract with three annexes. The first of these contained the peace terms to be agreed to by Haile Selassie; the second stipulated that the sham battle should be staged within six days after the date fixed by the Italian General Staff; and the third dealt with the acroplane that was to transport Haile Selassie. The peace terms included the following: Haile Selassie would surrender the whole of Tigré, the whole of Eastern Ethiopia, and some of his southern territories; the surrendered territories would be placed under an Italian protectorate (of the French Morocco type), or even—if possible—be entirely annexed by Italy. As for the rest of Ethiopia, a corridor, not wider than 20 kilometres, would provide her with an outlet to the sea at Assab. Military and civilian advisers would assist the Emperor in all branches of the administration. Italy guaranteed the Emperor the continuation of his dynasty and a yearly stipend, the amount to be settled at some later date. A map was attached to the treaty to obviate disputes over the territories to be ceded to Italy. The contract stipulated that should no sham battle take place, Jacir Bey would receive so million Italian life. If this Italian triumph took

____________________
1
The documents of this silly story were discovered in October 1944, during the investigation preliminary to the trial of General Roatta, head of the Italian Military Intelligence (SIM = Servizio Informazioni Militari). They were published by the fortnightly Realtd Politica of Rome, January 5, 1945; in the book It processo Roatta, pp. 258-61.

-401-

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