ENTER F. D. ROOSEVELT
The government of the United States was not a member of the League of Nations. They were therefore under no obligation to concern themselves with the Italo-Ethiopian dispute. But they had affixed their signature to the Kellogg Pact. Herbert Hoover (then President of the United States) and Ramsay MacDonald (then British Prime Minister) had issued a joint declaration ( October 9, 1929) announcing that they accepted the Kellogg Pact "not only as a declaration of good intentions, but as a positive obligation to direct national policy in accordance with its pledge". Moreover, Hoover's Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, in an address of August 8, 1932, had stated that under the Kellogg Pact any conflict was of concern to everybody connected with the Pact. As a consequence, consultation between the signatories of the Pact when faced with the threat of its violation had henceforth become "inevitable":
"Any effective invocation of the power of world opinion postulates discussion and consultation. . . . That the pact thus necessarily carries with it the implication of consultation has perhaps not been fully appreciated by its well-wishers who also have been so anxious that it be implemented by a formal provision for consultation. . . . The misgivings of those well-wishers should be put to rest. . . . Hereafter, when two nations engage in armed conflict, either or both of them must be wrongdoers — violators of this general treaty law [the Kellogg Pact]. We no longer draw a circle about them and treat them with the punctilio of the duellist's code: instead we denounce them as law-breakers, and by that very act we have made obsolete many legal precedents."
A year later ( May 21, 1933), under President Roosevelt's new administration, Norman H. Davis, American "Ambassador at Large" to the disarmament conference at Geneva, made the following declaration: "We are willing to consult the other States in case of a threat to peace with a view to averting conflict." And he had reaffirmed Stimson's theory:
"Further than that, in the event that the States, in conference, determine that a State has been guilty of a breach of the peace in violation of its international obligations and take measures against the violator, then, if we concur in the judgment rendered as to the responsible and guilty party, we will refrain from any action tending to defeat such collective effort which these States may thus make to restore peace."
On April 25, 1935 — that is, when the threat of war in East Africa loomed on the horizon — Stimson, speaking before the American