CHAPTER XLIII
EXIT DE BONO; ENTER BADOGLIO

As early as October 16, Mussolini had expressed his readiness to negotiate (on his own terms, of course). A peace that had been accepted by Mussolini as well as by Haile Selassie could not be other than "honourable". What objections could be raised against such a peace by those Englishmen who had taken part in the peace ballot, or those delegates who had condemned Mussolini in Geneva on October 11? Could they compel Mussolini and Haile Selassie to remain at war even after they had decided to make peace?

The "League" had not been able to prevent war. Its duty was now to work out a peace settlement. The peace treaty would be signed in the Palace of the League. It would thus be arrived at "within the framework of the League', and "the League" would score the greatest triumph in its history.

Before the end of October, while the election campaign in England was in full swing, Sir Samuel Hoare instructed the British Minister to Addis Ababa, Sir Sidney Barton, to urge upon Haile Selassie "the advisability of his consenting to start peace negotiations for a settlement by compromise"; "Abyssinia's military prospects were even darker than they appeared to be to observers without inside knowledge".1 Augur was in position to cable to the New York Times ( 30. x) that Sir Maurice Peterson was back from Paris, where, together with French experts, he had found "a formula representing a joint Anglo-French effort to solve the trouble in a way satisfactory to the League of Nations, Italy, and Ethiopia together". Sir Samuel Hoare was making sure that nothing would happen "to wreck irrevocably the prospect for the Italo-Ethiopian peace settlement". Europe had to be freed from the incubus of "a catastrophic upheaval". "Respect for the Covenant of the League must be upheld, but the Government would not allow the letter to come before the spirit of the document." "A bottomless abyss" yawned before the British and French statesmen "into which they were in danger of slipping". The London Daily Herald ( 30. x) announced that Sir Maurice Peterson and his French opposite number, Count de St. Quentin, had drawn up a plan which needed only British approval before being submitted to the League; this plan met on the whole the demands made by Mussolini two weeks earlier.

Sir Samuel condemned "whispers and innuendos" and left for

____________________
1
So far as the author is aware, this document has not yet been published, but its contents are given by Toynbee, II, 284.

-365-

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