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I\1011ograpl1 Series o:f tl1e

Car11egie E11dowment for International Peace Division of I11ter11ational La,v No. 3


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PIT11AN B. POTTER Professor of ]1iter11.ational Orga1iizat·io11., Gracl1late l1ist·itute of l1iterTictt1:orial St·udies; Arb·itrcltor A ppoi11.ted

by Eth·iop·ia

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PREFACE Tl1e follo,1/ing record of an arbitratio11 of a clispute betvveen a great Et1ropean military povver and a weak Africa11 native state, 111ore or less in connection vvitl1 action of tl1e League of Natio11s in dealing ,vith a broader political co11troversy betvvee11 tl1e same tvvo countries, is ]1ere­ \\,ith offered to students of international organizatio11 as a case stucly. In many ,va)1S ,,ery defective, in otl1er ways surprisii1gly satisfactory, the Wal \Val arl)itratio11 deserves to be recorded a11cl stt1c1ied as 011e more item i11 tl1e secular development of i11ternational g·over11me11t.

Getieva, CJir·ist11ias, 1937.








THE COMMISSION ...................................I:;-ro11tispiece INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .





SuB�{ISSION.. . . ...... ...... .... .. .. . ... . ..

II. TI:IE ARBI'fRATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IO III. LESSONS FRON.{ TI:IE ARBITRATION........................ 19C01111ENTS AND CONCLUSIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


ANNEXES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



A. Article \T of Treaty bet\veen Etl1iopia. ancl Italy, Augttst 2,1928..........................................


B. Letters bet,veen f{ege11t of Ethiopia a11d Italia11 Nii11ister, At1gust 3 a11d 4., 1928 . . . . . ... . .. .. .. .............. 35 C. Resolutio11s of tl1e Cou11cil of tl1e Leagt1e of Nations, Nlay 2 5'

1935. . . .. ..... . . .. . .... .. . . .. . ... .. . .. . ... . . . .

D. Telegra1n from Etl1iopia11-Ap1)oin ted Arbitrators to Italian Prime NI in ister, Ju11e 6, I 935. . .. . . ... ..... . . .. ... . E. Resolution of Arbitration Con1mission, l\1ilan, Ju11e 7, 1935 ............................................. F. Ethiopian St1bmission of Docun1ents, Jt11.1e 18, 1935..... G. Letter of Italia11 i\1Ii11ister to Etl1iopian Foreign lVIinister, January18,1929 ................................. H. Proceedings of tl1e Co1n1nission at Scl1eveni11ge11, July 4-9 , I 9 3 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · I: Separate Declaratio11s and Co11clusio11s, Scl1eve11ingen, July 9, 1935. . . . . . . . . ..... .. .. . .... ... ...... . . ... J. Separate Declarations, Paris, Augt1st 20, I935..... .. . . . I{. Invitation to Fiftl1 Arbitrator and Reply, Augt1st 20 and 2 I' I 935 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L. Proceedir1gs of tl1e Commissio11 at Paris, August 20,1935 :rvI. l\lfaterial Submitted by the .l\gent of Ethiopia, Paris, August 20, 1935. . ... ....... . . ... .. . . .. ...... .. . . . N. Proceedi11gs of tl1e Commission at Ber11, At1gust 23-25,

36 37

37 38 38

39 65 68

69 70 85

1935 ............................................ 93 0. Proceedings of the Commission at Paris, At1gust 29Septe1n ber 3, r 935 .. .... ......... ......... . .. .... . I 49 P. Decisio11 of tl1e Com1nissio11, Septen1ber 3, 1935 ........ 175 ••





INTRODUCTION There was held l)et\vee11 J u11e 6 and September 3, 1935, an arbitration bet,1/een tl1 e E1npire of Etl1iopia a11d tl1 e I{ingdon1 of Italy relating to an armed cont1ict \vhicl1 occt1rred at \tVal vVal, 1 i.n tl1e Ogade11 1 on Decem­ ber 5-6, 1934. Tl1is arbitration offers a nt11nlJer of extremely interest­ ing aspects to tl1e stude11t of ir1ternatio11 al adj11clication 2 and, indeed, to tl1e student of i11ternatio11al orga11izatio11 ancl procedure in general. The case cleserves to be e11sl1ri11ed in tl1 e a1111 als of i11ter11atio11 al j11dicial settlen1ent for ,,,l1atever its record ca11 co11 trib11te to 011r t111derstanding of tl1is form of orga11ized inter11ational actior1. The materials avail­ able 3 are ample, a11cl, in vie,v of all tl1 e circumsta11ces, personal recol­ lectio11s n1ay novv be calleel freely i11to play before memories of tl1 e incident becon1e too dim for it to be adec1t1ately reconstructed:' Tl1e \;\7al \,\Tal arbitration 1nay 111ost cor1ve11 iently be disct1ssed 11nder fo11r principal l1 eaclings: (I) origir1s a11 d s11b1nission; (II) tl1 e arbitration itself; (III) lessons fror11 tl1 e arbitratio11; 5 and (IV) co1nme11ts a11d con­ clusions. The first i11 volves the retelling, as clearly as possil)le, of the stor}' of \vhat l1appe11ed prior to tl1e arbitratio11 itself,G i11cludi11g both the diplon1 atic activities leading up to arbitratio11 and tl1e activities of the League of Natio11s i11 tl1at co11nectio11; the tl1ircl a11cl fo11rtl1 topics co1nprise tl1 e concl11sions to be dra\\'n co11cerni11g tl1e practice of arbi­ tratio11 proper a11d also certai11 conclusio11s concerni11 g i11ternational pacification i11 a ,,rider sense, 11 ot to 111entior1 the positio11 of tl1 e League of Natio11s i11 tl1is \vhole field. 1

I. Ol�IGINS AND su·Bl\lIISSION Tl1ere occ11rred at tl1e oasis of \�1c1l V\Tal, in tl1e Ogade,1 , a province of Ethiopia,i 011 tl1e afternoon of Dece111ber 5, 1934, a11 armed co11f1ict be­ t\veen certain 111ilit._try forces co1111)osecl of Ethiopian subjects ct11d cer­ tai11 military forces tinder Italian co11trol. 8 Tl1 ere migl1t be some Also spelled Oual Oual and Ual Ual, especially in the French. 2 The tern1s "adj uclication" and "arbitration" are used synon)1n1ously in this treatment, but are clistinguishecl sharply fro1n conciliation. 3 Including I�eague clocuments and the docun1ents of the Coinmission itself; the latter, together with one or t,vo docu1nents not actually 1Jef ore the Coinmission (Annexes C ancl D), are reproduced 1:1ifra, pp. 36 and 37. 4 See preli111inary treatn1ent in 1l1n. Jo-ur. I11t. La1v, Vol. XXX, p. 27. 6 Use is made here of n1a terial incorporated in an article published in the New Com­ ·1noniuealth Qttarterly, Vol. I, No. 3 (Oct., 1935), p. 179. 0 On the historical background of the I talo-Ethio1)ian conflict, see de La Pradelle, · Le Coufiit Italo-Etlziopec1i, Paris, 1936. 7 On location of vVal \�/al in Ethiopia, see further 1·n;-ra, at note I, p. I 6; note I, p. 29. 8 I-Iere, as else,vhere, this expression n1eans nati\·e troops under Italian con11na11d; see text, irifrci, at note 5, p. 2; notes 5 and 6, p. 3. 1




reason for co11sideration of vvl1etl1er all of tl1e Ethiopia11 forces ,vere under effective state control a11d co1n111a11d; sin1ilarly it is ,vortl1 11otir1g that among tl1e Italian troops tl1ere were ir1 all probabilit)1 to be fou11d individuals ,vl10 were legally Etl1iopia11 s11bjects and ,vl1 0 l1 ad been recruited in the immediate ,ricinity. As a rest1lt of tl1e figl1 ti11g losses of a fev,, more than 011 e hu11dred vvere sustained on the Etl1iopian side a11d of al)out tl1irty me11 on tl1e Italian sicle; tl1ere is 110 available i11formatio11 concer11i11g· the v,,ounded. Final! )' tl1e Etl1iopia11s, overco111e by Italian tanl{s and planes, took fligl1t i 11 more or less disorder, i11 a westerly directio11, \¥l1ile tl1e Italia11 forces rernained in possessio11 of the locality. 1 Prior to this i11cide11t the stage l1ad been set by a course of clevelo1J­ me11ts whicl1 stretcl1ed bacl{ for n1a11y days, mo11tl1s, a11cl eve11 years. Italian forces, 111etropolita11 and colo11ial, basi11g tl1eir actio11 UfJ011 Italian Somaliland, l1ad J)e11etrated into tl1is area for a 11u1nlJcr of years back. 2 TI1ese forces l1ad carried 011t various ]{inds of reco1111oiteri11g expeditions, they had exercised some care over tl1e ,velfare of 11ornaclic tribes belongi11g to Italia11 Somalila11d a11d to tl1e regio11 itself, a11d they had. to son1e extent policed tl1e area agai11st Etl1iopia11 tribes from f11r­ ther ,vest: wl1ose n1e111bers and \vl1ose fig·hti11g 1ne11 vvere accusto111ecl to ad,,a11ce a11cl ,vitl1clra\v fro111 tin1e to tin1e as circL1msta11ces, i11cludir1g tl1e presence and activities of tl1e ltalia11 forces, dictated. For tl1e past tl1ree or fot1r years at least I talia11 forces had been co11ti11t1ously locatecl at Wal vVal 3 and at one or 111ore otl1er J)oi11ts to tl1e soutl1. i\1Iean,vl1ile Ethiopia11 tribes111e11 ar1d tribal leaders i11 tl1e vicinity l1ad {Jerl1aps begt111 to tl1ir1k of exJ)elli11g tl1e It:alia11 forces '1 altl10L1gl1 tl1e Etl1iopian Governme11t itself 11ad not, tip to this tin1e, t1ndertal�en any st1cl1 actio11 or, i11deed, 1nade a11y protest to tl1e Italia11 Go,1ernme11t concerni11g ac1y Italia11 occupation of tl1is region. ,.fhe co11flict of December 5 arose ultimately 011t of the fact tl1at 011 No,,e111ber 23 a force of about a tl1ousand Etl1iopiar1 troops approacl1 ed tl1e oasis of \i\Tal Wal ostensibly i11 tl1e form of a milita.ry escort for an A11glo-Ethiopia11 co111n1issio11 ,vl1icl1 vvas engagecl i11 exploring tl1e avail­ able I)asturage and wateri11g facilities in tl1is region, or, more exactly still, ot1t of tl1e fact tl1at tl1ese Etl1iopian forces \\'ere 1net by Italian forces 6 a11d forbidder1 to proceed. The events of tl1e davs a11cl ho11rs intervening l)etvvee11 this co11tact a11d tl1e figl1ting of Dece111ber 5-6 are st1bject to a great deal of controversy, particularly as regards tl1e �thiopian_ver:5ion: League Docun1ent C.4.9.!'VI.22.1935.VII; Italian version in Italian N.[_e1n�ir�, In Lc�gue_ Docurnent C.34o(a ).1Vl. I 7r (a).1935.\ll I. Further state­ n1:nt of _ Eth1op1an ver�1011 In League Docu1ncnt C.230 .l\ll.114.r935.\IJJ . . � Test11nony of Italian_ offic�r� at J3eru. See Con11nission docu1r1ent:, Annex N infr�., at p. 9�; c_onfirn1ed 111 dec1s1011 of lhe /\rbitration Co1r1111ission, section 15 ,vhi ch , see Ill Con1In1ss1011 docun1ent ' Annex. I)I infra / 7• ' at p• 13 � Italian },fenioire, pp. 120, 125. 1, • Ib'd 5 Note 8, s11.vra, p. 1. 1



attitudes taken by t11e autl1orities on one side a11d tl1e other. 1 On one side it l1as bee11 alleged that the I talian officers tl1reatened an attack a11d eve11 carried out l1ostile demonstratio11s bv tl1e 11se of ar1 airplane a.gai11st not 011ly tl1e Etl1iopian troops b11t also tl1e British officers a11d tl1e British flag.2 On tl1e otl1er sicle it has bee11 alleged that tl1e I tali ans \Vere co11ciliatory to tl1e last degree \vl1ile the Etl1iopian soldiers a11d leaders consta11tly tl1reatenecl a11 attacl{. 3 Eviclence i11 docume11tary form dating fro111 1na11) mo11tl1s pre·viously ,,ras add11ced to support st1ch charges by inclicati11g tl1e inte11t:io11s and even tl1e detailed plans of Ethiopia11 leaders.·1 \Vhatever tl1e facts 1nay l1ave bee11 i11 tl1is con­ nection tl1e opposi11g forces actt1ally remai11ed for several days ir1 posi­ tio11s faci11g 011e ,1notl1er at sl1ort dista.11ces-sometimes as sl1ort as 011e or t,vo 111eters 5- \\ l1ile reenforce111e11ts ,vere 1Jei11g brougl1 t tlp 011 botl1 sides; fir1ally the Ita.Iian forces r1umbered about five h11ndred and tl1e Etl1iopian forces so1ne,vl1ere aro1111d r ,500. 6 I11 such a situatio11 a figl1t ,vas almost i11evitable vvl1ate·\,er 1nay l1ave IJee11 tl1e inter1tions of tl1e parties or tl1e ir1cide11 ts occurri11g in tl1e interval, a11d a confiict actually did occur as already indicated. In1111ediately bot]1 tl1e Italia11 a11d the Etl1iopian Governments J)ro­ tested, eacl1 atten1pti11g to fix respo11sibility for tl1e occurrence on tl1e other. 1"he Etl1iopia11 Gover11111e11 t did not cle111a11d anytl1ing by ,vay of reparatio11, 7 b11t tl1e Italia11 Gover11111e11t de1nanded l)oth material a11d also 1noral sa.tisfaction, 11an1ely, 1no11ey J)ay1nents a11d apologies a11d a salute to tl1e Italia11 flag a11d otl1er si1nilar steps. 8 Tl1ese protests and den1a11ds ,vere 1nade IJy tl1e t\VO governme11ts on December 6-8, 1934., arid tl1e cliplomatic aspect of tl1e case vvas tl111s ope11ed. At tl1e ti1ne little or 11othi11g ,vas lc11ovv11 or re,:1lizecl i11 tl1e ca.pitals of tl1e vvorld concerni11g a11 incide11t vvl1icl1 vvas ultin1ately to have sucl1 grave reper­ cussions 011 tl1e ge11eral fa bric of i11ter11atio11al relations. Tl1e Etl1iopia11 Goverr1n1e11 t 110\v invol�ed 9 the applicatio11 of tl1e treaty of frie11dsl1i1J a11d com111erce ,:lll1ich l1ad bee11 sig11ed between Etl1iopia and Italy on Aug11st 2, 1928, a11d vvl1icl1 co11tained an article (Article V) providi11g for pacific settle1ne11t, by co11ciliatio11 or arbi tra­ tio11, of all dis1)utes arisir1g betvvee11 tl1e t,vo cou11tries. 10 At tl1is point 110 indicc1tion \Vas give11 co11cer11ing the precise forn1 of procedure ,vhich �




Docun1ents cited in note 1, sitp ra, p. 2. 2 I�etter signed by Col. ClilTord (British), in League Docun1ent C.49. 1935, p. I 7; also decision of Con11nission, section 26, r\nnex P, infra, p. 179. 3 4 lbirl., Annex 18. Italian A1enzoire, at pp. 121, 133. 6 League Docun1ent C.49, p. 20, ancl testin1ony of Italia11 officers, Comn1ission document, i-\nnex N, infra, at pp. 100, 102. 0 Decision of Co1n111ission, sections 28, 32, Annex P, ,znfra, at pp. l 79, I 80. � .r'\nnexes 2/r, 2/2, 2/5 to League Docun1ent C.49, pp. 7-8, 9. 8 9 Annex 2/5, ibid., J). 9. Annexes 2/3, 2/4, 2/6, ibid., pp. 8-9, IO. 10 Text in League of Nations Treaty Series, Vol. XCIV, p. 413; for l\rticle V see Con1mission docun1ent, i\nnex f\, i1zfra, p. 35.



was to be applied. As a11 earnest of l1is intention to abide by the r� ­ _ _ sults of a11y decisio11 in favor of Italy tl1 e Emperor of Eth1op 1 � at t111s time offered to deposit in a l)anl.;: i11 Ge 1 1eva fu11ds from -v.1h 1 cl1 any award of damao-es ag·ainst Ethiopia coL 1 ld be paid. Italy at 01 1c: ancl vigoro L1sly refused to sub1ni t to arbitration pro­ cedL1re Linder tl1 e treaty of 1928. She clai111 ecl tl1at tl1ere ,vas 110 ques­ tion suitable for arbitration, tl1at Etl1iopia11 troops J1 acl clearly delivered a11 attacl{ ,vitl1 0L1t ,var1 1i1 1g or justification L1po11 Italian troops, and that all tl1at tl1ere ,,,as left to be do11e was for Etl1 iopia to 11 1al{e satisfacto1-y reparation. 1 She also i11timated tl1at for lier to sL1b1nit to arbitration ,voL1ld co11 stitute a l1umiliati11g admission of l1er eqLzality ,vitl1 Ethiopia ,vl1icl1 ,vas to l1 er intoleralJle a11cl u 1 1tl1i11l{alJle. Etl1 iopia 110,v, 011 Dece111ber 14, appealed. to tl1e Lea.gL1 e of Nations under 1\rticle XI, par. 2, of the Co,1ena11t. 2 Sl1e tl1 L1s broug·l1 t tl1 e dis1Jute to tl1e atte11 tion of the Leag·ue ar1d tool\': it ottt of tl1e field of bilateral diplor 1 1acy pure a11d si111ple. \i\il1 e 11 tl1 e CoL1ncil n1et in Jan­ L1ary l1er represe11tatives appeared in Ge11 eva ancl c1 sl<ed to l1ave tl1 e questio11 co11siderecl for i11 scriptio11 on tl1e agencla of tl1 e curre11 t session of tl1e Cou 11cil a wl1icl1, of course, as origi11ally [Jreparecl, contained no st1cl1 ite 1 11. U11 der sucl1 circL 1111stances an ite1n could be aclcled to the age11da by majority vote of the Council at the time of the adoption of tl1 e agenda or indeed at a11>' ti1ne dL1ri1 1g tl1e sessio 1 1. Ital>' attempted to prcve11t a 11y sL1cl1 action fro11 1 bei11g tal{e11 1 for obvious reasons, and at first succeeded, \\1itl1 tl1 e aid of tl1e influe11 ce of tl1e British and Frencl1 delegatio11s to tl1e Council 1neeting·; Italy also 111ade more or less forrnal tl1reats to lea,,e tl1e I.Jeague and go to \'lar at 011ce agai 1 1st Etl1iopia jf tl1e latter i11sisted L1po11 tl1 e 111atter being clisct1ssed by the Council, a 1 1d if tl1is dema11 cl shoL1ld be con1plied ,vitl1 . For five or six days tl1e Etl1io1Jian representatives refrai11 ed frorn pressi 1 1g for i11 scriptio11 be­ c�1use of such co11 siderations, altl1 ougl1 tl1ey did 11 ot for a n1oment adn1 it tl1 e justice of tl1e Italian-a11d tl1e Anglo-Fre11cl1-1)osition, and tl1 ey stro11gl'.)' suspectecl tl1 at tl1e It,:1li;;111 tl1reats vvere largely blttff. At 011e 11101 11 e11t tl1e sitt1ation seen1ecl very critical and dramatic and tl1 e represe11tatives of Ethiopia ,vere faced ,vitl1 tl1e proble1 n of ,:vl1 etl1 er tl1ey �hould take acti?11 ,vl1ich might plunge tl1e ,vorld i 11to ,,rar or give way 1g11 obl}' a11d unJustJy ,vl1e11 they l1 acl a thor0 Ltgl1 ly souiid case. Tl1 ey dicl, however, mai 11tain tl1eir den1 a.nd for arbitratior1 i 11 g·eneral a11d cif coL1rse tl1ey retai11ed at all tin1 es tl1 e possibility of pressi 11g for 1 Annex 2/8 t? !�ea�t!e Docume!1t C.49, p. 11 .

f\nne� 2 /9, i bid. I ext of i\.rt,cle XI, par. 2 r_eads: "It is also declar ed to be the fr1end ly r1ght �ac of M� h n1b of er the Le agu to e bring to the attention of the Assembly , _ or of the Cou� c1l an� c1rcurr1:stance \vhatever affecting international threatens to disturb 1nternat1onal peace or the good understanding relations \vhich be t\\!e , en nations upon \Vhich peace depends." 3 Lea gue of Nations Council Minutes, January 17, 19 5, § 3 3530. . •2



inscription at tl1e 1noment or later on. Co11 frontecl vvith tl1is firm though moderate attitude on tl1 e part of t11 e Etl1iopia11s, a11 cl realizi11 g that the other representati, res 011 tl1e Cou11cil \Vere al1nost to a 1na11 in sympathy ,vith the latter, tl1e British and Fre11cl1 modifiecl their atti­ tude themselves a1 1d also exertecl i11 fluence upo11 Italy to secure her acquiescence. Sl1e fi1 1,.:1lly gave way, at least i11 principle, and on Jant1ary I 9 it was agreed betvvee1 1 tl1 e t,,,o cou11 tries in a11 exc11 a1 1ge of notes-the texts of ,vl1icl1 \\'ere of cot1rse drafted i11 agreement a111 011g a.II the Po,,.,ers concerned-tl1at tl1 e parties were to seek a settleme11t u11 der the treaty of 1928. Tl1is left the matter s01nevvl1at vagtie, in vie,v of tl1e ambiguous pl1raseology, of that treaty, but as a result of the insiste11 ce of the Ethiopia1 1 representatives tl1e Cou11cil of tl1 e League of Na tio1 1s vvas to retai11 the po,ver to deal ,vi tl1 the 1 natter if 11 ecessary at its 11 ext sessio1 1, and tl1is \Vl1ole tra11saction vvas enterecl 011 tl1 e recorcls of the Council.1 The outco1ne of tl1e tra11sactions of tl1is ,veek in Jant1ary, 1935, "''as regarcled in different \\'ays l,y different people. On tl1 e one l1 and tl1e I talia11 s had succeeded i11 preve11ti11g any discussion of the dispL1te itself by the Council and l1ad secured a clispositio11 of the matter for the mo­ ment at least \v: l1icl1 re1 nitted tl1 e actior1 to tl1e parties tl1e1nselves. 01 1 tl1e other l1 and the Etl1iopiar1s l1ad not actually insisted upor1 clirect treatme11 t of tl1e matter lJy tl1 e CoL111 cil and they l1ad sect1red the aid ,:vhicl1 tl1ey desired to i1 1dL1ce Italy to st1bmit to some form <)f settle­ n1ent otl1er than si1nple cliplo11 1atic 11egotiatio11. At tl1e sa1ne time there ,vere doubts on all sides as to l1ovv raJ)idly a11d 11 0\V f Lt lly the action envisaged in tl1e excl1a 1 1ge of 1 1otes of Ja11 t 1ary 19 ,vould be carried out. During tl1e next t,vo montl1 s indeed little or 110 progress ,vas made to,vard a settle111 ent of tl1 e case. Im111ediately after tl1e adjourn1ne11t of tl1e Cou11cil Italy i11 terpreted tl1e actior1 ,vhicl1 l1ad been tal{en as remitti11g tl1e parties to direct bilateral diplo1 natic 11egotiation 01 1 tl1 e sulJstance of tl1e dispt tte itself a11d reiterated l1er orig·i11al den1 ands for repara.tjo11 s, apologies, a11d so on. Sl1 e also 1 10w began to send troops to Erytrea a11d Italian So11 1alila1 1d i r1 large 11 11mlJers, togetl1er ,vi tl1 ex­ tensive ec1uip1 11e11t and SUJ)!Jlies. T11 e other Povvers did 11 ot take any actio1 1 for the mome1 1t but left m;;1tters to talce their cot1rse. ,.fo,vard l\!larcl1 r, l1 ov,,ever, Great Britai11 becan1e 111ore and more t1neasy and finally 111ade representations to botl1 parties t1rgi11g action t111der tl1 e agreement of January 19; she also Littered ,vords of caution against any ill-advised military activity. The Etl1iopia11 Gover1 1mer1t proposed the establisl1 ment of a neutral zo11 e i1 1 tl1 e Ogade11 bet,,,een the forces of the t\VO parties i11 order to hold matters temporarily in suspense pendi11g tl1e carryi1 1g out of tl1 e actio11 agreed upon ii1 Ge11eva, btrt tl1e establish1

League of Nations Council l\1inutes, January r9, 1935, §3553.



for s01ne ti1ne ]Jecat1se of difficulties of n1en t of this zo11e \vas dela,,ed • agreen1en t 011 botl1 sides. . . 1 In view of all of tl1ese difJ1culties ancl dela1 s Etl11op1a 011 March r6 11otified the Secretary-Ge11eral of tl1e Leagt1e tl1 at 11egotiations between the parties l1acl fi11ally a11 d clefinitively brol{en d� \v11; citi11g tl: e recent but al\va>'S continui11g Italia11 111ilitary preparations, sl1e aga111 appealed to the League. This ti111 e, l1ovve,1er, Etl1iopia acted tinder Article XV, par. 1, of tl1 e Cove11 a11t, a very 1nucl1 r11ore serious 1natter tl1 an invol{i11g Article XI, a11 d, to mal{e tl1e matter even clearer, sl1 e aJso invoked Article X. 1 Concretely, l1ov\rever, all that sl1e cle1nanded \Vas again arbitration u11der tl1e treaty of 1928. The Etl1iopian de111a11d \Vas of course circulated to all of the 111e111bers of the League i 11cludir1g Italy. replied 011 l\,1arcl1 22. 2 Sl1e began b>' disputing the Etl1 iopian state111 e11ts of fact, botl1 concer11ing tl1e origin,11111 ilitary e,,ents a11d also the course of diplomatic transactio11 s i11 tl1e interval. Sl1e atten1pted to jt1stify the IJy 110,v very forn1idable Italian troop moven1ents by allegatio11s of prior Etl1io1)ian co11cen tratio11s 011 a large scale v.1i tl1 re­ st1I ti11g clanger to l1er colo1 1 ies of Erytrea a11cl S01naliland. Sl1e denied tl1at sl1e l1a.d reft1sed arbitratio11 and eve11 claimed tl1at she l1erself l1ad sot1gl1t a trt1e applicatio11 of tl1e treaty of 1928 by various proposals and 11egotiatio11s. Sl1e professed a co11 ti11 uecl readiness tc) er1 ter in to nego­ tiatio11s for tl1e establishme11 t of the "co1111nissic>I1" envisaged IJy tl1e treaty if or ,vl1en negotia.tio11s 011 tl1e substa11ce of tl1e dispute sl1011ld fail, but she strer1t1ously de11ied tl1 at sucl1 a poi11t l1ad yet beer1 reacl1ed. Sl1e accordingly de11ied also tl1at tl1ere \Vas any appropriate occasion for i11,1olcing the terms of Article X\1 of tl1e Cove11 a11t. In another ,veek tl1e Etl1iopian Go,1er11me11 t re1)lied i11 a long com­ n1ur1ication recapitt1lating tl1e history of tl1e ,vhole 1natter (Niarcl1 29). 3 They began by denyi11g· tl1 at tl1ey had orclered ar1y troop moverner1 ts ,vhatsoever. Tl1 ey referred to difficulties ,vl1ich had been enco11ntered in securi11g tl1e applicatio11 of tl1e treaty of 1928 even after tl1e Geneva agreen1e11t of J ar1 t1ary 19. Tl1ey novv formally proposed a delay of thirty days for tl1e des.ig11ation of tl1e t,vo Arbitrators on eacl1 side vvl1ich v,,ere provided for l)y Article V of tl1e treaty of 1928 and for

. TII. f\rticle XV, par. I, reacls: "If there should arise bet\veen C.r26JVI.64.r935\ 1'vlen1�ers �f the �eaffu_e any disput� likely to lead to a rupture, \vhich is not subn1itted to arb1trat1on or J·udicial se 1tle11ie11t 111 _ accordance \Vith .J\.rticle r 3, the Members of the L_eague a �ree tha � they will ?u�1n1t th � 1 :1atter _to the Council. Any party to the dispute_ may effect such sul)1n�ss1on b�, g1v1ng notice of the existence of the dispute to _ t!1e Secreta1--y�ner�l, ,vbo \v11l ,i,11ake :::11 necessary arrangen1ents for a full investiga­ Article. X reads: 11 The Meinbers of the League t1011 and cons1derat1on thereof. _ to �e�pect a�� pr�serve as against external aggression the territorial in­ und�rtake tegrity and ex1st1n. g pol !t1cal independence of all Men1bers of the League. In case of or danger of such aggression the Council any such _aggression or 111 case of any _ threat shall advise UJ)On the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.1 1 1

a C.

3 C.148.M.79.1935.VII.



formt1latir1g the isst1es to be sulJmittecl a11cl tl1e procedure to be followed i11 carryi11g out the arbitratio11; tl1ey also proposed tl1at if at tl1e end of tl1e period of tl1irty day1s all of tl1ese steps I1ad 11ot beer1 accomplisl1ed tl1e Cot111cil of tl1 e Leagtte of Natio11s sl1ould 011ce 1nore take up tl1e qttestion. Ethio1)ia also i11sistecl at tl1is tin1e, as, i11deed, sl1e l1 ad in­ sisted fro111 tl1e beginni11g, tl1at the locatio11 of the bou11dary line IJe­ t\vee11 tl1e Ogacle.11 ,t11d Italian So1nalila11d must be i11cluded an1011g the J)Oi11ts v, 1 !1icl1 cot1ld be take11 i11to accot111t by tl1e Coinmission of Arbi­ tratio11 as ir1dispe11sable to a11 aclequate decisio11 upon respo11sibility for tl1e outbreak of tl1e fighti11g at \Val v\Tal. Sl1e further dema11ded that i11 tl1e i11 terval tl1e parties sl1ot1ld refrai11 fron1 any f t1rther military concentratio11s or preparatio11. This doc11me11t like tl1ose of tl1e 22nd a11d tl1e I 6tl1 ,,,as of course circulated to all tl1e 111embers of tl1 e League. Tl1is ,vas about tl1e 1st of April. Tl1ere was to be a special session of tl1 e Cou11cil on t .l1e r5tl1 of that mo11tl1 ,vl1ich l1acl been called to deal ,vith tl1e Fre11cl1 co111plai11t against the German denu11ciatio11 of the provisio11s of tl1e Tre;;Lty of Versailles \vhicl1 imposed li1nitations on Gern1a11 arn1amer1ts, and again tl1e qttestion arose of addi11g tl1e Etl1io­ pia11 cor11plaint to tl1 e age11da of tl1 e Council by a special vote. By tl1is time 1nore tl1ar1 ever sympatl1ies ,vere ru1111i11g strongly \Vitl1 Etl1iopia, a11d Ital)' did Ilot apparently care to resist as boldly as sl1e had i11 J ant1ar}'· Just before tl1 e session ope11ecl sl1e ar111ot1nced her reacliness to proceed to tl1e 1101nination of arbitrators; tl1is announcen1e11 t \Vas made i11 con11ection "''i tl1 tl1e 111eeting of tl1 e Po,vers at Stresa a11d Italy ap­ pare11 tly desirecl to 1na.i11tai11 ]1er solidarity ,vitl1 Great Britain and Fra11ce and at tl1e sa111e time avoid a11y interfere11ce on tl1 eir part ,vith lier action in Africa. Sl1 e co11tint1ed, l1ovvever, to rept1diate tl1e Ethio­ pian allegatio11s i11 ge11eral, 1 and sl1e argued, ,vitl1 so1ne basis, tl1at tl1 e treat); of I 928 provided for a of co11ciliation following upon simple cli1Jlomatic 11egotiations, 011ly after tl1e failure of vvl1ich sl1011ld a fiftl1 arbitrator be ap1Joi11ted a11cl a decision tal<:e11 by majority vote . She novv beg21n lil<e,vise to oppose stre11uot1sly any submissio11 of tl1 e bou11clary qt1estion to arbitratio11, although l1er position on tl1e n1atter, u11lil.::e that of the Etl1iopia11 Governrnent, \\'as re11 dered somevvhat a1nbiguo11s by failure alway7 S to disti11guisl1 bet\veen taki11g into ac­ cot1nt ,vhere the boundary ,,,as located opposite v'\ial vVal in ge11eral and clefir1ition of the location of tl1e bo11ndarv in detail. vVI1e11 tl1e Co11ncil of tl1e Leag11e of Nations met on i\.pril rs it irnn1ediately took up the c1uestio11 of tl1 e i11scription of the Ethiopian­ I talia11 dispute 011 its agencla for tl1e current sessio11 . 2 Statements by Baro11 Aloisi for Italy a11 cl by tl1e Etl1iopia11 1Vli11ister to France, lVfr. \vere made before tl1e Council in private session. rfecle IIa\.variate, �




Council 1\tlinutes, f\pril


1935, §3562.



Tl1ese state1nents ,,,ere very brief, a11 d i11 tl1 e111 eacl1 I)arty merely reiterated its previous positio11 as outlined in tl1 e doc1.1me11ts of tl1e n1 ontl1 of l\lJarcl1 . Ital>' l1 acl, 11 0,ve,;er, r1 ovv agreed to proceed witl1 conciliatio11 or arbitratio11, ar1d tl1 e Cou11 cil of tl1e League, 11ever anxious to interfere i11 a dispute if tl1 e p,1rties tl1 err1selves coL1ld reach a settle­ ment, seriously preoccupiecl ,vi tl1 the Gern1an q uestio11, a11d quite frankly desiro11s of s1)ari11g Italia11 feelings if possible, agair1 re1nitted tl1e case to tl1e parties to be dealt with ''in accordar1ce ,,,itl1 tl1e letter and spirit '' of tl1e treaty of 1928. Tl1 e c1L1estio11 ,, ras 11evertl1eless defi11 itely a11 d forn1ally retained 011 tl1 e agenda for tl1e regular l\!la>' session of tl1e Cou11 cil ancl various Council n1emlJers spol{e critically and firmly concerning tl1e da11 ger of a11y furtl1er delay in reacl1 ing a definite settleme11 t. By this time otl1er factors l1ad begun to influence tl 1e sitL1atio11, as they l1ad during tl1 e mo11 ths of FebrLrary and l\!Iarcl1. Great Britain particularly became increasingly disturbed over tl1e situatio11 a11d tool{ an appropriate occasio11 to declare tl1at the treaty of 1906, ,vl1ereby sl1e had agreed alo11g ,vitl1 Fra11 ce a11 d Italy to respect a11d also to 111aintain Ethiopia's territorial i11tegrity, ,vas slill i11 force. Her For­ eign Minister a.lso declared tl1at tl1e Cour1cil of tl1e Le21gL1e of Nations 111ust give tl1 e \\1l1ole dispute tl1e 111ost careful co11sideratior1 \vl1e11 it can1e LIP at tl1e l\t1ay session. On its side tl1e Italian Gover11 11 1e11 t, tl1rougl1 tl1e Colonial Under-Secretary, 110,,, vel1 eme11tly declared tl1at tl1e ,vhole sitL1ation in Etl1iopia must be dealt ,vitl1 comprel1 e11sivel:>' a11d effectively a11d that mere settlen1 e11 t of tl1e \i\fal vVal case ,,,ould not lJe strfficient in vie,v of tl1e existing clisorder in Etl1iopia a11d l1er l1 ostility to,vard tl1 e neighbori11g colo11ies of 11ot only Italy lJL1t Great Britai11 a11d Fra11ce as ,veil. Italia11 troop move111e11 ts to Erytrea ancl Somali­ la11d co11tinued but tl1e rainy season l1 ad novv 1Jegur1 a11d eff ectively pre­ vented a11y n1ilitary operatior1s i11 Etl1iopia, a11d \VOt1ld preve11 t ar1y such operations before late September. 'fl1e whole of tl1 e preparatory period leacli11 g· LIP to tl1e arl1itratio11 came to a conclusion \vitl1 tl1 e l\1lay sessio11 of the Leag·ue Cou11 cil. Etl1iopia repeated her protests against tl1e 1nore rece11t Italiar1 troop n1ovements and also agai11st wl1at she ,.:lllegecl to be L111,varra11ted Italian uttera11ces concer11ing tl1e political aspect of tl1e sitL1atior1 i 11 Ethiopia; sl1e reiterated l:1er for arbitratio11 of tl1e \:\/al \\ial case and her de111a11d for protectio11 i11 futLrre. 1 Italy s01nevvl1 al t111expectedly announced t· l1e names of l 1er tv\'O Arbitrators. Tl1 e>' ,,,ere Cot111t Luigi Aldrovandi-Marescotti, A1nbassador, ,,.rI1 0 l1 ad served 011 both tl1 e l\1ancl1urian a11d Cl1 aco co1n1nissio11 s, and Sig11or l�affaele JVIontagna, Councillor of State, for1nerly men1ber of tl1 e Leagt1e Secre1

C.183.1\1.101.1935.VII; C.220.1\1.112.1935.VII; C.230.1\1.114.1935.\'II.



tariat. Tl1is action came as somewhat of a surprise, seeing tl1at the Etl1iopian Gover111nent had i11 all otl1er 1natters acted i11 advance of Italy, bt1t tl1e explanation 1na.y be fot111cl i11 consideratio11s similar to tl1ose vvl1ich led Italy to anticipate it1 a lil<e n1a1111er tl1e April session of tl1e Cot111cil, ancl in tl1e fact that the Etl1iopian Gover11111e11t l1ad 11ot yet completed its selection of Arbitrators. A fe,v days later Etl1io1)ia Dr. f\lbert cle Geot1ffre de La Pradelle, Professor of l11ter11ational La,v at the U11i,,ersity of Paris, a11cl Dr. Pit1na11 Benja1nir1 Potter, Professor of I11ter11atio11al Orga11ization at tl1e Graclt1ate .I11stitute of Ir1ternational Stt1dies, Ge11e,,a .. Tl1e qt1estio11 ca1ne before tl1e Cou11cil auto111atically 011 l\ rf ay 20 and ,vas evidently in a position ,vhere s0111etl1i11g like final action-prior to -arbitra tio11-l1ad to be tal{e11. 1 1,e e11Iarge1nen t of tl1e field of discus­ sion i11 rece11t Italia11 staternents, 110,vever, n1ade it novv appear that arbitration of tl1e \�Tai \,\ ial case 111igl1t 11ot lJe entirely st1fficie11t. It sl1ould be i11terpolated l1ere tl1ctt on tvvo somevvl1a.t subsidiary questions disag·reeme11t l1a.d rece11 tly arise11 bet\veer1 f{o1ne and Addis Ababa. Ethiopia de111a11ded tl1e i11cl L1sio11 in tl1e j t1risdictio11 of the Arbitration Com1nissio11 of certain incide11 ts vvl1ich l1ad occurred at nearby places subsequent to tl1e clasl1 at \,\1al vVal, perl1aps ,vitl1 a vie\v to clearing ot1t of tl1e \Vay all outstanding diffict1lties bet,veen tl1e t\vo countries, a11d perl1aps vvith a vie,,r to s110,,,i ng· tl1at I talian aggressio11 i11 these regio11s l1acl conti11t1ed st1bseqt1e11t to tl1e \,\T,11 \f\ial cor1flict. Ital},' sought to repel a11y st1cl1 st1ggestion, prest1mc1bly 11ot clesirir1g to have tl1e ,vl1ole recorcl of her a.ctivities i11 tl1is region i11 rece11t 1no11tl1s passed t111der revie\\r. Tl1is 111atter ,voul(J also have to be co11sidered by the Cot1ncil. l:;-i11ally Italy oLJjected, althougl1 11ot very forrnally or very seriotrsly, it see1ned, to tl1e appoint1ne11t by Ethio1Jia of 11on­ Ethiopians els ArlJitrators. She helcl that this 11ot 011ly sl10\verl Etl1io­ pia's lacl{ of diplornatic a11d j1.1ridical talent a11d l1er u11fitr1ess for League 1nembersl1ip or civilized i11ternatio11al relatio11s but tl,at it also ran cour1ler to the spirit of tl1e treat>' of conciliatio11, even if tl1at treat)' clid not contai11 any stipt1lations rec1uiring tl1e appointrne11t of 11ationals. Etl1iopia in l1er t.t1r11 criticized tl1e It,1lia11 appointme11t of Italian officials to ,vl1at sl1ould be a. co1n111issio11 of arlJitratio11, a11d argued that u11der sL1cl1 circumsta.11ces true arbitratio11 could not be 11oped for in spite of Ll1e fact that tl1is ,,;as obviot1sly vvl1at ,vas no\.v needed. For five days 11egotiatio11s \\ ie11t on bet,veen tl1e represe11tatives of Ethiopia a11d Italy in. Ge11eva in co1111ection ,vith tl1e 111eeting of tl1e CoL111cil, with Britisl1 a11d I;-re11cl1 represe11tatives exercising a frie11dly a11d at certain points a dominating i11flue11ce over tl1e proceedings. }\gain, as in January, threats of war ,vere l1eard-te111pered by k:novvl­ edge that tl1e rains were still going 011 in Etl1iopia-, of ,vithdrawal



fro111 tl1 e League, a11 d of other dire co 11 sequences, a11d tl1 e neg� tiatio s _ � t were prolo11 ged to ·the very end of tl1e weel<: of the Council se�s10 11 ~ . last a co111pron1ise progra11 1 vvas in sigl1 t a11 d late i11 tl1 e eve 1 11ng of I· ri­ day, May 24, tl1 e ,vord vvent :1.bout tl1at tl1e Cou11 cil \VOLild 111eet at Tl1 e Council actually met at 12.30 a.m. 0 11 Saturday, l\1ay I I .30 p.n1. 25 1 and, before a corps of joL1r11 c.lists and a public audie11ce tl1 e me1 11bers of wl1ich had come ht1rriedly fron1 dinner parties, tl1 eaters, a 11 d prob­ alJly also from 1Jed, a11 d l1ence l1 ad con1 e in all ki11 ds of costt1n1es a11 d rnoods, arra11 gements for arbitration embodied i11 tvvo resolLt tio 11 s 1 ,vere adopted in a tense but clignified at111ospl1ere.2 As v.1ill be seen fron1 tl1ese nvo resolutions, 3 Italy l1ad finally ad 1 11itted the failure of direct 11egotiatio.1, a11 d accepted arbitratio11 for a final settle111e 11t of tl1 e \Val \i\ial case, l1 ad ,vitl1dravv 11 l1 er objectio 11 s to tl1 e designation by Etl1 iopia of na1 -Ethiopia.n Arbitrators, a11 d l1ad ad­ mitted tl1 e i11 clusion of tl1e i11cid: 11ts sl1bseqL1ent to tl1 e vVal \;\Ta.I conflict i11 the scope of the action of the Arbitratio 11 Co1n111 issio11 . Sl1e l1acl also, it see 1 ned, co 11 sented tl1 at tl1e Comn1 issio11 111ight tal<:e into co.nsider,t­ tio11 tl1e location of the Ogaden-Son1alilar 1d boundary i 11 so far as tl1 is c1uestion ,vas n1aterial to a dectsion of respo 11 sibility i11 the \i\1 al \V:al case. SI1e had, 0 11 tl1 e otl1 er l1 a11d, 0 11 ce n1 ore s11cceeded in avoicli 11 g a discussion lJy tl1e Co11 11cil of tl1 e n1 erits of tl1 e dispute, a11 d l1 ad agai 11 obtainecl ren1 ission of tl1 e case tn tl1e parties t111der their o,vn bilateral trea t, y'. At the same tin1 e it \\'as still stipulated that tl1 e Cou 11cil sl1 ot1ld n1eet in Septe1nber to talce ttp the situatio11 if tl1 e arbitration proceedings had failed to give defi1 1ite rest1lts. II. THE ,\RBITRATION I n tl1 e days immediately foll0v\'ing the adjour11 n1e 11 t of tl1 e Cou11cil the 1ne111bers of the Arbitratim Commission entered i11 to infor1 nal negotiatio11 s co 1 1cer 11 i 11g a place a1 1d date of n1eeti11 g, for these cletails had not bee 11 settled by eitl1er tlie Council of tl1 e Leagt1e or the go,,ern­ n1ents then1 selves 11p to tl1is t: 1 11e. Accordi11 g to tl1 e traditio 11 s of arbitral practice it \Vas improper tl1 at tl1e Comn1issio 1 1 shoLtld 111eet in the territory of eitl1 er of tl1 e t\vo parties; in additio 11 it \VOL1ld l1 ave bee11 difficult to n1eet in Ethiopia11 tErritory because of distance a11 cl otl1er considerations. At the same ti11 1e it \Vas l1 ardly co11ceivable tl1at Italy should co11 sent to a meeti:1g i 11 Lo11don or Ge11 eva. Paris ,,vas indeed considered for a mon1en t but i11 tl1 e end tl1 e Itali an .l\rbitrators proposed as a place for tl1 e first r1eeti11 g tl1 e city of Milc111 . J 11 spite of traditions to tl1 e contrary tl1 e Arbitrators appoi 11 ted by Etl1 ioi)ia ac­ cepted tl1is proposal out of a spir.t of conciliatio11 clncl i 11 order to avoid Co1nn1]ssio !1 docun1ents, Annex C, -infra,, p. 36. 2 Council lVI1nutes, :rV.ay 25, 1935, §3695. a C.236.lvl.115,1935.\ill; C.238.M. I 17.1935.VIJ. 1



losi11 g further ti1ne in cliscussi11 g tl1e c1uestion. Tl1e Italia 1 1 Gover11ment had, i11 deed, ta]k:ed of 1neetings in Ro111e, \\iitl1 out, hovvever, in­ sisting upon it a11d tl1 e proposal of l\llila 1 1, ,,,hicl1 ,vas n1 ade 0 1 1 1\1Iay 30, did after all embody to so 1 ne exte11t tl1 e pri1 1ciple of mutt1al adaptation. The Arbitrators appoi11tecl by Etl1iopia joi1 1ed 0 11e ar1otl1er en route to Milctn ancl arrived tl1 ere on tl1e 1nor 1 1i 11 g of J t11 1e 6. On e 1 1terir1g Italian territory tl1 ey dispcLtched a telegram to th.e I talia11 Pri1ne l\1in­ ister expressi11g tl1eir pleasttre at bei11 g i11 ltalia11 territory and tl1 eir desire to co1 1tribute to tl1 e success of tl1e arbit:ration. 1 'fl1 ey were met 011 their arrival in l\!Iila1 1 I Jy Cot1nt Aldrova 1 1cli ancl a n1ilitary escort a1 1d, after some prelimi11ary contacts vvitl1 the press, were driven to their hotel. Tl1e fot1r Arbitrators met in tl1e l1 otel of tl1 e I talia11 ArlJitrators on J tine 6 a11d 7. rfl1e n1eetings ,vere entirely devoted to qt1estions of pro­ cedure a11d jt1risdictio 1 1. f\mple accommodatio11s l1 ad bee11 provided for tl1e meetings a1 1d numerous attenda11 ts vvere conspicuo11sly i11 evi­ dence. Tl1e 1ne1nbers of tl1e Com111issio11 "''ere, of course, at tl1is stage on friendly a11d informal tern1s, a1 1r1 actually l1 ad little difficulty in agreeing t1po 11 arra11geme11ts for tl1eir ftltt1re activities. It \Vas agreed, 2 upon tl1 e basis of a proposal made by tl1e Etl1 iopian­ appoi1 1tecl ArbitrcLtors, to resort to Scl1eve11i1 1gen, i11 Tl1e Netherlancls, for future 1neeti11 gs of tl1e Co1nn1 issio 1 1; tl1is suggestio 1 1 vvas n1 ade largely in order to take advantage of tl1e library of tl1 e Peace Palace \,Vl1 icl1 is located at The I-Iagt1e. A proposal by tl1 e Etl1iopian-aJ)I )C)inted Arbi­ trators to n1 eet at Tl1e Hague itself \Vas inacceptable to tl1e Italians. At the san1e ti111e a questio11 \\'as raised by tl1e Italian f\rbitrators con­ cer11ing tl1e ren1 ote l<)catio11 of Scheve1 1inger1 i11 vie,v of tl1 e fact tl1 at there 111ight IJe ,vitr1 esses comi11g fro111 Africa at a later stage of the pro­ ceecli11 gs; it ,,,as i11forn1ally agreed that u11der sucl1 circumstances the Commission migl1 t reasonably adjour 11 to some lVIedi terra11 ean port such els Ve 1 1ice for tl1e pur1)ose of heari11g oral testin1 on)r. Tl1 e selection of an exact place for sucl1 actio11, and i11deed tl1 e clecision vvl1ether to visit any sot 1tl1ern poi11t at all, as ,vell as all otl1er aspects of its futt1 re procedure, ,vere left l)y tl1e Con1missio11 st1bject to cl1a 1 1ge at any ti 111 e by 11nanimot1s agreement. A secretariat ,vas at tl1e sa. 1 ne ti111e constituted informally, to co11 sist of three officials of the Italian Govern1ne 11 t, 1\1 r. B. Guarnascl1 elli, Director of African Affairs in tl1e Italian }"oreign Office; l\!Ir. C. Cerulli, of the Italian Colonial Office; a11 d Captain A. Zanchi, of tl1 e Italian army·, on one side, and Mr. l:Zaymo11 d de Geot1ffre de La Pradelle, s011 of the se11ior Arbitrator appointed by Ethiopia a11d 111ember of tl1 e Paris 1 2

Cornmission docun1ent, r\nnex D, infra, p. 37. Commission docun1ent, Annex E, infra, p. 37.



y h in el ir nc 1t re e1 F d te uc nd co e er w gs 11 i ed bar ' 011 tl1e other. Tl1 e proce · 1 . · . . ry a ss e c ne e ei w _ . a11 d no ir1terpret11 1g a11 d translating r11 ments parve go 1e tl d te vi in so al on si· s i' m om C e h Tl1 e members of t· ry ta · 1naen m cu l do ia nt se es l al 1 l it w . em th e d ' vi pro t o e 11 · t ' ties to t 11 e d1sp . . _ e tl n of 1 C om�istio ac e tl1 to ecl itt bm su ts e11 cid in e th to ,e ti, l la re teria . 1 ents of tl1 e co11 clusions en at st de clu n ' 1 to re \''e s ,v t en 1 n ocu sio11 . Tl1 ese cI • • by t·he pa clra,vn . . rties or their clain1 s, tl1 eir argumentatio· n· a11d their proofs. It "'as thoiight that tl1 e n1embers of the_ Comrn1ss1on _sI1 ot1Id J1 ave a111ple opportunity of studying the materials be�ore tl1 eir �ext meeting. Tl1 ey ,:vere tl1 en to meet on Ju11 e 25 and begin a11 examina­ tion of the problem subn1itted to tl1en1 ; later, I)resumably after co11 sultation a111 ong tl1 en1 selves, tl1ey \\'ere to invite the parties to provide any useful verbal expla11ations. Tl1 e substance of tl1 ese decisions was en1 bodied i11 t,vo proces-verbaitx, tl1e first of ,:vl1icl1 ,vas aclopted on J 1111 e 6 and the second, confirming and ratifyi11 g tl1 e first, on June 7. Inasn1 ucl1 as the secretariat had not yet beer1 given official status, tl1 e n1 e1 11bers of tl1 e Commission were au­ thorized and i1 1structed to co1n1nunicate tl1 ese decisio11 s to tl1 e govern1 11e1 1ts appoi1 1ting· tl1 em. All of t.l1 e decisio11 s take11 had of cot1rse been take1 1 by t1nanin1ot1s co1 1sent. rfhe n1 en1 bers of tl1e Con11nissio11 separated on the evening of June 7, bt1t it ,vas son1 e tin1e before tl1ey received a11y ,vord fro111 tl1 e t,vo gover11 111 e11ts. Incleed t1 1 e docu111 entary 11 1aterials requested were ba.rely fortl1co1 11 ing by J u1 1e 25. Tl1e Etl1 iopian Government rightly or ,vrongly co1 1tented itself by referring tl1e men1 bers of the Commission in a letter dated J'u11 e I 8 to tl1 e docu1nents ,vl1 ich had already been pub­ lisl1ed by the Leagt1 e of Nations, containing tl1e Ethiopia1 1 case. 2 These doct1me11ts did indeed cor1tain full statements concer11 i11 g the facts and the argt1me11 ts of tl1e Etl1 iopian Gover11 ment i11 respect of tl1 e incide1 1ts before tl1e Comn1issio11, but tl1e members of tl1 e Commissio11 did not necessarily l1 a,,e tl1 ese docu1ne11ts in hand, i 11 asn1 uch as tl1 e Con1 n1issio11 ,vas 1 1ot an organ of the Leag11e and ,vas not i11 regular contact \Vitl1 tl1 e League organs. On its part the Italiar1 Gover11 ment tra11smitted fro111 Ro1ne 01 1 J une. 22 a1 1 extended and l)eautifully pri11ted memoite \vl1icl1 contained tl1e Italian versio11 of tl1e facts of the i11 cide11 ts in qt1estio11, elaborate pl1otograpl1ic exl1 ibits, tl1 e Italian argt1 menta­ tion, and their conclusions; tl1 e copies of this doct1n1 e11 t \vl1 icl1 ha d been mailecl to tl1 e Etl1io1)ia11-appointed Arbitrators did not reach tl1 en1 by the date specified and otl1er copies were l1anded to tl1 en1 in Schevenin­ ge11 upon tl1e occasion of tl1e first meeti11g of the Com missio 11 i 11 that city. � Except.!�r testimony in Amharic c:t Bern, see .z-'\nnex N, infra p. r1 ' • Co1nn11:.s1on document, Annex F, infra, J). s. 4. 3



It \Vas no\v necessary for the members of tl1 e Con1missio11 to take some time for that stt1 dy of tl1e 1naterials vvl1icl1 it l1ad been supposed could be carried out before tl1e arrival at Scl1eveningen. Several days (J u11e 25-J uly 3) "''ere i.11 deecl clevoted to st1cl1 a stt1dy and to a prelimi­ nary disct1 ssion of tl1e subject ma.tter of tl1e proble1ns before tl1 e Com­ mission. Tl1 e secretariat "'l1 icl1 hacl beer1 callecl into bei11g de facto i11 lVIila11 was give11 forn1al status ancl tl1e process of talci11 g verbati1n n1i11 utes, drafting proces-verbctztx, ancl iss11i11 g press co1'l'i1nzt1ziq·ztes ,vas begu11 . Some embarrassme11t ,vas felt because tl1e represe11 t:atives of tl1e press see1ned so111 e,vhat incli11 ecl to treat the Co1n1nission ancl its procedure 11 ot as a co11 rt of arbitration, tl1 e rest1lts of ,vl1 ose acti,rities ,vould naturally remain 11r1 deciclecl a11 d unclisclosed u11til tl1e e11d, but as a con1n1ission of conciliatio11 or diplomatic conferenee, tl1e in teri111 restilts of ,vl1 ose activities migl1t be revealed, properly or iinproperly, ,vl1ile the activity vvas still conti11 ui11 g. By this ti1 11e tl1e t,,,o govern1nents involved in tl1e dispute had ap­ poi11 ted Agents to appear before the Comn1ission a11 d tl1ese Age11ts l1 ad prese11 ted themselves in Scl1eveni11ge1 1. TI1ey \\rere, for tl1 e Ethiopia11 Gover11ment, J=>rofessor G..Teze, of the lT11 iversit)' of Paris, and, for tl1 e Italian Gover11 men t, Professor S. J_,essona, of the University of Flor­ ence. \i\Then tl1ey l1 ad con1 pleted tl1eir prelin1 inary exa111 i 11 ation of tl1 e questions before tl1e1n tl1 e men1bers of the Arbitration Com1nission called upon the r'\g·e11ts of tl1e t\\'O gover11111en ts to appear before tl1 em and present any oral argun1 ents ,,,l1ich tl1e}' l1ad to mal{e. Nleetings ,vere held alternately i11 the l1otels of tl1e Italiar 1 a11 d Ethiopia1 1-ap­ pointed Arbitrat<)rs, thoug·l1 cl1 iefly in tl1 at of the Italia11 s. }\gain it proved impossible to sec11re Italian co11 sent for 1neetings at tl1 e Peace Palace, al thot1gl1 tl1 e l10s1Jitality of tl1at en1 ine11tly suit,tble estab­ lisl11nent "'as i11 fact available. 'fl1e argu1 nents of tl1e Agents bega11 on July 4, ,vitl1 tl1 e prese11 tation of tl1 e Italian case by tl1 eir Agent, and ,vere continued 011 J . 11ly s IJy tl1e J\g·e11t of tl1e Etl1 iopian Gover11 me11t. 1 Tl1e s1nooth course of tl1 e proceedi11 gs of tl1 e Co1nmission ,vas broken July 5 as the result of an i1 1cicle11t ,,,I1icl1 arose during the argt1n1ent of Professor J i�ze. Tl1 e Ethiopia11 Age11 t l1 aci begun lJy con1me11 ti11 g upon a.nd in part re1Jlying to tl1 e argun1 e11t of tl1e I talia 1 1 .A.g·e11t. I-Ie co11 tinued by opeoi11 g l1is o\vn argt 11nent a11 d in doing so 1nade reference to the fact tl1at \1/al \;1al lay ,vithi11 territory over ,,,hicl1 tl1 e sovereigr1 ty ,vas held by Ethiopia. lie ,,,as interrtiptecl IJy tl1 e Italiar1 Age11t \Vho claimed tl1at this question l1ad been exclucled fro1n tl1e j1 1risdiction of the Commission by agree1ne1 1t bet\veen tl1e parties a1 1d by tl1 e action tal{en i n Geneva in May. The Etl1 iopia11 Age11t declared tl1 at l1 e vvas 1

Con1111ission documents, t\nnex I-I, -infra, p. 39.

N TilE VlAIJ v\'t\I., ARBI'fllr\TIO


tI1 orougli ly fainiliar ,vitl1 the actio11 ,vl1 icl1 l1 a� b:e11 tal{e11 at Ge11eva, seeing tI1 at }1e }1 ad partici1 Jated in tl1 e 11egot1at1? 11 of tl1e agre�111e11 t which hacl been reacl1 ed at that ti1ne, a11 d l1 e de111ed tl1 at tl1e po111 t to which he J1 ad referred l1ad bee11 exclt1ded fron1 tl1 e cog11izance of tl1e Con,mission. rfl1 e Italian Agent 11 ovv declared tl1 at l1is Government would "';itl1 dra,1/ fro111 tl1 e proceedi11 gs if the Etl1 iopian Agent ,vere perinitted by tl1 e Commission to refer to tl1 e location of W_al \�al as being witl1 in Etl1 iopia11 territory, or to discuss tl1e qt1estion of whether it was so located or 11 ot, or eve11 to discuss the problem of ,vl1ether tl1 is matter ,vas or ,vas not properly within the co111pete11 ce of tl1e Arbitra­ tio11 Co1n1nission. Finally, it ,vas eve11 de11 iecl by tl1e I talia11 Agent and by the Italian Ar!Jitrators tl1at the Arbitration Co1nn1 ission had the po,ver to clecide wl1ether its jt1risdictio11 extended to this n1 atter, u11 der the agree1nents of l\1ay 25. It vvas asserted tl1 at, a disagree111en t hav­ ing ariser1 \Vithi11 the Con1 n1ission 011 this poi11t of jt1risdictio11 , tl1e matter mt1st be referred to t11 e two govern1nents for tl1 eir decision. Tl1 e Etl1iopian-appointed me1nbers n1 ai11 tai11 ed tl1 at tl1e Con11nissio11 possessed tl1 e autl1 orit:y to pass upo11 tl1e scope of its O\\r11 competence, tinder ge1 1eral i11ter11ational la\\ a11d tl1 e special instrt11ne11t b�,1 ,vhicl1 tl1e Commissio11 l1 ad been created, but tl1 is conte11 tio11 fot1ncl no ac­ cepta11ce at tl1 e l1 a.11cls of tl1e Italia11 Arbitrators. On the otl1 er l1and tl1e Etl1 iopian-appoi11 ted Arbitrators could 11ot, in vie\v of tl1eir co11 victions, join in a11 appeal to tl1 e gover11 1ne11 ts for a decision on tl1e poi11 t of jt1risdictio11 a11 d tl1ere re1nai11 ed 11 otl1i11g to do bttt to acljourn, sirnpl)' reporting tl1e situatio11 to tl1 e J)arties. '"fhere remained one possible escape fro1n tl1 is regrettable impasse. Tl1 is ,vas tl1 e appoi11 tment of the fiftl1 Arbitrator according to the tern1s of the Cot111 cil resolution (No. 2) of l\1ay 25 and tl1e tern1 s of Article V of the treat), of 1928, i11 vie\\' of the disagree111ent \vl1 icl1 l1 ad arisen among tl1e fot1r Arbitrators. This step also v\ras reft1secl bv tl1 e Itali an Arbitrators wl10 conti11ued to ir1sist tl1at the point ,1t is�ue mtist be settled by tl1e gover11me11 ts tl1emselves. TI1 e Comn1ission tl1 erefore (July 9) adjot1rned, separate opi11ions bei11g issued 1 bv tl1 e Italian and Etl1 i�pian-appointed Arbitrators stati11 g tl1 eir respecti�e positions, and . the s1tt1at1on ,�.ras reported to tl1 e respective govern111e11 t8.2 Tl1e Ethiopian ?overnme11 t 011 its part referred t11 e matter again to .. the League of Nat1011 s tl1rough tl1 e Secretary-General and tl1 rougl1 h' to th e Cot1ncil. No action l1owever ,vas,1 by tl1 e League Llr;: July 25; the Secretary-General ob,riously coulcl 11 0t take any act·ion, . a 11 d, 11nder the resoI ut1on of l\!Iay 2 :::: , tl1 ere ren1a·1 ne • d tl1e f or.mal pos.., . . . ' ·1· . s1b1 it)' that tl1 e Comm1ss1011 n11ght still reacl1 a result by Jul y 25 , or, at 1


Con1111!.ss�.on docun1ents, Annex I, infra, p. Con11111ss1on document, .A.nnex 1-1 infra p. I


65. 6S•



all eve11ts, it seemed impossi1J]e for the Co11ncil to assu1ne the O{Jposite prior to that cl,1te, i11 spite of tl1e disagreen1ent wl1icl1 had transpired at Scl1eve 1 1i11 ge11. 1 E,,er1 011 J t1ly 25 no actio11 \Vas tal<:e11 immediately. rfl1 e Italian Gover11n1e11t i11 formed tl1e Leagtie Secretariat tl1at it had t,vice r1otifie(l the Ethio1Jian Gover11 me11t of its readi11ess to resume arbitrcttion ,vithi11 the limits of tl1e a.gree1ne11t of lVIa.y 25. 2 Tl1is, of course, mea11t tl1e agreen1 e 11 t of l\1ay 25 as i11 terJJretecI 1Jy Italy. 011 July 2<:� tl1e Ethio­ pian Governme11t l1ad rec1uestecl a meeti11g of tl1e Cour1cil,:i a 11d 011 J 11ly 26 t]1e President of tl1 e Coun(.:il, 1 1ot necessarily acting 111Jo11 the Etl1 iopia11 rec1uest, b 11t acti11g, i.11deed, ratl1er u11der tl1e resolt1tio 1 1 (No. 2) of i\11ay 25, called a meeti 1 1g· of tl1at body for Jtily 31. 1 I11 a telegra1 11 da.ted July 27 a11cl sig11ed by hi111 perso11ally, Sig 1 1or lVIussoli1 1i restated tl1 e I tali ctn JJositio11 to s01ne exte 1 1t a11 d suggested that Ita! y rr1igl1t 110t atte11cl t11e Cou11 cil meeting. 5 111 a state1nent isst1ecl on J11ly 28 tl1e Ethiopia11 Governme11t denied ever havi11g ,:lgreed to a restrictior1 of the scope of tl1e arbitration as assertecl by It;;tly, l,tit turnecl tl1e c1ues­ tio11 over to tl1 e Cot1 1 1cil, ,,,J1ile sta 1 1di11g itself 011 tl1e position tak:e11 by its Agent at Scl1eVf:!11i11gen. 6 011 July 3 r the Cot1ncil of tl1 e Leagt1e met, 0 1 1 tl1e basis of its resolt1tion of l\.1ay 25. 7 rfl1e qt1estio1 1 or questio11s at isst1e ,vere of cottrse disct1ssed l)y tl1 e Cot111cil 111 e1nlJers a11 cl t11e represe11tatives of tl1e two governrnent:s i1 1 clispL1te to a very large exter,t 011tside of t:l1 e Cot11 1cil 1neeting itself a11d cl res11It \Vas fir1,:1lly reacl1ed 011 i\ug·ust 3, and em­ bodied i11 Cou11cil a.ctio11 . Tl1e res1.1lt ,vas to settle tl1e clisputer1 poi11 t in fa,ror of Italy 8 \vithot1t: passi11g t1po11 tl1e positio11s already tal{e11 IJy tl1e 1\ge11ts of t:l1e tvvo par­ ties or !J)' the Arbitrators. Tl1e C�ot1 r1cil clecided tl1at "fro11tier ques­ tio11s '' or legal interpretation of t11 e agreeme11ts a11d treaties concern­ ing tl1e fro11tier 1 did not fall ,vitl1 i11 tl1e provi11ce of tl1 e Com1nissio11, inasmt1cl1 as the t\\1 0 parties l1acl 11ot agreed to tl1is (sic) irt lv1ay. Tl1e Cot111cil adcJed, ho\ve,ier, tl1at tl1e Co1nmissio11 could tal{e i11to con­ sideratio11 tl1e con.,,ictions of tl1e local autl1orities on eitl1er side at vVal \i\!al as to ,vho possessed tl1e sovereig11ty over that locality, lJut cot1lcl not debate t11is 11 1atter a11d 111t1st co 1 1cer11 itself solely v,ritl1 elements i 11 tl1e dispute otl1er tl1a11 that of territorial sovereig11ty. Tl1 e arlJitration \.Vas to proceed, the fiftl1 Arbitrator to lJe na111ecl ,vitl1out clelay '', tl1 e wl1ole proceedi11g ,vas to be co1npleted by September I I a11d reported by the parties to tl1e Cot1ncil by Septe111ber 4. Tl1e Council \.Vas to 1




1.e:igue of Nations Inforn1ation Seel ion, No. 7435 (July 19, 1935). 3 C.282.l\1!.149.1935. 2 V C.279.lI.r76.1935.VII. 1 · Inforn1ation Section, No. 74.'.}0 (Jul)' 26, 1935); C.284.iYI.151.1935. 5 ° C.285.i\tI.15:2.1935.\iII. C.283.1\1.150.1935. 8 lbid., August 3, 1935, §3605. 7 Council Nlinutes, July 31, 1935, §3604. 1



11 im br og lio i11 lia ta -I ian iop 1 l Et ole 1 V1rl e e th 1 i1 am ex to te ineet on tl1 at da all its aspects. . . 11 fact, a11 action 1 s, 1 wa l 1ic wl , 11e ag Le e tl1 of 11 cil u Co e Tl1 e action of tl1 1 e 11 1e111 l�er s of tl of ce 11 lue i11f e th r de un s 11t me rn ,;e go O t\V take 11 by tl1e 1 1 s to l1 av e constituted n see 11, tio dic ris j1 of ion est e q11 J tl on , cil un e tl1 Co nt an act of revisio 1 1, 11 ot of pt1re or sJu1 1d interpretation of tl1 e a.greeme 11 ite i ly def ent fici s1.1f a ed 1iev acl n bee had re the te da at J tl On of l\lla,, ., 2... .J . . agreeme11t to justify tl1 e co 1 1clu3ion tl1at tl1e Co1 nm1ss 1 011 ,va s autl1 orized to take i 11to accou 11 t tl1e locatio11 of \�1ial \i\Tal \Vit]1in Etl1iopian territory. Tl1e distir1 ctio 1 1 betvve� 11 tl1 is poi 1.1t a11 d tl1e delimitatio 11 of 1 e 1 tin at 1 tl at cil 1 1 Cou the i11 the fro 11tier i 11 detail vvas made repeatedly a11d ,,.,as accepted by botl1 parties in order to i 1 1dicate jt1st ,vl1at t}1e Con1mission could do and co11ld 11ot do. It ,:vas poi11ted ot1t by tl1e Etl1iopian represe11tatives at tl1 at time tl1at it \\iOt1ld. ])e difficult if not impossible to J)ass satisfactorily 0. 1 tl1e questio 11 of responsibility witl1out tal{'ing i 11to accoL1 1 1t the point of sovereig 11ty over Wal v\Tal. TJ1 e Etl1io1)ian Gover 1 1n1e 1 1t did not I-owever feel al)le i 1 1 tl1 e 1 11eeti 1 1gs of July 3r-A11gust 3 to sta 11d t1po11 its rigl1 ts in tl1is matter and yielded to Italian presst1re, stIJ)JJorted by r1�itisl1 a 1 1d l:j'rencl1 influence, and ac­ quiesced i 1 1 a revision of tl1e act:011 of May 25. It ,vas clearly a11 cl stro 11 gly tl1reate11ed tl1at refusal ,vould to al)a11don111 ent of the arbitratio11, Italian \.vitl1dra'¼,al f1·on1 tl1e Lea.gue, a11d ,var, and the Etl1iopia 1J Govern111e 1 1t and its Agent felt, rig-l1tly or \.Vro 11 g·ly, tl1at these conseqt 1e 1 1ces 111 ust be avoicecl as 10 1 1g as possible a 11 d at practi­ cally any cost. Irnmecliately after the Cou 11cii adjour 11 ed a11 effort vvas 111ade to secttre a 11 1eeting of tl1e ConJ rnissio11 i 1 1 Geneva. Three n1 embers of tl1 e Co1111 11ission vlere i 11 tl1e city at tl1e time, 011e of tl1 e Ethio1Jia 11 -ap­ pointed me 111 1Jers a11d tl1e t,vo Italian 111 e1 nbers. Tl1e fourth n1 e1nber ,vas notified, by telepl1011 e, of tl1e =:ot1ncil actio11 as soon as it l1 ad bee 11 take 1 1 and left im 1 11ediately fro111 a point i1 1 France for Ge 1 1eva. Never­ tl1 eless the I tcLlian members, altl1 01..1gl1 11otified of this fact, left Ge11 eva at 011 ce, and two weeks '¼iere allo\.ved to pass b}' before a 11 y further J)rog­ ress vvas made. It v.ras later expla.ined tl1at one or both of tl1 e I talia11 1nen1bers of tl1e Co111n1issio 11 l1 ad )een ill. In the mea11ti1ne diplomatic negotiations were i11stit11ted bet,:vee 11 or a�o1 1g tl1e Great Povvers concer11ed. in tl1e dispute, namely, Great Brit­ a1 � France, a11d Ita.Iy, wit� a vie,:vto liqt1 idating the 'Vl'hole situatio n by � this n1ea11s, although e,1e11 1f st1ccess l1ad bee11 attai 11ed in this dir ect·o 1 .Il . . '. the arb1 trat1011 would probably l ,tve had to be carried ou t . Thos e . . . negot1at1ons, carried on in Paris, \Vere not, I1 owever, su ccessful an d in

Re n1arks of J eze, Aloisi, and Eden at Council rvree ting of May 2M _.,,. Counc1-1 lvf 1 1n• utes, ay 25 1 1935, 1


§3595, pp. 64o-642_



a11 y case had 11 0 effect L1po11 tl1 e arbitration Lrnless to re11 der t11 e pro­ spective resL1lt s01newhat more importa11 t for the ti1ne being. At all events the ir1jL1nctio11 s of tl1e governn1e11ts a11 cl the Council of tl1 e J_eagL1e of August 3 novv re111 ai11 ed to be carried out. Tl1e I talia11 Arbitrators desirecl to avoid a retur11 to Scheve11 i11g·e11 , for reasons of healt11 if nothir1g else. Ge11 ev,1 re111 ained ur1acceptable, a11d ¥.1 l1 en tl1 e Italia11 s proposed tl1 at the Co1n111 ission reconver1 e in Paris tl1 is \1/as accepted by tl1 eir colleagL1es. Tl1 e date ,vas set for August 19; 1 thus t,vo 1nore ,,,eeks ,,,ere allo,ved to pass but this date at least fell after the co11clL1sio 11 of tl1 e cliplo111atic negotiatio11 s already re­ ferred to. \iVl1 en tl1 e Commissio11 reco11venecl in Paris, at tl1 e hotel of the Italiar1 Arbitrators, a state1ne1.1 t vvas issL1ed by tl1 e Etl1 iopian-a1J­ poi11ted n1e1nbers concer11ing tl1 e actio11 taken lJy tl1e Cou11cil regarding tl1e jurisdiction of the Comn1 ission; it 1nay 11 ovv be aclded that tl1 ese Arbitrators l1ad bee11 faced earlier ,vitl1 tl1e possible 11ecessity of resig11 ir1g their f L111 ctions if tl1e Cou11 cil of tl1 e League a11 d tl1 e Etl1 iopia11 Gover11ment hc1d repudiated tl1e positio 11 vvl1 ich they had taken at Scl1eveni11gen co11 cer11 i11 g tl1e purport of tl1e agree1nent of l\t1ay 25. The Italia11 Arbitrators 110,v issL1ecl a statement of their ovv11 in reply. These state1ne 11 ts dicl not 11 0,vever i1npede tl1 e progress of tl1 e Co111 mission's ,vork. 2 Follo,ving tl1 e inju11 ctio11 s of the Cot1ncil resolution, but exercisi 11 g its o,v11 discretio11 in tl1 e selection of a11 individt1al, tl1 e Comrnission no,v desigi1 ated l\!Ir. Nicolas Politis, l\!Ii11 ister of Greece i11 Paris, as the fiftl1 memlJer of tl1e Co111 111 issio11, and l\!Ir. Politis accepted. 3 A disti 11 ction ,vc1s n1 ade bet,vee11 tl1 e clesig11atio 11 and tl1 e appoint1ner1 t of this fiftl1 J\rbitrator, cl disti11 ction appare 11 tly ne1vv i11 the procedure of arbitra­ tion. The desig·11ation of tl1e fiftl1 r'\rbitrator served to indicate tl1e individL1al \\rl1 0 ,,,ould IJe called upo 11 i11 case of need, and to prepare tl1 e situatior1 so tl1 at he cot1ld be called upo 11 ,:vithout further delay if occa­ sion arose; i11 the mea11 ti1ne, ,,,J1ile l1 e \VOL1lcl familiarize hin1self vvitl1 tl1 e case from all tl1 e cloct11nen tary n1aterials availa.ble, he ,vould not take part in the proceedings. 1'11 e Con1n1 issio11 11 ovv resL1med its vvork at the poi11t vvhere this I1 ad beer1 i11 terrupted. 4 Professor Jeze co11cluclecJ l1is argL1 111 ent on behalf of Etl1iopia, disregarcli11g tl1e qL1estio11 of territorial sovereignty over \i\Tal \iVal. Tl1ere ,vas some discL1ssio11 bacl� a11 d fortl1 before tl1 e Com­ n1ission by tl1 e t,vo Agents and tl1 is brougl1 t tl1e direct argt11nen ts to a close. These arrange1nents \Vere n1ade by the Arbitrators \vithout Govern 1nent or l,eague participation. 2 Nor ,vere they so intencled. Co1nn1ission <locurnents, Annex J, i11.jr{t, p. 68. 3 Co1nmission docun1ents, .Annex I(, -i1ifra, p. 69. 4 Con1n1ission docu1nents, .Annexes Land Tvl, ·£ufra, pp. 70 and 85. 1



The Italian Gover11111e11 t now reqtrested tl1 e opportt111 ity to bri11 g witnesses before tl1 e Con1n1 issio11 . I1 1ter,,eni11 g events l1ad n1 ade a visit to Ve11 ice or to any otl1 er Italia1 1 city see11 1 i11 advisable, and the Italia1 1 me1 nbers, i11 default of tl1 e possibility of t1si11g a11y Italian point, proposed B�rn as a co111prornise; tl1 e Co1nmissio11, \Vi tl1 tl1e kind per1nission of the Swiss Government, acljournecl to that cit>' on August 23. 1 At this point tl1 e Italian Age11t rec111ested a clelay i11 tl1 e proceedi11gs for the purpose of reexamini11 g son1 e aspects of tl1e case, b11t ·tl1is de­ ma11 d was OJJposed by tl1 e Etl1iopian Age11 t and tl1e Co1n111 issio11 did not fine! it possible to grant tl1e request. Oral testimo11y was 11ovv give11 by ()rivate (black) soldiers fro1n the Italian forces at \�Tal v\Tal a11 d by (wl1ite) Italian officers, ,:1nd these witnesses vvere cross-exami11ed ex­ ter1sively. The Age11ts for the tv.10 governn1 ents were allo\\1ed to de­ velop tl1e i111 plicatior1s of tl1e testimo11 y as tl1ey regarded it; tl1 e Italia11 Agent presented a11 interpretati.011 of tl1 e testi111011 y accorcling to l1is views, and tl1 e Etl1io1)ia11 Ager1t replied. Tl1e latter presented 11 0 \Vit­ nesses. 1'11is completed tl1e JJrese11 tatio11 of tl1 e case by both parties. 2 Upon. tl1 e retur11 to Paris (At1g11st 25), tl-1e t\\'O follo,vi11g clays ,vere used cl1 iefly for private study a11d co11st1ltation by tl1 e se1)arate groups of Ar!Jitrators. Tl,e facilities of tl1 e library of the Europea11 Ce11tre of tl1e Carnegie E11do,vn1 e11t for I11ter11ational Peace ,vere graciot1sly placed at tl1e dispcisal of tl1 e Etl1iopia11-a1)pointecl Arbitrators for tl1is purpose, ,vl1ile tl1e I talia11 Arbitrators kept prest1mably to tl1 eir o,v11 hotel. It is believed tl1at it l1ad become clear by tl1 is tin1 e tl1 at co11 vi11cing . proof of i1n111ediate de Jacto respo11 sibility for the beinning of tl1 e figl1ting 011 the after11oon of Dece1111Jer 5, 1934, at Wal v\Tal, \Vas lacl{ing. It proved impossible, l1ov,,ever, at a n1eeting l1 eld on 1\11gt1st 28 at No. 6 Place St. St1lpice, tl1 e ,1partme11t of tl1 e se11ior Etl1 iopia11 -ap1)oi11ted Arbitrator, for tl1e four 1nen1bers of tl1 e Co1n1nission to agree upo1 1 tl1 is principal poi11 t. Nt1n1 erous otl1er pl1 ases of the c1uestion also re11 1ained ope11 and u11der tl1ese circt1msta11ces it ,vas 11nanin1ously agreed to call ir1, or appoint, the fiftl1 Arbitrator. Tl1e Commission met tl1e next day, again at tl1e hotel of tl1e Italian Arbitrators, and vvas joi11 ed by tl1e fiftl1 Arl)itrator.3 Tl1e fifti1 i\rbi­ tr,ltor explained his conceptio11 of l1 is position i11 tl1e Co1nn1ission. I-Ie indicated wl1at see1ned t � }1 in1 to lJe the essential poi11 ts in t11 e prob]e1 11 _ _ a11d certain quest1011 s \\1h1cl1 l1e desired to I1ave a11 svvered by tl 1e Ageiits of tl1e t,:i.,o gover11n1 ents. These gentle11 1en atten1pted to a 11 s\.ver tl1 e suppleme �tary questions pt1t to tl1e1n a11d added certai11 supplen1en­ _ "' 1 tary cons1de �at1011s of their ov. 11. 1 11e Con1 missio11 1 net by itself for several days 1n camera in an effort to reacl1 a decisio11 . Draft OJ)inioils � Also n �g�tiated l)y the Con1ruission _itself. Con1111 !ss !on docun1ents, i\nnex N, infra, p. 3 Comrr11ss1on docu1nents, Annex 0, 1: 11Jra, p.

93. 149.



had been prepared by ,,arious 111 e1 11l)ers of tl1e Co1n1nission and tl1e effort above referrecl to tool{ tl1e form eventuall)' of tl1e discussio1 1 and revision of a text J)repared by tl1e fiftl1 Arbitrator. 011e meeti11 g ¥.ras l1eld at tl1 e l1ome of tl1 e latter out.side of Paris bt1t all of the final 1neet­ i1 1gs e..-::cept tl1is 011e ,,,ere at No. r42 rt1e de Grenelle, Paris, tl1e headqt1arters of the l\1ixed Arbitral rfribt111 als, quarters ki11dly put at the disJ)Osal of tl1 e Co1n111 issio11 by tl1 e Gover111ne11t of tl1e Frencl1 Rept1blic. A t111 animous clecision ,,ras f1 nal]y reacl1ed 1 i11 v.1hicl1 it was l1 eld tl1at neitl1er Etl1iopia 11 or Italy l1acl beer1 pro,,en g·uilty of l1a.vi1 1g lau1 1cl1 ed the attack 01 1 DecemlJer 5, 193£1., !Jut leavi1 1 g aside all questions of sov­ ereignty, as i11 strt1cted. In tJ1e circumsta11 ces this a1nou1 1ted cl1 iefly to a verdict of r1 ot gt1il t')r ,vi tl1 respect tc, Etl1 iopia, inasmuch as i11 tl1 e ,vhole proceedi11 g· Italy l1ad appearecl cl1iefly as complai11 an t. 111 vie,v of tl1 e pri11 cipal decisio11 , all questio11 s co1 1cerni11 g tl1 e beliefs or co11 ,1ictio11 s of tl1 e J)arties respecting sovereignty over tl1e \!Val vVal region ,vere left aside, ,ls also tl1 e qt1estio11 of tl1e existing state of pl1 ysi­ cal possessio11 i11 tl1is locality, questions concerning \\rhicl1 there might l1ave arisen serious differe11 ces of opi11 io11 . Like\vise tl1e mi11 or inci­ dents subseque11 t to tl1 e cor1flict at \i\Tal \;\Tai, ,vhicl1 seemed either to depend upo1 1 tl1 at conflict or to be relatively i11 sig11 ifica11 t i11 con1pariso11 , ,vere treated along \vitl1 tl1e pri11 cipal qt1estio11 . Tl1 ere ,va.s of co11rse notl1 i1 1g said ft1rt:l1er co11cer11 i1 1g reparatio1 1s or apologies. rfl1e decision \va.s signf:d b)' all five me1 11lJers of tl1 e Commission and 11a1 1ded to tl1e Age1 1ts of Etl1 iopia. a11d Italy on Se1)te1 nber 3. It ,vas transn1itted by thern 011 bel1 alf of tl1e gover11 1ner1 ts to the Secretary­ General, by tl1e Secretary-Ge11 eral to tl1 e Cot1r1cil, and tl1e vVal \Val case was closed.

III. LESSONS FROl\1 Tl1E 1\RBITRATION As l1as alreacly IJee11 sug·gested a11cl as the alert reader will already 11ave perceivecl, t:l1e vVal \;\�al arbitration ft1r11 isl1es a nt1n1ber of lesso11s for students of i1 1ter11 atio1 1al arbitration a11 d eve11 lesso11 s co1 1cerning J)acific settle111 e11 t a1 1d inter11ational organization i11 ge11eral. Some of tl1ese lessons relate to tl1e particttla.r arlJitratio11 tre;1ty involved and are therefore of less tha11 general scie1 1tific importa11 ce, but others relate to fu11 dame11tal aspects of tl1 e procedtrre of conciliation a11d arbitral settle1ne1 1t. F'inally there are variot1s implications to be noted con­ cerning tl1 e relations bet\veen i11ter.natio11 al adjudication and tl1e pro­ cedure of the League or a11y sin1ilar orga11 izatio11 for pacific settlement and tl1 e mai11te11 a11 ce of collective security. T1v,ro definite defects \Vere noticeable i1 1 tl1 e arbitratio11 treaty in1

Comn1ission docu,nent, Annex P, infra, p. 175.



1 w as allo,ved to 1 io us 11f co 1g 1i1 tl e 1 01 or F' . · .: l \i\Tal case .'\1·:t · tile \1 . volvecl 1n n, o t ra " 1t b ar d a1 n 1o at ili n _ co of s ge � � � _ ai)pear conceri1 i11 g tI1 e respective �ta "e details 7 1 re t or O ras sile11 t concern111 g i..V ! \\ ty ea tr e th er 1 l 1 ot ai atld for t en 1n ee gr sa 1d d1 a1 ty 1l ct ffi di if e nc va ad "''ll icll should be regulated in are to be avoided st1l)seque11 tly. ow sh ill w 11 tio es qu in ty ea tr e 1 l t of V e icl rt A of xt Reference to tl1 e te 1 '' (pres �nt 1 io at tr bi ar or n io at ili nc co '' r fo ed ,id o, pr y that tl1 e treat ro countries t,, e th 11 ee tv.; lJe tes pu dis of nt n1e tle set 1 e tl 11 i s) lic ita v,,riter's glisl1 11 ot regulated by diplomaCyi. 1 Tl1e translators, in prepari11g En ­ con '' la mu for e th d ye plo em s, rie Se y eat Tr the for ts tex and Fre11ch 2 r as i11 all probability accide11tal, and ,, is Tl1 1 1 ''. tio itra arb o11 and ati cili ever1 if it had been do11 e i11te11tio11 ally it is not clear vvl1y it sl1 ould l1ave bee 1 1 do11e. In its tt1rr1 tl1 e Council t1sed tl1is pl1rase ,vl1 enever referri1 1 g 3 Tl1 is ,vas clone in it. der 1 u1 i11gs ceed pro or y t . to or qt1oti11 g tl1 e trea spite of tl1e fact tl1 at tl1roughout tl1 e wl1 ole J)roceeding·, both in the treat), a11d in Cot1ncil disct1ssio11 s a11d actions, the perso11s appointed to 1 : rs'' itrato ''Arb as fically speci to ed referr \Vere treaty tl1e act under Tl1is latter actio11 ,vas justified by the sttpJ)le111entary agreen1ent ,vl1ic.h l1 ad bee1 1 reacl1 ed bet,veen the t'.\iO govern1ne11 ts on August 3 and 4, 1928, by ,vhicl1 tl1 e tern1s of Article V of tl1 e treaty of At1gust 2 l1 ad bee11 interpreted; by tl1 is agreement tl1 e t,vo gover11111ents vvere to " " 'I cI1oose t'.vo arb"1trators a11d t I1 e '' f ot 1 r arb"1trators ,vere to proceed tl1 rougl1 various stages i11clt1ding possibly tl1e cl1 oice of a ''fifth arbi­ trator" .5 U 11 certaint'), as to the type of action, conciliatio11 or arbitration, could 011 Iy l)e the result of tl1is confused phraseology. In tl1e mi11ds of many observers a11 d students of tl1e treaty, tl1e text suggested that botl1 forms of action ,�.rere to be t111dertal<:e11 011 e after a11 otl1 er or even that the t,vo ,,vere to be t1ndertalcer1 at one a11d tl1e san1e time or i11 some mysterious \Va')' blended or n1 erged. Tl1 e treaty l1ad been signed just at a time v.·l1en tl1 ere had bee11 i11 Ge11eva a11d else,,,I1ere a distinct te11dency to amalga.n1ate conciliation and arbitration in one general omnibus pro­ e:eclure for ��cific settlen1ent, and even i1. 1 one 01nnibus co 11 cept a ncy ar1s 111 g at the ti1ne out of higl1ly political rather tl1 ,1n pttre �end : _ _ Jttr1d1cal co11 s1derat_1ons, and later corrected. All of this an1 biguity had _ a tendency to cast t1pon the proceedi11g·s of tl1e Co1n1nission co11s1derable doubt as to th.eir trLie char,1cter; it vvas not at t11 e becrin ning clear ,:v� 1ether tl1 is w s a co1n111 issio11 of arbitratio 11 {)roperly so-c:lled or � _ sometl1111g less precise a11d {)erhaps less CcLildid. Th is aspect of the 1

· "Conc1·1·1az1on e o arbitrato" in th e original Of co rse tl1e t. 1- 11 11 . m or inay refer to either son1ething different or something sin·1i l ar.· p � . : _ . eace or ,var, ,var or conflict 2 S11pra, not·e 10, p. . 3 i§js of Jt:solulion No. I of JYiay 25, i1ifra, Annex c, p. 6 . : 6 . , s2 an ,.)• Comn11s.s1on documents, Annex B, i1i3fra, p. 35 . 1




situation was greatly accentuated by tl1e I talia11 ma11oeuver i11 April, when it ,vas arguecl by the I talians tl1at tl1e treaty i11tended to provide for a stage of conciliation to follo,v tl1e failure of direct negotiations, 011ly after tl1 e termi11ation of wl1 icl1 arbitration proper ,vas to begin. Needless to say tl1 ere ,vas ,l tug of ,var fro111 the 1Jegi1111i11g bet\veen those \vho desired arbitration proper and tl1ose ,vl10 desired s0111e for.n1 of negotiation. If tl1e intention of tl1e fran1 ers of tl1e origi11al treaty, a11d of tl1e sup­ plementary agreeme11ts, \\ras, on tl1e other hand, that tl1e first four members of the Co1111nissio11 sl1ot1ld t111dert,:1ke a procedt1re of negotia­ tion or conciliatio11 to start ,vitl1, a11d tl1,tt tl1ereafter i11 case of failt1re arbitration sl1ot1ld be i11augura.ted witl1 tl1e fiftl1 111en1 1Jer present, at least t\VO criticisms n1ay fairly be 1nade of tl1e arrangen1ent. 111 st1cl1 case the arra11gement sl1 oulcl l1ave bee11 stated a11d clefi.11ecl 1nuch 111ore clearly tl1a11 it ,,,as in tl1e doct11ne11ts or instrun1ents pro,1idir1g for tl1 e Commissior1 and its action. St1cl1 a peculiar arra11ge1ne11t sl1ould 11ot have bee11 left to infere11ce. Furtl1ermore such a11 arrangement vvould be 111 ost u11fortt1nate in any case. The two grot1ps of t,:vo arbitrators coulcl hardly st1cceed in acting as arbitrators i11 any true sense after they had struggled togetl1er as diplon1atic represe11tatives actir1g under ex parte i11structions to settle tl1e n1atter by negotiatio11 vvithout any particular referer1ce to lavv or equity. Tl1e 011ly result could be to leave all po,ver to tl1e fifth 111 er1 1ber, a11d to apprize tl1e otl1er fot1r n1e1n­ bers of this situation fro1n tl1e beginni11g. Tl1ey ,voL1ld tl1er1 be driven into a completely partisa11 a11d tincomprornising attitude fron1 tl1e be­ ginning, wl1icl1 cot1ld l1ardly malce for st1ccess i11 either conciliatio11 or arbitration. All sorts of ur1fortt1nate tactics 011 tl1e part of tl1e origi11al n1e1nbers could tl1en be expectecl. It is trL1e tl1at s0111 etl1ing of this sort has been tried else\vl1ere in tl1e past, but it l1as 11ever bee11 lmo,:vn to give tl1 e best rest1lts either in tl1e for111 of conciliatio11 or of arbitration, for the reaso11s already cited. •As has already bee11 suggested, tl1e Ethiopians preferred arbitratio11 from the begin11i11g, a11d tl1e situation ,vas t1ndoubteclly re11 dered more complicated by tl1is fc-1ct. For reaso11s ,vl1ich are obvious, and are cer­ tainly 11 ot discreditable eve11 if tl1ey are related to l1er ovv11 national self­ interest, Etl1iopia de111 anded arbitratio11, tallced of arbitration, ap­ pointed ''Arbitrators", and in all sorts of ,vays indicated that sl1e wished to proceed at 011ce beyond negotiation and co11ciliatio11 into the field of arbitral or judicial settlen1 ent. Tl1is may or may 11ot have con­ stituted a justifiable attitude or a line of actio11 actually in aclvance of \.Vhat had been co11 templated and provided in tl1 e Italo-Etl1iopia11 treaty of August 2, 1928. Tl1 is depends trpon \Vl1 etl1er or not that vvhicl1 the treaty envisaged "'as really conciliation first arid arbitration af tervvard.



tl 1a t t h e i11 ga t ou ed in po be ly ab � : If so, or in any case, it ma,, reason of e ok sp lf se it d an on ti si po e m sa 1e tl League Cou11cil took more or less 1 o u� h tl al '' rs to ra it rb A " as 1ly rn ifo un on si is _ the members of tl1e Comm ,, ncili . aco e as 1r pl s ou gu bi am 1e tl e us to e m e ti m it co1 1ti1 1ued at the sa tion ai1d arbitratio1 1 ''. e tl1 of s er m m ed nt oi pp -a ? an pi io h Et e � It was this point wl1ic h th 1ey TI 1 11ng. 1 g11 be e h t m fro y rif cla to ht ug ion so Arbitration Commiss ey tl1 an nila M at s ue � ag lle co 1 ia1 I tal eir th to t int ou po took pains to h at tl1ey did 11ot t lynt ue eq bs su ion sit po of 1 t 11 11e ·state is h t ed repeat regard tl1e111 selves as diplomatic representatives appointed by tl1e he t o ves ati ent res rep 1 1 lia Ita h wit ate oti 1 1eg � ent to nm ver ian Go Ethiop _ Wal Wal incident, or on tl1e demands which l1ad arise11 out of tl1at 1 11 c1 dent.. Tl1ey 11ever recei\red any instructio11s, \vritten or oral, or eve11 a.ny optio1 1al suggestio11s, in these matters, and, at tl1e risk of son1 e slight misundersta11 ding perh aps, tl1ey openly insisted fro1n the very begi11ning that nothi 1 1g of tl1 is kind was to be thougl1 t of under any consideration. Tl1ey furtl1er made a definite and ex1)licit effort, be­ gi111 1ing i11 Milan, to have the proceedi1 1g in whicl1 tl1ey \Vere e11 gaged regarded e11tirely as arlJitration ai1d not as cor1ciliatio1 1 or negotiation, a11d to l1ave tl1e Commission regarded as an Arbitration Comrnission i11 tl1e tecl111ical se 11se of tl1 at for1nula. To tl1is there was little or no outspoken opposition, and a11y tendency to deal wit h tl1e matter from the point of view of negotiation din1 i11 ished in intensity as time we11t on. But until tl1e Commission had begun its action a11d i11deed until tl1e n1icldle of the summer remained in certai11 quarters a good deal of doubt about tl1e 11ature of the proceedings, which was cl1argeable to tl1e pl1raseology of tl1e treaty and supplementary notes 01 1 the one h and a11d to t11e mistra1 1slation and publication of th e treaty by th e League on tl1e other, as well as the repeated en1ploy1nent of tl1is mistranslation by the League Cou1 1cil. Secondly tl1e treaty said notl1ing about the nationality of tl1e Arbi­ trators wl1icl1 were to be appointed by the two governments. Tl1e defect is no less serious because it is one \Vhicl1 is not u11known in trea­ ties ?f arbitration in general. The Italians \Vere probably justified in argu · rng t11at u1�de: normal co11ditions the presumption would probably _ be that 1n appo1nt1ng the first four men1bers of the commission tl1 e tw o parties would designate their own nationals respectively, an d this whether the procedure was to be 011e of conciliation or arbitration thou�h m?re especially if the first stage of th e commiss ion's work \\ra� de�1 11tely intended to take on the character of co1 1cil iation. Desiring _ arbitration from the start, ho,vever, Ethi'opi·a · }1ad appo1nted non. �at�o?als as �er members of tl1e commission. If a relative scarcity of 1nd1 v1duals with adequate diplomatic and juridi cal training among he r



ow11 citizens \Vas felt by Etl1iopia this is not a n1atter i 11 whicl1 Ethiopia stood alone: ma11y cou11 tries in all parts of the \Vorld a 11 d in all periods of history have found it advisa.ble to i 11 vite tl1e natio 1 1als of otl1er coun­ tries to serve the1n in a diplomatic, juridical, or otl1er admi 11 istrative capacity. It was, moreover, \Veil k 1 10\vn in Ro 111 e tl,at st1ch action was co 1 1templated in Addis 1-\baba lo 11 g before tl1 e action was fi 11 ally taken, as is sho\vn lJy a11not111 cements made in Rome early in tl1 e month of 1\1 a)'. Tl1e Italian protests could l1ardly be successfully mai 1 1tained in vie\v of tl1 e extent to \vl1icl1 alie 1 1s had been etnployed by 11umerous cou1 1tries at other times as co11st1lar a1 1cl diplomatic represe11tatives, not to 1nen­ tion their en1ploy111 e 1 1t as arbitrators. A certain arnount of more or less serious abt1se of tl1e rept1tations of tl1 e perso 1 1s appointed by the Ethiopian Governn1e11 t a1Jpeared i 1 1 Italia1 1 1 1e,vspapers a1 1d 1nagazines at tl1 e time; ,,,I,ile tl1 is did 1 1ot l1 urt tl,e i 11 dividuals in question to any great extent, it did 11ot help to clarify tl1 e situation or strengthen the Italian protest. 1 It is dot1 btft1! \vhether the Italian Government ever made a formal protestation in tl1e matter a11d i 1 1 any case Italy finally witl1dre\v lier objections or1 tl1is score as part of tl1 e g·eneral arrange­ ment embodied in the agreeme 1 1t of lvlay 25. 2 Obviously, hovvever, just as the treaty should l1ave bee 11 clear, and sl1ot1ld l1ave distinguished bet\veen conciliatio1 1 a1 1d arbitration if botl1 forms of actio 1 1 vvere to be

Quotation in Jo1ir11al des 1Vatio11.s, l\1ay 24, p. 7, from semi-official Fascist journal Ottobre (present \vriter's translation): "The Ethiopian Governrnent seen1s to be n1ore determined than ever to put a spoke in the wheel to prevent the functioning of peace­ ful conciliation as pro,,ided by the Italo-Ethiopian treaty of 1928. The clear den1on­ stration of this-after all the adjournn1ents and pretexts \vhich have, down to the present, acco1npanied the n1ilitary preparations of the Negus-is furnished by the appointn1ent of the t,vo mernbers to participate (on behalf of Ethiopia) in the bilateral commission for the settlement of the Wal Wal incident. 'fhe Governn1ent of Addis .l\bbaba, ,vhich knows well enough how to find its o,vn delegates to the .l\ssen1bly of the Nations fron1 among its native J)eople, has not felt able to do as 1nuch in this situation. In fact, the two representatives designated for the above mentioned co1nmission do not represent i-\byssinia at all, being, the one An1erican, Mr. Pitman Benjarnin Potter, and the other French, in the person of J\f. Geoffroy de La Pradelle. "1�he first is a ,vell-kno,vn agent of certain international organizations in Geneva, a North American ,vhose position is not very \veil defined, belonging to that class of individuals ,vho are provided ,vith private, semi-private, sen1i-official, or official credentials according to occasion and circun1stances, and ,vho carry on their activities on the margin of the League of Nations. "The second is another gentleman still less suited than the first to represent Abys­ sinia in this clelicate question. "Professor de La Pradelle, formerly conducting a course in law at the University of Paris, and subsequently attached to the Quai d'Orsay as legal 'expert', is an old acquaintance. "\Ve recall hin1 ,1ery well for having encountered hin1 at Geneva in the n1onth of November, I 923, in connection vrith the Corfu affair. On that occasion the Council of the League of Nations believed it necessary to investigate the interpretation to be given to .Articles XII and XV of the Covenant respecting the application of the pro­ cedure of arbitration or judicial settlen1ent to a dispute susceptible of provoking a breach between two states n1en1bers of the League. rfhis task was assigned by the Council to a committee of jurists in \vhich this de La Pradelle took part as expert for France." 2 Resolution No. I of League Council, Nlay 25, 1 935 §4 infra, p. 36. , , 1


TilE v,.,rAL vVAL ARBITR.i\.'fJON

1 t be tt er ha ve ig m it so e, ac � pl er op pr r ei th 1 en mentio 11 ed, and given tl1 d h a,,e ul co s ie rt pa l1e If s. or at itr rb A e 1 tl of � y lit _ specified the 11 ationa th Sld�s bo n rs o at 1tr rb f\ as s al 11 tio na n_ � no 11 t i po ap been required to 1d tl11s a1 ice st Ju d an w la of e us ca e r th fo st tl1is ,�.rottld l1 ave bee11 be 1 vvhatever on tl1e io1 ct f1e re y an t ot1 tl1 ,vi se ca nt sta can be said i11 the in 11 tl1 e re su lt- bu t i t en n1 ree ag s ou in1 an 11 eir u 1 tl of w 11 vie i Arbitrators n�e. va ad in ted ula reg y arl cle be r tte be t gl1 mi er att 1 n a 1 cl su st at lea Several difficulties arose fro 1n tl1 e absence of a for1nal cot11,pro1nis for 1 e defective tl of out g sin ari ose 1 tl to n itio add in e, 1 is cas 1 11 tl i o1 arl)itrati cl1 aracter of tl1 e origi 11 al treaty of 1928. It is true tl1at diplo1natic co 1 n1nunicatio11s v\rere excl1anged bet\veen Ro 1 11e and Addis Ababa in tl1e course of tl1 e five mo11ths betvveen tl1e middle of December, 1934., a11d tl1e n1idclle of l\tJ ay, 1935, i11 clt1ding particularly t,vo 11otes of lVIay 15 and 16; but tl1ese con1 mt1nications hardly constituted a formal co1n,pro111,is and tl1 ey v,,;ere not referrecl to tl1 e Commission as a doct1Tl1 e place of tl1e comprorriis \Vas lil{evvise 1 nentary ]Jasis for its actio11. not take11 by tl1e Council resolutio 1 1 (No. I) of l\tlay 25 1 11 or by tl1e later resolution of August 3, altl1ot1gl1 these resolt1tions did deal with the basis of tl1e ar]Jitratio11 in poi 11 t of st1bsta11ce. Furtl1er tl1an tl1 is, and more important still, several 1 natters ,vl1icl1 ordi 1 1arily sl1oulcl be settled by a co11ipromis ,vere actt1ally left ur1settled in tl1e absence of a11 y such agreement in tl1e instant case. ,.fl1ese i 11volved 11 0 less tl1an a defi11 ition of the issue at stake, tl1e defini tio11 of tl1e jurisdiction of tl1 e Co 1 nn1issio11 a 11 d detern1 i11ation of tl1 e place of meeting of the Corn 111issio 11 , not to me 11 tion sucl1 details as la11 guage, periods, pleadings, etc. ,.fl1e absence of a co1-ripro11iis i11 tl1e \i\Tal v\Tal case is traceable i 11 part to the fact that tl1e treaty of 1928 did not de1na 11d such an agreement in so many ,vords, but it is also traceable to tl1e n1anner in which tl1 e case arose. Tl1e fran1ers of tl1e treaty of 1928 may l1 ave asst1med that tl1e parties "''ould, as ir1 most cases of tl1is kind, conclude a co1npro-niis before proceedi11 g to arbitratio 1 1, bt1t tl1 ey did not stipulate to tl1 is effect in tl1 e treaty ancl tl1 is left the n1atter unregulated; u1 1der tl1 e cir­ cumsta 1 1ces i11 \\1l1 icl1 the dispute arose, this defect ,vas not likely to b e made good. 1'he ,va11 in ,vhicl1 the case developed did more tl1 an ree11force �he abse1�ce of a requireme1 1t for a co1npro11iis in tl1e treaty it : made r� as unlikely as possible that a11y st1ch step should be ta ken. Immediately 011 tJ1e heels of the battle of Decen1ber 5, botl1 parties accuse � one anotl1er of responsibility and Italy 011 }1 er part dema11de d reparat1on _ s; the Ethiopians i11 their tt1rn dernanded arbitratior1 , \vhich the Italians refused. This refusal \Vas maintai11ed for several months and at 11 0 time duri11 g this period would Italy I1 av e signed a compro,-nis. 1

For what c::eems Ito .be a 0 erron ous vie,v to the contrary see Declaration of Ita 'l i·an ; nex infra p 6- • ea n r .or n t Ar bI·tra tors r�n . f 11 d 1 ex o,r -1,1_o O\Ve •in C' onclus1011 a11d Declaration of Ethiopia�-appo· inted Arh i traf� r's, Aenn 1fra , pp . 6s and 6 • 7


By May I tl1e Cou11cil of the League l1ad gradually taken command of tl1e situation to a greater or less degree a11cl l1acl substitt1ted itself for the parties in the matter of referring the qt1estio11 to arbitratio11; con­ tint1ed Italia11 resistance rest1lted, i11 combinatior1 ,vit:11 tl1e actio11 of tl1e Council, in tl1e case goi11g to arbitratio11 under Cot1ncil resol t1tion rat11er tl1an under a. f orn1al co11ifJron1,is. 011 the otl1er l1and, tl1e Coun­ cil did 11ot dee1n it advisalJle to frame a forn1al co1npro1nis itself; tl1e ,,,riter is 11ot a,vare tl1at tl1e qt1estion ,vas ever co11sidered; perl1aps tl1is step would l1av·e been i11 excess of tl1e po,vers of tl1e Council, but tl1is poi11t is 011e for stt1cly apart from tl1e \;\T,:tl \;Val case. Tl1e first rest1lt of tl1e abse11ce of a forn1al co111.pro1n1is was tl1at tl1e issue before tl1e Con1111ission ,vas never clearly or at1tl1oritatively de­ fi11ecl. The Co111n1issio11 hacl to decide t1po11 respo11sibility for the out­ break of fighting at \i\Tal \,\lal, it is trtte, bt1t did this include the render­ ing of a decisio11 upo11 tl1e moral or 111aterial conseq11ences of such re­ sponsibility, if determined? Did tl1e Co1nmission l1ave to decide 11pon tl1e qt1estion of damages dt1e, by ,vhon1 and to \\rho1n ar1d ho,v mucl1? :rv1ore i1nporta11t still, ,vas tl1e Con11nissio11 called upo11 to decide not 011ly vvl10 started the figl1ti11g 011 December 5, but also upo11 tl1e qt1es­ tion of ,vho created tl1e situatio11 ,vl1ich, assuming natt1ral ar1d legiti­ mate actio11s a11d reactions witl1in tl1e limits of accepted i11ter11atio11al la,v, must almost i11evitably l1ave produced a clasl1 ,vl1ere and as it oc­ curred? It ,vas 011ly late i11 tl1e proceedi11gs of tl1e Commissio11 tl1at tl1e ques­ tion of damages ,vas raised before tl1at body. 1 It ,vas raised l)y tl1e fifth Arbitrator ,vl1en l1e e11tered upon p,:1rtici 1)ation in tl1e ,vork of the Commission a11d it v\7as addressed to tl1e agents of the tvvo gover11ments respectiv·ely. Tl1e agent for the Italia11 Govern1nent a11s,vered i1n­ mecliately tl1at they did not ask tl1e Co111n1issio11 for a decisio11 on dam­ ages due, bt1t reserved to then1selves the rigl1t to mal{e a11y dema11ds upon Etl1iopia subsequently ,,,hicl1 sl1oulc1 be justified by the decisio11 in the n1atter of respo11sibility. Tl1e age11t for the Ethiopian Govern­ ment replied ex te1npore also to the effect that l1is government demanded notl1i11g be>1011cl the decisio11 011 the questio11 of responsibility itself. Tl1ere 111igl1t be some questio11 ,,rl1etl1er these replies ,vere bi11ding upon tl1e gover11111ents affected, a11d the 111atter migl1t l1ave become very 1nucl1 111ore important if tl1e otrtcome on the question of respo11sibility l1ad been different. Obviously, in any case, a11cl irrespective of tl1e merits of the J)ositions of the t,vo parties, sucl1 a 1natter sl1ot1ld 11a ve been settled by tl1e conipro·niis in advance of reference of tl1e qtrestion to tl1e Con11nission. One qt1estion co11cerni11g the limits of tl1e jt1risdictio11 of tl1e Corn111is1 Co1nmission docu1nent, Annex L, infra, p. 70.



sion constitL1ted as a 1natter of fc.ct tl1 e principal secondary p oii1t of disagreement bet,veen tl1 e pa.rties from tl1e latter p� rt of l\tlarc� OilVv'� r�. _ This ,vas the questio11 of wl1etl1 er tl1 e Comrr11ss1011 could tal{e 1nto account the juriclical status of tl1 E territory i11 v,;} 1icl1 \N'al vVal was lo­ cated. Not only v,ras tl1 ere at stake an in1portan t a.spect of tl1:e p rob­ _ lem of responsibility for tl1 e fighting at \,\Tai \N'al, but also, by 111d1re: ­ tion and potentially, a11 ans,.ver tc the controversy o ver tl1 e o,vnersh1p of tl1 e territOI')' itself. Italy opposed referring tl1e questio 11 of so v­ ereig11ty over tl1 e \N'al Wal region to tl1 e Com1nission or permitti11 g tl1e Commissio11 to tak.e tl1is questio11 into consideration, o r its ans,�rer accou11t, and sl1e probabl11 was led to tal{e tl1 is position i11 part because of the larger issue involved. For the question of resp o11sibility for the fighting at Wal Wal, the point ,vcs or migl1 t have been absolt1tely de­ cisive. For if it were sho\vn tl1at v\lal \i\ial ,vas Etl1iopian, it ,vould have been i111 possib]e l)otl1 legally and morally to hold Etl1 iopia re­ sponsible for tl1e clasl1 of arms, evet1 if her troops had actually begun the figl1ti11 g; she ,vould have had eveiy right Linder tl1 ose circu 111stances to expel the invader by force of arn:s if she so clesirecl. Tl1 is in s1)ite of efforts made in recent years in Geneva, out of zeal to suppress all ag­ gressio11, to cl1aracterize as aggression perl1 aps e,1en an attack 11pon a mere de jcLcto possessor. 1 Tl1e Italian Go,,ernment vvas ,veil a,vare of this situatio11 and \Vas guided acc,)rdi11gly. The Italian Govern 1ne11 t made every effort to have the c1uestion of the jL1ridical status of tl1e vVal \i\Tal region exclt1ded fro 1n tl1 e jurisdiction of tl1e Commissio11 during all tl1e negotiations in April. It ,vas, 110,v­ ever, announced in Rome, at tl1e time of the excl1a11 ge of notes of lVIay 15-16, �1l1e11 Italy finally agreecl to arbitration, tl1 at tl1 e point ,vas excluded except for '· the questiori of frontier raised bv '' tl1 e \N'al \N' al incident.2 Tl1is attitude ,vas, rr. oreover, n1aintai11 ed at Gene,,a on l\llay 25. Before tl1e Council, at t1at time, a distincti o n ,,,as repeatedly made bet,vee11 consicleration of 1l1e frontier proble1n in itself or de­ limitation or demarkatio11 of the frontier, on the one l1and, a11 d the tak­ ing into accou11 t of the fact tl1at \Val \N'al ,vas far i11side the fro 1 1tier at tl1is point, ,vhere,,er that frontier n1ight precisely be,3 and it was 11n­ derstood th�t tl1 e C ommission forbidde11 simply to take up the _ larger a11d 1n fact irrelevant question. \iVhat l1appened afterward has already bee11 described; tl1 e principal tl1 ing to be 11ote.d here is J

R ef)O� t �f lvf r . Pol itis; League Documents of t h e Confe rence for the Reduction and L 11111t at1on of A rmaments' Ser ies B, •M'inu t·es f t he O General Co111111ission, Vol. II, p. 501• 1 Jou.rna l des Na,tio1is ' May 1g 1 9,, � p 1 aA . _..,::,' . ·. ' 1s e 0 1b 0111 1 11 �1 11 put it,. taking note �f t)1 e fact t�at Wal Wal "'as i� E�h i�� ; a �o����� ;0 ds u s 1 1 than saying that Paris is in Frr;:��: ;��tn �5 �0 iscof t�e Ethh 1 op1a-Son1al1la!ld frontier ussing t e F ranco-Span1sh or even Franco-Belgian frontier. 1



that the question should have been settled by the compromis at tl1e beginning. The place of meeti11g of the Commission \Vas settled neither in tl1e negotiations between the t\vo parties nor eve11 by the Cou11cil action of 1'vlay 25. Indeed, tl1e detailed arrangements ,vere actually made by the members of the Comn1issic>n tl1e1nselves i11 tl1e face of co11siderable diffict1lties. If the Co1n1nissio11 ,,,andered around Et1rope in a rather surprising fasl1io11 in the three sl1ort mo11tl1s of its existence, tl1is some­ what undignified and certainly t1npractical perforn1a11ce n1ust be ex­ plained by p11re politic,:tl considerations i11 addition to substantial reasons of geography and clin1ate. Even certai11 personal factors en­ tered into tl1e situatio11, as tl1ey are aln1ost certai11 to do ,vl1en such a qt1estio11 is not regulated i11 adva11ce lJy tl1e gover11ments concerned. Fi11ally, \Ve ma.y profitably make certain observatio11s t1pon this case concerning tl1e relation bet,vee11 arbitration itself a11d organized i11ternational cooperatio11 i11 general or pacific settle1nent in particular. It is commonly said that arbitratio11 is a form of procedure ,vl1ich logi­ cally follo,,,s upo11 the exl1austion of direct diplornatic negotiations and n1ediation or conciliation, if tl1ese steps l1ave been 11nclertaken also. In any case, arbitratio11 should clearly 11ot be confot1nded with these forms of procedure, as l1as already been indicated. On the other har1cl, it is clear that sometl1ing may be gained by integratir1g arbitra­ tion ,;vitl1 international orga11izatio11 in general, altl1ot1gh there is son1e danger i11volved in such a step. The linking up of arbitration \Vith the represe11tative a11d exect1tive functions of tl1e League Council appeared clea.rly to l1ave s01ne val11e in tl1e \tVal Wal experie11ce. Tl1e arbitration treaty bet,veen Ethiopia a11d Italy of 1928 ,vould very possibly not l1ave been carried out if it had 11ot bee11 for tl1e Leag11e and tl1e League Cot1ncil. The procrastination of December, January and February would probably, in the abse11ce of sucl1 ge11eral i11ter11atio11al age11cies, l1ave lJeen prolonged inclefinitel)'· The colla1Jse of the proceedings of July 9 cot1ld l1ard I y ,vithott t tl1em l1ave been 1nade good and tl1e pro­ ceedings n1igl1t never l1ave bee11 completed before tl1e end of the rai11y season. It '>Vould be quite another matter to say tl1at tl1e i11tervention of the V Leagt1e 1 Ie111bers was entirely beneficial in this situation. It seems to the prese11t ,vriter tl1at tl1e Council lVIembers made certain mistakes in the very manner of expediting proceeding·s. Thus tl1ey refrc:1ined from pressing promptly and effectively for arbitration cluring tl1e early stages-in fact for three or four months-and thus badly discouraged the advocates of judicial settlement ancl allowed tin1e for develop1nents ,,,hich later ,vere to nullify tl1e results of the arbitratio11. In an effort to remedy tl1is mistake, a ratl1er drastic schedule \Vas tl1en establisl1ed,


,1/itl1 tl1e rest1lt t.l1 at tl1 e men1lJers of the Com1nissio11 carried on their work from J u11 e I onvvard ,,ritl1 a very disti11ct feeli�g of pressure and _ l1aste ,vluch is not ordinarily conducive to good 1ud1c1al ,vork. Most serio�s of all, t11 e Council 1\tlen1 bers, in J\t1gust, eitl1 er misinterpreted the agreement wl1 icl1 had 1Jee11 reacl1ed at their own hands i 11 the pre­ viot1s lVIay, or tl1ey altered tl1 eir positio11 ,vitl1 tl1e more or less volu11tary co11sent of tl1 e JJarties, ,vl1ile prete11 ding 11 ot to, to the sl1 a 111 e of all friends of inter11 atio11 al justice a11d League prestige a11 d to the seri­ ous injury of tl1 e arbitration procedt1re which it was pro111oti11g. It must in frank 11ess be added tl1 at, in virtt1ally all of tl1 ese matters, the action take11 ,vas taken cl1 iefly at tl1 e 1Jehest of iv1. Laval, Fre11 cl1 For­ eign Minister, vvl10 ,vas acting i11 part as a spokesma11 for various fascist grot1ps i 11 France, i11 part as diplomatic ally of Italy; he was very anx­ ious to retain I talian support and vvas himself supported at first by Great Bri tai,1 and opp<)secl lJy l1 er at tl1e e11d ,vitl1 011 ly slowly accelerat­ ing te1npo. Lastly, vvl1 ile i11 fact tl1e Council Mernbers did tal{e so1ne jt1risdictio11 of tl1e question. in J antiary, did insist t1pon retaining some degree of co11trol ir1 April, a11 cl actually dealt witl1 the matter ,vith some decisiver 1ess ir1 l\,1a.}', tl1e>' 11ever developed tl1 e courage or the po\'\rer, for political ancl personal reasons such as tl1ose \'\1hicl1 l1 ave just 1Jee11 1nentioned, to deal effectively \\ritl1 tl1 e issues ,vl1ich l1ave just been revie,ved, in particular tl1e qt1estio11 of jurisdiction. It may tl1 erefore be saicl tl1 at integra.tio11 of arbitratio11 and ge11 eral i11ternational or­ ganization is inclicated as a valuable thing generally a11d potentially, and t:l1at e,,en ,vith its n1 istakes, tl1e services of the League in tl1is case represeotecl a net gai 11 to tl1 e cause of i11ternational order and pacific settlement, tl1ougl1 its actio11 ,v: as seriously defective at various poi11ts and for variot1s reasons. IV. COl\11\IIENTS AND CONCLUSIONS It v. rot 1l � l1ardly be ,vorth ,vhile to revie,v l1 ere tl1e facts and argu1ne11 ts vvh1ch vvere adduced by tl1 e two parties in tl1 eir efforts to fix responsibility the one upon tl1e other for tl1e clasl1 at vVal Wal. Nor '':0 1Jld it be justifiable merely to revie,v l1ere tl1 e grotrnds for th e de­ _ c1s1on as fi11ally reacl1 ed lJy the Con1mission ' the decision na meIy, ' . . . that 1n �1e,v of all of tl1 e v1�ence ar1d tl1e arg 11 mentation, it was im: '. _ possible to l1old e tl1 er Eth op1a or Italy responsible for the immediate � : outbreak of figl1 t111g at \i\tal Wal • Tl1 e text of •tl,e dec1s1 · ·011 1s I·tse lf · :c. • sufi1c1 ently full to provicle an r · adequ ctte revie·w of tl1 e ev 1·de 11 ce and tI1 e • _ a1 �u: ne ts 011 the tvvo s1 cles and tl1 e reasor1s for th e decision of th e Com� n1 ission. It may perl1aps ?e added tl1at 110 co 11siderable body of evi­ dence or argu1nent ¥.ras om 1 tted fro1n re,,ie,v in the fi. 11 a.l decision. 1 Comn1ission docun1ent, Annex p §§ ., 14-36, i11 , :1rra, p. 177.


TI1ere ,vere, 110,vever, certain other jt1ridical questio11s at stake i11 tl1e v,Tal \i\Tal case, and, i11 spite of the fact that tl1f;y were either elin1inated by tl1e Cot1ncil in its actio11 011 At1gust 3, or rendered superflttous lJy tl1e findings of the Comn1issio11, as just cited, tl1ey sl1ot1ld 11ot IJe lost e11tirely fron1 sight. Tl1ey may some beari11g on tl1e practice of ar­ bitratio11 i11 tl1e ft1tt1re and sl1oulcl be retai11ed i,1 the record for tl1at reaso11. The qt1estion of sovereignty o,,er tl1e vVal v,Tal regio11 ,vas 11aturally tl1e first and most in1porlar1t of sucl1 qt1esticJns. I ts significance, ac­ tttal or potential, i11 tl1e ,1vl1ole case l1as already been a111ply exJJlained. \t\lhat n1ay no,,, be co11cerni11g tl1e a11s,ver to tl1e question itself? To tJ1e present ,vriter, it see111s perfectly clear ,vl1at tl1e ans,ver ,vas. All tl1e docume11tary evicle11ce available at tl1e tin1e indicatecl that t11 e frontier bet,,,een Etl1iopia and Italian Son1aliland in tl1is region lay one l1undred or more kilo1neters East of \Val \,Val. Official Italia11 n1aps, printed prior to Dece111ber I, 1934, not to 1ne11tion countless otl1er Britisl1, French and otl1er 111aps, confirm tl1is, 1 a11d i11deed it is impossi­ ble to find cartographical eviclence to tl1e co11trary from that period. Tl1e frontier line l1ad 11ot, it is true, bee11 1narl{ed out on tl1e ground, but this is not u11kno,, 1n i11 otl1er parts of tl1e ,,,orlcl, ,,,.ith regard to otl1er boundaries, a11d is not cor1clt1sive 011 the poi11t. In the seco11d place, tl1is de j1tre state of affairs cot1ld not 11ave bee11 n1odified by the Italia11s lJy de facto occupa.tion in a11y st1cl1 period as that \.vl1icl1 had ela1Jsed si11ce their e11try into that regio11. Assu1ni11g tl1at they l1ad been at \i\Tal vVal itself ever si11ce 1930-v,rl1icl1 ,vas tl1e 111aximt1m extent of tl1eir clai1ns, a11cl ,,,as I-1ardly bor11e ot1t by tl1e e,,i­ dence even this \.Voulcl be far fro1n stifficient to establisl1 ti tl.e by aclverse occupatio11; accordir1g to all available jt1dicial decisions a11d arbitral a,vards, a11d tl1e \.vritings of jurists of all nationalities, .11otl1i11g short of twentJ, years ,vot1ld have a cha11ce of bei11g regardecl as creati11g title i11 tl1is n1atter. The Etl1iopian Gover111ne11t l1ad, it is true, for some t1naccou11table and mistalce11 reason, 11ever protested to Rome over tl1e fot1r-year-lo11g occupation of \i\Tal \Val. It may be suggested tl1at tl1is neglect arose fro1n t\\1 0 or three facts: tl1e i11formal state of affairs, so to spealc, in tl1 ese regions, as f;:1r as jt1risdictio11 arid a.ctt1al go, 1ern 111ental ad1ninis­ tration are concer11ed, tl1e i11ability of tl1e Etl1iopian Govern1ne11t to lJacl< up any protest by force, and its relt1cta11ce to raise a11 isst1e ,vl1en it could riot do n1ucl1 about it and ,vl1e11 it already had other cliffict1lties to l1andle in deali11g ,vith Ron1e. 011 the other ha11d, 110 st1cl1 absence of protest cotild be conclusive until tl1e end or to\.vard the end of st1cl1 a period of occuJJation as l1as just bee11 suggested. For tl1at matter, 011e 1

C.230(1).l'vI.114(r).r935.\lJI, p. 2, §6 (b).



1night be justified in pointing out that tl1e Italian� on their part­ . assuming for a moment that tl1is wa s Italian terr1to ry-l1 ad 11eve r _ protested eitl1 er to Addis Ababa or Lo11 don co11cern1ng tl1e presence of Etl1iopian or British forces and settlers in tl1 is region_ ! . Furthe r t11 an this the I talia11 troo1Js ,vere 11ot eve11 111 sect1re pl1ys1cal possessio11 of the ter ritory, as tl1ey V11ell k.t1e,v. !hey had it is true, : reconnoitered this region since 1928, but tl1 ey did not cla111 1 to l1 ave been established in tl1e Ogaden, at vVarcler and vVal \i\ial, before 1930. It was only by military force that they had tal{e11 possessio11 of this regio11 and it '\\ras 011ly by n1ilitary force, as the seriot1s cl1 alle11ge to o r test of their possession in the \i\lal \i\lal i11cident itself shO'\\'S, tl1 at they contint1ed to }1old it. Tl1ey also held the region clandestinely i11 a juridical sense, that is, i11 the sense of never havi11g avo,ved this pos­ session or notified it to tl1e other governments of the ,vorld; eve11 tl1eir own n1 aps, as we have seei1 , de11 ied it. T·hey l1eld this territory ve ry precariously in both tl1e original physical sense of tl1 at test (as has jt1st been sl10,v11 ) and also in the later jt1ridical sense of tl1e term, when or1e takes into consideration not only the provisions of the tripartite treaty of 1906 bt1t also tl1e plain provisions of tl1e League of Nations Covenant. If the requiren1 e11ts of the la,v for effective possession, irrespective of the question of title, are that it sl1all be possession riec vi, riec clam, 1iec precario, tl1e11 tl1 e Italian possession was surely inadequate; that the amount of time elapsed ,vot1ld l1ave bee11 i11adequate to create title even if possession had been perfect l1as already bee11 shown. \:\ll1at is mo re to the point, perhaps, the Italians themselves did not seem to believe tl1 at tl1 ey were on tl1eir o,vn te rritory. Tl1is is mo re in1portant, because tl1e Commission was, even under the restrictions of August 3, left free to consider this point, althougl1 it finally passed o,,er tl1 e matter in silence in view of the decisio11 on the facts of the case. Tl1eir own maps sl10\\1ed that they did not believe tl1at they v.rere on Italian territory, as did also the absence of any protest on their part aga.i11st the presence of Etl1iopian a11d British forces, as al ready cited. Various utterances of the Italian 1\1.Iinister in Addis Ababa and the Italian commander of 'W_al Wal confi rm tl1 is i11ference 1 particularly a letter of tl1 e Italian Minister at Addis Ababa to the Ethiopian For­ eign l\1inister.1 The Italians promised or perhaps threatened on one or t,vo occasions, in the course _ of tl1 e negotiations between J.anuary and May, 1935, to prove that this was Italian territory ,vhen a suitable oc­ c �sion sho �ld arise.2 But they never got around to this demonst ra­ tion. Their strenuous efforts to eliminate the questio11 of territorial . s?vere1gnty from the scope of jurisdiction of tl1 e Arbitration Commis­ sion naturally shed tl1eir own implications upon the question. The 1


See Annex G, infra, p. 38.


Appendix 2/46 to C.230.(1)M.114(1).1935.VII.



testimon)' of all the Italia11 Officers at Bern betokened the same lack of conviction on tl1is point. 1 TJ1is lack of convictio11, not to say inten­ tion, by itself, and apart from tl1e facts of occupation ancl time, is fatal to any argt1ment for Italian sovereig11ty in this regio11, because tl1e law requires in these 111atters a belief i11 the soundness of tl1eir title or a determination on tl1e part of tl1e occt1pant:s by force. Several mi11or matters 1nigl1t also be co11sidered in addition. The Italia11 representati,,es argued at various times that the force of soldiers (say I ,ooo) which acco1npa11ied the Anglo-Etl1iopia11 commission at the beginning of the incide11t, ,vas too large by far to be e11titled to be re­ garcled as a bo11.a fide escort, that 110 qt1estions of the Iocatio11 of tl1e frontier or the bou11clary line could legitimately IJe raised by the Ethio­ pians ,vith the Italian autl1orities at Wal \Val in any case, and tl1at the Etl1iopian attack (sic) \Vets an unprovol{ed attack \Vithotrt \varning '' against tl1e ltalia11 troops. Tl1e sou11cl11ess of the first argument nat­ urally collapses if \\1al Wal is fo11nd to be acttrally in Etl1iopian terri­ tory, but, apart from this, tl1e evidence on tl1e normal size of military escorts in tl1is region varied so ,videly tl1at tl1e point ca11not probably be decided very rigidly; experts 011 African practices in this region \Vere of no single opinion 011 this point. As for tl1e at1tl1ority of the local commanders, ,vl1ile it is perfectly reasonable tl1at they sl1ould not be i11volved in a discussion of juridical and otl1er problen1s not con­ cerni11g them, it surely could also l)e demanded tl1at tl1ey should be u11der correct instructions as to ,vl1ere the fro11tier lay and l1ave power to deal ,vitl1 any challe11ge raised against tl1eir autl1ority l)y referring matters to tl1eir superior officers; there ,vas a notable lack of any evi­ dence that they l1ad bee11 instructed that tl1is territory \Vas ,vithin Italian fro11tiers. Finally, the argt1ment tl1at the attack \Vas a surprise attack ,vas fatally weal<:ened by t\vo sets of consideratio11s: tl1e first, the argun1entation of tl1e Italians tl1emselves tl1at an attacl<: l1ad been in preparation agai11st tl1em to tl1eir certain k:no,vledge for a period of several months, and tl1e second, tl1e fact tl1at the clasl1 occurred after the t,vo li11es l1ad been facing eacl1 other at a few meters' distance, arms i11 ha11d, for t,velve days, especially vvhen one of the forces had clearly provoked counter-attack by forceable seizure of territory not its O\Vn. All of tl1ese legal questions migl1t have provoked interesting discus­ sions if tl1ey had not been eliminated by Cot1ncil action and a decision of "no responsibility" on the facts. i\lthough these questions were hardly ever mentioned in tl1e discussio11s before the Commission a11d never became the subject matter of joir1t consideration and decision, they may of course have l1ad an inartict1la.te and even st1bconscious influence on the individt1al members of tl1e Commission. 11

1 Annex

N, i1ifra, p. 93.

L1_..1 (/")

'' . .

...--.; r

' ,·., �./.,, ., __,,, ....

�--1· �· ..





As for tl1 e 11 ature of tl1 e rest1lt, perhaps tl1 is 1nay be cl1aracterized a little furtl1 er in conclusion. Tl1e case arose, it \vill be re111e 111 berecl, out of a protest made by Italy agai11 st an alleged Eth� opia11 attacl{ upo11 }1 er forces.1 It is true tl1at Etl1iopia l1 ad jt1st prev1ot1sly protested 011 I1er part against an alleged Italian attaclc, 2 but tl1e 1 talian protest \Vas mucl1 1nore violent a11d mt1 cl1 n1ore de1na11 di11g a 1 1d ,vl1 at 1_ s more to the point at the present moment the arbitration arose actually ot1t of tl1 e Ethiopia11 reply to and defence ag·ainst tl1e Italian accusation. Further than tl1is, it is clear-a,nd it "';as clear by l\1ay r-tl1at tl1e Ro111e Gov­ er111nent wanted a decision i11 its favor ,1s a juridical basis for its general case against, not to say attack upon, Etl1 iopia. I11 otl1er '"'ords, tl1 e case arose in tl1 e form of a11 Italian cl1arge against Etl1 iopia a11d a denial or defe 11ce 011 tl1e part of tl1e latter cot111 tr)'· Tl1at being tl1e situation, tl1 e result was very definitely a ,,ictory for Etl1iopia. It ,vas a verdict of acquittal or of 11 ot guilty ii1 circt1 m­ sta11ces \vl1ere a powerful plcLintiff \Vas pressi11g vigorot1sly for a verdict of conde1n11atio11 against a ,veal{ and l1elpless defenclant. It \Vould 1Je i1 11proper a11d superfluous to i11sist that tl1e result flowed, hovvever, inevitably fro 1 n tl1e sta,te of tl1e e,,ide11 ce a11 d \Vas 11 ot extractecl or in1 posed by a11y lcind of force or i11 fluence from a11y qttarter \vhatsoever. Tl1e cor1currence of the two Italia11 members of the Con11nission i11 tl1e final vote 1nay be taken as ar1 i11dication of tl1e situatio11 011 this point, 1111 less it can be supposed tl1at their votes \Vere give11 in order to avoid a more severe (n1ajority) judgn1 ent whicl1 1nigl1t l1 a,re if t1na­ nimity l1 ad not bee11 acl1ieved 011 the general acqt1ittal. It may be adcled that Count Aldrovandi was immediately e1nployed as Italian representative in the Asse1nbly of tl1e League of Nations meeti 11g the same month. On the other l1a11d, the qt1estion may be raised as to tl1e effect whicl1 a different ty1Je of decision, one defi 11itely agai11 st Italy or agai11 st Etl1 io­ pia, 111 igl1t l1ave l1ad upon the 011tcome of t]1 e \vhole situatio11. If such a decis�o1� could l1 ave been J1ad in Ja11uary or February, the result _ l1t, 1t 1s true, have l)een very nug different. But it is doubtful \Vhetl1er a decisio ? ho! ding· Ital>' responsilJle \\rould l1 ave l1 ad ai1y effect i 11 Sep­ tem? er; 1 t m1 gl1 t have stre11 gtl1e11 ed tl1e world-vvide opposition to t11 e ItaJ 1 � n progr�n1, but it ?robably ,vould not l1ave restrained Italy. A _ _ dec1s1011 holding Eth1op1a responsible for th e figl1ting of December 5 wou!d not, on the othe� ha11d, l1 ave '"'eake11ed tl1e Etl1 iopiar1 posit ion . or strengthened the Ital1a11 case very n1t1cl1 i 11trinsically, ur1 les s it could �ave bee11 base� upon tl1e proposition that Wal Wal was Italian ter­ ritory. And tl11s it could 11ot have bee11 , in vie,v of tlle facts aild also Testin1ony of Governor Rava at Bern, ·11,-t'b ·� r �J pp. 97-98; Annexes 2/3 and 2/6 to C.49.IVI.22.1935 .VII • • 1 i-u., J\nnex 2/5. 1



i11 vievv of t11 e actio11 of the Cotincil of At1gt1st 3-for it mt1st be ren1e1n­ bered t11 at tl1e actio11 of the Cou11ci] on tl1 at date ct1t both ,vays and \VOLtlcl l1 ave preve11ted a11 y decisio11 on tl1 at questio11 eve11 i 11 favor of Italy. Sucl1 a decision ,votild of course l1 ave give11 Italy stro11g adcli­ tional basis for argume11 t a11d propaga11da, a11cl prob,:1,bly vvot1lcl l1 ave doomecl i11 adva11ce, by an effect of moral or psychological sabotage, ar1 y Leag11e actio11 to cl1 eclc tl1e Italia11 adve11ture; as tl1 i 11 gs t11r11 ed out, tl1 is also ,vo11lcl not l1a,,e .1nade mucl1 differe11 ce. I11 the act1.1al ot1tcome, tl1e decisio11, ctpart from avoidi r1 g a11y of tl1 ese effects, dicl 11ot l1ave great i11fl11e11ce. By l\!Iay r, Rome, ,vl1 etl1 er or 11 ot beca11se sl1e fearecl defeat i,1 the vVal \Val arbitration, l1 acl, thro11gh tl1 e moutl1 of a colo11ial secretary, brotl1er of Professor Lessona, lJegun to i11dicate tl1at ,vider a11d 111.ore exte11 ded olJjectives vvere to be sougl1 t in tl1e conflict ,,;i tl1 Etl1iopia, no n1 atter ,vl1 at degree of vindicatio,1 or s,ttisfactio11 111 ight IJe obt,ti11ed in respect to tl1 e vVal \,:V:al incident. Fron1 tl1is ti111 e 011, \\rl1 ile not apparently relaxing any degree of desire a11 d ef(ort to obtair1 a favoralJle decision in tl1 e arbitration, tl1e I taliar1 Gover11me11 t tl1re\V a constar1tl)' i11creasing e111pl1 asis 011 tl1 e general eco11 on1 ic a11d political aspects of tl1e situation. By the time the arbitratio11 decision \Vas re11clerecl tl1e \Veil vVal case had been so sur­ ro11nded and overlaid ,vitl1 other 111 atters that, 011 ce its 11 ature and negati,1e effects, as descrilJed above, l1 ad been registered, i111 mediate attention l1 a.d to be turned to tl1 e ge11 eral problem and tl1 e \,Val \iVal case ,�.;as forgotte11 . 1 rfl1 e case re1nains an illun1i11ating clinical stucly i11 tl1e organization and practice of arbitratio11 a11 d in the orgar1izatio11 and JJractice of pacific settleme11 t ir1 g·e11eral. 1

Council l'vlinutes, Septerr1ber 4, 1935, §3608.





1928 V

Both Governn1e11ts undertake to submit to a procedure of conciliation or arbitration dispt1tes ,vhich may arise bet,veen tl1 em and ,vhicl1 it n1ay not l1ave been possible to settle by ordinary diplo1natic n1 ethods, without having recourse to armed force. Notes sl1all be exc11anged by con1 mon agree111 ent bet,veen the t,vo Governme11ts regarding the 1nanner of appointing arbitrators. 1



ADDIS ABABA, 27 Iia111lie I920 (Aug1tst3, I928.) I l1ave tl1 e l1011our to con1 1nunicate to your Excellency that in our OJ)inio11 the provisions of Art. V of tl1 e Treaty of Friendship which we have signed on the 26th of the month of Hamlie of the year of grace 1920, 3 and \vhich we reproduce J1ere verbatin1: "Notes shall be exchanged by co1nmon agreement bet,veen the two Governments regarding the n1 anner of appointing arbitrators'', sl1 ould be understood in the sense that tl1e Etl1 io1)ian Gover11ment will choose two arbi­ trators a11 d the Italian Gover111nent two arbitrators; the four arbitrators ,vill settle the controversy by agreement. If they do not succeed in arriving at an agreen1ent, they will cl1oose by com­ mon agreen1ent a fiftl1 arbitrator and the controversy ,vill be resolved by a n1a­ jority of votes.

Italian }lfi1zister to Ethiopian Regent Annis AB.a\BA, A1igust 4, 1928. IMPERIAL 1-IIGI-INESS,

I }1ave the l1011our to ackno\\,Jedge receipt of the note in ,vhicl1 your Imperial

Highness 11as cornrnunicated to n1 e that, i11 tl1e opinion of the Etl1iopian Govern-

See League of Nations Treaty Ser-ies, Vol. XCIV (1929), pp. 413, 416; present lvriter's translation from the Italian. 2 This translation according to the Italian Chancellor Interpreter, corresponds perfectly in n1eaning to the text in the Amharic language deposited in the archives of the Royal Legation of Italy in Addis Ababa. 3 August 21 1928, Gregorian. 1


TI-IE \VAL \'{AL .1-\RBlTRATION 1 ,vas sig 11e d 011 icl vvh ip sh 1d ie1 Fr of t'' ea 1"r l1e · t J of V • . t · Ar of · 0ns n1en t, ti· 1e prov1s1 1 a11d ·wh1 cJ1 v.r e ar e l1ere , 20 19 ce gra of ar ye tl1e tl1e 26th of the 111011th of I-:Ia1nlie of

0 1 agre�me nt b� ­ n co1 lJy d ge an ch ex be ll sha s ote � "N 1;11 1: tin reproducing ,,erba tr,1tors , . arb 1ng 1nt po ap of er 1 n1 1na e th g n i. ard : ts reg 1en 1 n1 ver Go t,veen tJ1 e tv,ro t will_ cl1oose en rnm ve Go 11 JJia hio Et e t th tha se sen the in od sto sli otild be under 1 e fo 1r arb 1t:ators tl s; tor itra arb o tw t 1en nn ,,eGo 1 lia1 1 Ita tJ � e and s two arbitrator _ 11ot succeed 111 arr1v1ng at do y the If . ent eem agr by sy ,rer 1 tro co1 the will settle J tl1 e an( trJr itra arb h fift a t nen eer agr n mo 1 con b)r ose l cho \\'il y tl1e t, 1en an agreen controversv ,vill be resol, ed b)' a n1a.jority of votes. 1 perial fiigh1 1ess In r you to 1 firn con and n ati{l nic 1mu con this e 1 of ;ot e I tal{ that the al)ove interpretation is ir conforn1 ity witl1 that ,vhicl1 tl1e Italian Go,,ernn1 ent also gives to Article V of tl1e 'freaty of Frie11dship. Accept, your Highness, n1)' n1ost sincere respects. 1

ANNEX C RESOLUTIONS OF TI-IE COlTNCIL OF THE LEAGUE OF Ni\TIONS May 25, r935 REsoruTION No. r (1) \Vhereas, at tJ1 e n1eeting of the Cou 11cil i11 January 1935, t l1 e Italian Gov­ ernn1ent and the Ethio1Jian C�overnment agreed to settle t11 e dispute wl1 icl1 has arisen bet,veen tl1 e1n as tl1e result of tl1e incide11.t a. t \Val-Wa.l on Dece111ber 5th, 1934, in confor1nity with 1\rticle 5 of the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of August 2nd, r928; (:2) Wl 1ereas, direct negotiations throt1gh diplo1 natic cl1 annels 11av-ing been exhausted, the two parties have nominated t11 eir arbitrators as provided for in r'\rticle 5 of tl1e above-mentioned Treaty; (3) 'Vi'hereas, since Decen1ber 5th, 1934, otl1 er incide11ts J1 a, e take11 place on the I talo-Ethio1)ia11 fro11tier a11d the t\vo Govern1nents are in agree1nent in en­ trusting the settlen1ent oi tl1ese incidents to tl1e same arbitrators in accordance ,vit11 Article S of the I talo-.Etl1iopian Treaty; (4) \i\lhereas the Italian Go\.·ern111ent, in view of tl1e rec1uest wl1 ich has been 1nade to it, mak:es no olJjection regarding the nationality of tJ1e arbitrators .nomi­ nated IJy the Ethiopia.n Governn1e11t (5) \iVhereas the two Gover 1unents agree to fix AugL1st 25tl1 ne..xt as the date on whicl1 the procedure of conciliatio11 and arbitration shall be con­ cluded; The Council, Requests the Secretary-General of tl1 e League of Nations to conununic ate in t�e meantime to the Members of tl1 e Cou1 1cil all i 11for1natio11 whicl1 1nay reacl1 him fron1 the two parties, in particuar regardi11g tl1e deve1 01Jment of the arbi­ trators' ,vork. 1

1 August 2, 1928,



7, 1935


No. 2

The Cot1ncil, Lea,ring to the t,vo parties full libert)' to settle the disf)Ute i 11 c1uestion in ac­ cordance witl1 Article S of the I talo-Etl1io1)ian rfreaty of August 2 11 d, 1928, Decides to meet if, in default: of agreen1ent betv.reen the four arlJ itrators for the settlement of the dispute, an understanding shall r1ot ha,,e IJeen reached by July 25th bet,veen tl1ese arbitrators as to the selection of the fifth arbitrator (unless the four arbitrators ag·ree to the extension of this IJeriocl); the Council also decides to meet to exan1ine the situation if on 1\ugust 25th the settle111ent by n1eans of co11ciliatio 11 and arbitration should not have talcen place.



6, 1935

I-Tis Excellency BE-NITO l\1ussOLINI, I-lead of the Governrnent, Rome. At the moment wl1en, responding to tl1 e initiative of their colleagues, the 11on­ Italian rnembers of the Con1111ission formed 6)1 the agreen1ent of l\ilay 25 cross the Italian fro11 tier, tl1ey clesire to ex1)ress to your Excellency, as representing the great and glorious nation whose hospitality they are at tl1is 11 1on1ent about to enjoy, their sentiments of high aJ)preciation for the noble and generous spirit in ,vhich Italy i11tends to ar,ply a procedure of friendshir) and of justice, in the success of \Vl1 ich l1t1n1 anity, desirous of peace, J)laces one of its hoJ)es. [)E LA, PRt\-DELLE.







Tl1e Con1n1ission, unani1nous i 11 noting that tl1e sl1ortness of the periocls fixed by tl1e agreement of l\tlay 25 requires it to impart to its activities all possilJle speed, decicles: TI1e next rneeting \l1ill tak:e place at Scheve11ingen on June 25. 2. Between the {Jresent tin1e and tJ1at date the Parties ,vill l1ave tak: en care to {Jrovide the Con1 1nissioners, ,vitl1 all possible speed, \vith the appropriate doct1mentary material on the subject of tl1e inciclents sub111 itted to then1 by the agreement of l\tlay 251 inclucling: a) the respective conclusions of the Parties; b) their arguments; c) their proofs. I.


3. Otice reconveiied at Scl1eve11ingen, tl1e Co1nn1is�ioners will begir.1 the � x­ amination, among themselves, of the proble1ns submitted to the�n, and, after _ having conferred upon tJ1ese 1nattErs, \vill invite tl1e Parties to give tl1em verbally all useful explanations. . . 'fhis resolutio11, fixing the order of the activities of tl1e Co1� 1n 1 ss1on, leaves intact its Iibert)' to decide later upo.1 any point ,v11icl1 relates to 1ts procedt1re.


Professor PIT:t.1AN B. POTTER, 5 Prom enade clu Pin, Geneva. MY DEAR l\1R. POTTER:

Tl1e Ethiopian Gover11111e11t l1as : ·emitte d to the Secretariat of tl1e League of Nations, \.vl1icl1 has pul)lis}1ed the111 in due time, tl1e 111 e1 nora 1 1da anc) st1pporti1 1g documents relating to the incidentsno,v sulJn1itted to arbitrc1tio11 (No. C.49.M. 22. 1935.VII,etc.). The Ethiopian Govern111e11t has rot )ret receive d fro111 tl1e Royal Italia11 Gov­ ernn1ent any meinorandum or do::ument in resrJ011se to tl1 ose ,vl1ich it has itself presented. I cor1sider it t1 seless to transmit to you the docu 1 nents pub­ lished by tl1 e League. Tl1e Ethiopian Govern111er1t is at the disposition of the arf)itrators to furnisl1 then, with any oral explanations. Accer)t, etc. TECLE I-lAW1\RTATE.



ADDIS AB.<\.BA, Ja.11uar)1 18, 1929.


To I-11s Excell enc>' BLAITEN GBIETA I IER - UY, Director-G,eneral c>f tJ1e !\1inistry of Foreign Affairs, A.ddis Ababa.

By order of 11l) Govern1 nent I ha're tl1e l1011or to inform yot1r Excelle11cy tl1 at . in �e m . o 11tl1 of Decen1l)er certain )ands of pillageJ·s f ron1 Britisl1 S01naliland hav1 �g enter �d Ethiopian t �rri �ory ancl joinecl forces ,vitJ 1 individuals belongin� to tribes subJect to ilie Etl11opian Govern 1 ne11t, i 11 the locality of \iVal \Val ad­ van �ed towa-:d Italia11 S01nalila11d a.nd f)enetrated i 11to our territory nea/ the . Ueb1 Scl1ebel 1 nver carrying out a raid there. Our fron �er �t1�rds �t1cceeded hovrever i n overtakii 1g the pillagers, recoveri11g _ _ all tl1e cattle, k1lJ 1ng eight p1lla.gers, and \Voun d ing se,;eral otllers. i


4, 1935


The Gover11 ment of Englisl1 (sic) Son1 aliland has been inforn1 ed of the fore­ goii1g and in turn I i11forn1 :your Excellenc)' of it to the end that you 1nay be so good as to order tl1e Governors of the frontier provinces to 111aintain order and prevent sucl1 raids fro111 being organized in Ethiopian territory to our detri111 ent. i\ccept, etc. Tl1e 1Vli11ister,



ANNEX II PROCEEDINGS OF TI-IE COl\tilVIISSION AT SCHEVENINGEN Jttly 4, 1935 1�11 e Cor11n1ission, in tl1e {)resence of its Secretaries and the f\gents of tl1e t,vo governn·1ents, gave tl1e floor to lvlr. LESSONA, tl1 e Agent of the I talia11 Govern1nent, \v]10 spoke as follo\.vs: Gentle111en: 111 \'ie,v l,f tl1e procedure decided UJ)On by the Co1nn1 ission at its n1 eeting in l\ 11ilan I l1 ave thougl1t that tl1e Parties ,vould be ask:ed 1nerely to give orally· a11 y e.�plan,1tions necessar :y regarding tl1 e proble1ns referred to tl1e Arbi­ trators. It is, therefl,re, solely in deference to the ,vish eXJ)ressed by the Com1nissio11 itself t.l1 at I ha,,.e a.greed to n1 ak :e a direct statement of the argumerrts, tl1e evide11ce, and tl1 e conclusions of n1y Government, ,vhicl1 , incider1 tally, are all l{no,vn, seeing· that the1, are co11tai11ed in the Italian Government's lvlen10randu1111 several copies of \vhich ,vere cleposited ten da1,s ago. Like all huma11 e\rent:s in general, the engagc111ent at \;Val \1/a.1 ca11 only be explained if certai11 pre,:ious occt1rre11ces are borne i11 n1 ind "\vhicl1 sho,v th,1t this engageme11t ,vas tl1 e result of premeditation, 1nilitar)' J)rer)aration, ancl {)rovoca­ tion 011 the part of tl1e J:::tl1iopians. ,.fhis is stril�ingly demonstrated in the Italia11 docu1nents v.rl1icl1 l1ave not bee11 refuted by any reasoning or evidence. I shall l1 ere refer to the docu111ents contained in the i\ifemorandurn of the Italian Govern111 en t. T11ere is, first of all, a telegra1n fro1n the Gover11n1en t of Italian Somaliland to the Colonial l\1Iinistry, Ror 11 e, dated l\!Iarcl1 30, 1934. (1-\nnex le of the Italian is of opinio11 that ]\;J en1orandt1n1 ), in \.vhich it is stated: "rfhe Consul (at IIarrar) fron1 these and other comn1unications it 111ight be adcluced t11at a slow ancl secret concentration of armed men is proceeding. '"fl1ey are to concentrate in the garriso11s i11 Ogac!en, Bale and Sot1 th Bale \vith a vie\.v to sorne sur1)rise action. 'fhree large bands are said to be i11 I)rocess of organization at the san1e time, one of vvhich is to proceed to Bale, ,vhile anotl1 er is to be under tl1e co1111nand of On1ar Sarnan tar, and the third co11 sisting of 500 Sornalis recruited i11 tl1 e Gerire, is to be under the co111n1and of 011e Ato .Ali Nur, of Dolio. This last band is said to be destined to ... our peo1)le botl1 in the direction of \!\larder and of IVIus­ tahil. Tl1 c al)ove is co111111unicated to the Govern111ent for confirmation". TJ1 e11 co1nes a telegram froin the Govern1nent of Son1alila11d to the Colonial .i\lfinistry·, Ro1ne, dated f\j)ril 4, 1934 (Annex Id of tl1e Italian lVIen1orandu111),


v,,}1 ich states: "It \Vould seern tl1at the t\VO groups of a tl1ot1sand 111e11 eac�1 c,� n­ sisting in part -of Son1atis and in J)art of Ethiopians, all ar 111ed by the Etl11op1 an Govern111 ent, are intended for an attaclc 011 \1/al \i\Ta[ a11d \;\larder, tl1e \Veils of v.,I1 icl1 are at present used for ,vatering !)urposes I):',' very large nun1bers of our subjects." . There is further a telegra111 sent b:i,r tl1 e Governrnent o f S011 1al1land to the Colonial f\1Iinistry 011 June 14, 1934 (f\nnex lg of the Italia1 1 lVIemora1 1du1n), in ,,,hic11 it is stated: "Situation at \Varder and \,Val vVal. Dt1ri1 1g tl1 e last ten clays of l\1ay, an Etl1 iopian garrison has been establisl1ecl at Guerlo� ubi a11d is stated, according to recent i11for1 nation, to be co111posed of s? 1ne thirty ar1ne� n1en of ,vl101n ten are Ali Wenah, con1n1anded b:',' the notorious Al1n1ecl Asl11. The garrison is supplied fro111 Gabre Darre, ,vhicl1 is stated to l1 ave forty arn1ed men in garrison. According to ru111 ors , 01nar Sa1nantar is expected t o arrive shortly in the district ,,dth a nur11 ber of me11 to attaclc vVal \Val." Tl1ere is also a telegram fron1 the Go,rernrnent of Somaliland to tl1e Colonial Ministry, dated July Ir, I 934 (f\nne.x 111 of the Italian :rvr e1 norandt1n1), \vl1 ich reads as follows: "On1 ar San1antar, ,:vitl1 a grou1) of S01nali irregulars a1not1nting apparently to al)ot1t 100 1ne11 1 is s01ne five l1 ours av,,ay fro111 \\Tai Wal and seve11 hours fron1 \1/arder. Ato Ali Nur, ,vitl1 (it is said) s01 ne 400 armed S01nalis, is reported to l)e at !\1arsi11 Galgalo, nortl1 of \Varder (see Zaccari11i I :2,000,000 map). Strong patrols of On1 ar Sa111 antar's tribes are stationed ir1 tl1e neigl1 bor­ l1ood of \i\lal \?val. Tl1e Con11nissio11er of NlL1dL1gh and tl1 e officer co111 manding tl1e sector of the Galadi ar111 ed bands, ,vho proceeded to \1/arder, have been tl1ere si11 ce the end of June for the purpose of orga11 izing the defence." I�astly, there is a telegran1 fron1 tl1 e Gover111nent of Son1aliland to the Colonial I\1inistf)', dated Noverr1ber 22, 1934 (An11ex 3 of the Italian l\1Ie1 11orandum) which "A body consisting of al)out four hL1ndred armecl 111 en, wl1icl1, as I have already reported, rnoved d11ring the last few days to Ado, aboL1t SL'C hours' n1 arch fron1 vVa:rder, l1 as now been reinforced (al)out six hundred men i1 1 all) and l1as rno,,ecI to tl1e in11 nediate vicinity of ot1r arn1 ed ba1-ida. post at \Val \1/al. yfhe con1n1ander of tl1is !Jody, Fitaurari Shiferra, asked for a11 interview with our frontier autl1orities. As to tl1e intentions of these ar1ned n1e11, the occt1pa­ tion of \\iarder and \1/al \Val ,vas n1entioned as t1sual, bt1t I tl1i11 k tl1 ese rurnors are exaggerated. It is also reporter] that ar1ned men in tl1 e Gerlogubi zone (the nu1nber is not stated) are mal{_ing for the \i\Tal \i\Tal and Warder zo11e." A sumn1 ary of these n1ovements of troops and arn1ed irregtrlars is annexed to tl1e Italian 1\1emora11 du1 n (A11nex 36). In the ligl1t of tl1ese facts, 11 0w did the Italia11 Governn1 ent beha,re? \,\ll1 ile tl1 e Govern111ent notified the Ethiopian autl1orities of tl1ese 1nove111ents of troops and arrned irregulars, and, in tl1e 1nost seriot1s 111anner, dre,v its attention to these a �gressive prep�rations, the Colonial autl1orities reco111 n1ended the great­ e3t restra111t to tl1e ofhcers co1nn1anding the frontier posts tl1 reate 11ecl. For pro�f, I ,vou]d here again refer the Con1 1nissio11 to the clocu1nents a 11 ne.xed to tJ1e I t�11 �11 1\1 Iemorandun1. 1\ telegrarn se11 t by tl1e I talia11 Ministry of Foreign . Af1a1rs to the Royal Legation at Addis Al)aba on Ap1·1'l 2 r 19,. 4 (A11nex Ie o f the I tal1an 1Vle1norandun1) reads: "Tl1e Governn1ent of So111aliland li as coiifirrned the reports tl1at t}1e Etl1iopians are for1ning tv,,o arn1 ed grotips of 50111aJis and 4





4, 1935

Et1 1iopians consisting of I,ooo n1 en eacl1, under the co1nn1and of Sulta11 Ussen Elmi of Makalli, and of the refugee On1ar Sa1 nantar, for the purpose of attack: ing Wal vVal and \i\Tarder, t11e ,vells of ,vhich at present for1n the water st1 J)ply for nuri1 erous grou1)s of our sulJjects. Tl1e Colonial i\liinistry l1 as instructecl the Governn1e11t of l\1ogadiscio to tak:e the necessary steps to prevent a surprise attack b)' tl1ese n1 e1 1, ,:vl1icl1 migl1t alter tl1e existing positio11 i11 tl1 e localities indicated above. Tl1e above is co1n 1nt111 icated to you for inforn1ation and to enable yot.1 to dra,:v once n1ore the Etl1iopian Govern111 ent's 1nost earnest atten­ tion to the aggressio 11 ,vl1icl1 Decljatcl1 Gabre l\tiarian1 is setting on foot against us, and furtl1er to fix tl 1 e resi)onsibilities of the Ethiopian Governn1e11 t." The Royal Italian Legation at Addis Ababa telegraphed to the l\1inistry for Foreign f\ffairs on f\pril 29, 1934 (Annex If of the Italian lvle1 norandu1n), as follo,,,s: "In accordartce ,vitl1 Your Excellency's i11structions, I rlrew the atten­ tion of tl1e .lvlinister for Foreign Affairs to tl1e attitude of Dedjatcl1 Gabre l\.1arian1 and to tl1e in 1 1Jropriety of his action in entrusting a n1 ilitary co1n 1nancl ·to an Italian refugee sentenced for n1 urder. l further informed l1 i1n that the Gover11111 ent of S0 111 aliland 11 a.d IJee1 1 con1pelled to take the necessary ste1Js a11rl added that tl 1e \Vl1 ole responsibility for any incicle r1 ts \vhicl1 1nigl1 t occur n1 ust rest \vith tl1e Etl1iopian Go,,ernment." Tl1e Governn1ent of S0111aliland sent the Colonial I\linistry 011 July II, 1934, a telegra1n (An11ex Ih of the Italian 1VIemoranclun1 ), reporting in.fer alia: "The Cornmissioner of l'vf udugl1 and the officer co 1T1 1 11anding the sector of tl1 e Galacl i armed bands, ,vho proceeded to \iVarder, have been tl1ere sir1 ce the encl of J unc for the 1Jur1Jose of organizing the defence ancl preve11 ting incidents being pro­ voked on our part. Tl 1 e 1arder- post has been reinfrJrccd by 100 du bats. I have taken steps for fifty n1en on can1 els to keep ,vatch bet,veen \iVarder ancl Domo." A telegra111 se11 t by tl1 e S0111 aliland Governn1 e11t to the Colonial lVIinistry on Nov·en1ber 22, 1934 (only a fev.r da)'S before the engage1nent) reported the ste{JS • tak . en in tl1e follo,ving ter111 s: "I l1 ave given the follo,ving forn·1al instructions in writing to the officers in con1n1and of the sector: So l011g as the ar 111 ecl 1:::thio­ pians do not use arn1 s agai1 1st our ba.nda. posts, refrai11 fro11 1 any hostile act \vl1 at­ soever; but if armed n1e11 attack: our positio 11s, counter by defending the 1n. If necessary, l shall COJ11IllUI1icate ,vith you furtl1er." Unfortunately, tl1 e bacl 11e,vs , .vhich had bee11 hea.rd by the Italian Colonial , authorities \Vas not idle gossip. On Nove1T 1 ber 22 the so-called "escort" arrived at \,Val Wal, one day before the arrival of the f\nglo-Ethiopian i\ilission. I l1ave used the ,vords "so-called 'escort'" for-and this ,viii clear the ground rJf a rather irnportant question-tl1is ,-vas 1nucl1 1nore tl1an a 111ere escort, the latter being con1posed only of thirt), Asl{aris of tl1e Cain el Corps and fifty Etl1iopian regular soldiers. This is irrefutably proved by tl1 e following docu1 nents submitted by tl1 e Ethiopian Governn1 ent.· In the Ethiopian Government's .l\!Iemorandum of January 15, 1935, t,vo let­ ters from Captain Cimmaruta are reproduced, one written on September 26, 1934, tl1e other on November 30, 1934, ,vhen botl1 Com 1 nissions l1 ad already re­ mo,1ed to Ado. In tl1e first of these letters, Captain Cimmaruta asked Fitaurari Shiferra: "What do you want with all these armed me11?" In the second, tl1e







same Captain Cim111aruta ,vrote to Lt. Col. Clifforcl: "I ,vould aslc Y? U to inforrn n1e as soor1 as possil)le wl1ether the l1t1ndreds of arrned 1nen carrying "'eapons stationed before \iVal \,Tai are, or ari! not, arrned 1ne11 of tl1 e Etl1ioJ)ian escort.'' On page 3 5 of t11e Ethiopia11 .11ide-Jl1i1noire of June 12, 1935, tl1ere is a state1ne 1 1t by Ato Len1 me Ibrak:ou, a sick attEndant, to the effect that, even after the cle­ parttire of the Anglo-Ethio1 )ia11 Comnission, tl1e so-called "escort" stil� consisted of about nine l1undred men and that t11ere ,vere son1e l1t1ndred sentr ies per111a­ nently on duty. Reverting to the Ethiopian l\'1enorandu111 of January 15, I note tl1at on page 2r: par. 19-20, J..,t. Col. Cliffordstates that: "011 tl1 e 1norni11g of Noven1ber 25 botl1 missions returned in on.e sin6le convoj to f\clo, ,vhere tl1ey are a,vaiting the reply of the Italian Governn1ent" and that ' 1 the Etl1iopian escort re1nained in its position at vVal \i\Tal to avoic any aJ)pearance of a retreat ,vl1 icl1 1nigl1 t cause a rising of the poptilation of the Ogaden ". Tl1us, seeing tl1a.t the real es­ cort l1ad already returned 011 November 25 it is clear that the so-callecl escort whicl1 remained in tl1e line" in greatstrength," as Lt. Col. Clifiord states in par. 2 of his re1)ort, ,vas in reality a body , )f troops concentrated for clearly aggressive purposes. It is in1portant to note in this connectio11 that, tl1 ough Captain Cim1n,:1ruta aslccd Lt. Col. Clifford tostate ,vl1etl1er the hu11clrecls of 1nen ,vho l1ad ren1ained i11 position ,vere, or ,vere not, ar111ecl 1ne11 of l1 is escort, tl1 e Englisl1 officer ca.refull)' evaded giving a repy. ,.fl1is point ,vas brought out in a tele­ gran, sent by tl1e Gover11ment of It1lian Son1aliland to the Colonial .lVIinistry, dated SeJ)te1nber 27, 1934 (Annex � to the Italian .lVIen1ora.ndu1n) \vl1ere it is statecl: "Col. Clifford refused to rep !y to Captai 11 Ci1nn1aru ta's forrnal request, i.e. that Clifford sl1oulcl state ,vhetl1�r l1 e could regard all the Etl1iopian forces op1Josite our J)ositions as the escort of tl1e J oi 1 1t Commission." Thus, it is no escort ,vhicl1 is statoned before vVal \,Val, but a large body of troops, whose duties can be only too easily understood, and �tlso v.rhy it ,vas tinder t11e orders of the Governor of a large 1nd important con1n1and in Ethiopia. I-Io,,, did the Italian officers behave and ho\v did tl1e Ethiopia11 officers behave? Lt. lVI usti, a 1 1 Italian officer, sent the following letter, whicl1 is reproduced in Annex I of tl1e EthioJJian 1-1 emoranclum: 1


23 Chaba1t 1934 (14 }Jedar 1927).

Peace be ,vitl1 thee. I inforrr. thee by letter ,:vl1at I sl1all con1r11unicate to thee .(1nore fully?) l1ereafter. U �1derst �nd ,veil. Yesterday evening I e: de 1red to speak of plea ant tl11ngs \V1tl1 thee. Before "''e 11 1eet after aluo � � tl1 e arr1va� �f �he repre �entat 1 ve, . of ou�- Governn 1ents. I wisl1 to co111e to thee to obta n i 1nforn1a�10? or I ':1sl1 to 111fc,rm tl1e Gover11n1e11t, a11d tintil I con �fne the� for negotiat1ons, I Jeg tl1ee not to provok :e an)' i 11 cidents \\ritI1 _ \Val. I n1 yself ha,,e gi\ren orders tl1at it provoke the . b.anda 7:10,v at \Val no 1nc1dent _w1 th the Abyssinian soldiers. Tl1ou also o-ive tl 1 e sa1ne order to thy s °.ld1ers. If tl1ou hast 1ny business to trans:ct ,vith us do not apply to the comn1ander of the sold iers at Wal Wal but applv to 111e I rriy­ i eat \,Varder. The !Jest we�e tl1at we shot1lcl discuss together. · Under­ self l v stand that well and I await tl1y reply. �:· Jr:z �: I would point out that tl1is docun1ent has an illegible sigr1ature. If 1t 1s attributed to an Italian officer I ,vant to knov.r v.rJ10 tli at officer is.


4, 19.35


Mr. LESSON,\: It is Lt. l'vlusti. I assert that Fitaurari Sl1iferra replied to the letter i11 c1uestio11, pointing out tl1 at it was ,vritten in Arabic, a langt1age wl1 ich he did not understand. As he \Vas unable to ol)tain a correct translation, he asked tl1at another letter shoulcl be sent, \vritten either i11 A1 nharic, Frencl1 , or Italian. I an1 sorry to have to point out that this declaration of Fitaurari Sl1 i­ ferra is entirely false. Its sole ol)ject ,vas to avoicl giving a definite reply and to conceal as long as possible his real inte11tions. Fitaurari Shiferra understands ancl writes Arabic \'ery ,vell as is proved by the letter ,vhicl1 he sent in that language \\'hen replying on No,1en1 ber 22 to a previous co1nmunication from Lt. Musti. This letter reads as follows:

[Literal tra1islatio 1i.]

Kno,,,, 011 Lieutenant, that thv letter arri\.'ed and I 11ave understood ,vhat it contains; the ,vords that thou hast ,vritte11 in thy letter I have read. Thou ancl I, ,ve 111ust rneet together and talk'., but thy asl{aris have con1e to tis and are seel{ing a quarrel. Speak thou to tl1 y askaris, ,vhen ,ve \.Viii talk together, that is, \.vithdra,v thy asl{aris. (Sig1ied)


Governor of tlie Ogaden and Jijiga. l\.-1r. DE I�,\ PRADELIJE: \Vl1 ere ,vas I�ieut. lvf usti at this time? lvlr. LESSON,\: I-ie ,vas at \i\iarder. Captai11 Ci 1111naruta, who l1 ad hurried quicl{ly tc> the spot, fron1 l1 is residence in vVarder, J)roceeded to tl1 e l�ritisl1 can1 p \.vl1ere, as \.Vas his duty as the officer in com­ · discuss any questio11 n1and of a tl1 reatened f)osition, he refused-and rightly s o-to that ,vas not ,vithin l1 is provi11ce. I Ie - ret)lied, as I1e ,vas bound to do, and as is stated in Lt. Col. Clifford's report reproduced in the Ethiopian IVIen1orand t1 n1 of Janual"}' 15, 19,35: "that l1e, as a soldier, ,vas not entitled to discuss a problem which concer11 ed the political authorities 011 ly." Nevertheless, though the Ethiopians l1ad settled do,vn 11 ear tl1 e ,veils necessary for their sul1sistence (see the Ethiopian l\tle1 norandu1 n of January 15, 1935, par. 2, and the re1)ort of Lt. Col. Clifford, par. 12), ancl though they had no need of the water offered by Captai1 1 Cin1111aruta, as is sho,vn by the very fact tl1 at tl1 ey lived se,reral days ,vithout using it, they ,vere given I)ermission to tak:e for the Commission any ,vater ,vhich the latter required at: any ,veil behind the line of l1 is ba1ida (Captain Ci11 1111 aruta's). But Captain Cimn1aruta ,vent even further: he 111ade cl very honorable and reasonable proposal \vhich \Vas recognized to !)e so by Lt. Col. Clifford. This proposal, ho,ve\:er, ,vas also th,varted by the in1 1no,,able deter1nination of the Ethiopian chief. The J)roposal in questio11 is reproduced on page 15 of tl1 e Ethiopian .IVIernorandun1 ,vhere there is a letter from Captain Cimmaruta dated Noven1ber 24, r934, containing the follo,ving passage: In order to avoid an,, undesirable incidents bet,vee11 your armed forces and ours, ,vhich are at ,present i11 close contact alo11 g t,vo lines, I propose that, pencling the reply, ,ve sl1 ould rnaintain int�ct our prese11t_ line? (one Italian ancl the otl1er yours) si1npl>' by a reconnaissance of the s1tuat1on on the spot which ,ve might carry out together. \V� must botl1 endeavour by appropriate supervjsion to prevent these lines be111g crossed. In tl1 e same report of Lt. Col. Clifford (see page 20 of tl1e Etl1 iopia11 l\tlen1oran­ dum of January r5, r935) it is stated that: "altl1ougl1 in form Captain Cimma-


ATION R IT B R A L \ . T; \'\ L ;\ \V E J.:I T

came perfectly clear be it , ne tu or )p OJ 1d a, 're ce · sin e . b ruta's proposal a1Jpeared to . . . . . . · 1 , . t 1at ot 1 sp e 1 t at • • tl1 on de n t1o ga st1 e , in, e th g n · urt d on, · 1 1ss1 n 11 a 1111 to the ·Abyss d s It·a 1·1an t·err1't·or1·a 1 ar reg as e11t ced e J)r e bl · 1a es1 d un facto situatio11 n 1igl1 t create an . " c1a11ns. f a t t e o s I t 1 I y on 1 ran<: g ou en en be ve }1a d ul ,vo t 1· 01 f ·t .... That was 111ere I:'>' a JJrete.• . • 1 ,vas stinply provisional botl1 sides tl1at the line ,vl1icl1 ,vould l1ave bee1 1 dra,v1 and could in no \.Vay create a JJrecedent. . . . . m1ss1ons, ,vhile On Noveinber 25 the real escort ,vitl1drew w1tl1 _the �wo _ some ti1ousa11 d n1en ,v1·t11 a hu,1dred sentries or so re1 na1ned 111 the l1ne, as stated bv Lt. Col. Clifford hin,self, and the Ethiopian sick : attenda11t, ,vl1ose evidence 1,�s lJeen quoted. As tl1 e fJresence of tl1ese armed. 111en: wl1ose pur pos e �fter the deiJarttire of the Co1nn1issio11s could only be explained 111 one ,vay, const1t�te? a threat and an imn1ine11 t danger, Captai1 1 Cin1 maruta sent to tl1 e Etl11op1an carnp a letter drawing the commandi11g officer's attention to tl1e dangers wl1ich the situation as created lJv hin1 111ight involve. Captai11 Cin1maruta's l�tter is reproduced on page 24 of tl1e Ethiopian Memo­ randum of J anuar}' 15, 1935. It is dated Dece1nl1er 4, 1934, tl1e day before the engage111 ent, and reads as follo\.vs: W1\RDER,

Dece1n.ber 4, 1934.

To 1\1. I7itaurari TESSAMA, M. BANTE, l\1. Fitaurari SHIFERI�A, \i\Tal vVal -Ado. I ha,,e the honour to con1municate to )'OU the follo,ving: I have reliable ne\.vs tl1at a very stro11g concentratior1 of ar111ed rnen is place on the f\byssinian line opposite \;\Tai vVal. I also ha,,e ne,vs that aggressive intentions are entertained against our line. 1�hese arn1 ed n1en e11deavoured last 11 igl1t to force tl1e line a11d to carr)' off the branches marking it. I consider it n1:<,1 duty, as a soldier, to \Varn any of you ,vho receive this let­ ter that I shall be ol1liged to regard any act of violence ai1 ned at forcing the line at any point or at ot1tflank:ing it, or at taking otl1er places occupied by us, as directed against the territory of I-Iis l\1ajesty the l{ing of Italy, and shall forth,vith tak.e steps to pre, ent it. I desire to issue this \.Yarning to you i11 order that no armed man under your orders 111a)' have any illusions tl1 at l1e will obtai11 protection on an:<,' pretext, for any act of ,riolence v.rill be put do,vn by force. 1

The Ethiopians, ho,vever, continued their provocati,,e bel1 avior and re­ n1 ained on the spot for tl1 ey had very defi11 itely detern1i11 ed to seize the district of \\Tai \Val cost what it 1night. This is IJroved in tl1 e cleare st 1nanner L1y the docu1nents ,vbich ,vere found in the Ethiopian can1p . These docun1e11 ts are reproduced in the Men1orandun1 of tl1e I talia:n Govern1nent an d in An1 1exes v 18, etc., of that Ile1nora11 dun1. I-Iere are the 11 10st significant passages fro1n tl1es e letters: Letter froni Barambara.s Ch.ebre -�fichael to Fita11.rar-z'. Alemaio dated 19 Teketit (October 20, 193 ). 4 I se?d you ' Y gr7etings and inform yo u that: i11 tl1e cou1 1try to wl1icl1 :1 . ,ve 11 a,e co1:i1e t1 1 ere 1s not: suffic1e11t wat er tl 1at for ,vhich ,ve have co1 ne, I tl1ink: tl1 except at vVal vVal. f\s regards a..t it is better that it sl1otild be said


4, 1935


tl1 at ,ve came and obtained satisfaction than that ,ve came a11d turned back:. Your advice ,vas better than the advice of others; no,v if we a\vait the others, our own subjects will attack us. If on tl1e co11trary, \Ve sa,, "Forward" tl1 eir O\Vn subjects will attaclc them.' If we lose time, 011r sub­ jects ,vill betray us and we shall be disgraced. Tl1erefore I say: Let us meet and let us take tl1 e ,,.,ater. Written at l'v1esseri. 1

Extract Jro11-i a letter addressed to Fitai, trari Ale11iaio. I sl1ould have liked to discuss several things witl1 you, so that when I l1eard that '}'OU l1 acl gone clo,vn towards the vVebi I ,vas sorry. Nevertl1 e­ less, if this operation tur11 s out well and a.chieves its j)Urpose, the glory ,viii be yours, as you understand. Even the troops v,rhicl1 are 011 our side are reacly and they a,vait your orders as tl1 e orders of God. If we v1ere all assen1�led here, ,ve could confer as to the best way of carrying out the operation. But ,ve can do nothing no,v ,vithou t !{no,ving your arra11ge­ ments. 1�ht1s all the \vork is ready but for the 1noment it has stopped till tl1 e solcliers can be asse1nbled. Order addressed by Fita1trari S/z,iferra to Fita.itrari Ale1naio, elated I 1 Iiedar (1Vovember 20, 1934). Let me knO\\' at once the number of n1 e11 ,vl1 0 l1a\'e come with vou unclcr orders for tt1e military expeclition. Order addressed by F£ta11.rari Sh,1ferra to Cliief Ato Chelaie Tessaninia, dated 18 Jledar (1.Vove1nber 27, 1934). Let me have a state1nent signed by :you giving a list i11 the order of ar­ rival of the men wl10 ha\re at our orders remained at Gerlogubi and of tJ 1 ose wl10 l1 ave not yet arrived and are on the ,vay. Extract fro11i a letter addressed by F,ita1.trari Ale11ia,io to Atio 1.Vfettafierra Ferieu,, dated 25 1-Iedar 1927 (Dece11iber 4, 1934). On their side tl1ey are now beginning to betray their officers ancl to pass over to us. \Ve are at a distance of not more than three 1netres from the Europeans. Our ,veapons are loaded. \Ve have not yet fired but are ready to do so. Pray that the I�ord rnay have j)ity on tis and that the God of Israel n1ay grant that \Ve be found again alive. T11e same phrases are re1)eated ,vord for \Vord in four other letters acldressed by the sa1ne Fitaurari to four other chiefs. these letters bee11 co111 municated to the Etl1 iopian Gov­ iVIr. ]EZE: Ilave ernment? Mr. LESSON.-\: They are annexed to the l\.1e1norandum of tr1e Italian Govern­ ment, several copies of ,vhich ,vere depositecl on June 25. lvlr. DE LA PR,\DELLE: Tl1 e docu111e11 ts ,vere deposited ,vitl1 t11e men1 l)ers of tl1e Commission on June 25. At that tin1 e the IJroblem ,vas 110\v tl1 is Nle1norandum could be tra11smitted to tl1 e representative of the Ethiopian Govern 1nent, wl1ose existence ,vas kno,vn se1ni-officially but ,vl10 11ad not :yet officially presented him­ self. Count Aldrovandi and I agreed that, as I had to go to Paris, I 1,vould hand over a copy of the I talia11 iVIen1 orandu1 11 to the representative of t11 e Ethiopian Govern1nent and anotl1er copy to tl1 e Etl1iopian lVIinister in Paris. This ,vas done last Friday i11 tl1 e case of the representati\7e of t11e Ethiopian Government and the follo\ving day in tl1 e case of t11 e Ethiopian lVIinister. Tl1 is is said si1nply in order to 1nake it quite clear that it is only a fe,v days ago that a real start could have bee11 made ,vith the study of tl1 e documents before us.

THE \\TAL \'\'1\L 1-\RBITRA'fJON

Mr. JfrzE: J 11 any case tl1 e Ethiopian Govern1nent has 1 1ot yet l1ad cognizance of tl1 e doct1n1 e11ts in questio11 . Mr. LESSON;\: It ,vas 011 1)' yesterday that 1 lear 11 ed that lVIr. Jeze v.,as the representati,,e of the Etl1iopian Gover11 n1 e11 t. Furthermore, v.rhen diJ)lo 111atic conversations ,vere J)roceedi11g, e,,en !)efore tl1e Co 1 nmission \Vas appointed, the Etl1 iopian Govern1 nent refused to tak:e cog11izance of th.e docume11ts submitted to it b)' the Italian Government. Mr. MoNT.<\GNA: If l\!Ir. Jeze had co1ne to Sche,,eningen on June 25 l1e also ,vould have been able to tak.e cognizance of these documents. 1\1fr. J1lzE: I reserve the rigl1 t to 111 al{e a reply later. In an)' case I ,vould lil{e to !{now \vhethcr the letters in question l1 ave been officially com111u 11 icated to tl1e Etl1iopia11 Gover11ment i11 tl1 e origi11al so that tl1 ey roulcl lJe verified and regarded as indisputal)le. 1'his is the first tin1 e tl1at I have heard of tl1e111 . I shall no,v need twenty da)�s' tin1e to sencl these letters to tl1e Etl1ior)ia11 Govern1 nent and tv.1enty days to receive confirn1 ation oi their autbenticit)1 • I do not deny tl1eir autl1 enticity but I ,vonder only \.vhcther these letters c�1n l)e brought into the discussio11. l\1r. LESSONA: The Italian Go, ernn1 ent l1ad alreacly offered all tl1ese docurr1e11 ts to tl1e Ethiopian Governn1en t. Tvlr. Ji'::zE: l\' Iay I mal<e a re111 ark? In the docun1 ents \l,,)1 icl1 l have studied I ha,,e found s0111e reference to the attitude adopted I))' Cou r 1 t Vinci, the Italian !\1inister Plenipotentiar)' at Addis Ababa. Count \!inci frequently sa\v IIis rvr ajest�, the l�r111)eror ancl told bin1 that he clid 11ot \Vish to discuss this question officiall>' but on! )' as a private individual. The Ethiopian Government replied that the question \Vas not one for priv,:1te discussion ancl ask:ed Cou 11t: Vinci if he ,vished to negotiate officially as the diplon1 atic representat·ive of the Royal Italian Governn1ent. Private conversations are useless in this discussion. I am 111aking this observatio11 in reply to tl1 e argun1ent advanced that the Ethiopian Go, 1 ernn1ent has refused to tak.e cog11izance of certain docu 111ents; it 111erely ref used to c,1rry on private conversations \Vitl1 Count Vinci. Mr. DEL,\ PRf\DELLE: I thin!{ that tl1 ere is 110 need to magnify tl1 e in1 portance of this incident. Tl1 e only poi11t of interest is ,vl1ether the Ethiopian Govern­ n1 e11t had sufficient cognizance of tl1 e doct11ne11 ts produced to enable it to verify their autl1 enticit)1• It can no\v be concluded that tl1e Ethiopian Gover111 nent l1 as been unable to tak:e cognizance of the Italian l\!Ien1orandu1n as it 0111 : y reacl1ed tl1 e Arbitrators on June 25. l\1Ir. LESSON A: In any case these are docun1ents ,vhich ,vere found in the Etl1iopian camp arid \lthose authenticit)' cottld 11ot be clenied l)y tl1e Etl1 iopian Go,,ernment since tl1 ere ,vere no docun1ents in its archives ,vitl1 \.Vhicl1 tl 1 ey could be compared. Mr. }EZE: I a1n not in a !)Osition to ,,erify tl1e signatures and tl1 e J)ractice is to give due notice of documents before referring to then,. Count i\LDRO\'ANDI: The in1 portant point is tl1 is: the documents in questio11 have been communicated to the representative of t11e Ethio1)ian Governinent in the proper 1nanner and v.,;tJ1 in tl1e time lin1its laid dow11 by tl1 e Co11 1mission at its first meeting in IVIilan. Mr. }EZE: I must maintain my reservations as regards tl1e letters wl1ose· 1


4 1 1935


autl1enticit�, I clo not dis1)ute b11t ,vl1ich I l1a, e not bee 11 able to sul)1nit to tl1 e Ethiopia11 Governrnent. I shall sencl tl1e docume11ts to my Go,,ernn1ent fortl1witl1 . Mr. LESSONA: Anotl1er docu 1nent ,vas also found in the Etl1 io1)ian ca1np. This is an acco11nt-book· i 11 Arabic ir1 ,vhicl1 01nar San1 antar noted the distribu­ tion of l1is arms and ammu11ition. I draw the Con1 1nission's attention to a state­ m.ent entered in tl1is account-l)ool<, on page 133, ,vl1ich I propose to c1uote in full: 1

Abbagaz f\safu, \i\iolde Ze1nat Case ancl Graz1natch fiegu Ba.Iderel)a ask :ed us for 300 J\ustin cartridges (I re1)eat 300 Austin cartridges). rfl1ey received tl1ese cartridges from us, 0 1nar Sa 111antar and l\.1oha 1ned lbral1im, and tolcl us "V\/e ,viii give the1n bac!{ \vhen the ,var is over"; in vie,v of this declaration ,ve ga,,e then1 the cartridges. 1�11 e trutl1 of this staternent is certifiecl b}' our signatures. SignerJ: Abbagaz 1\sfu, 01nar Sa111antar, l\rlah1nud lbrahin1, fingerprints of vVolcle Zernat Case. rfhe inevitable l1a1)pened: On Dece1n!Jer 5, at ahout 5.30 p.m., on a given signal the EthioJ)ian attack ,vas la.unched. The fight lasted the ,vhole night and al)out da,,,n on tl1e 6th tl1 e arrival of reinforce111ents on the Italian line and the possibil­ ity of 1nak·i11g effective use of the tl1ree a.eroplanes and t,vo tanks resulted in the ene111y' attack being victoriously repulsed. rfhat the a.ttack: ,vas launched by the Ethiopians is !)eyoncl question. Even ignoring for the ti1ne being the evidence give11 b)' tl1e lieserters and prisoners (,vhicl1 is favorable to the Italian version) logic itself forces us to this conclusion. It is i111possil)le that Captai1 1 Cin1maruta could l1ave diso!Jeyecl the formal orders received or altered l1is beha,,ior ,vhich ,vas al,vays marked by a desire for peace and a spirit of defe11ce, ,vl1ereas the attack ,vas a sequel to previous Ethio1)ian actions clearly 1)rovi 11g their detern1ination to seize the ,veils. vVhen tl1e san1e actio11 ca11 (loolcing at it in tl1e abstract) be attributed to t,vo djfferent persons, one of \.vhon1 l1as al,vays an.d on frec1uent occasions sho,vn a desire to accornplish it and the otl1er to refrain fror11 doing so, it is ob,,ious that, unless there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary, the action in question has been co1n1 nitted IJy the perso11 v.1ho declared ]1is inte11tion to co1nn1it it and has brought his actions into line ,vitl1 l1is assertions. Tl1 e evidence and the argu1nents as sun1n1arized by 1ne prove, therefore: (a) That the attack at \r\ial \,\Tai launchecl b}' tl1e Ethiopians is tl1e conse­ quence of a deliberate i11te11tion to seize the Italian territory of vVal vVal; (b) That the respo11sibility for this engagement and for other incidents ,vhich occurred s11bsequent to Decen1ber 5 a11cl v,rl1ich are the outcome of the sa1 ne determination to co1n1nit aggression 1r1ust be attributed to the Ethiopia11 Governn1 ent. I-laving said this I conclude: In connection ,vith the sumn1ary staten1ent which I l1ave just made and ,vith the various otl1er arguments contained in the Italiar1 lVIemorandum, I co11firm, on ]Jehalf of ill)' Governn1ent, tl1e conclusions forn1u!ated in par. r6 of the I talia11 Memorandu 1n. If the Con1n1ission does not feel now tl1at it ca11 accede to the al)ove conclu­ sions I ,vould asl{ the Co1nn1issio11 to be good enougl1, in accordance ,vith the terms of the Milan agreement, to fix tl1e date of t11e Venice 1neeting at ,:vl1icl1 the wit-


nesses ,viii be J1 eard. In tl1 e inter,,al tl1 e Italia11 Govern1nent will con1 municate tl1 e list of the ,vitnesses ,vl1ose evideoce it v.rishes to be talcen. In a11y case I ,vould lilce the Con1 uissio11 to put it on record that tl1 e docu­ n1ents l1itl1erto st1bt11 itted by tl1e E:l1iopian Govern 111 e11t have no co11 nection ,vl1atsoever ,vith the i11cide11ts referred to i11 pars. II, 12, 13 and 14. of tl1 e Italia11 Men1orandum. It is tl1 ese incident, \Vl1icl1, in accordance with t11e arrange­ n1ent concluded at Gene,;a bet\>ireen the t,,ro Gover11 n1e11ts on May 25, I1ave to l)e exan1 ined by tl1e Co1nn1 ission and regarding ,vhich tl1e Italian Governrnent l1 as already 11 1ade re1Jresentations to the Etl1 iopian Go,,ernn1 ent. .tVIr. JEZE: \i\ll1at kind of ,vitnesses are referrecl to? Mr. LESSONA: Tl1ey are officials, oficers, a11d, possibl:>' also asl{aris and du bats ,vho took part in the fight. They are ocular, 11ot l1 earsa"),, wit11 esses. l\!lr. DE LA PRADELLE: J\1ay I mab-e a ren1ark? There is no reference i11 tl1e record of tl1 e Milan meeting to any decision t.:'l.k:e11 as to tl1 e hearing of \.vitnesses at Venice. It is true that the ciuestion ,vas mentioned but I cannot agree to ar1 allusion IJeing 1nade to ,vl1at ,vere in fact pri,rate co11 versations. Cou11t ALDitOV,\NDI: It ,vas I 111y�lf ,vho infor111ed t l1e representative of tl1 e Italian Govern111ent ,v11en l1e ask:ed r.1e and I explained to l1 i1n 111 y ,,iew 011 tl1e matter and the pro!Jabilities. Mr. DE LA. PllADELLE: If this refere11 ce is 11ot deleted fron1 tl1 e conclusions of the Italian Government's represe11tative, 11 1y re111ark:s mt1st be recorcled i11 tl1 e 1ninutes. l\!Jr. MONTAGNA: \Ten ice ,vas 111 ent:011ed in tl1e lVIila11 co11versations. T\1 r. DR L.J.\ PRADELLE: rfl1e Iv1ilan ,nee tings ,;.vere private. The represcn tative of the Italian Governn1 ent can ask: tohave ,vitnesses heard. I-Je ca11 not cite as a forn1al resolution a sin1 ple suggestion made in the course of a co11versatio11 ,vhicl1 sl1ould ha,re bee11 k:efJt confidential until tl1 e Co1n111issio11's I)roceedings endecl. Mr. }EZI�: I n1yself l1 ave no k: no,vledge of tl1 e allusio11 n1ade. [The representatives \\rithdrev.r to enable tl1 e Co11 1n1ission to settle tl 1e 111atter.] On the meeting 1:ieing resu1ned: Mr. LESSONA: I agree to a1nend 1 ny conclusions as follo,vs: In connection ,vith the sun1 n1ary \.Vhich I l1 ave just 1nade a11d the various other argun1ents contained in the I talia11 l\1emora.ndu1n, I confirrn, on behalf of my Go,1 ernn1ent, the conclusio11 s fJr1uulated in par. 16 of tl1e Italia11 l\1e 1110randum: Subject to furtl1 er conclusio11s tl1e Italian Govern111e11t invites the Com­ missio11 to find: . (a). Tl �at tl1 e . incide11 ts reporied to the Co1n1nission toole place on the I 1 11e� 1nd1cated 111 tl1e docume11t1r : y and other evide11ce sulJ1 nitted IJy the Ital1 an Govern, uent; . (b) Tl1�t the �tl1iopian GovErnn1ent is accordingly responsible for tl1e 1nc1dents 1n question. If tl1� Comn1ission does 11ot f�l itself able at prese11t to adopt the abo,,e co1 �clus1 �ns I v-.rould _ ask: it to l)e good e11�ugl1 to fix the date of a n1eeti i1 g at wl11c�1 witnesses \V,ll be �eard. �he_ ltal1a1; Governn1 ent IJroposes that this n1 _eeting be l1eld at_Ven1ce _ an � v1ll 1n tl1e 111terval co111n1unicate tl1 e list of witnesses whose evidence rt wishes to be take.n.


5, 1935


I v1oul d ask the Con1n1ission in air)' case to find tl1at the docu nents so far sup­ 1

pl ied by tl1e Ethiopian Governn1e11t have no co11nection v.rJ1 atsoever ,vitl1 the incidents referred to in pars. 11, 12, 13 and r4 of tJ1 e Ital ia11 Me111orandu 1 11. It is these incidents wl 1icl 1, in accordance ,vith the arrange111ent concl uded on Iviay 25 bet,veen the t,,,o Go,1ern1nents at Gene,,a, have to be exa 1 nined by the Con1mission, a11d regarding \Vl1ich the Italian and .Ethiopian Governn1ents l 1a,,,-e 1nade representations. JVIr. DE LA PRADELLE: Does the Com1nission vvish to fix a date for the hearing of the representative of the Etl1io.1)ian Gover1111 1ent? Cot1nt ALDROV1\NDI: \\Te cot 1l d fix the 1neeting in the afternoon. l\1r. ]EZE: I sl 1all not be able bet,vee11 now and the11 to give l\1r. I.esso11a's brillia 11t stateme11t the careful study whicl1 it deserves but I am in the hands of tJ1e Cornn1ission. Cou 11t fU.DROV:\.NDI: Ir 1 tJ1 at case tl1 e Con1missio 11 ,vill J1ear the representative of Etl1iopia to111orro,v morning at el even o'cloclc. It ,vas agreed t11at the Comn1ission ,vou ld l1ear tl1e re1)resentative of the 1 111perial Ethiopian Govern1nent on Friday, Jul y 5, at 11 J1,1,ly 5, 1935

lvir. ]EZE: I sl1all be dischargi11g an agreeabl e duty in 1 ny colleague, l'vfr. Lessona, for the extreme courtesy - and n1oderation \vith \Y.hicl1 he has 1nade his state 1ne 11t. vVe ha,,e all been struck: by the cl arity of l1is state1 ne11t ancl by the adroitness ,vitl1 ,vhicl1 l 1e l 1as sub111itted J1is argurnents 011 IJ ehalf of the I tali an Govern111e11t. I 111ysel f shall be very careful to res1)ect the lavvs of cour­ tesy a11d prof)riety custon1ary at 1ncetings of the Co 1n1 11ission in here,vith sub1nitting the vie,vs of tl1e Etl1iopia11 Govern1nent. I must franlcl)' say that l\1Ir. I�essona's argu111e11ts l1ave failecl to convince 111e. Speak:ing as the f\gent of tl 1e Ethio1)ian Gover 11n1ent, I rnay say that tl1e latter has fron1 the outset asserted, ancl still asserts, that it ,viii bo,v to the decisio11 of the Arbitrators, ,vhatcver tl1at decisio 11 n1ay be, tl1at it seel{s for no satisfactio11 of I)ersonal prestige, and that it merely desires a decJaratio11 ,vhetl1er it ,vas rigl 1 t or ,vrong as regards tl1e \i\ial vVal incident. I shall first sub1nit a fe\v general considerations concerniI1g the argu1ne11ts advanced by my e111inent colleague, JVIr. Lessona. If I ha,,e 1:>roperl>' understood-a11d I must sa:)r that I have paid tJ1e greatest attention to l\1r. I�essona's argun1e11ts-it see1ned to n1e that t l1e ,veak poi11t i11 his p leading \.Vas the alJse 11ce of decisiv·e or positi,,e proof. All the argun1ents advanced l)y the Ital ian Gover11n1 ent's f\gent are i 11 tl1e 111ain assumptio11s. f•'or instance, he says tl1at the Gover 11 1ne11t ga,re instrL1ctions to exercise n1 odera­ tion; co11sequently, tl1is adv·ice and tl1ese orders cannot have been ignored. The Captain vvho \Vas in con1 mand of tl1e Ital ian troops certainly took accou11t of the orders received. Therefore this, at least, is lVIr. Lessona's argument­ it was not he who provok:ed the incidents: that is unlikely. I n1t1st admit that that is clearl y an arguinent, but, instead of voicing assumptions or probabil ities,



it wotild be bet ter to taclcle directly the facts a11 cl sulJ111 i t defi.11 ite posi. t i ve e\ti­ cle11ce ,vhicl1 is \Vhat counts. TI1 e docu111 ents which have been supplied are nu1nerous, bu t are di1Tere1 1 t i11 cl1 aracter and 11nequal in \ralue. Several of these docu111c11ts are those st1pJJlied b>' the Etl1 iopian Governn1 ent and .Nlr. I�essona )1as 1 11ade grea t use of tl1e1 11. I \Vould li ke to use this fact as an argurnen t i11 favor of the Ethio1Jian Governn1ent ,vl1 icl1 has concealed no tl1ing; it J1 as subn1itted all the dossiers co r n1Jle te, 1,,· vi thout a single i ten1 being contested or distorted or sulJn1 it ted in a partial r nanner. The other side has used these documents to advance argu111 e11 ts against tlle Ethiopian Government. It \Vas entitled to do so. Bu t tl1e dossiers ha\'e been dis1Jla)1ed witl1 tlle greatest frankness and if any ite1n is 11 ot presented, it is certainly by 1nistalce and not of deliberate intent. In any case, I do 11 ot think: tl1 at an>' ite111 s are 111issing i11 the dossiers. Another part of tl1 e docu1nentary 111a terial co11sists of the JJapers {Jroduced by the Italian Governn1 en t. These docun1ents are of a sligl1 tly different cl1 aracter frorn the Ethiop ia11 Go,,ernn1ent's dossiers. lYiost of tl1 en1 are purel)' i 11ternal docu1ne11 ts-corre­ s1)ondence bet\veen I talian Go, ern111ent representati,,es of \vhicl1 tl1 e Etl1 iopia11 Go,,ernn1 e11 t hacl absolutely no cognizance and could not even have cognizance. l\ 'lost of then1 are reports fron1 the Go,,ernor of I talia1 1 Son1aliland to the Gov­ ern1 nent of Ro1ne. "' 1 he I talia11 Government's Agent l1 as cited the111, but i11 the international sphere these docu1T1ents of a natio11,1l ad1ninistratio11 l1 ave 11ot tl1 e san1e valt1e; they are no t in t:he111sel\.:es e,,idence. Further111 ore, letters and docun1ents have been sub111it ted belonging to Ethiopian representati,1es vvhich ,vere seizecl v. he11 tl1e E thiopian troo1Js fled be­ fore theItalian advance. l ha,re already s tated tl1e reservations \vl1icl1 I must e11 ter on this st1bject. T"he)' are documents v.rhich doubtless-I dor1't questio11 it-fell i11 to tl1e l1ancls of the Italian Lroops and \vhich are sub1nit:ted in good faith-I do11't deny it-but I hav·e no cognizance of these docurne11ts. I have not l)ee11 given an opportu­ nit)1 of having thern examined by tJ1 e Eth i opia11 Government, nor ]1 as tl1 e latter IJeen able to sho,v thern to tl1eir authors. The E thiopia11 Gover11n1 e11 t is not to blame for tllis circun1 s tance. All its docu1nentary materi al \vas subrnitted in January, 1935, and additio11al docu1nents \l.rere l)roduced in 1\!fay. Tl1 e Italian Government, therefore, l 1as had I)lenty of ti1 ne to exa1nine all these documents; but this is 11ot the case with tl1 e Et1 1 io1)ian Governn1 e11t. I received tl1 ese docu1nents a fev,1 days ago and l1 ave had no tin1 e to send tl1e1n to the EthioJ)ian G o· vernn1 e11t, nor to dra,v tl1 e latter's attention to s0111 e of tl1 en1. I l1ave no,v sent to the Etlliopian Go,·ernrnent the Italian Go, ern1 nent's .Nien1 orandun1, bttt I don't \·vhen it will reac.h Ababa. I l1 ave telegra1Jl1 ed, dra,;ving tl1 e Government's attentio11 to certain points, and I l1 ave ask:ecl tl1 e Ethiop i a r 1 rviinis­ ter in Paris to mak:e a su1n1nary of tJ 1 e Italian lvlen1 orandu1n, i n order to facilitate its examinat !on a �d make it easier for the Ethiopian Goverr11nent to give a rep)�,. Wl1 en I receive tl11s reply, I shall i1nn1 ediately co1111 nunicate it to tl1 e Arbitrators \Vho can then jt1dge \Vhat value to attach to the reservations ,vl1 icl1 have had to be made. 1




5, 1935


lvloreo,,er, the docun1e11ts sub 111itted-wl1 ose autl1enticity calls for certain reservatio 11s-are not quoted in. toto, but in extracts. I ,vould dra,v the attention of tl1e Arbitrators to tl1 e distrust ,vhicl1 n1ust be entertained regarding these extracts. Quotations 11 13)' transfor1n texts; the co111 plete docu1r1ents and letters should be published. 1'he documents subn1 itted by the Ethiopian Govern111e11t are all gi, ren co111 plete-11ot in extracts. I would add tl1at many letters are merely private letters and not official docu­ ments and no governn1ent can be reproacl1ecl or its resJ)onsibility involved, say, by tl1 e letter of an officer. Tl1 e opinions are or1ly personal. l\!Ioreo,,er, if a close exan1inatio11 is n1acle of the co11tents of these letters, it ,viii be seen tl1at the>' l1ave bee 1 1 i11 terpreted i 11 a biassed 1nanner. Tl1 e rnen wl10 ,vrote them were usual!)' poorly educated; the>' express tl1eir o,vn senti111 ents ,vhicl1 ca 11 clearly not be absolutely friendly to their Italia11 neighbors. The same ,votdd be true of the n1en i 11 the Italian forces on tl1e frontier, ,vho ,vould probably l1ave similar feelings to,vards the Etl1iopia11 troops. Tl1 e texts quoted therefore are not ,,ery valuable as evidence. Tl1 e depositions co11tai11ed in tl1e Italian lvle1norandu1n ,vere given solely and e11tirely in tl1e prese11ce of Italian officers and officials. TI1e standi11g of the \vit­ nesses and of those ,vho received the depositions casts a doulJ t on the ,vortl1 of tl1 e latter. In the 111atter of depositions, one can secure ,vhat is needed if one k:no,vs 110,v to direct the questions and l1 as a certain ai1 11 in vie,v. The officials who conducted tl1e exa 1 nination clo 11ot afford all tl1e necessary guaran­ tees as regards sober ascertain 1nent of the trutl1 and the correctness of the facts. That is a question ,vhicl1 I leave to the f\rbitrators. I am sure t11 at tl1 ey ,viii give a reply i11 l1 arn1ony witl1 the senti111ents ,vl1ich I n1yself entertain as regards the dubious character of several clocu 111ents. In tl1e dossier prer)ared on tl1e instructions of the Etl1 iopian Governn1ent re­ garcling the inciclents at Guerlogubi, there are also depositions n1ade under si1ni­ lar circun1sta11ces. I 111yself co 11sider tl1 at very little in11)ortance can be attached to these documents, just as in the case of the de1)ositions obtai11ed in the cir­ cun1 stances vvl1 icl1 I l1ave just described. I no,v come to a n1ucl1 rnore i1nporta11t question. One of the 1nain argt1n1en ts develo1)ed by the Agent of the Italian Governn1ent concerns the attitude of Cap­ tain Cimmaruta. Captain Cin1maruta is a brave and loyal officer, uncloubt­ edly,· J)ut l1 e is a soldier, arid \.vl1 ile solcliers have certai11 qualities, tl1ey also have certain defects. It is their busi11ess to 1 nal<e ,var, not peace. Furthermore, they· have orders ,vhich they carr>' out; they onl)' recognize those orders. Cap­ tain Cim 1na.ruta's orrlers ,-vere to occuJ)Y a piece of territory. It ,vas not l1 is business ,vhat tl1 at territorv - was. /\ soldier is 11ot bou11d to control l1is government; he 111ust execute its orclers. I do not i11 any ,vay question the attitttde of Captain Cin1 mart1ta, wl10 is a gallant officer, l)ut, if it is intended to argue that l1 e is a man ,vho sho,ved remark:­ able J)rudence and mocleration in this n1 atter, I ca 1111ot share tl1 at O{)inion. In its I\rlemorancl11111 , the Italian Governn1ent was J)leased to assert that the attitude of the Etl1iopian troops ,vas provocati,,e. No,v, some doubt 1 nay be expressed as to the value of depositions n1ade by Ethiopians; they are enemies and an enemy's ,vord can only be accepted sul)ject to every reservatio 11, but ,ve



are forttinate e11ough to l1ave docun1ents supplied by 011e \.Vho is undeniably an autl1 ority, a n1an of higl1 reputation, tl1e subject of a cot1ntry ,vh.ich is a friend of Italy's-Lieutena 11 t-Colonel Clifford. IIe - is a n1e1nber of a Frontier Deli1nita­ tio11 Con1111ission; ]1e is not a 111an ,vl10 l1as to occupy or defend a territory, but one ,vl1 0, togetl1 er \.Vitl1 otl1 er officers, has to inspect the grazing-grounds in tl1 is district. In cot1 ntries like tl1ese it is a n1atter of life arid deatl1 to IJe able to have access to grazing-grounds. Grazing-grot1nds, tl1erefore, are freque 11ted not only by Ethio1Jian !Jut also lJy other tribes, and 111ore particularly by tribes sulJ­ ject to Great Britain and As a n1en1ber of tl1is Co1n1nission Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford \Vas instructed to trace tl1e frontier bet-,,veen Etl1iopia and British Somaliland. IIe - arrives with his Commissio11 consisti1 1g of Etl1iopians and a British staff and he meets the band of Captain Cin1 maruta. Tl1e British officer is a n1oderate, cautious 1nan who does not want to provoke dispt1 tes or create difficulties lJetween l1 is Govern1nent and the Governn1ent of Ro1ne. Conseqt1ently, ,vl1 en he sees tl1 e attitude tal{en up by Captain Ci1nn1aruta, he draws back. It should be 11oted tl1at tl1e British flag floats very l1 igl1 and that tl1 e se11se of l1onor and JJrestige is very l1igl1ly devel­ OJJed in the British Ar111y. Clifford knows that he will l1ave l1is Gover11ment lJe­ hincl hin1 but l1e does not v,isl1 to create incidents and he tl1 erefore witl1draws. I ,vould refer to the letters and reports wl1icl1 tl1e Britisl1 officer ,vrote at the tin1e v,he 11 he ,vas in contact with tl1 e Italian troops, to a letter written on Noven1ber 23, 1934 to Captain Ci 1 nn1aruta, wl1ich is reprocluced in tl1e Ethiopian Gov­ er11 1nent's Men1orandu111 of January IS, 1935, at page 14, Annex 3. Tl1e letter reads as follov,s: v\11\L

WAL, Novernber 23, 1934.

The British and EthioJJian Commissioners of the Co1nn1ission for De­ lin1 iting tl1e J•ro11tier )Jel,veen Abyssinia and British Somaliland prese11 t tl1 eir con1 �) 1in1ents. 1'hey regret to note that they l1a,1e been prevented by force fro111 n1oving _ y_ tl1e lta�ian authori�ies i n the \,Val vVal region. about f1:eel_)' in Etl1io1 Jia b An Etl11op1 an 11011-co11 1 1n1ss1oned ofhcer, belonging to the Co 1 nmissio 1 1 has e,,en been forcibly a!Jducted, ,vitl1 l1is ,veapon. Tl1 e above-menti�ned �on1n1issio11 is in this region to study the question of fJasturage as provided 1n paragra_ph 2, Annex 3, to th� l\nglo-Ethiopian Treat)' of May 14 1 1897, a t:eaty :vh .1 cl1 was d_uly recognised IJ:y Italy i11 Article I of the agreement signed 1n Lo 11don, Decen1ber 13, 1906, bet,veen Great Britain, France and Althougl 1 tl1e frontier between Etl1io1Jia and Italian Somaliland has not yet bee 1: delin1itat�d, the Etl1 iopian Con1n1issioner draws tl1e attention of tl 1e Ital1an authority _to the tern1s of the Italo-Ethiopian Co 1 1ve11tion of Ivf a)' 16, 1908 concerning tl1e alignn1ent of this frontier. Consequently, the British and Ethiopian Comrnissioners enter a forn1 al protest against the Italia 1 1 authorities' actions in regard to themsel,,es. ' Lieu :e1 :ant-Colonel Clifforcl _ , ,v-I :o signed tl1 is letter aJ011g with the Ethiopian Con1m1ss 1 oner, acct1ses Captain C1 n1n1 aruta of provocatio11. This accusation is confirn1ed in other letters from tl1 e Britisl1 officer. I-Iere is ano �h �r letter als � dated November 23 a11d addressed to Captain . C1mrnaruta. 1his document 1s reproduced 011 page 15 of tl1e Ethiopian Govern­ ment's Memorandt1n1 (Annex 5). It reads as follows:


5, 1935


WAL vVAL, November 23, 1934. The Britisl1 a11d Etl1 iopian Co1nmissio11ers have the l1onour to ackno,vl­ ed�� receipt of your note of to-day's date addressed to Liet1tenant-Colonel Cl1flord. They will be l1 appy to receive you at the camJ) of tl1e British Mission at \i\ial Wal. On page 17 of tl1e same Memorandun1 tl1 ere is reproduced another letter ad­ dressed to Captain Cim1naruta (A11nex 9): Aoo, Nove·n1ber 29, 1934. Tl1e Britisl1 and Etl1 iopian Com1nissioners members of the above-men­ tioned �on1n1ission, l1ave tl1 e l1011our to take note of you� letter No. 1169, dated No,,e1nber 28, 1934, addressed, from \,Varder to Li eutenant-Colonel �l_ifforcl. Having duly considered that letter, the{ are of opinion that a Joint reply sl1ould be sent, as tl1e majority of the questions raised concern, not merely the British f\.1ission, but tl1e Co1nn1ission as a whole. 2. As _regar?s paragraphs I and 2 of your letter, the Italo-Etl1iopian Convention, signed 011 lVIay 16, 1908, at 1-\ddis Ababa, stipulates tl1 at the wJ1ole of the Ogaden territory sl1all ren1ai11 a11 Ethiopian dependency. As tl1e Con1mission's terms of reference in that region merely concern tl1e Ogaden territory and tl1e tribes u11der British protectorate, tl1ere has never been any question of the Commission's entering Italian territory-a fact ,vhich is a1nply sufficient to explain wh )r the Britisl1 a11d Etl1iopian Govern­ n1ents 1nade no 1nention of tl1e n1atter to tl1e Italian Government. In any case, tl1ose two Governments l1ad no official knowledge of the Italian occu­ pation of tl1e \�Tai \i\ial-\,\.Tarder region. 3. TJ1 e above-n1entio11ed Con1missioners regret tl1eir inability to tinder­ stand tl1e import of your paragraph 3, the Co1n111ission not being en1powered to deal ,vitl1 ad1ninistrative questions. 4. As regards your paragrapl1s 4 and S, tl1e Britisl1 Comn1issioner wisl1es to point ot1t that l1e had his national flag flying over his can1p from midday 011 No,1en1ber 23, whereas tl1e t,vo aeroplanes did 11ot appear until 4 p.111. on the 24th. Even sup1)osing that at tl1e time of tl1eir departure from lVIoga­ discio they had not :yet been 11 otified of our {)resence at \,Val \,Val, it is im­ possible to believe that tl1e flag ,vas not noticed by at least one 111e1nber of the cre,v of eacl1 aeroplane on its first clive over tl1e camp. Nevertl1eless, during tl1 e second and tl1ird or fourth series of dives executed by aircraft S.0.4, variot1s persons, including four Euro1)ean n1e1nbers of tl1e Britisl1 :rviission (the Assistant Con1n1issioner, t,vo ar1ny officers a11d a11 N.C.0.), distinctly saw tl1at one of the 111achine-guns, placed behi11d tl1e pilot, was trainee! on the 1ne111bers, escort and staff of tl1e Con1mission. 1

111 vie,v of the incide11ts provoked by Captain Cimn1aruta, the Etl1iopian Gov­ ernment had given the British l\.1ission perr11 ission to fly its flag over its camp. In spite of tl1e British flag being displayed tl1e Italian aeroplanes fle,v over the camp, levelling their machine-guns against tl1e Ivlission. Tl1at is t1ndeniable. Tl1 e British Colonel is unable to bear this i11sult and makes a protest. Among the documents sul)mitted by tl1e Italian Go,1ernment there is a state­ n1ent by a11 air force lieutenant asserting tl1at l1e did not see, that he n1ay have been mistaken and tl1 at it was impossible to see vef)' ,vell the direction in which the machine-gun was pointed, etc. Tl1 at may be told to a civilian but not to a soldier. \i\il1en Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford asserts that the Italian weapons were levelled at the British flag, he is making an accusation which is certainly not lightly proffered.



reJ)eats it l1e t n !Ju tio usa acc s tl1i es k 111a y )111 not rd ffo Cli ; nel olo : t-C nan Lieute on several occasions. 1 to show ,vh at l wis ply sim t I bu s ion tat quo ry 1na too lce n1a to like not uld I ,vo is tI1e opinion helcl b)' tl1is i111 1)artial ,vitness who is not in tl1 e I)ay of tl1 e Etl :io­ an pian Government and wh o cherishes only feelings of sympatl1 y for tl1e I tal1 army. U11fortunately, Captain Cin11nar1ta does not display a si111ilar n1oderation in language. I-le vvriles to an import:a11t leader of t:l1 e Etl1iopian Arm)', Fi taurari Shiferra, and calls l1i1n "shif ta chief," tJ1at is, brigand cl1ief. Sucl1 an ex1)ression used to an officer of a foreign army is insulting and Lieutenant-Colo11el Clifford I1imself mentions this in his report. On page 2r of tl1e Etl1iopian Nlen1ora11dun1, i1 1 1)aragrapl1 22, there is the follo\\'ing passage \vhich for111s part of tl1is report: On Noven1 ber 26, tl1e Co11 1n1issio11 received fro111 Fitaurari Shiferra, the leader of the Ethiopian escort, a letter adclressed to hin1 that same day by Captain Cin11 naruta. It rray be 11oted that t11is letter: ( J) Is \Vritten in Italian, usi11g "voi" (second person plural), des1)ite the fact that the rank and status of Fit:aurari Shiferra ,vere already k110\vn to Captain Cimmaruta; (2) Refers to an officer of tl1e Etl1iopia11 ar1n}1 as II Capo sl1ifta"; (3) Is threatening i11 tone 22.

I would ask: tl1e Co1nn1issio11 to rote tl 1at tl1 is is the general to11e \Vhicl1 char­

acterizes Captain Ci1 11 111aruta's attitude. CarJtaiI1 Ci1111 naruta is a soldier ,vho has a territory to occupy and defenc and l1e acts as a soldier. But, in acting as a soldier, he ii1volves tl1e responsibiliiy of his Govern111ent, t1nless I1e is disavowed b)' the latter. Tl1e ltalia.n Govern1ne11t, 110,vever, l1as never disavo\ved Ca1)tai11 Ci1nn1aruta. It can, tl1 erefore, be claimed that tl1 e Italian Governn1ent bears responsil)ility for Ca1Jtai11 Cinunartta's action. Whe11 CaJ)tain Cin11naruta ,vritesto the British officer, l1 e t1ses rather 11 1ore con­ ciliatory a11d courteous expressions. I-le does not forget that l1e is clealing ,vith an officer of higl1 er ra11k:. For exa.n11)le, in his letter of Nove1nber 24, 1934 , (Etl1iopian Men1orandun1 , page 15, .t\nnex 6), l1e does not call tl1e Britisl1 officer a brigand c11ief. 1--Ie v.rrites: W,\L WAL, No•i!eniber 24, 1934. I }�ave received your letter of yesterday's elate and, fl)llo,vi11g 011 our 1 neet1ng to - day at \i\lal \�Tai, I 1:eg to confirn1 t} 1at everytl1i11g that ,,ou l1a,,e co 1 nn1unicated to me in t11e sa. d letter \vill be transn1ittecl by n1 e; l)y tele­ grarn, to the Governor of the Colonv. As soo11 as I l1ave received a reJ)l,, ., ' I \vill con11nunicate it to you. 111 order t ? avoid a.ny u11deEirable incidents bet\veen your armed forces and �urs, \vh1cl1 are at present :n . clo�e �ontact on t,vo li11es, I propose that, pending the reply, we_sl1ould 1 11a1nta1n 111:tact our prese1 1t lines (011e Italia11 a11r! tl1 e otl1�r yours) s11nply bya recon11a1ssance of tl1e situation on the s1)ot ,v111ch we might carry ot1t toge:l1 er. The �one is courteous bt1t this is a reply to letters wl1icl1 \Vere evidently very energetic pro �es :s made 1)}' Lieutena..nt-Colonel Clifrord. For exa111ple, on J)age I6 ?f tl1e Et111op1 � Memorandu1n, there is a letter dated Nove1nber 28, 1934, in _ wl11cl1 Captain C1mn1aruta addresses Lieute1 1ant-Colooel Clifford in proper fasl1 ion.


5, 1935


I repeat: tl1e documents on wl1 icl1 I rely e1nanate from a11 i1 npartial \Vitness,

who cannot be challenged as l 1e belongs to a nation Ii11ked to Italy by an old tra­ dition of friendsl1i1-). Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford sho,ved l1i111self to be IJrudent whe11, anxiot1 s not to add to tl1 e i11cidents \Vl1 ich 111 ight l1 ave Lnvolved the Britisl1 flag, he took the decision to ,vithdra\v thirty kilo 1 netres to tI1 e rear. f\ report on the attitude of tl1e Italian troo1Js ,vas con11Jiled 61, Lieutenant-Colonel Cliffore! a11 d sent by l1in1 to London. Tl1 is report is reproduced on page 19 of tl1 e .Ethio­ pian l\tlen1orandum. In JJaragrapl1 2 of this doct1 n1ent (Annex 14) it is stated: .J\t the \1 ery 1noment it reached \�Tai vVal, the Con1.n1 ission founcl itself i 11 the presence c,f tl1 e Italian troops ar111ed witl1 n1odern rifles; tl1 e troops, un­ der the _orders of a S0 1 11ali N.C.0., refused, pointing tl1eir rifles, to evacuate tl1 e terrrtor)' needed for the ca 111ps of the t,vo l\tlissions and the ,veils required for tl1 eir ,vater-st1 p1Jly. The Ethiopian escort, ,v11ich \Vas a strong 011e, ma 1 1aged, ,vithout striking a blow, to push IJack the aforesaid troops alJout 300 metres to the rear. 1�he strength of the troops at the n1on1 ent \Vas esti­ n1ated at 250 n1en. The t,vo lvlissions st1 cceecled at last in setti11g up their c,1mp, but 11ot be­ fore tl1 e Britisl1 lVIissior1 had bee11 ol)liged, i11 vie,v of a deliberate threat IJy tl1 e troops, to change its positio11. In the 1 11 eantin 1 e, on an en1ine11ce exactly 1,350 111 etres to the south, a defensive JJOst 11ad IJee11 observed, i 11 the middle of a clearing, fro 1 11 ,vhich the Italian flag \Vas flying. The Ethiopia11 Co 111missio 1 1er ren1ark.ed that, duri11g tl1e n1 orning, the troops l1 ad forcibly carried off a Son1ali N.C.O. of tl1e Ethiopian escort ,vith his rifle. TI1e two Co111n1 issio11 ers addressee! to t:!1e "Comn1 ander of tl1 e Bande Sector" a joint letter, dated Noven1 ber 23, protesting against aggressive ar111ed OJ)position of tl1 e Italian troops in Ethiopian territory. In this pro­ test, the Con1n1 issioners clearly explained the reason for the Co11 1n1 ission's presence at \\Tai \1/al. In a ,vord, the ·whole report n1ade by IJieutenant-Colo11el Clifforcl is wortl1 reading, as it is of the greatest irnportance. Each J)age and each li11 e shows clearly the provocative and uncom1)romisi11g at:titucle observed by the I talia11 officer com111anding to,vards the Ethio1Jian trooJ)S. I n1 yself ,vould have 111ade no reference to Ca.i)tain Ci1n1naruta l1 ad it not been asserted in the Italia 11 J-\gent's pleading that tl1e orders received by this officer \Vere c11 aracterizecl by JJrudence and 1noderatio11 a11d that t11ere was striking evider1 ce of this 1noderation. In my view I ha,,e, I thi11 l{, proved the contrary. Tl1 e Ethiopian Govern111 ent l1as no concern \Vit11 Captain Cimmaruta bt1 t it l1as a dispute \vitl1 the Italian Governn1 ent. Captain Cin1maruta 11 as co1111nitted his Go\'ern 1 nent and tl1e latter l1 as not diso\vnecl him. That applies 11ot only to the \,Val \,Val incident in \Vl1icl1 Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford a11 d the me1 nbers of tl1e Britisl1 l\tlissio11 ,vere i11volvecl but also to the incidents \\1 l1 ich follo,ved on the former. TI1 e provocative a11d aggressive attitude of the Italian officers was en­ couraged IJy \.vhat occurrecl next. Possibly because it \.vas misinformed, the I taJian Govern1nent i11tervened on bel1alf of its officers and, fortl1 with, ,vithout any kind of investigatio11, se11t a note to Addis Abal)a tl1rot1 gl1 its lv1inister de­ mandi11g n1oral reparation, apologies fron1 tl1 e Governor of t11e Province, the salute of the Italian flag, dan1ages, etc. Tl1e Ethiopian Gover11ment's attitude in this 1natter has always been the attitude \Vl1icl1 it l1as never ceased to observe,


namely, that it is prepared to n1al{e reparatio1 1 if it is fo1111d to IJe i11 tl1 e \.vrong. I ITI')'Self was consulted 01 1 tl1 e su!Jject a11d I ad,,ised tl1e Ethiopian Gover1 1111ent to n1ake e,,ery possible reparatio11 if i1n1)artial autl1orities found, in accordance ,1,,itl1 the 1928 treaty, that Etl1iopia ,vas i11 the v1rong. Tl1at is 11ot a dishonest or provocative attitt1de. I am astonished to see tl1at 011e poi11t l1ad 11ot bee11 develo1)ed by 111y en1inent colleague-1Jerha1)s l1e is waiting to revert to it later. I tl1ink I l1a,,e proved that tl1e Italian Governme11t is respo11sible i11 view of the provocati\re attitt1 cle of t11e Italian troops in presence of the Etl1iopian troops. I would 110,v like to prove tl1at this is an e,1en more serious 111atter, inas111t1cl1 as tl1ese acts of provocation were con11 nitted i11 Etl1io1Jian territory. :Nlr. LEssoNA: I l1 ad intended to refrajn fro1n interrupting tl1 e staten1ent of t11e Etl1 iopian Government's Agent but, as l1e is en1 barl{ing on this question and asserting tl1at vVal \Val is in Etl1iopia1 1 territory, I an1 obliged to de1nur to this state1nent and would asJ{ the Con1mission to l1ave tl1 is de111urrer recorded in tl1 e rrunutes. Mr. }EZE: I\.v \Vl1at l1appened at Geneva. Tl1e Ethiopia11 questio11 \Vas discussed at a 1JulJlic meeting but these 111eetings are in fact only tl1e public per­ for111ance of what has l)ee11 rehearsecl l:>el1 ind tl1e scenes and at private Council 111cetings as the result of negotiations. I l1aJJJ)e1 1 to 1Je ,rery closely acquainted witl1 what \,ras discussed during tl1ese 11egotiations since I took IJart in tl1e111. It is perfectly true tl1at it ,vas clecided tl1at tl1e f\rbitrators sl1oulcl 11ot co 11cern tl1 e1n­ selves ,vitll tl1e deJi1 nitation of the frontier between Etl1iopia a11C:I Italian S0111ali­ land, as this t:a,sk: ca111e \vithin the J)ro,rince of a Deli111itation Comrr1issio11 ,vhicl1 l1as to den1arcate tl1e frontier on tl1e spot, but there \vas 11cver a11y c1t1estio11 of restricting tl1e JJO\vers of the f\rbitrators in expressing an opinior1 on events \.vl1ich n1ight have a bearing 011 the solution of tl1e dispute. v\Te are not co .ncerned ,vit:11 tl1e detern1ination of the e.xact line of the Italian fro11tier, but ,vi tl1 ans\.vering the c1uestio11 ,vl1etl1 er \Val \,\Tai is i11 Ethio1Jian or Italia11 territ:cJry. I a1n not, thereby, endeavoring to detern1ine tl1e frontier, 11eitl1er an1 I the Arbi­ trators to do so. This point ,vas clearly stipulated during the negotiatio11s between Baro11 Aloisi, l\1r. Eden, :Nlr. Laval and n1yself. In all tl1e documents \Vhicl1 ha. v e been subn1itted by the ltalia11 Gover11111 ent, ho\vever, the attitude talcen in regard to tl1e situation of \i\lal \Val-wl1icl1 it does not co 11sider to be in Etl1 iopian territory -is, it \vill be observed, different fro111 this. l\tlr. LESSONA: I v,,ould as!{ tl1e Com111 issio11 to be good enougl1 to allo\v me to state the point of view of the Italian Govern111ent on tJ1 is 111 atter. I cannot wait t111til the question has !)een fully discussed, as 111y de1nurrer \vould then be n1ade too late. l\llr. J.tzE: 1 wish first of all to amplif:�, n1y reasoning, as it u 11c1uestionably has a close bearing 011 tl1e c1uestion. vVl1 e11 that is do11e, tl1e Italian Age11t can state l1is poir1t of vie\.v. This is a very i1nportant point in 111y case and I aslc tl1 e Co1111nissio11's permission to state it. It is OJJen to tl1 e Arbitrators 11ot to concur in 1ny opinion, but I cannot see why this poi11t of view, \.Vl1 icl1 is tl1 at of the Ethi­ opian Gover11111ent, cannot be laid before the Comn1ission. :Nlr. LESSONA: I must insist on n1y request. 1'11e question of e11tering a de111ur-





rer is a preli1ninary question, ancl that is \v] 1y I \\risl1 to make ill)' declaration in1mecliately. If I ,vaited t1ntil after l\1lr. J eze l1 is state1ne11t, it would­ to use an Italian expression-be rather like chittdere la porla q1ta,1iclo i buoi so1'io uscit·i (closing tl1e door after the horse is go11e). l\1r. ]EZE: I agree that it is not the business of the .Arbitrators to den1arcate tl1e frontier. 1'11e Italia11 Governn1e11t has already n1ade a clear cleclaratio11 on this subject and tl1ere is no c1uestion no,,r of interfering ,vitl1 the existing treaties. But, since the Italian Governrnent has declarecl-and its Agent has 11imself said so-tl1at \¥al vVal is t1niversall)' kno,vn to IJe situated in I talia11 territory, I be­ lieve I have a rigl1 t to contest tl1at opinion. If the Italia11 officers hacl bel1 aved provocative! }' on Italia11 territory, tl1ey would l1ave bee11 quite i11 order. Since, ho,vever, the:y ,vere 011 Ethiopia11 territory, their ,1ttitude 111ust be juclgecl fro1n a. cliffcrent a11gle. '1'11 at is the \Vhole problern. l\1r. LESSONA: I contest the Com1nissio11 's right to consider the question fro1n that standpoi11t. The question ,vhether \,\Tai \rVal is or is 11ot on Ethiopian terri­ tory cannot be referred to tl1e Co111n1ission. lVIr. ]EZE: I l1 ave 110 objection to Ivir. Lessona stating tl1e Italian Gover11 n1e11 t's point of ,,iew but, equally, I do 11ot propose to abando11 1ny right to state the Ethio1)ian Gover111nent's vie\v. 1\1 r. LESSON.A.: On behalf of tJ1e Italian Governn1ent I cannot agree to the Con1n1ission expressi11g a.ny opinion ,;vhatsoever on t1 1e fro11tier c1uestion, as I totally d�ny that tl1 e question of the Commission's I)O\vers arises. For suc11 a qt1estion to arise, it is essential tl1at there sl1oulcl be s0111e dot1bt 011 the point. In this case, l1ovvever, the Italia11 Go, ernt11ent has al\va.ys very clearly stated its deter111 ination not to refer in any form vvhatsoever the frontier question to tl1e Con1n1ission. I refer tl1e 1neeting on this point to tl1e notes of l\llay r S and 16, 1935. In tl1e first of these notes the Ro)7al Legation at Addis f\baba, in i 11forming tl1e Ethiopian Gover11ment that tl1e Italian Governn1ent ,vas "prepared to n1 ake t11 e necessary arrangements ,vitl1 a vie,v to appl>'ing the procedtire of co11ciliation and arbitration laid do,vn in Article 5 of the 1928 Treaty," added: 1

The Italian Governn1e11t consiclers that tl1 e Conciliatio11 Co1n1nissio11 must e.,xan1i11e tl1 e n1aterial circu111stances of the \;Val \Val i11 cident of De­ cember 5-6, 193,� and establisl1 tl1e reSJJOnsibilities consequent thereon. Tl1e Italian Gover111nen t cannot i11 any ,vay agree that the saicl Con1n1 issio11 should exan1ine other questions, 111ore l)articularly frontier questions, in ,vl1ole or in part, or give juridical interpretations of the treatjes or agree­ rnents ref erring to t11e frontier bet,vee11 Somaliland and Etl1io1)ia. In the second 11ote addressed to the Royal Legation at Addis AlJaba, the Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs replied as follo,vs: 1�11e I1nperial Governme1rt, anxiot1s to find a solutio� ,vhicl1 is in l1armony ,vitJ 1 tl1e la\.v \vithout resorti11g to force, declares tl1at 1t expressly agrees to refer to arbitratio11 the material circumstances surrounding the Wal Wal incident of Dece1nber 5-6, 1934 and the resrJonsibilities consequent tl1ereon. It is on the basis of tl1ese 11otes tl1at, on May 16 the two gover111nents proceecled to notify one another of the names of tl1e f\rbitrators \.vl1icl1 eacl1 of them I1 ad appointed.



, a :e tes sta o e t th n ee hv be nt me ree ag :he �, ti( ra h 1ic :V w] _ These t\vo documents, em a1: 1ntent10� dif­ t] o int d rea to 11Jt e11 att y an at th l : oca uiv eq 1 u1 d ar an so cle claris 11,011, fit i1iter­ in for , ary itr arb be uld ,vo in ere th wn do d lai i at tl m ferent fro ear:h for the real _in­ "s a is Jon tat Jre erJ int e 1 tl , ses ari t ub do a en ,vh If, .£ . o pretai _ , 1 e searcl1 for a different 1nte11t1on t1 le, ,ib pos t ub do no is ere 1 tl en wh , n tio ten for tl1at already ion ent int r tl1e a11o te titu suts to ly ari Jitr arl rt effo i an : tes stit con declared. misAs the Italian Govern1nent's intention 11as bee11 clearly proved, the Com sion ca11not e, en embark on an ex.amimtion of tl1e frontier treaties a11d any find­ ing on this subject, under wbate,,er form it ,vas presented, would be null and void, as constituting trespass uf po,vers in tl1e broadest sense of the ter111, or even 1naterial lack of pov,,ers. Sucl1 a finding i;.vould impose no valid obligation on tl1 e parties. It is, tl1erefore, necessa-y that this point sl1ot1ld be tl1oroughly cleared up before the sulJstance of the staterne11 t is co11tinued. I would add that, as regards the 1ne�ting of tl)e Cot1ncil of tl1e Leagt1e of Na­ tio11s, the final n1inutes are tl1e only a.utl1ority ,vl1icl1 I an1 able a11d bot1nd to consider, and accordii1g to tl1e n1inutes of tl1 e 1neeting of l\1ay 25, 1935, Baron Aloisi, replying to a question asked by i\1r. J eze, said: 1

St1bject to the reservation ,vl1icl1 I l1ave made, ,ve do not intend in a.11y way to restrict the work of the l\rlJitrators, except \vitl1 regard to frontier questions. It is, tl1erefore, alJsolutely clear thattJ1e c1uestio11 of fro11tiers is not IJefore the ArbitraI Con11nission for jt1dgn1 ent. Fron1 the legal stanclpoint, tl1e question ca11 be put in this way. Legiti1nate [)Ossession 1,1,ec vi clam 1zec fJrecario 111 ust be respected. Since Italy l1 as for se,1eral years been in legitimate posS:ssion of \Val \iVal, the attitude of the Ethiopian troops ,vas, therefore, certai 1l)' provocative. I would emphasize that this dedaratio11 n1 ust be regarded as an act of courtesy to the Agent of the Ethio1)ian Government, ratl1er than as a reply to tl1e latter's argun1ents 1 but it sl1ould not lead to 1l1e questio11 becon1ing the subject of tl1 e Comn1ission's decisions. Mr. JEzE: I an1 sorry tl1at I cannot agree with the Agent of the Italian Gov­ ernment. It was understood at Ge11eva tl1at, before delimiting tl1 e frontier, tl1 e v\1al v\7al incident "rould be settled, a:ter due consideration of all the circum­ stances ,vhicl1 niigl1t affect the solutior. of the dispute. As regards tl1e de facto occt1pation referred to by Mr. Lessona, this \Vould see111 to be distinct from de j11,re occu1)atio11. l'vlr. LESSONA: Not at all. Seei11g, lio,vever, tl1at Mr. Jeze's alter11ative is the same ",J �ether we consider sovereig11tf or merely possession, the question of ownership �f the territory of Wal Wal is superfluous. I would ask l\!lr. Jeze ,vhether he 1s �re �ared to discon _ �i11ue bis pleading. If not, I shall be obliged to ask tl1 e Co1nm1ss1on to decide this point. Mr. ]EZE: I do not ask the l\rbitratcrs to decide wl1ethe1· \,Val Wal is situated on Etl1iopian territory. But I must e1Camine all tJ1 e circumstances of the case and deal in partict1lar with tl1 e geograpl1ical a11d JJolitical position of Wal Wal. Mr. Lesso11a l1as asserted Italy is i11 legitimate possession of \,Val \\Tai and is


5, 1935


tJ1us in, rested ,vith certain rights, since tl1 e possession is nee vi -riec clam ?'tee pre­ cario. I, on tl1 e ot11er hand, consider tJ1at I a1n e11titled to contest this assertio11 and to be able to SJJealc 011 this point. I only aslc for eqt1a.lily of rigl1 ts. Mr. DE LA PR ADELLE: The problen1 l1ere is tl1e applicatio11 of a princi1Jle. \i\Then a r]isct1ssion arises regarding tl1 e Co1n1nission's po,vers, the t\vo sides are free to sub1nit their observatio11s a11d co11clusions, and tJ1 e Co1nn1 ission v.rill the.n adopt its decision. Consec1uently, if the Agent of tl1 e Etl1 iopian Government aslcs to be aJlo\ved to expot111 cl l1 is conclusions, tl1e Co1n1nission n1ust J1 ear hin1. On tJ1 e other ha11d, it ,viii duly note that tl1 e Age11 t of the Italian Govern111 ent contests tl1e Co1111nission's po\vers and reserves tl1e right to submit on this question an}' further argu1nents to s110\v tl1 at the Commission ,vould tl1us IJe e.."Xceecling the po,vers granted to it. l\tlr. LESSONI\: Tl1e Co111 n1 ission cannot contest the Italian Go,,ernment l-\gent's rigl1 t to confine t11 e discussion to the de1nurrer. l\1r. DE LA PH.ADELLE: I do 11ot tl1 inlc that ,ve ca11 restrict the extension of the discussion. Tl1e Agent of the Italian Governn1 e11 t has subrnitted conclusions: the Co1111nission, l1 aving the po..,vers ,vhich it possesses, will l1old a consultation on the subject and give a decision. Tl1 at does 11ot prevent us fro1n co11 tinuing to hear tl1 e state111e11 t of tJ1 e Agent of t11e Etl1iopia.11 Gover11 n1 ent. Cot1nt ALDROV1\NDI: There is a clisagreement IJet,vee11 Mr. Jeze's point of vie,,, and tl1 e den1urrer regarding the fro11tier question er1tered IJy tl1e /\gent of the Italia11 Governn1ent. I propose, tl1 erefore, to suspend tl1e 111eeti1 1g and resume it ,vitl1 ot1t tl1e Agents of tl1e two Governn1 ents. :rvlr. DE LA PR.ADELI�E: I ,vould ask: tl1e Age11ts to give tl1eir vie,vs on tJ1 is question. Count ALDROVANDI: Tl1e point on wl1icl1 tl1ere is a lack of agree11 1e11t seems to me to be perfectly clear. Mr. fVIONT,\GNA.: I talce tl1 e san1 e ,,ie\v. fVIr. ]EZE: I would lik:e to refer to tl1e Con1 111 ission tl1e question wl1cther Wal \VaJ belongs to Italy or to EtJ1iopia. Tl1e Agent of the Italian Government l1 as stated that tl1e Governn1e11 t itself l1as very categorically inti1nated its desire that tl1e Con1 mission should 11ot deal ,vitl1 tl1is question. fVIr. Lessona considers that in SL1cl1 circu1nstances the Agent of tl1e Ethiopian Governn1e1 1 t cannot be allo\\red to discuss a questio11 ,vl1 icl1 l1 as i11disputably been forrnally excluded by the Italian Goverr1ment. l\tfr. DE LA PR ADELLE: T11e Age11t of tl1 e Italian Governn1ent aslcs tl1e Co1nn1 is­ sion not to l1ear the Age 11 t of tl1 e Etl1iopian Go, 1er111nent on a questio11 of th.e interpretation of the Comn1ission's powers. This is tl1e point ,vhich the Com1nission must decide. [The representatives \Vere requested to \vitl1clra,v. left the roon1.]

l\!Ir. LESSONt\ and Mr. ]EZE

l\ Ir. DE LA PR,\DELLE: I feel tJ1 at ,ve l1ave reached the JJoint ,vl1ere it is necessary to non1inate a fifth Arbitrator. fVIr. l\iJoNTAGN:\: It is a matter for tJ1e Govern1nents to decide. l\tJr. DE LA PRt\DELLE: J\ llttestion of tl1 e Con1 1nissio11's po,vers arises. The t,,,o sides are free to state their vie,vs to the Com1nissio11 on tl1is qt1estio11 of 1



powers and tI1 e Comnussion is entitled to give a decisio11, i.e. decide regarding its powers. . . lv1r. MONTAGNA: The Con1mission has tl1 e right wl1 e11 there 1s a text wh1cJ1 can be variously interpreted. But \Vl1 en tl1e text is clear a11d ,vhen there is an tin­ equivocal intention shown by one Government wl1icl1 agrees to refer a questio11 for arbitral decisio11 and lays down definite lin1 its, as is tl1e case witl1 the Italian Go,,ernment ,vl1ich categorically excluded an}' decision on the questio 11 of tI1 e ownersl1 ip of Wal \Val, then I think: tl1at the Commission cannot deal witl1 the qt1estion as it would in any case be isst1ing a null and void judgn1 ent. We s]1ould, tl1erefore, merely record the fact tl1at the two States disagree. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: The nvo parties l1ave proved to be in disagree1nent as to the extent of the Con1mission's powers. On tl1 is disagreen1ent, w]1 icl1 con­ cerns the JJO\vers of the Co 1nn1ission, tl1 e latter can decide. Mr. 11oNTAGNA: In 1ny opinion, t l1 e Con1n1 issio11 cannot decide. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: In tl1at case, I cannot contint1e tl1 e discussio 1 1. Mr. 1\tloNTAGNA: The Comnussion must confi11 e itself to referri11g tl1e ques•­ tion to the Governments and asking tl1 e1n for their opi11ion. I\1r. DE LA PRADELLE: Tl1 e Com1nission has tl1 e right a 11d tl1 e obligation to decide. It ,vould be exceeding its po,vers if it decided questio11s ,vl1icl1 have no conn.ection ivith the interpretation of tl1e agreement ,vl1icl1 sets it up; it would com1nit a legal error if, for tl1e interpretatio11 of tl1 is agree1nent, it 1 11isjudged its powers. But the Corr1n1 ission l1as tl1e right and the duty to decide. There is one point wl1ich, i1 1 n1y opinio11, is particularly seriotzs. Tl1e Agent of tl1e Italian Gover11me11t does 11 ot \visl1 t11 at 011 e of tJ1e parties sl1 ot1ld state to the Commission the conclusions and tl1 e ,vays of interpreting tl1 e Com111ission's po,vers because tl1 ey are at variance \vith l1 is I)ersonal instructio11 s. T,vo of us sl1are this I)Oint of view. 1 11 tl1 ese circu1nstances, I tl1 ir1k tl1at the Comn1 ission's proceedings 1nust be terminated fortl1 ,vith. At tl1e same time, if tl1e Agent of tl1e Italian Gover11ment maintains his opposi­ tion to the otJ1er side stating its ,,ieivs freely, it is still possil)le to resort to tl1 e nomination of a fiftl1 Arbitrator. Mr. MONTAGNA: In n1y opinio11, t11e question of po,vers does not arise and should not be brougl1t up. "fl1 e Italia11 Arbitrators ,vould prefer to l1ave nothing to do witl1 the frami1 1g of a useless decision. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: The Commission's work-there is no use de 11 )ring it­ is ending because the Agent of tl1e Italia 11 Governrnent l1as asked the Co1nmis­ sion to restrict the Agent of tl1e Ethiopian Gover11n1 ent in l1 is freedon1 of expression. It is inad1nissible tl1 at one side sl1ould be restricted in stating • 1ts case. Mr. POTTER: I should like to register tl1e opinio11 tl1at, witl1 regard to tl1 e question of procedure, tl1e Comn1ission has power to decicle tl1e extent of its jurisdiction after l1earing tl1e Agents of tl1e Gover11 111ents. On the merits of tl1 e question I think that on May 25 tl1e parties agreed to refer to tl1 e Co1nmissio11 the question of tl1 e Wal Wal i 11 cident, i11cluding, if necessary, the question of the _ ownersh1� o� th� surrounding territory, witl1out i11 any way raisi 11g tl1 e que stion of the del1m1tat1on of the frontier. Count ALDROVANDI: If it touched on tl1 e question of the ownership of Wa l


5, 1935


\,Val, the Co111mission ,votzld be led to consider the question of the delimitation of the frontier. Mr. POTTER: I tl 1inlc that the hvo qt1estions can be dealt witl1 separately. Nlr. DE LA PRADELLE: Tl1e representative of the Ethiopian Government 1nust be allo,ved to develo1) l1 is argun1ent. Otl1er,.,,,ise tl1e only thing to be done is to appoint a fifth Arbitrator or close the proceedings of the Co1nn1ission. I wonder ,vhat is the expla11ation of the Italian Arbitrator's attitude. 'fhe Commission l1as 1net in1bt1ed ,vith a spirit of justice anrJ co11 ciliation and I fail to understand \vl1 y tl1e Agent of the Ethiopia11 Govern111 ent should be pre,rented fron1 stating I1is case. l\1r. NlON'fAGN,\: TJ1e 1-\rbitrat:ors cannot substitute their decision for tl1 e in­ tention of tl1e Go·vernrnents. In 111y opinion, the question of po\vers does not arise, since it has already been settled by the ltalia11 Government, ,vl1e11 it laid down tl1e li1nits ,vitl1in wl1icl1 it agreed to acceJ)t the Con1 1nissior1's finding. Tl1e Itc'tlian Arbitrators cannot allo,v the Agent of tl1 e Etl1 iopia.n Go,·er111ne11t to discuss a questio11 ,vhich the Italian Govern1nent is entitled not to refer to the Co1nn1ission. l\s regards the fiftl1 Arbitrator, he might interve11e if there ,vas a difference of opinio11 bet\veen tl1 e 1\rbitrators. Tl1is is a case, ho,vever, of a difference of opinion bet,vee11 Governments. Ivir. DE LA PRf\DELLE: Each party n1ust assume its responsilJilities, ancl they are heavy. I 1nal<e the furtl1 er request tl1at, ,vhile cluly 11 oting the conclusio11s subrr 1itted by the 1\gent of tl1e Italian Government regarding the lin1itatio11 of the Comn1 ission's po,vers, tl1e Agent of the Ethiopian Governn1ent sl1oulcl be allo\ved to co1nbat these co11 clusions and to malce an interlocutorv state111 ent of his case. Tl1e Co1n111issio11 \viii in any case be free to tak:e its decision. Count i\LDROV .ANDI: Ho,v far does the Agent of the Etl1 iopia11 Government propose to go in stating his conclusio11s? Ivlr. DE LA PRADELLE: To tl1e extent necessary to explain tl1 e Ethiopian Gov­ ernme11t's attitt1de. Count ALDROVANDI: That n1eans, therefore, the question of the delirr1itation of the frontiers. l\1Ir. DE LA PRADELLE: I did 11ot gather that tl1e Ethiopian f\gent intended to put thi. question to the Arbitrators. It is essential, l1owever, to study all the circumstances ,vl1icl1 ma:y deterrnine tl1e responsilJility for tl1e incidents. f\ll tl1ese circu1 1 1stances can and sl1 ould be examined. Some of tl1en1 are not im­ n1aterial. Tl1 ere is, for instance, a theory of possession as expot1nded by l'v1r. Lesso11a. i\fter tl1at, there can be tl1e question of property. Count ALDROV,\NDI: If ,ve admit the right of the 1\gent of tl1 e EthiorJian Govern1nent to discuss tl1e question of the o,vnersl1 ip of \Val \1/al, will tl1 is not mea11 tl1at tJ1e Co1 1 1mission would l1a,,e to deal vvith the c1t1estion of fro11tiers? :Nlr. MONTAGNA: I think it \VOuld be tl1e same question in a slightly different form. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: I revert to n 1y point that, as tl1 e Commission is judge of its o,vn po,vers a11d tl1ere is no 11eed for ar1 )1 reference to tl1e Governments, both sides are entitled to state their cases. I ca11not agree to one side objecting to the other side stating its case. J


Count ALDRO\'A1'1DI: The Agent of tl1e Italian Gover11ment l1as stated that, in accorda11ce witl1 his Go,,ern111e 11 t's instructions, l1e cannot allov.r the question of tl1e frontiers to be discussed. I\.1r. DE LA PRADELLE: Tl1e Arbitrators are ask:ed to refuse a l1 earing to tl1e Agent of tl1 e EthioJJian Go, ern 1ne11t, becat1se tl1e Italian Governn1ent objects to this, on tl1 e grou11 d tl1at it takes a certain ,,ie,v of the Co1n1nission's po\vers and does not wish to give the Arbitrators po,ver to inter1)ret freely tl1e n1andate witl1 ,vl1 ich eacl1 of the1n has been invested. In tl1ese circt1n1stances, it is ab­ solutely impossible to agree to the request 111 ade on tl1e Italian Government's behalf by its ,'\gent. Mr. I\tloNTAGNA: We cannot deny the rigl1t of tl1 e Age11t of tl1 e Italia11 Go,,ernment to confine the discussion to a de 1 nurrer. l\1r. DE LA PRADELLE: In tl1ese circun1stances, nothing rernains bt1t to break up. I think, however, tl1 at, before tak:ing sucl1 a serious decision, \Ve should allow oursel\res tin1 e for reflection and adjour11 tl1 e consultatio11 u1 1til later. Count AI�DROVANDI: I agree witl1 this suggestion. l\.1r. DE LA PRADEIJLE: From the legal J)oint of vie\v, tl1e questio11 looks very bad for tl1e 011 e side \Vhich is putting itself i11 a false J)osition by J)reve11ti11g tl1e other side from amplifyi 11 g its conclusions. Mr. MON1'AGNA.: It is not a false ()osition. It is the conseqt1ence of tl1e atti­ tude consistently b)' the Italian Government. Count J\LDROVANDI: The ltalia 11 Arbitrators do 11ot wisl1 to preveut 011e sicle fron1 stating its case, but \'"Ve have before us a declaration l)y the l\gent of the Italian Govern1nent who enters a de111 urrer a.s regards t11e discussio 11 of t1 1 e question of fro11 tiers. \Ve ha,,e no\v to tak:e a very serious decision and I vvoulcl ask 110\v mt1cl1 time the Co1 n111 ission \\1ishes to l1a,:e for reflection. l\1r. DE LA PRAJJELLE: I woulcl propose an adjot1rnn1 e11 t for t\ventv-four J1ours. Count ArJDROV1\NDI: The Com 1 11 ission ,viii n1eet ton1orrO\V n1or11i;1g at I 1 a.111 . 1


[ fhe rneeting rose at 12.40 p.111 .]

J,t,lly 9, 1935 Count ALDR0\1ANDI declared that Mr. l\.1ontagna and he had studied r11ost carefully tl1e question v.rhich had given rise to tl1e incide11t of July 5. Tl1e result of tl1 eir reflections l1ad bee11 forrnulated in a docu111e11t wl1 icJ1 they submitted to the Comn1ission.1 [The docu1ne11 t was read.] Imn1ediatel)1 upon the conclusion of tl1 e reading of the opinion of Count Aldro­ . van � 1 and l\ilr. Montagna, i\1Ir. DE LA PilADELI�E askecl tl1 at the opi11 ion of the of the Italian. Go,,er11n1ent sl1 oulcl be inserted i 11 tl1 e 111 inutes. Oa J\rb1trators _ his side he also had studied, togetl1er witl1 l\11r. Potter, t11 e c..Juestion j 11 discussion. They had reacl1 ed a decision wl1 ich he would present to tile Con1111 ission.1 [TJ1 e docun1ent ,vas read.] 1 Annex I, infra, p. 65.


9, 1935

Mr. DE LA PRAl)ELLE asked tl1 at tl1e text of tl1 e decisions wl1ich he had just read should be inserted in the mir1t1tes. Count ALDROVANDI said tl1at, \Vith reference to tl1 e second document read by �1r. de la Pradelle, l1 e need only refer to tl1 e findings ,vhicl1 lie and l\1r. lVIontagna l1ad submitted, more particularly to the sentence: "vVl1ereas the above dispute between the Italia11 representative and the Ethiopian representative could only be settled by the res1)ective Governme11 ts." Mr. DE LA PRi\DELLE observed tl1 at it would appear frorn the mint1tes that the two Arbitrators \Vl10 had signed decision No. 2, having asked their colleagues to make on this point a joint cleclaration, the latter l1ad stated i11 their pre,:ious finding tl1 at they could not accept any other interpretation than one to be jointly agreed upon bet,veen tl1e Go\,ernme11 ts. Count ALDROVr\.NDI asked Mr. de la Pradelle and Mr. Potter if thev intended to agree to the proposal contai11 ed in tl1e cleclaration subn1 itted by Mr. 1\/Jontagna and l1imself, vi::.., tl1 a. t tl1 e latter II declare tl1 eir readiness to continue t11 e work of the Co1 n111ission, ,vithin tl1e lin1its of the co1nproniis." Mr. DE L. .\PRADELLE replied that the Ethiopian Gover.nn1ent's Arl1itrators had given t\vO findi11 gs and l1 ad e11 tered tl1em in tl1e n1inutes. I r1 botl1 of these, they \Vere in disagreen1 ent ,vith the Italian Government's i-\rbitrators. He l1ad no otl1 er poi11 ts to 1nake. It ,vas 11ot his duty to give an interpretation of tl1 e decisions whicl1 l1 ad been taken by the otl1 er two Arbitrators. lVIr. l\1oNTAGNt\ observed that tl1 e Italian f\rbitrators had not taken decisions: they had made a declaration \vhicl1 also contained two fi11al pro1Josals and it was no\v for the otl1er Ar!)itrators to say ,vl1etl1er or not tl1 ey accepted tl1 ose proposals. lVIr. DE LA PR1\DELLE referred tl1e Co1n1nission to the t,vo decisions ,vl1 ich l1 e had given to the Secretariat to be k:ept in tl1 e Co1 nn1 ission's archives. Count ALDROV.ANDI asl.;-ed the Co1nn1 ission ,vhat it proposed to clo witl1 tl1 e documents whicl1 l1ad been sub1nitted to it. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE said that i11 l1 is opinion t11e Arbitrators' decisions should be co111 n1unicated to tl1e re1Jrese11tatives of tl1 e t,vo Govern1nents. Count ALoROVANDI also expressed the vie\v tl1 at tl1 e docun1ents in questio11 sl1ould be sent to tl1 e t,vo parties, i.e. t:l1 e Agents of tl1e Go,1ernn1 e11ts. Tl1 ey ,vould be annexed to the 1ni11 t1tes ancl l1 a11ded to the representativ·es along \vitl1 the latter. I-Je wondered \vl1 ether tl1 e t,vo parties ougl1t to !{eep t11e 1natter confidential. lVlr. DE L1\ PR,i\.DELLE thot1gl1t that the parties could deal wit11 tl1 e documents as they thought fit. They ,vould be con1municated to tl1 e t,vo parties tl1rough the Secretariat: he could 11 ot see a11 y otl1er procedure. Count ALDROVANDI tl1 ougl1 t tl1at a refere11ce should be made to tl1e last co1n­ m,-it1iiq1te issued by tl1e Con11 nission ,vbicl1 declared tl1at it had heard the begin­ ni11g of the statement made IJy the Etl1 iopian Government's representative. I-le ask:ed 11 0\v tl1 e next corri-ni1.i-1iiq1le ,vould be drafted. Mr. DE LA PR,\DELLE said tl1 at it need only state tl1at t"\vo n1 en1bers of the Com1 nission had been in favor of continuing tl1 e statemer1t of the Ethiopian Government's re1)resentative and that tl1 e other 111en1 bers l1 ad take.n the oppo­ site view.



Count ALDROVANDI pointed out tl1 at, in additio1 1, tl1 e declaratio11 made by tl1 e Arbitrators appointed by tl1 e Italian Govern111ent contained a proposal co11cerning adjourn1ne11t of the Commissio 11 's proceedings. Ivlr. POTTER asked wl1 at the Com1nission was going to do 11ext. l\1r. DE LA PRADELLE said that tl1 � question asked by the Italian Gover11 me11t's representative which l1 ad led to ti1 e hearing of tl1 e Ethiopian Go\,e1"1 1me11 t's represe11tative being interrupted \Vas a questio11 v1l1icl1, accordi11g to tl1e findings of the Italia11 Government 1s Arb:trators, ,vas not ,vithin the Co 1 n 1 nissio11's power to decide. If Mr. J eze ,vas not allo\ved to speak because it ,vas not agreed that the Com,nission had po,ver to define its province, tl1 e questio11 ,vas referred to the Governme11ts. Tl1 e Co1111nission, tl1erefore, could only co11 tint1e its ,vork if the two Governrnents agreed i11 defining the li111its of its !)O\vers. So long as 110 sucl1 agree1nent ,·vas arrived at, the Con1 n1 ission could do notl1ing. Count A.LDROVANDI that ,vas exactly what l1e a11d Mr. lVIontagna l1 ad in mind when they stated tl1at the inc ident in question coulcl on!>' be settled by tl1 e two Governments of Italy and Ethiopia. l\ilr. DE LA PRAJ)ELLE repeated that tl1e Comn1 ission could do notl1ing but adjour 11 u11til the Go,,ernments l1ac co111e to an agreernent. Mr. I\1oNTAGN,\ v,rished to n1al<e it clear that tl1 e two Governme11 ts l1ad 11 ot to decide whetl1er lVIr. J eze sl1ould or :nould not continue his state111 e11 t, but merely whether the Comn1ission should deal \Vith the questio11 as to \vl10 o,v1 1ed \i\1al \iVal. lVIr. DE LA PRADELLl� pointed ott tl1 at there ,vas a sligl1t difference bet\veen the t,vo questio11s. The questio11 t) be settled ,vas wl1 etl1er it ,vas the Co 1nn1 is­ sion \vhicl1 defined its o,vn po,vers er the Governn1e11 ts wl1icl1 sl1011lcl do so. He thought it inaclvisable, l1 owe, 1er, t), reopen tl1 e discussion bet\veen tl1e Arbi­ trators. Now that tl1 e Arbitrators had st1b1nitted tl1 eir decisions i11 \\ 1riting, the discussion \\las closed. I-Ie f)oi11 ted out that, when it \Vas a question of deciding \vhat \vould I1 appen, this must correspond in the case of e;tcl1 of tl1 e 1:\VO groups to the opinion expressed by tl1 em. In the view of tl1 e Italia11 Governn1e11t's Arbitrators, it \Vas necessary to v.1 ait until tl1 e two Gover11ments to \Vhon1 tl1 e dispt1te l1ad been referred l1ad come to an agreement. If tl1 e Go,.rer11ments clecided that tl1e Co1n111 ission itself was fully co1 npetent, it cot1ld contir:ue its proceedings. Tl1e Etl1iopian Govern­ ment's Arbitrators, on their part, maintained tl1 at tl1e differe11ce of opi 11ion re­ ferred to in tl1e Geneva resolutio11 of l\!Iay 25 had occurred a 11 d n1ust l1 ave its . 1 11 any case. sequel, tl1 at is, rnust lead to the a1)r:ointrnent of a fiftl1 .L\.rbitrator. tl1 e Con1mission at present was unable to take a decisio1 1 as it could not say no,v whetl1 er it would n1eet again or not. Count ALDROVANDI observed th2t l1 e too had i 11 te.nded to define the furtJ1er activities of the Comn1ission, as l\1r. Potter l1ad asked. It ,vas then agreed that the Co111rr.is_sion \.vould tal(e no decision on this point. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE said tl1 at tl1 e question ,vas referred back to t11e two pa:ties who could take such action as tl1ey pleased. As the Go,,er1iments were go �11g to �e consulted on tl1 e question, tl1e decision ,vould lie ,vith them. \Vhen _ dec1s1on was announced tl1e Commission migl1 t see ,vl1at it }1 ad to do. this


9, 1935

Co�11t ALDRO:'ANDI inferred that tl1is point had now been cleared up. rerr1a1ned to decide wl1 at would be co1nmunicated to tl1e press.

65 It only

The Comn1issio11 decided tl1at the mi11 utes co11 cerning tl1 e present 1neeting ,vould be drafted to read as follo,vs: 1:he C?1 n1nission 1 net at I I a.n1. at tl1 e Palace I-Iotel, Scheveningen. 1lie v1e,vs eXJ)ressed by its 111en1bers will be con1 mu11 icated to tl1e two Governr11ents. ,.fl1ese \rie,vs are an 11e..\:ed to the present report. A sin1 ilar co1n 1 nu 11 ication ,vould be n1 ade to the press \vitl1 the omission of the last sentence. [�fl1e meeting rose at 12.35 p.m.J




Count ALDROV1\NDl a 11d l\tf r. l\tlON'fAGNA, Taki11 g note of the fact that tl1e co111.prom1:s estalJlisl1ed by agreement between t11e Italian Go,rern111ent and tl1e Etl1 io1Jian Govern1nent deals witl1 tl1e factual circumstances of tl1 e incide11t of Wal \\/al a11d tl1 e other i 11 cidents which occurred successively down to tl1e date of l\tlay 25, and the responsibilities flo,vir1g tl1 ere­ fron1 , e.,-.,;:cluding c1uestions of tl1 e frontier i11 whole or in part; Considering that tl1 e Agent of the Ethiopia 11 Govern 1 ne11t, in the 1neeting of July 5, approached, before the Commission, tl1 e question of tl1e frontier, and tl1 at the Agent of tl1e Italian Governn1 e11 t shflrply OJ)posed this action, recalling t11 e tenns of tl1e co1njJroniis; Considering tl1 at there ca1111ot be i11cluded in the powers of tl1 e Co 1nmission that of permitting tl1 e e..'<an1inatio11 of c1uestions ,vl1icl1 are excludecl by the co11ipro11i-is as clearly forn1 ulated by the Gover111nents, tl1us substituting its own detern1 jnation for tl1e ,viii of tl1 e Go,,ern111 ents; Co11sideri11g that tl1 e clifference above indicated betwee 11 tl1e Italian Agent a11d the Ethiopian r\gent can only be resolved by tl1 e respective Govern1nents; Declare tl1en1selves read)' to co11tin11e the labors of tl1e Commission ,vit11 in the li1nits of the co1npronzis. If tl1is st1ggestio11 is not accepted tl1 ey JJropose tl1at t11 e Commission, suspend­ ing for tl1 e mo111e11 t its activities, l1x tl1e date of July 20, i11 tl1 e city of . .. .. for its 11 ext 1neeting, ,vitl1 a vie,v to perrnitting tl1 e two Governn1ents to eliminate in tl1 e interval tl1e point in dispute. CONCLUSION OF ETHIOPIAN-APPOINTED ARBITRATORS

The undersigned Arbitrators, basing tl1eir decision, On the one Iiand, upon t11e conclusions of the f\gent of tl1e Italian Government, in which J1e demanded that tl1e Con1mission sl1ould not allo,v tl1e Agent of the




location o� \t�al al ori ri· ter the on up f sel him ss pre x e. � to t en rnm ve n Go Etlliopia 1 de d an d still 111 1 e 111 : d l1a t e11 rnm ve Go n lia Ita 1 e � tl t tha ng bei 1 so1 rea \,Val, his ors, a11d, l 1e11ce, rat b1t f\r tl1e of e11t gm jud tl1e 1n fro ion est qti t tha e lud exc 1 to te, ded frorn all discussio11 before tl1e1n, 1 e Ethiopia11 Gover11ment, tl of ent Ag e 1 tl ns of sio clu con t1 e 1 o11 up 1 er, otl e 1 t1 On 1 e did not cl�n1and tha t tl1e l at 1 tl g, 1 J ndi sta der 1 u1 mis id all avo , to out ng nti poi _ Arbitrators decide u 1)on tl1 e demarcatior1 of the frontier, concer11 1ng wl1:cl1 there did not exist at Wal V.,Tal, any u11certainty, l)ut sin1 ply tl1at they talce into con­ sideration all circu111 stances bearing upon the question of responsibility and hence upon the settle111ent of the v\lal \tVal incident, ,vithout deprivi11g hin1 of �11� r��ht to develop all arguments tending to den1onstrate the absence of respons1b1l1ty on tl1 e part of tl1 e Ethiopian Government, ,vl1 icl1 i11te11ds to prove t11 at the ar1ned conflict occurred on its o,vn territor)', The paint to be decided being 11ot yet the interlocutory questio11 of ,vl1 etl1 er the powers of the Con1 mission, as concer11s tl1e circu1nstances of the Wal \rVal i11 cident, are or are not limited, but tl1at, entire!)' J)relin1 inar:y in cl1aracter, of whether upon this interlocutory question of compete11ce, upon ,vl1 ich the f\gent of tl1 e Italian Go\rer11111ent l1as free)), ex1)ressed himself, tl1e Age11t of the Ethi­ O{)ian Go, ern111 ent can equally express himself, in orcler to pern1 it the Commis­ sion to render, after hearing tl1 e t\VO Parties, its decisio11 t 1 po11 the difference of views separating then1 ; The in1 1nediate object of the decision to be take11 t1po11 tl1 e conclusions of tl1e Age11t of the Italian Governn1ent being tl1t1s defined, Considering tl1at, iii order to judge of responsibility for an engage1nent bet,veen foreign 1:1ncl national troorJs it is not irrelevant to know \vl1icl1 ,vere in tl1at lo­ cality the troops and ,,,I1icl1 tl1e foreign; that an1 ong tl1 e circumstances of any incident submitted to settlen1e11t by a11 arbitral com1nission, decidi11 g a question of international respo11 sibility, no11e can be set aside t1nless eitl1er manifestly i11operative or excluded b>' cor11mon agree1nen t; tl1 at, 1noreover, a .mong tl1e circumstances tl1ere are ir1volved not 011ly circumstances of fact but also circu111stances of law, as the Age11t of tl1e Italian Governn1 ent brougl1 t out in declaring that Italy held possession of Wal \1/al in ter1ns of law, ·riee vi, nee ela1n, 1iee preear£o, s01nething v.1l1icl1, furtl1ermore, it would 1Je useless to den1onstrate if Italy could prove a title superior to possession; that, 1noreover, tl1is point of vie,v cannot be considered as foreign to the factual circu111stances of tl1 e incident, an1 ong which is found this, 011 t11 e one l1and, na1nely that 011 Decen1 ber 4, r934, the eve of tl1 e incident, the con1 mander of t11e Italian line, Captain Cir nmaruta, \ �rote: "Any act of violence tendi11 g to force tl1 e line at a11y I)Oint, eitl1er �11 the sides or in other places occupied by us, I sl1 all be obliged to consider as directed against the territory of his l\.1ajest)7 the IG11g of Ital)'," and, this, 011 tl1e other, nan1ely, that on Dece1nber Ir, 1934, l\.1r. l'viomlJelli, Italia11 Cl 1arge d'Affaires at Addis Ababa, wrote to His Excellency Blatten G11 ieta J-Ieru)', l\tlinister of For­ eign Affairs: "(r) Tl1e question of the appurtenanc)' of \i\lal \tVal and \tVarder to Italian Somaliland ca11not be doubted, as tl1 e Italian Govern111 ent reserves to itself �o d �rno11 strate at a11 opportune time; (2) In consequence tl1e attitude of �apta1n C1mmaruta was correct," in such ma11 ner that the correctness of tl1e at­ titude of the cornn1 ander of the I taliao line, as t1e recognized J1 imse.lf, and as it was put forward by the diplon1atic represe11tative of Italy, appeared, fron1 the 1



9, 1935


,,ery begin11ing, as inti111ately linked witl1 the detern1inatio11 of t11e nationality, Italian or Ethiopian, of \i\Tal \i\Tal, not to say cletern1 ined by it, tl1at, without pusl1ing further an exa1ninatio11 ,vl1ich mjgJ1t see1n J)remature at this tin1e 011 the point of \Vl1etl1er the aggressio11 took : place in Ethiopia11 or Italian territory, these si1nple re111arks suffice to sho\v that it cannot be estal)lisl1 ed, as the Agent of the Italia11 Govern111 e11t pretends, that the c1uestior1 is so clear as not to be debateable; tl1 at to present sucl1 an argurr1e11 t is to e11ter alread)' into the discus­ sion of tl1e interloct1tory question of the extent of tl1 e po,vers of the Co1111nission, wl1ereas the poi11t st1bmitted to it in tl1e nan1 e of the Italian Governn1ent by the demand for a ,vitl1 clra,val of the right to SJ)eal< fro1n the Agent of the Ethiopian Go,,ern1nent is, in tl1 e first place, that of \v]1ether he has tl1e right to speak: on a footing of eqt1ality \Vith 11is aclversary, and for tl1e Co1n1nission to say ,vl1etl1er, wJ1 en one of tl1e i\gents declares that his Government J1 as intended to li111 it the po,vers of tl1e Arl)itrators, it has the right a.fter free discussion to examine freely this declaration; a question the solution of v1l1 ich cannot be dot1btful in virtL1e of the principle long established that every arbitral co1n1nission deter111 ines for itself, by i 11 terpretation of tl1e docu111 ents constituting it, the extent of its o,vn p0\Ver5.

For tl1 ese reasons, Reserving for tl1 e moment the i11terlocutor) question of whetl1 er t11 e Comn1is­ sio11 n1t1st exclucle fro1n the bases of its decisio11 the Iocatio11 of Wal \,Val, Confi11ing tl1 en1selves to the 1Jreli1ninary question of wl1 etl1 er, \Vhen the I talia 11 Age11t affir1ns tl1 a.t sucl1 l1 as bee1 1 and remains the will of this Governn1ent, tl1 is declaration 111t1st be accepted l)y tl1e Co1n1 nission ,vitl1 out being able itself to evalt1ate, after eqt1al hearing of tl1 e representative of the other . Party, the texts bv • virtue of ,vhicl1, ,vitl1 tl1e aid and co61Jeration of the Council of the League of Natio11s, botl1 Parties estalJlisl1ed it, not IJy individual wills ,.vhich, even after sucl1 establishment, shoLild continue to do1 11i1 1ate it, but by a co1nn1on \Vill, sol­ en1nly and objecti,,ely registered, the i11terpretation of wl1ich, once it ,vas deter­ mined in the orga11izatio11 of tl1e instance, could 11ot belong to anyone !Jut tl1 e judge \vithout ,,iolating the force of the obligation: Conclude That it vvould IJe, on tl1e f)art of tl1e Con1n1 issio11, a11 abdication of its incle­ pendence and at tl1 e san1e ti111e a l1 indra.nce to the liberty of the defe1 1se to forbid the f\gent of tl1 e Etl1iopian Governn1 ent to de\'elo1J the reasons for vvhicl1 he be­ lieves tl1 at tl1 e Co1nmission, free to judge of all circun1stances of the i11 cide11t, may include tl1erein that of tl1 e a1JJ)Urte11ance of vVal \i\Tal. DE LA PRADELLE. 1



TI1e undersio-ned Arbitrators, Taking 11ote�f tl1e fact that, by virtue of their precedi1�g decision, contradicted, botl1 in its preinises and in its co11clusions by that of tl1� 1r : olleagues, for1:1ulated _ in an opposite sense, there is produced, as fro1n tl1e prel1m1nary exam1nat1on of a question described by tl1e Italian Agent as interlocutory, an absence of agreement among the four Arbitrators,



Considering tl1at, by tl1 e tern1 s of its Resolution No. 2 _of l\1a� 25, "�l1 e �oun­ cil, leaving to tl1 e t,vo Parties full liberty to settle tl1 e dispute 1n quest1011 11� ac­ cordance ,vith A.rticle V of tl1 e Italo-Etl1 iopian Treaty of August 2, 1928, decided to meet if, in default of agreen1 e11 t }Jetween tl1e four Arbitrators for tl1 e settle1nent by July 25tl1 beof the dispute ' an understanding shall not have been reacl1 ed . " ; anc:I . . . or itrat Arb tween these Arbitrators as to the selection of tl1 e fifth that tl1 e absence of agreement has emerged i11 tJ1 e Con11nission upo11 a question all tl1e 1nore serious i11 tl1at it controls tl1 e funcla111ental question of tl1e ele1nents upon wl1ich tl1 e Co1111nission is to lJase its decision, by interpretation of tl1 e doct1n1ents establishing it; For tl1ese reasons, Declare that lhe moment has come for the four Arbitrators to choose tl1 e fifth. DE LA PRADELLE. POTTER.




At the 1noment whe11 tl1e Arbitratio11 Con1 1nission, whose e.xistence J1ad come to an end on July 25, is called into existe11 ce again, by virtue of an agreement be­ t,veen the Parties, in conditions ciuite differe11t fro1n tl1 e 1Jreceding, tl1 e under­ signed Arbitrators, prior to any exercise of their 11ew functions, as defi11ed by the resolution of the Council of the League of Nations of i\ugust 3 1 1935, ex1)ress t11e regret tl1 at tl1e proble1n of inter11ational jt1ridical respo11 sibili�,, \vl1 icl1 l1 ad been submitted to then1 in its entiret.J', in conformity witl1 the terms of Article V of the treaty of August 2, 1928, and the agreen1 e11 t bet,veen the Parties of J\tlay 25, 1935, is presented to tl1 e1n henceforth under conditions sucl1 tl1at its solution can no longer, follov.ring the SL1rrender agreed to, deal co111 pletely with tl1e dispute juridically, shorn as it is of one of its essentiaJ elements. Tl1ey can11ot admit tl1at this surrender \Vas voluntary, still less t11 at it could J1 ave had as a qitid pro q1,o the acceptance, by one of the Governn1ents, of a fiftl1 Arbitrator desired by the other, tl1is above all seeing that the choice of tl1 is fifth Arbitrator \vas left to the otl1er four Arbitrators tl1 emselves. In other circu1nstances tl1 ey wot1ld decline, because of fu11 damental disagree1nent witl1 tl1e terrns of sul)1nission, t11 e 11 ew mis­ sion offered to them. But, in view of tl1e gravity of tl1e present J1 ot1r, tl1ey do not l1 esitate, l1aving made tl1 is declaration, to assure tl1 eir colleagues of tl1eir entire collaboration, witl1in tl1e li1nits of tl1e po\vers 110w accorded tl1 em. DE LA. PRADELLE. PO'fTER.


Tl1e Arbitrators appointed by tl1e Italian Govern1nent entertain certain very sharp objections to the opinions on questions of fact and of law just enunciated


by the Arbitrators appointed by the Etl1iopian Government. Count Aldrova11di and Cot1ncillor Montagna abstain, l1owever, from J)resenting and developing these objections, for tl1ey consider that in this respect all controversy l1 as been closed. They co11fine tl1emselves to leaving to l\liessrs. de La Pradelle and Potter the responsibility for tl1eir declarations ancl they desire only to resun1e ,vitl1 tl1em the labors of the Com1nissio11. ALDROVANDI. l\10NTAGNA.



Aug1tsl 20, 1935.

Called by the resolution of the Council of the League of Nations of August 3 to proceed witl1out delay, upon tl1e resumption of the labors of tl1 e lta.Io-Ethi­ opia11 Commission of Co11ciliation and Arbitration, to tl1e designation of the fifth Arbitrator, we l1ave the l1 onor to request you to acce1)t suc11 designation. \Ve are u11a11 in1ous in prof{ering tl1is designation to you, happy to have, in case of disagree1ne11t, the valuable assistance of your great experience and your high compete11 ce in international affairs. Accept, etc., His Excellency,



l\'1 inister of Greece, Paris.


P. .<\RIS,A11.gz· tst 21, 1935. GENTLEMEN,

I hasten to acknowledge receipt of your communication under date of yester­ day, by \Vhicl1 you are so good as to inforn1 1ne that you l1ave unani1nously offered to me the ft1nctions of fiftl1 Arbitrator i11 your Con1n1ission. I thank yott for your 111ark of confidence, by wl1icl1 I feel greatly honored, a11d consider it n1)' duty to l1old 1nyself at your dispositio11. I hope that the hypothesis of a disagreen1ent amo11g you, in the event of wl1icl1 1ny assistance l1as bee11 provided, will not be realized. But, in order to render my participation practicable in case of necessity, account n1ight ,veil be taken of tl1e approacl1ing e.xpiration of the period of delay fixed by tl1e Council of the League of Nations. Accept, etc.,


To the Members of the







PROCEEDINGS OF T:-IE COMMISSION Al PARIS A itgµst 20, 1935 Before resun1ing {)articipatio11 in the vvor]{ of tl1e Co1n1nissio11 l\1Iessrs. DE LA PRADELJ.,E and POTTER a separate declaratio 1 1. 1 Messrs. ALDROVAl\roI and MONTAGNA, tl1e Italian Arbitrators, 1 11ade a re1)ly to this declaration. 1 After the declarat ions had been <:xcl1 anged, tl1 e Co111n1 issio11 decided tl1at the Agent of tl1e Ethiopian Government should resur11e l1is state1nent at the JJoint ,vhere l1 e l1ad left off at Scl1evening=n. 0 1 1 tl1e same cla>' at 3 p.11 1. Profe;sor Jeze co1Ttinued l1is pleading as follo,vs: I\1fr. ]EZE: \i\Then tl1e Con1111 issior.'s J)roceeclings were i1 1terrupted i1 1 July last i11 tl1e circun1 stances k:no,vn to c:111 c:>ncerned, I l1ad reached in tl1 e course of 1 11 y argument, the cardinal J)oint of the problem-the o,,rnersl1ip of vVal \�lal. NI}1 feeli11g ,:vas tl1at, if the Ethiopia.11 G:,ver11 ment proved tl1at the incide11t had oc­ curred in Etl1iopian territory, this \1iOuld l1ave constitt1ted a1 1 essential factor for detern1 ining tl1e aggressor. In endeavoring to grasp tl1e Ita1i.a.n Goverr1111ent1s J)oint of vie\V 011 this ques­ tion, it is essential, first of all, to refer to a note J)rese11ted on Decen1ber II, 1934, at the tin1e of the \i\Tal \i\Tal incident, to tl1e Etl1io1Jian l\1inister for Foreign Affairs by the Italian Cl1arge d'Affaires atf\dclis Ababa, 1\1. l\1on1belli. 111 tl1is docu­ n1ent \vhich is reprodt1 ced in the l\tir:rnorandu 11 1 st1l)111 ittecl to the League of Na­ t£a: "_1'11ere ca11 l)e 110 doubt that tions on January 15, 1935, it is sta:ed i1iter a! · \i\Tal \i\lal and \i\Tarder belong to Italian Sor11 alila11d, as tl1 e Italia11 c;over 11 ment will sho\v in due cot1rse." 1'l1 e aJ)propria te r110111ent, ho\vever, has never arri\'ed and at Sche,1cningen the Italian Govern1nent strongly objected to tl1is question being cleared up and insisted that tl1e question of tl1e legal o,:v11ership of \i\T,:11 vVal should be left aside entirely. rfhe Italian Govern11 1e 1 1t 111 ai11tains tl1at 11oth­ ing should be saicl about tl1e legal title to tl1e o,v11 ersl1ip of \,Val vVal and bases its legal position on tl1e fact of JJossession. Possessio 11 , it points 011t, confers certain rights 011 tl1 e possessor ,vho is_ place,i in a situation envisaged by la\v, ::1s, for in­ stance, ,,,hen possessio11 is 1iec nee vi 11ec precario, to use the sa1ne terms as ,vere e1r1ployed by tl1e Age11t of tl1e It:1.lia11 Govern1 11ent in ex1Jounding his case. On this basis of juridical J)ossession tl1e Italian Gover11ment \Visl1 es to confine tl1e questio11 and to bar exarninaticn of the question of frontiers; tl1 e latter, it holds, falls within the province of a differe11t Co111 n1 issio11 ancl is not one to be considere·d by tl1e Co1 nmission of Arbitration. rfhe question \Vas referred to the Cou11cil of tl1e Leagt1e of Nations a 1d Mr. Aldrovandi ]1as just reacl tl1 e resolu­ tion ,vhicl1 the latter adopted. It fcllo\vs that, in its capacit1r as a political body endeavoring to settle peacefully the juridical as1Ject of an i 11 ter11atio1 1al dis1Jt1te, the Cot1ncil adoptecJ the resolution of August 3 last. \�lhile 111aintaini1 1g its juridical point of view as to tl1 e o\vTership of \Val \tVal ancl t11e i 11 flue11ce of this circt1n1stance on the deter1ninatio11 c,f the aggressor, the ELhiopiar1 Governn1ent, 1 Anne1 J, S'upra, p. 68




for reasons of political expecliency a11d to n1eet the vie,vs expressecl by the Cou11 cil of tl1 e League of Natio11s, agreed to continue the proceclure of arbitration omitting this capital factor of its case, i.e. the deter111ination of the place wl1ere tl1e dis1Jute occurred. The Ethio1)ian Government, therefore, 11 as 11 0 intention of re-ope11ing a point to ,vl1ich it agreed in Geneva. For my part, tl1erefore, I ,viii lea,,e aside tl1 e question of t11 e juriclical o\vnershiJ) of \�ial \,Val. I will re­ n1ain on the grottnd cl1osen b)1 :rvrr. Lessona, the c1uestion of the juridical posses­ sion of \Vcll 1a1. Can ,ve really regard t11is possession as being of sucl1 a character tl1 at its legality can be 1naintained against third parties, ,i.e. that the possession is pulJlic, J)eaceable a11d 11ot f)recarious? Tl1at is the point. rfhe Italia11 Governn1ent 1nakes t]1is assertio11 i11 its Men1orandun1 ancl i11 the oral statement subn1itted by Mr. Lessona. I propose to prove ,vith the help of 1ny docu111ents that this posi­ tion does not JJOssess t11e characteristics attribt1tecl to it and that it does not, therefore, constitLtte legal possessio11 . rfl1 is ,viii not be f)r0\1ed 011 the strength of Etl1 iopian docun1 e11ts, ,vhich 1night be 11 eld to be disputable but on tl1e basis of docu1nents emanating fro111 the otT-icial representative of a foreign Po,ver ,:vl1ich is above suspicion in this 1natter and. is not a Party to the dispute, a Power v.1l1 ich l1as interests i11 and l{nO\VS the circurn­ sta.nces of tl1e regio11. This representative, i11 virtue of the authority attaching to his official J)osition, l1 is l1igh ran!{ a11d l1is I)Osition on the spot, ,vill tell us v.1 l1etl1er this possession or rather tl1 is dete11tio11 bears the features ,vhich ,ve have been told are t111deniable. It ,viii be sho,vn that this detention is a de faclo occupation devoid of any lega.l character; it is 11ot !)ublic, is not free fron1 violence and is absolutely precarious. I have alreaciy dra,vn a substantial portrait of Liettt. Colonel Clifford's per­ sonality. I-Je is an officer ,v110 ser,1ed on the Anglo-Ethiopian Delin1 itation Coin­ mission ctnd ,vho was in t11e neighbor11oocl of \,\Tai \,\Tai at t1 1e tin1e of the incident. On No,1 e1nber 23, 1934. this officer ,vrote a letter to tl1 e Italian officer" Coman­ dante <lei settore bande," a letter ,v11icl1 is re1Jroduced i11 the Ethio1Jiar1 Govern­ n1e11 t's Tviemora11clu1n to the I�eague of Natio11s (Annex 3, page 14). In this docun1ent Lieut. Colonel Clifford says: Tl1e British and Ethiopian Co 1n111 is­ sioners of tl1 e Co1nmission for delimiting the frontier bet,:veen Ethio1Jia a11d Brit­ ish S01naliland present their compli1nents. They regret to note that tl1ey 11 a\re bee11 prevented by force fron1 111oving al)out freely in Ethiopia by the Italian authorities in t11e \Val \rVal region." Lieut. Colo11 el Clifford is, therefore, certai11 that 11e is i11 Ethiopia and, on 111eeting ,vitl1 resistance fro1n tl1 e Italian 1nilitary authorities, he !)rotests ancl re­ grets to note that l1e has bee11 prevented by force fro1n moving about freely in Ethiopian territory. rfhus, the occupation of tl1 is region, whicl1 the Italian Gover111nent mak:es out to be public, not violent a11d not JJrecarious, is unk11own to a representative of tl1 e Britisl1 Go,,ernn1ent, for ,vl1om it is nor1-existent. In another letter addressed by Liettt. Colo11el Clifford to Ca1)tain Ci1nn1aruta (Ethiopian Government's Memorandu1n, f\nnex S, page 15), tl1e British officer e.xpresses himself as follo,vs: "TI1e Britisl1 and Etl1 iopian Co1nn1issio11ers l1ave the l1onour to aclrnowledge recei1Jt of your note of to-day's date addressed to Lieut. Colonel Clifford. Tl1ey ,viii be l1 ap1)Y to receive you at the can1p of the





Britisl1 l\ifission at \i\Tal v\'al at ro a.m. this n1 orni11 g, Saturday, November 24, 1934." No\v, tl1 e Britisl1 1\1J ission's ca1np cannot be situa ted in Italian territory. _ _ Consequentl)', tl1 e BritisJ1 Governn1ent afnrn1 s througl1 1t� re? r�se11ta�1v� tl1at, if it l1 as sent son1eone to \Nal v\Tal, it is because tl1 at Iocal1ty ts 111 Eth1op1a and 11ot in Italian territory. A 11 ot11 er letter from Lieut. Colonel Clifford (A 11 nex 7, page r6, of tl1 e Etl1iopian Govern1ne11 t's Men1orandum), wl1 icl1 is also addressed to Captai11 Ci1nmaruta, contains tl1is staternent of fact: I J1a,,e the ho11 our to bring tl1 e follo,,1ing to your notice. For the duration of its prese11t worl{ in Etl1 iopia!1 t� rritOIJ', tl1 e safety of tl1 e British Missio11 natural}:,, de1)ends on the Etl1101J1an Go,1er11ment. 111 the course of to-day it has beco111 e clear tl1at, in ,,ievv of the pro,;ocative atti­ tude adopted IJ:'}' tbe Italian at1tl1 orities, the presence of th_e Anglo-Ethi� pian Co1nn1 ission at v\lal \�Tai might involve a consideral1le risk of prodt1c1ng a regrettable international incident. I describe the attitude of :'.)'Our G·overn1 ne11 t as provocative, 11 1ainly on account of tl1 e action of t,vo aeroplanes 11 um­ bered S.0.4 and S.0.7, ,vl1 ich fle"i,\/' ver)' lo\v over the Co1n111ission at tl1e tin1 e v.d1 en th.e Co111mission was discussing 111atters ,vitl1 :'.)'OU. 011 ce more tl1e Britisl1 au tl1orities a.ffir1n, tl1 rougl1 tl1 e agenc>' of Liet1t. Colo11 el Clifford, that tl1ey are i11 Etl 1iopian territory and that tl1 ey ca11 11 ot recog11ize tl1 e Italian possession. There is another letter fro1n Lieut. Colonel Clifford on page 17 of the Ethiopian Gover11ment's I\1en1 orandun1 (An11 ex 9); it for11 1s a reply to a note fron1 Captain Cin1 1naruta, v-.1l1ic]1 is also reproduced in tl1 e 1\tle111orandu 1 n as Annex 8. I11 l1 is note Captain Cin1maruta said: "Tl1 e Italian autl1orities ,vere 11 ever notified of the presence of the Britisl1 Fro11tier Co 111 n1issio11 ers in tl1 e zone; tl1 ey had not even had word indirectly of tl1 e latter's intention to proceed there; 1 noreover, \vl1e11 apJ)roacl1ing our lines, tl1 e Britisl1 autl1orities did not even tak:e tl1e trouble to send a n1 essenger on ahead a11 nouncing tl1 eir arrival." I-f ere ,ve ha,,e tl1e Italian poi11 t of view stated, viz., tl1at tl1 e district is ir1 I talian te1-ritor3r and tl1 at tl1e ovvner should, tl1erefore, be given 11otice before it is enterecl. Liet1t. Colonel Clifford replies to tl1is ;;1ssertion i11 the second J)aragrapl1 of tl1 e letter abo,,e referred to, in the follo\vi11 g ter1ns: As regards paragrapl1 s I and 2 of yot1r letter, tl1e Italo-Etl1iopia11 Co11 ,,en­ tion, signed on Ivlay 16, 1908, at Addis Ababa, sti1)ulates tl1 at tl1e \vl1ole of the Ogaden territory shall ren1 ai11 an Etl1ior>ian dependency. As the Co1n111 issio11 's ter 1 ns of reference in that regior1 n1erely concern the Ocrade11 terri­ tory �nd the tribes under Britisl1 protectorate, tl1ere l1as neve� been any quest_Ion of tl1 e Con1 mission's e11 tering I talia11 territory-a fact '\\d1 ich is an1JJly suffic!ent to ,vl1 y the Britisl1 and Ethiopia11 Go,,ernn1 e11ts 111ade no n1 ent1011 of tl1 e n1atter to tJ1e Italian Govern1ne11 t. In anv case, t11 ose t,vo Go,rern1nents l1 ad 110 official kno\vledge of tl1 e Italia1.1 occu·1)atio11 of the Wal \Val-\\larder region. Thus, tJ1e Britisl1 Gover11n1ent, through its official representati've, n1 al<es a poi �t of stating that it has no k11 owledge of an Italia11 occu1)ation. 1"his pas­ sess1011, tl1 erefore, l1 as no11e of tJ1e features of juridical possession as \Ve ]1 ave l1 ad it defined. In paragraph 4 of the same letter tl1 e British officer f t1rther adds: "As regards your paragraphs 4 and 5, tl1e Britisl1 Comm.issio11 er \Vishes to point




out that he l1 acl l1 is 11atio11al flag flying over l1 is ca111p fro1n n1idday on Noven1ber 23 \Vl1 ereas tl1 e t\VO aeroplanes clicl 11ot appear until 4 p.n1. 011 tl1 e 24 tl1 ." rfl1 e British flag was thus flying over territory \Vhich the Britisl1 Government could 11ot regarcl as Italian territory. Th:1.t is anotl 1 er document \vhicl1 co1n­ pletely demolisl1 es tl 1 e Italian Gover 11 1nent's theory as to tJ1e I)Ossession of the \i\ia1 vVal district. l\1e11 tio11 may f urtl1 er be 111acle 1 11 this co 1111 ection of tl1e docu1nent re�)roducecl 011 J)age r9 of the Ethiopia 1 1 Govern1nent's 1VIe1nora 11 dum (f\n11 ex IL�). l11 vie\v of the threatening attitucle of the I talia11 troo1)s, tl1 e Britisl1 officer askecl tl1 e Et1 1 iopia 11 Governn1ent's per1nission to fly his natio 11 al flag over l1is ca1np. Paragraph 3 of the do,u1ne11t in c1uestion says:"In view of this grave 1nenace, the Ethio1)ia11 i\!Iission hc.stenecl to infor1 n tl1e British l\t!issio11 tl1at it l1acl tl1e right to hoist its 11ational lag; this the Britisl1 1\.1ission im1ne­ diately did, fixing the staIT in a box and 11 ot in the actual ground." rfhis is a measure of J)recaution. TJ1e British representative considers tl1at J1 e is in Ethiopia11 territory; he l1 as pern1issio11 to loist his flag but he does not ,visl1 to fix it in tl1 e actual ground so as not to enc1oacl1 on Ethiopian territory. 1'hat sJ 10\vs l1ov.r 1neticulousl)' tl1e re1)resentative of tl1e British Governn1 ent acted. In the same report of I�ieut. Colonel Clifford, reproduced in l-\nnex 14 of the Ethiopia11 Governn1ent's 1Vlen1oranclu1n, in paragrapl1 4, it is stated further:" In tl1e n1 eantime, 011 an e1ninence exc1ctly r ,350 metres to tl1 e sou th, a defensive post had been obser,,ed, in the 111iddle of a :::leari11g, fro1n \vhicl1 the Italian flag ,vas flying." Tl1is J)Ost, t11 erefore, \Vas noti::ed for the first tin1 e; 11 othi11g at all ,vas kno\vn of it by the Britisl1 authorities and, as the report is signed by a11 Ethiopian representative, it ,vas not l{nown :o tl1e Ethiopian Government eitl1er. Tl1is contradicts, tl1erefore, tl1 e assertion that the possession ,vas co1n1no11 kno,vl­ edge and pt1blic and 11 acl 11 ot been forcibly 9.:!cured. This fact, t11 erefore, sl1 ows tl1 e Italian Governn1 e11 t's vie,v to lJe co1111)leely at \iariance \Vith the observations n1 ade by a.1 1 i1npartial authority. l\'Ioreo,,er, a protest ,vas also n1ade 011 the st1bject. Paragraph 7 of the re1)ort referrecl to (page 20 of the Ethiopian Govern'11ent's 1VIen1 orandun1 ) reads literally a.s follo,vs: "TJ1 e Con1 n1 issio11 n 1et in the af:er11oon ancl the t,vo Co 1nmissio11 ers addressed to the 'Co1n111 ander of tl1 e Sector' a joint letter, datecl November 23, protesting against aggressive arr11 ed op1)ositon on the part of tl1e Italia11 troops in Ethiopian territory. In tl1 is l)rotest the C:01 11111issioners clearly e.'<plained the reason for t:l1 e Co1nmission's presence at vVa.l \Val.'' The representative of tl1 e Britisl1 Gover11111ent a11d tl1e represe11 tative of the Et11 iopia11 Government thus repeat their assertio11 tl1at tl1ey are in Ethior-ian territory and protest against tl1 e presence of a11 Italian occupation. Paragraph 9 of tl1e sa1ne report sa.ys (page 20): "On l1 is arrival Captain Cinimaruta sougl1 t fro111 tl1e outset to avoid discussing tl1 e questio11 forming t J1 e pri11 cipal subject of the Com111 ission's protest, declari11g that he, as a n1 e1nber of tl1 e Ar 111v, ,vas not con1J)etent to deal \Vitl1 c. problem ,vl1 icl1 concerned only the political ;t1tl1 orities." It is clear tl1 at, in th; ,,ie,v of the Britisl1 representative, the district is situated i11 Etl1 iopia11 territory a11 d he therefore asks Captain Cimmartita to explain his preser1 ce. The I L1Jian officer reJ)lies that it is not his business to discuss tl1is ciuestion; l1e ,vas ordered to occup)' the area and l1e has done so. He is a n1 jlitary a11cl not a diplomatic representativ·e.




Captain Cimmaruta was perfectl:}' right . I-le was an executive �ger1 t, a ,,ery _ active and e,,e11 aggressive one, and 11ot a diplo111at1c represe11tat1ve. At any rate, the British officer did 11 ot 01nit to e1npl1asize once agai11 tl1at l1e was on Ethiopian, not on Italia.n territory. Paragraph 1 r of the report, ,vhicl1 l1as been freqt1e11 tly quoted'. tl1en says (1)a�e 20 of the Ethiopian Gover11 n1 ent's Me111 orandum): "Althot1gl1 , 111 form, Ca1)ta111 Cun111aruta's pro1)osal appeared to be sincere a.nd op1Jortune, it beca111 e perfectly clear to the Etl1 iopian l\1ission, during tl1 e investigation on the spot, t11at tl1 at de facto situation 1nigl1 t create an undesirable situation as regards Italian t: rri�o­ . rial clai 1 ns." Thus, it ,,.,as 011 ly at tl1is mon1e11t tl1at tl1e I tal1an territorial pretensions were realized. It was noticed that tl1ere was a defacto occupation of a violent and aggressi,,e kind but witl1 no legal title, and recognition ,vas refused. Paragraph 21 of Lieut. Colonel Clifford's report recalls anotl1er fact. In this paragrapl1 it is stated ( 21 of tl1 e Etl1iopia11 Governrnent's l\1Ie1norandun1): 'I'he British Co1n1r1issioner points otit that, a.s far l)ack as 1Vlarcl1 18, 1932, Captain Cimmaruta l1ad requested the District Officer at Erigevo (Britisl1 S0111 alilancl) to telegraph to his Govern111 e11t at Sheil<l1 in orcler to inforrn it that, should the f\nglo-Etl1 iopian Deli111itation Comn1 issio11 ,visl1 to dra,v v. ater fron1 the wells at Dan1 ot (D011 10), \\la[ \i\fa.l and \i\Tarder, tl1e captai11 ,vould be ha.pp)' to gi,,e instructions in the 1natter. It goes withot1t saying that tl1 e Britisl1 Governr11 ent did not eve11 reply to sucl1 a cor11n1t1nication. 1

rfhis attitude is, of course, tl1 e attittide of tl1 e Britisl1 Governme11 t, not of Lieut. Colonel Clifford. It is the Britisl1 Go,,ernn1 ent ,vl1icl1 did 11 ot even se11d a reply to the con1 1nunication received. Mr. LESSONA: 1'11at is an instance of Britisl1 ha11gl1tiness. l\!f r. J EZE: 1 t is in any case J)roof that tl1e possessio11 of tl1 e region is not con­ sidered l)y tl1 e Britisl1 Governn1 ent as J)Ossession of a legal nature. Tl1 is san1e attitude is corroborated IJy tl1 e ter1or of paragrapl1 23 of the report, wl1 icl1 reads: "011 tl 1 e evening of November 28 tl1e Britisl1 Commissioner received a letter from Captain Cin11naruta to the effect tl1 at the Britisl1 Govern1nent, if only on the strengtl1 of reporls frorr1 S01nali sources concerr1ing tl1 e Italian occupation of \,\Ta] Wal and \i\farder, should have warned tl1e ltalia11 Govern1nent of tl1 e Con1mission's ,,isit to tl1 ose places." Tl1e report adds on tl1is point tl1 at tl1is clain1 is inad1nissil)le. It follo,vs, from a study of these docun1 e11ts, wl1icl1 do not e111 a11ate fro1n tl1 e Etl1 iopian Governn1ent but from a very senior Britisl1 official, that tl1 e possession of the district of \i\lal vVal has absolutely none of the characteristics of a possessio11 "' ,vl1ich is beyond all question and tl1at it is, furthermore, based on force. 1 he reason for this occu1Jation 1nust be sougl1t in tl1e fact tl1 at \i\ial \\Tal has supplies of water. In this regio11 whicl1 forrns a terrible desert, one of the 1nost terrible in the world, ,vater is an absolute necessity of existence. This water st1pply is visitecl not only by Ethiopians l)ut also by the tribes of Britisl1 Son1aliland a11 d �e tribes of !ta�ian S0�1aliland. rfhere are thus Britis]1 subjects, I talia.n sub­ Jects and Eth1op1an subJects to be found tl1ere. 13ut tl1 e fact tl1at Italia11 tribes co �e t � Wal \ V,al to fi1 �d water is still not a sufficient reason for co11 verting tliis region into Italian territory. Ir1 tl1at case, seeing tl1 at tl1 ere are British tribes,




one sl1 ould also Sa}' tl1 at it is British territory. The British l 1 ave never made tl1 is clain1. The second lvlen1 oranclun1 sub 111itted I J)' the Ethiopian Governm.ent i 11 Jt1ne, _ 1935, e.xplai 11s tl1e exact olJject of the Anglo-EthioJJian Delin1 itation Co111 1nission. It was to stt1dy the sittiation of the grazing-lands, to 1nap the \veil s and to con­ clucle an amicable and pacific settlen1ent of the {Jroblen1 of supp]),ing ,vater to tribes of different nationalities. Tl1ere is nothing in this activity to justify tl1e SUfJpositio 11 tl1 at tl1 ere was any intention of converting a temporary occupation into ji1ridical possession that ,vould confer rigl1ts on the occupants. rfhe Com11 1ission visited the district of \\Tai \Val, got i 11 to toucl1 vvitl1 the tribes frequenting the neigl1 borl1 ood and carriecl out ext:re111 ely interesting investigations. TJ1 is region cannot be con1pared ,vith any other area in Europe; its in1 1Jortance is due to the fact tl1at it contains well s of ,:vater in a zone \vhich is otherwise alJsolutely desert. rfl1 e Italian Govern 111en t's assertions to tl1 e effect that the occupation of \Val \iVal co11 stit:utes 1Jacific and 11ot JJrecarious IJOssession are definitel y co11tradicted 6)1 the clocu11 1cn ts. Tl1e Ital ian case is based only on assertions ,vhich conflict vvitl1 the docu 111ents not fro1n Ethio1Jia11 Govern1nent sources but fron1 Britisl1 Go,,ern1nent sources. It is, further, co1n1Jletel y at variance ,vitl1 the 1906 treaty bet,veen l7rance, England a11d Ital>'• ir1 pursua11 ce of ,vhich these Po,vers agreed to refrain fror11 e11croacl1ing on Ethio1Jian territory. f\s this 1906 treaty is e,�tre1nely i11 teresting, I fJropose to refer to it, e,:e11 thougl1 Etl 1iopia is not party to the treaty itself. \A/e 111ust go IJacl< to f\rticle 10 of tl1 e Covenant of the League of Nations under vvhic11 territory ca 11 onl y be acl1uirecl ,vith the agrecn1 ent of the party vvl1 icl1 occupies tJ1 e territory i11 questi()n. So long· as this agree 111e11t is not give11 , a territory cannot be touched direct!)' or i11directly. rfhe object of i\rticle ro is to guarantee tl1 e territorial integrily of 1ncn1 bers of tl1 e League of Nations. Et.l1 io­ pia is a State 1\:len1 IJer of tl1 e J.,eague of Nations and ca11 t11erefore invok:e an article of a treaty ,vhicl1 guarantees her terrilory. 1�11 us, I tl1inl._ I can assert that n 1y case is co1n1)lete in every respect. Docu1nents, i 11 ternational treaties, f\rticle ro of the Cove11 ant and the general sense of the Co\--enant of tl1 e League of Nations all go to sho,v that this is occupation of a de •facto and viole11t character cle,,oid of any of the features of juridical pos• session. But, l et n1e no,v leave these argume11ts advancecl IJy the Italian side ancl see \vhat really hapJ)e11ccl at \\la! \\Tai on the clay \vhen bloocl flo,ved for the first ti1ne. t etc., but the chief incident Several incicJe11ts occurred, at Guerlogubi, at .\fdub, ,vas tl1at at \.Val \Val . It is thereiore essential to consider first the aggression co111n1 ittecl at \,\Tai \Val. In SUJ)port of the theory' that the attack constituted a11 aggressio 11 on tl1 e part oJ the Ethio1Jia11 troops, the Italian Gover11rr1ent l1 as advanced t,vo l<inds of consiclerations. First, the presun11Jtion. Reference has been made to Italian documents of a11 internal character excl1a11 ged bet\veen Italian authorities and n1e11tion has been made of tl1 e advice given to Captain Cin1maruta to be prudent. It J1as bee11 argued tl1at, i11 vie,v of these cot1nsels of n1oderation and in vie\V of tl1e fact that tl1 is vvas an officer wl10 olJeyed tl1e orders l1 e received, it is i1npossible


tl1at he could l1ave com1nitted an aggression. Tl1 ese are merely asst1n1ptions. vVe l1ave been told, 11 0,vever, tl1at testimo11y would be given by perso11s brought up later for tl1is purpose. In this con11ection, I enter a categorical objection to tl1e hearing of ,vitnesses. It is not because I l1ave anytl1ing to fear but I ask tl1 e Arbitrators what value ca11 be attributecl to testi111011y give11 nine mo11ths after the events occurred, tinder circumstances as critical as tl1ose ,vl1 icl1 ,ve are at present ex1)eriencing, ,vl1 en it is conceivable that, even if the witnesses are re­ liable, their views may have been greatly influenced b)' tl1 eir environment and the bellicose senti1nents expressed. Tl1ey ,viii certainly be witnesses lacking in tl1e composure a11d impartiality 11 ecessary if ,veight is to be attacl1 ed to tl1 eir • test1n1ony. Further, these ,vitnesses are Italia11 soldiers or officials \Vl10, by their very cl1aracter, cannot be called to give evide 1 1ce. Their statements ,vill be st 1spect fron1 tl1e outset. At tl1 e 1nost, tl1ey will onl )' be of value as inforn1ation and that to a quite relative degree. If it v,ras really desired to hear testimony ,vl1icl1 could be called testi1nony, the Co1111nissio11 1nigl1t apply to tl1e 1ne111 bers of the Britisl1 Con1mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford and l1 is assistants. But I do not think that the>' could add n1 uch to tl1e ,vritten declarations ,vl1icl1 tl1ey l1 ave already rr1ade. In tl1ese circun1stances and ,vhile lea,;ing it to the f\rbitrators to tal.;:e their decision, I thinlc tl1at a hearing of v,ritnesses ,vould be a useless waste of tin1e for the Co111 111 ission, si11ce tl1ey could gi, e absolutel>' no real assista 11ce in ascer­ taining the trutl1. To revert to the argun1ents advanced by the Italian Govern 111ent, I repeat tl1at tl1 ey are 1nerely assurr 1ptions. As sucl1 , they h,1ve n o value in the eyes of jurists, unless it is asserted that assun1ptions are for1ns of evidence. Other\vise, tl1ey are arguments ,vhicl1 n1ay be given a biassed character and wl1ich l1 ave never been regarded except as products of the imagi11ation, save wl1en tl1e la,v expressly attaches a certain i 1 11 portance to the 1n. l\r1oreover, ,vhat is the source of these assu1nptions? Italia11 documents-and therefore documents u11doubtedly suspect. True, tl1 ere is the corresponde11 ce of Etl1 iopian subjects, extremely vag1.1ely ,vorded or misinterpreted a11d ,vl 1icl1 is rnerely tl1 e e.xpression of personal vie,vs and does not constitute any evidence. As against tl1ese assumptions and Italian documents, tl1ere are definite facts ,vl1 ich ca11 be surr1marized in tl 1is state11 1e 11t: Captain Ci 11 1maru ta ,vas fJrovoca­ tive and aggressive. He ,vas provocative fro 1n tl1e ot1tset ,vhen the Anglo­ Etl1iopian Con1mission arrived in the neighborl1ood of vVaI \iVal. Tl1 e British, ho,ve,1er, ,vere there and it is always a nuisance to attack the Britisl1 flag: inter­ national incidents may occur. Conseque11tly, it is better to ,vait, l)ttt the aggres­ sive and provocative attitude \\1ill be n1aintai11ed. As soon as the Britisl1 J1ave left tJ1e neighborhood, tl1ere will be a fight. Tl1at is the outline of events as tl1 e)' occurred at Wal Wal and as is proved I)>' tl1e docurr1ents en1 anating fron1 Lieu­ tenant-Colonel Clifford a11d other 1nen1bers of the British Co111n1ission. '"fhe first docume 11t is the Memora11du1n published by the League of Nations at the request of tl1 e Ethiopia11 Governn1ent on January 15, 1935. 1 11 A 11 nex 3, on page 14, it is stated tl1at the Anglo-Etl1iopian Co111mission, ,vl1en it arrived in the neigl1borhood of Wal vVal, regretted to note that it l1ad been prevented by 1




force fro111 moving abot1t freely in Etl1iopia. TJ1is obstruction originated ,vith the Italian autl1orities in tl1 e \Val v\7a) region. i\ n EtJ1ioJ)ia11 11011-commissioned officer belongi11g to tl1 e Com111ission hacl even been forcibly abducted witl1 his ,veapon. Tl1at is proof of tl1 e provocation. I11 f\nne.\: 7, on page 16, Lieutena11 t-Colonel Clifford points out that it l1 ad become clear that, in vie,v of the provocati,,e attitucle adopted by the Italian autl1orities, the JJresence of the Anglo-Ethiopian Con1111ission might involve a considerable risk of producing a regrettable incide11t. Tl1e Britisl1 representa­ ti,,e feared that tl1e Italians n1ight fire on the Con1n1ission a11 d ,vound Britishers: tl1at ,vould be t l1 e regrettable incicle11t. The Britisl1 officer ,vent 011 to describe tl1e attitude of the Italian authorities as pro, ocative, 111ainly on account of the actio11 of I talia11 aero1Jlanes ,vhich fle,v Io,v over the Con1mission. This is very serious provocation. l\t the very tin1e that Captain Ci1nn1aruta ,vas discussi11g matters ,vitl1 the Con1mission, the Italian n1ilitary aeroplanes ,vere flying over the ca1np arid turning their 1nacl1ine-guns 011 the 111embers of the Co1 11n1ission. I11 ,,ie,v of this provocative attitude, Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford decidecl to ,vithdra,v the British l\1Iissio11 to Aclo and a\vait, jointly ,vith the Ethiopia11 l'vlission, tl1e I talian Governme11t's reply to the IJrotests sent to it. Clifford asked Captain Cim1r1aruta to con11nu11icate his protest to the Italian Go,rer11111ent, adding that lie ,vas se11ding a copy to his o,vn Governn1ent in I�ondon. That ,vas t11e provocative attitt1de adopted l)y Captian Ci1r1maruta and Italian re1Jresenta­ tives in tl1e territory in question. i\nnex 14, page 19, gives details of tl1e obstrt1ction offered by the Italians to the Com1nissio11 's freedorn of 1noverr1ent. f\t the verv 1 11 on1ent it reacl1 ed vVal \Val, tl1 e Con1 n1 ission found itself i11 tl1e presence of tl1 e Italian troops arn1ed ,vith modern rifles ,vl1 icl1 refused, pointing their rifles, to evacuate the territory needed for the can1ps of tl1e t,vo n1 issions and the ,veils required for their ,vater su1Jply. The British tvlission therefore found itself obligecl to change its can1p. In vie,v of this gra ,,e n1enace, tl1 e Britisl1 tvlissio11 ask:ed per111 issio11 to l1 oist its national flag. British docu1nents show, therefore, that the i11cidents multiplied as the result of the aggressiv·e attitucle of tl1e Italian authorities. That is not all, ho,vever. There is an exchange of correspondence bet,veen the Anglo-Ethiopian Co1n1nis­ sion a11d the Italian authorities. Captain Cin11naruta's tone in this correspond­ ence is definitely aggressive. Insults are offered to tl1 e Ethiopian leaders ,vhicl1 gi,,e rise to protests from Colonel Clifford. Annex 12 on page 19 reproduces a letter fro1n Lieutena11t-Colonel Clifford i11 ,vhicl1 the latter announces that Fitaurari Shiferra is the co111rnancler of tl1 e Ethiopian escort guaranteeing the safety of t11e Con1 n1 ission. Captain Cin1 n1 aruta maintains his provocative attitude a11 d speal-:s of this Etl1 iopian officer as "capo shifta," that is, brigand chief. Tl1is is tl1e inference from Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford's report, repro­ duced on page 21 of the Etl1 iopia11 Gover11 ment's Tviemorandu1n. Paragrapl1 22 of tl1is report reads as follo,vs: 1

On November 26 the Con1 n1issio11 received from F� taurari SI1iferra, tl1e leader of the Ethiopia11 escort, a letter addres?ed to him tJ1 at same day by Captain Ci1n1nart1ta. It may be noted tl1at t l1 1s letter:



(1) Is ,,,ritten i11 Jtalia11, usirg "voi" (seco1:d perso11 JJlural), despite the fact that the ran!{ and statusof Fitaurari Sh1ferra ,vere already l{11ow11 to Captain Cin11naruta; . ,, (2) Refers to a11 officer of the Etl1 ioJ)ian ar111y as "CaJ)O sh1fta. ; (3) Is threaterting i11 tone. The ter111s of this docun1 ent therefor� characterize tl1e general attitude of the Italian officers in the \;\/al \i\lal region. I come no,v to the second J)hase of :lie inciclent. The British are still there, but the situatio11 is becon1ing threatening and there are signs of a pro,,ocative attitude ,vhicl1 n1ight lead to regrettal)le interna.tional incidents. (f\t this point, Mr. ]EZE agai11 read A.nnex 9 to the Ethiopian Go,rernn1 e11t's lVIen1orandu1n, page 17, ,vhicl1 is a letter fron1 Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford JJrotesting against Italian aero1Jlanes flying o,,er the Britisl1 Mission's can1p.) The BriLish Co1n­ missio11er J)oints out that l1 e l1ad l1is na:ional flag fl·ying o, 1er his can1p fron1 mid­ day on Noven1 ber 23, ,vhereas the t,vo aeroplanes dicl not aJ)pear until 4. p.n1. on the 24th. £,,en sup1)osi11g that, at the time of tl1eir deJ)artures fron1 l\!Ioga­ cliscio, they l1ad not yet IJeen notified o· the l\il ission's prese1 1ce at v\Tal vVal, it is in1 1)ossil)le to believe that the flag in cuestion ,vas not 11oticed by at least one n1en1ber of the cre,v of each aeroplane dtring its first clive over the can1p. Never­ theless, cluring the second and third or f::,urth ser'ies of clives, exect1ted by aircraft S.0.4, various persons, including four ::.:uro1)ea11s, 1nen1bers of tl1e Britisl1 i\!fis­ sion, distinctly sa,v that one of the machine gu11s, placed l)ehind the pilot, ,vas turned on the 111 en1bers, escort ancl sta ir of the Con1mission. That is the pa.cific attitude to ,vhic: 1 Ca1)tain Cin11naruta ]1as referred; tl1e British represe11 tative ,vas not deceived IJ)' it. I ,vould further n1 ention paragraph ; of Colonel Clifford's report (page 20 of the Ivien1orandun1 ) ,vhere there is a refcrence to the aggressive ar1ned OJ)position of tl1e Italian troops; paragraJJhs r I a1rl 13 ,vhicl1 refer to the uncornpron1ising attitucle of Ca.ptain Cin1 rnaruta; para.g1aph 14 ,vl1icl1 describes tl1e attack: 1nade b)' Italian aeroplanes on the British l\!Ji:;sion's ca111p and paragra1Jl1 15 ,vhicl1 ex­ presses Colonel Clifford's extre111e indignatio11 at this provocative cle111onstration. In ,,.ie,v of this attitude, ,vhich may leadto a dispute in spite of tl1e presence of the British, the British representative states tl1 at the situation is one of increasing grav1ty. It n1ay be i1nagi11ed ,�rhat l1appened \vl1 en the British prudently ,vithdre,v. There ,vas then no further reaso11 to fear an internatior1al i11 cider1 t and tl1 e shots ,vere fired in1mediately after the Britis1 ,vitl1drev.r. That is v. ]1 at ca11 IJe seen f ron1 a perusal of the documents sub1nitted by tl1e EthioJ)ian Government. In Annex r3 (1)age 19 of tl1 e Ethiopian 1\{en1orandun1) there is a co111111unication ,vhich reads as follo,vs: "i\do, 26 I-Iedar 1927 (Dece1nber 5, 1934). Today, 26 I-Iedar. at l1alf-past three, tl1e Italians a sudclen attack 011 our men at \i\lal Wal, emJJloying tanks, cannon and macbine-bruns. lVIany persons \Vere 1-:illed, but the exact nu1nber is t111 kno,vn." Cou11t ALL)ROV,\NDI: Diel you actually say that II tl1e shots \Vere fired in1 n1edi­ ately after the British ,�;ithdre,v?" Mr. ]EZE: I a111 not referring to a parti:ular 1no1nent. I 111ean that tl1e incident occurred whe11 the British left a11d the Italians found tl1en1selves faced by EtI1 io­ J)ians 011ly. "I1nmediately" may mean a fe,v hours or a. fe,v days later. 1




Cotu1t ALDROVANDI: 1'11e inciclei1t occurrecl son1e da)'S after tl1e British lvlission left. l\rI�. Jtz�: After tl1e t\.vo periods to ,vhich I have referred, a tl1ird periocl begins , _ that 1n \.Vh1cl1 the Italians no longer have befJre then1 the representatives of the British Gover1 1n1 ent. rfhe Ethio1)ian Gove 1 n1nent knew very ,veil that it was important to explain in ,vhat circun1stances ar. incident had occurrecl whicl1 rnight serve as a fJretext for tl1e Italian authorities to assu1ne a mucl1 111ore tJ1reatening attitude. It arrangecl, therefore, for an in,,est:igatio11 to l)e 1nacle immediately 011 the actual scene of tl1 e incident. This inv�stigatio 1 1 ,vas n1ade by questioning the persons \vho hacl ,vitnesscd the incident: incl ,vl1 0 could, therefore, speak of ,vhat they hacl seen. Further, the investigation \.vas not 1nacle by Ethiopians, but b)' 111en1bers of the Anglo-.Ethio1Jia11 Con1mission. The latter non1 inated one of the l\ssistant Coi11n1issio11ers, J\,[r. Curle, c.nd an Etl1iopian representative to translate the clepositions. rfhe i11vestiga.tion ,vas l1 eld 011 the clays ,vl1 icl1 fol­ lo,vecl tl1e aggression, that is, bet,veen Deceniber, 1934, and January, 1935. 0 1 1 this subject, tl1 ere are a 11u111ber of cJocun1 e11tsi11 the l\1Ien1orandun1 submitted by the Ethior)ia11 (;overnment to tl1e I�eague of Nations in January, 1935. Tl1us, f\nnex 19 (page 25 of the l\i le1norandu1n) 1r1ak:es tl1e follo\ving reference to the exar1 1ination of ,vitnesses: 011 tl1is ele,,entl1 cla),' of Decen1l)er 193.c., at I-Iara.digit, t\lexancler Tancred Curle and Ato Lorenzo l'aezaz, delegate; of the Anglo-Ethiopian Con1mis­ sion, presentecl thcn1selves ancl ,ve exa1ni1ecl indiviclually the following \vit­ nesscs, \vl10, after swearing a11 oath 011 t:1e l(oran i 11 accordance ,vith their faitl1 , n1 ade the follo\ving depositions: t\ccordingly, tl1 e depositions ,vere 11 1ade on the vef)' spot wl1ere the incident occurred, a fe\.v days after the incidents and in the presence of a British represent:­ ati,,e, ,vhich gi,,es the in,'estigation greater authenticity than \vould be affordecl by testin1ony received, eight or nine n1ont:hs liter, by persons wl10 are unkno,vn and ,vho perhaps dicl not ,vitness tl1 e occurren.ces ancl ,vl1ose vie,vs 1nay be affected b,, - incidents ,vl1icl1 occurrecl later. I do not intend to read all these docu111ents, but I ,vould point out that they all certify that tl1e Italians ,vere tl1e first to bEgin firing. I 111erely ,vish to dra,v the J\rbitratr)rs' attention to then1 . I ,vould also dra,v attention to the cleposi­ tions of ,vit11esses contained in Annexes 20 and 21 of the second Ethiopian l'vle1noranclun1. These depositions confir1n that tl1e shots ,vere fired first by the Italians. I \VOuld 1 nore particularly refer the :'-\rbitrators to the testin1ony give11 by i\to l.,en11ne l!)ral(OU, as reproduced in Annex 2 I, and e1nphasize the ,veighty character of this testi1nony given by a 111an ,vr.o ,vas describing quite i1npartially ,vhat he had seen and l1ear(J. '°fhis ,vitness i: a 1r1an of sorne education, of bal­ anced vie,vs, \,rho l<nO\VS the value of testin1on)'. I-Iis staten1ent reads as follows: I was at Guerlogubi, \Vhich I reached tl·re�e �ay� a.fter the arrival of � he escort. \:Vhen I arri\red at vVal 'v\lal, �he Ethiopian escort and the Italian troops ,vere facing one anotl: er ,vitl1 a kine of th� r�-hecl�e b� t,veen t!1 en1. I noticecl that the me11 l)elong1ng to the tro�J)S \ve1 e insulting the escort. The latter hacl orders not to reply and they d1:l not do so.


" no one s, s say nes h e wit t as For some time, 011ly insults were exchang(d; thougl1 t of an att:acl<." rf11e Ethio1Jians did 11ct thi11l� of attacking. Tl1e I taJian




aero1Jla11es, l10,ve,rer, were flyir1g over Ethiopian territory: that ,vas tl1 e first aggressio11 and that ,vas tl1 e incide11 t of \N'al \,Val. I tl1 ink I l1ave pro,,ed tl1at during c:11 tl1ree phases of tl1 is incide11t-at tl1e out­ set, vvl1 ile the Britisl1 ,vere prese11 t :1.11 d after they l1ad departed-t11e I talians adopted an attitude tl1 at v,,as, firstly, provocative, secondly, u11 con1pro1nisi11g and, third!)', aggressi,,e. rfJ1at proves that tl1 e Italia11 troops ,vere tl1e aggres­ sors. I JJropose 110,v to exa111ine tl1 e ir1cide11ts ,vhicl1 follo,\1ed 011 the aggression at vVa1 \,Val, viz., those of Guerlogubi,Afdt1b, etc. In t11 is connection, it is 11eces­ sary to study the place w]1ere the indde11ts occurrecl a11 d for this purpose I shall use Italia11 ma.f)S. There is, first of �JI, a11 official map, pu blisJ 1 ed by tl1 e I talia11 Colonial l\1inistry; then there is a rmp contained in a bool{ pulJlished by F. S. Caroselli in 1931, e11 titled Ferro ef·u,a;o i1i Sonia-lia; last))', tl1ere is a map, also Italian, a11nexed to a volur11e publisl1Ed in 1910 by 1\1. Rossetti, Storia dif>loniatica della Etiopia ditra1ite il reg1io di ]ti[e11,tl-ik II. I lay tl1 ese docun1 ents on the table of the Co1nmission. After tJ1e aggression co1nn1 itted a: \rVal vVal by Italian troops by means of aeroplanes, ta11ks and 1nacl1 ine-guns, tl1e situation is as follo\vs: Tl1e Ethio1Jia11 troops are i11 flight, they are ,vithdrawi11 g i11 tl1 e direction of Gt1erlogt1bi ,vhich is about t\VO days' 111arcl1 distant fro11 1 '11/al Wal. rfl1 e Italia11 troops are pt1rsuing the111, that is, the aggression ,vas conttnt1ing. Tl1ey did not reptilse an Etl1iopian attack and ren1ain in tJ1eir {Jositions, but they attack:ed a11d tl1en co11ti11uecl the pursuit to a poi11t t,vo days' 1 11arcl1 re)1ond vVal vVal. In the doct1111ents vvhicl1 have been co1n1nunicated to the IJeag1e of Nations, the aggression is described as follo,vs (see Annex I 5 to the first EtltioJJian l'vf e111orandun1, page 23): According to tl1 e report 111adc to us by Fitaurari Shiferra on I Tal1sas 1927 (Decen.1ber 10, 1934), tl1 e reginni11 g of the i11cident was as follows: f\t about 3.30 p.111. on 26 1c_p.7, sl1 outed orders of" a terra" \vere heard in the direction of tl1 e individt1al shelters where tl1 e Italian troops ,vere sta­ tioned. Tl1ereupon all tl1e troops entered tl1 eir shelters. I111mecliately after,vards a rifle-shot and tl 1e sl'.out of "fuoco" ,vere heard, and tl1e troops fired a volley to\vards the Ethicpian can1 p. The Etl1iopian soldiers, ,vho were not expecti11g a11y sucl1 atta::k, ,vere thus taken by surprise, and in co11sequence a large 11 umber fell. It is stated that Fitaurari Alt:maio's deatl1 occt1rred in tl1 is first surprise volley. After tl1 is, our n1en returned to their shelters and were defending themselves to tl1e best of tl1eir ability \\ J1 e11, ten mi11utes after tl1e first sl1 ot, three aeroplanes arrived and besan to drop bo1nbs. l1n1nediate]y after­ ,vards two tanks arri\1ed and oi:ened fire with n1achine-gt1ns all rou11 d the can1p. The aeroplanes dicl 11ot s1op dropping bon1 bs u11til nigl1 tfall a11d rifle and n1 aclune-gun fire conti11ued all night. In order to {Jltt an end t� tl1 e con­ flict, F_it3:urari Sl1iferra left ,vith all !1is 1nen at alJout II p.m. to rejoin the Comm1ss1on at Ado. But part Jf 11 1s 111 en l1 ad been surrounded a11d ,vere unable to rett1rn to i\do until tl1 e ne..xt clay, 27 I-Iecldar. As a result of this act of aggression co1nn1itted by tile Italian troops, our 111en lost ro7 dead and 45 ,vounded. In order to acquaint 'Your Excellency in detail ,vith tl1e cir­ cu1nstance_s of th� in�ident, we attach to this letter tl1e original report sent to tis by F1ta_t1rar1 �h1ferra, Gove�nor of the Ogaden and of Jijiga, on the cir­ cum�tances 111 ,vh1c�1 the attacl: ,vas launcl1ed. I-laving left Lieutenant Coll1ngwood, Ato A.11-N_ur_and s0l <;Iiers from Dire Dat1a to guard their ba.g­ gage at Ado, the Co1;11n1ss1oners ·iV1thdrew 011 27 I-Ieddar towards I-Iaradigit. On the same day, aircraft came and flew over the1n a11d then ,vent a,vay. On 29 Heddar, whe11 Liet1te11ant Collingwood and Ato Ali-Nt1r left Hara1




digit for f\do an � l1ad arrived close to tl1 e latter J)lace, the aeroplane came up and droJ)ped five bo1nl)s on the baggage of the Deli1 nitation Commission. Of the fi\re bo 111bs clropperJ, one, ,vhich failed to explocle, was found near a ,vater-J1ole l)y the I)ersons ,yh? hacl been sent to bring !Jack the baggage, and ,vas �rou_ght to �he Cl�1nn�1 ss1011 at 1 Iaracligit. rl'he Con1111ission, after in­ specting 1 t, l1a.d 1 t buried 1n order to preve11t an accident. Tl1e fact of tl1e bo1nbarclment I1as been deniecl IJy the Italian Govern1nent, for, on page 6 of tl1e seconcl Ethiopian 1\tf e1norandun1 subn1itted to the League of Nations (f\ppendix 2/15), a telegra1n fro1n the Italian Go\,ernment is reproduced which states: "Contrary Ethiopian state111ents, 110 bon11Jardment carried out at Guerlogubi. Ethiopian Go\,ernn1ent re1Jeats that the attack ca1ne from the ltalia11 J)OSt. Tl1is statement is co11tradictecl not 011ly b:y facts, but also IJy comrno11 sense. The Italian officer con1manding had no reason for advancing beyond v\'al \:Val." Thus, tl1e Italian GO\'ern1nent asserts that there was no bo111bard1nent. In refutation of this staten1ent, the Ethiopia11 Government sub111its evidence: it shl)\VS the actt1al bon11 Js. Furthermore, it submits a refJOrt from an officer of tl1e Belgian n1 ilitary mission in Ethiopia, Lieutenant l\tieys. This report is reproduced in the second Ethiopian l\tf en1orandu1n 011 page 26 (Appendix 2/53), with a detailed description of the shape of the bo1ub-craters, of the place ,vhere t.l1e bo1 11bs fell, together lvitl1 pl1otograpl1 s. This is not an Et11ioJJian docun1ent, but a docun1ent e111anating fro1n an European officer on mission in Ethiopia. I ts subject is a report on the fi11 ding of bo1 nbs clropped by aeroplanes i11 indisputalJly Etl1iopian territor)'. Thus on these poi11ts, ,ve ha\ re tl1 ree !{inds of facts: the pursuit, tl1 e dropJJing of bombs and tl1e depositions. r'\n i11vestigation ,vas l1eld at Guerlogubi the clay after the incide1 1ts occurred and the results \Vere communictaed to the Ethi­ opian Gover11n1ent: \vhich l1as not sul)mitted then1 earlier for lack of time. I no,v forn1ally sul)1nit these docun1ents for the Co1 nn1issio11's study and dra,v attention to the careful ,va): in ,vhicl1 the cleJJOsitions have been collected. 1�here is, -i·1ilcr afia, a declaration made and signed by forty native British subjects, giving in­ forn1ation about the \vay i11 ,vhicl1 the Guerlogul)i i11cident occurred. The Italian .l\1e1norandu111 n1entions other incidents apart from that at \Val \.\'al, !Jut i11 the staten1e1 1t n1ade by Mr. Lessona, these incidents have not been d,velt 011. I tl1erefore ra.ise no ol)jectio 11 as I shall have ti1 ne to do so later, if there is e,--entuallv to be a11 additional discussion . I come no\v to the conclusions. I have carefully read the conclusions subn1itted l)y the Agent of tl1e Italia11 Gover1 1ment. Tl1e text of these conclusions is as follo,vs: I confir1n on behalf of 1 11y Governn1 ent, the conclusions in paragrapl1 16 of tl1e Italian Nle1norandun1 : St1bject to further concl�si�ns, the Italian Goverr1n1ent invites the Con11 nissio1 1 to find (a) tl1at the 1nc1 dents reported to tJ1e Co1111nission took place on the li1 1es indicated in tl1e docu1nentary an? other evide11ce submitted l1y the Italian. Governn1ei:it;_ (b) t�at tl1e �tl11 opian Gover11 111ent is accordingly respo11_s1ble for tl1e 1 11e1dents 111 question. If the Commission cloes not feel that It can at present endors� the above conclusions, I ,vould ask: the Comn1i�sio11 to be good enoug�1 to fix the date of tl1e meeting at ,vl1ich ,vitnesses \VIII be l1eard. TI1e ltal!ai:1 Gov�rnment _ proposes that this 1neeting �e h� lcl at Venice and \v1ll submit 1n the interval the list of witnesses wl1 0111 rt ,v1shes to be heard. 11



As regards witnesses, I have already stated my vie,vs. I tl1 inl{ tl1at tl1ese witnesses are quite unnecessary. Jt is, of course, for tl1e Co1n11 1issio11 to say ,vl1 etl1er it thinks it sl1otild agree to tl1e Italia11 Govern1nent's proposal, but I 1nyself cannot see ,,,J1at ,,,ottld be the ,,alue of sucl1 testi1no11y gi,,en. at a dista11 ce fro111 the sce11e where tl1e incidents occurred, a long time after t11 ose incidents and bv doulJtful autl1orities v.rl1ose views l1ave certainly varied greatly in the interval. I shall, tl1 erefore, confine 1nyself toconsideri11g tl1 e otl1er IJart of tl1e conclt1sio11s. In the first JJlace, I find tl1at these conclusions are lack:ing in clarity and defini­ tion. Wl1at does the expression "subject to furtl1er conclusions" 111ean? Tl1e Arbitrators 1nust k11ow ex.actlv ,vl1 at is asked of the111. Tl1e i\rbitrators ha,,e to settle the incide11t finally. Tl1erefore, all the conclusio11 s must be stated i r 111nediately, so tl1at tl1e .Arbitrators l.::no,v exactly the sco1Je of their 111issio11. Tl1e Agent of the Italian Governn1ent sJ10uld, tl1erefore, 1nak:e his conclusions clearer so that tl1e ArlJitrators kno\v exactly ,vhere tJ1 ey stand. Tl1at is tl1e first point. The second point co11cerns the co11clusions of tl1e Etl1iopian Govern111ent. Tl1ese conclusions are ver); sirr1ple. \iVI1ene,,er it l1acl an opportunity, tl1e Ethiopian GovernJnent l1as endea,,01ed to give tl1e 111ost si11cere proof of its desire to restore I)eaceful and friendly rela.tions ,vith its pov,,erful neigl1bor. It \\rill, tl1erefore, not seek: ii1 its co11clusionsto en,,eno111 tl1e present dispute. It has al­ ways refrained l1ere and in Geneva from saying anything ,vl1icl1 111igl1t leave a disagreeable or 1)ai11ful recollection. It does 11ot ask: for any vindictive or l1un1ili­ ati11 g action to be tal{e11. 011 the contrar;r, it is anxious that tl1e present i11cident sl1ould have 110 outco111e ,vhich 1night disturb its relations \Vith Italy wl1icl1 can, and 111ust, ren1ain peaceful. It ,vill :l1erefore be satisfied if the Arbitrators state that its attitude l1as been loyal a11d rnoderate and that it l1as always clesired con­ ciliation. Conseque11 tl;r, it con fines itself to aslcing the Arbitrators for a sin1ple declaration that tl1e Ethiopia11 Go, er11n1ent is in 110 \Vay respo11sible for tl1e Wal v\Tal incident and subsequent incidents and that this responsilJilit)' devolves on the Italian representatives on the scene of the i11cident itself. 1

:i\1 y cone! t1sions are as f ollo\vs: For the reasons stated: (1) 111 the Men1orandu1n (i11cluding Annexes) comrnunicated at Geneva to the Lea.gue of Nations and pL1blished by the I�eague Secretariat on Jan­ uary 17, 1935 (C.49.M.22.1935.'/II); (2) In the Aide-Me1noire (inc.uding A11nexes) con1 111unicated on 1\/fay 22, 1935, to the Sec�·et�riat of � 1e I ..eague of N tions and circulated on l\!fay 22, 1935, by the said Secretariat (reprocluced 3:111 the I,eague of Nations clocu­ ments, dated June 12, 1935, tinder No. C.230.i\tl.114.1935.VII); (3) In tl1e oral sta�e1n_ents 1na�e by Professor Gasto11 J eze 011 J11ly 5, 1935, before tl1e Italo-Etl1 101J1a11 Arbitral Comn1 ission, sitting at Scl1e,,eningen, Netherland.s, and on August 20, 1935, at Paris; (�) Jn the reports tabled on August 20, 1935; Sul1Ject to further discussion of tl1e incidents referrecl to i r 1 the Italian Men1ora.ndu111 (pages 22 and 23) (Aga.ble, On1 Ager, Gogula), the Ethiopian Governn1 ent subn1its the follo,ving con.clusio11s: The Arbitrators are requested: (1) to reject the conclusions subn1ittecl on behalf of tl1e Royal Italian Government;

PROCEEDINGS 1\.T P.A.RIS, AUG. 20, 1 935

(2) _to declare tl1at the respo1 1sibilit1 for the in.cident ,vhicl1 occurred at

\r\Tal \ya1 on December 5, 1934, de,,ol,,es exclusively on the Italian repre­ sen ta.tives and, consec1uently, on the lwyal Italian Go,,ernn1ent; (3) to decl�re tl18:t t;he responsibilit)' for the incidents which occurred st11?sequent�y 1 11 Eth 1 0J)!an territory in the neighborhoocl of the Italo-Ethi­ _ <?J)Ian fro11�1e 1 of S011 1al1lc1ncl, after Dec 1nber 5, 193�� (bombing of Ado and Guerlogt1b1 on D_ecen1ber ?, 1934, occ.11)atio11 of Afdul) 0 11 Decen1ber 24, 1934, a� tack 011 Gt1erl<;>gub1 on Decen·1 ter 28, 1934.) devolves exclusi,,ely on the Italian represen tatives, and, conseq.1en tly, on the Royal Italian Govern n1 e11t. l\11 r. l,ESSON1\: I l1ave 11othi11g n. 1uch to adcl to the arrru1nents advanced at b Sche,,eningen, a11d ,votild ,nerely refer the Con 11 11ission to the conclusio11s already sub1 nittecl. I fail to unclerstand ho\v thes<: conclusions could be 111ade clearer. Tl1e Ethiopia11 (;o,,er n1ne11t asl<s that the Ia:al Italian reJ)resentatives, and con ­ sec1uentl)' tl1e Italian Gover1111 1ent, shou Id l:e declared responsible. The Italian Governn 1en t, for its part, asks no 111ore th1n that the Ethiopian Go,rern men t should be declared respo1 1sible. 1\.s far as the Italian Gover111nent is concerned, therefore, tl1ere are no otl1er conclusions to state. l'vlr. ]EZE: I 111ea nt to refer to tl1e J)assagein the Italian con clusions ,vhere it is stated: "Subject to further conclusions." Ivlr. LESSON,\: This is the usual for1n of ,vords. As regards ,vitn esses, I tal(e it that l'vlr. J eze objects to tl1eir bein g heard 0 1 1 the grou11d that it is legally i1n­ possible, sin ce tl1e)' are in the service of the Italian State. IV[y JJersonal belief is that there is no ci,,il la,v prohibiting {)ersors in the service of a party fron1 being heard as ,vit11esses. ivl r. J EZE: f\ distinction shoulcl be dra,v11 )et,veen testimony ancl infor n1ation . Ivlr. l,ESSON,\: In tl1e Italian Cc>de of Ci,il J)roceclure, certain cases are pro­ ,,idecl for, ,vl1ere the l1earing of ,vilnesses is strictly forlJiclden. In other cases, ho,,'e\:er, it is a 111atter of ex1Jeclienc>'· 'fl:e ,,alue of the testin1ony is judgecl after tl1 e ,vilnesses are hearcl. If the rclatio,1 in which \vitnesscs stand to 1 parly ,vere to de1Jrive their deposi­ tions i11 international disJJutes of all relialJilit}1 it ,vould l1ardl)r e,,er be 1Jossible e,·en to ha, ,.e in forn1ation, for ,vitnesses are usually nationals of the J)arties. £,,e11 though a citizen's first clut)' is obedierce to the State, this does not i1nply a duty to conceal the trutl1 itself, ever1 in th� interest of the State of \vhich he is a subject. lvlr. ]EZE: Sucl1 a duty does not exist in fra11ce. Count J-\LDT{O\'ANDI: I infer that the i\gent of the EthioJ)ian Governn1ent objects to ,vitnesses being l1eard. I ask: the L\gent of the Italia n Governmen t to say ,vhether l1e 111aintain s J1is rec1uest. l\1lr. LESSON A: I co11firn1 Ill)' request. Ivir. DEL,\ PR,\DELLE: I ,vonder ,vhether the Arbitrators \vould be J)repared to consider the ciuestion of l1earin g Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford, or other ,vitnesses. . ivir. I-ESSONt\: rfl1at is a 1natter for the Con1rr1ission to decjde . n to l\llr. ]EZE: I hav e already stated 111y vie,v:. It is no,v for tl1e Con1nussio decide. _ nds.? . . u al g1o leg on Iv1r. DE L,'\ PRADELLE: Is your ob3ect1on rosed any In n o objection to raise. ve ha I \v, ,,ie of t 11 i po al leg e 1 tl i\!Ir. ]EZE: Froin case, it ,viii not be testin1on)', but infor111ation. ,


l\1r. DE LA PRlillELLE: Is 1\/fr. Lesson.i tl1orougl1ly con,rinced tl1at this ,vill be an i 1 nportant factor in helpi11g tl1e ArlJitrators to 1 11ake up their 111i11ds? Mr. I-ESSONA: It is a.n esse 11tial factor. Mr. ]EZE: I ,vould dra,,, tl 1 e Co1n111ision's attention to tl1e fact tl1 at it has very little ti1ne at its clisposa.1 for termi11ating its proceecli11gs. l\1r. DE LA PRADELLE: I would ask the Age11t of tl1e Italia11 Government, tl1en, if he tl1 inks that n1uch tin1e ,vill be required for l1earing tl1e ,vitne�ses. 11r. LESSONA: Tl1e }1earing could be completed i 11 three days. Count ALDRO\TANDI: I-las Mr. Lesso1a a list of the ,vitnesses to be t1eard? Mr. LESSONA: I submit tl1e followirg list: H. E. M. l\!Iaurizio Rava, ex-Go\lernor of Somaliland, Ron1e; Mario Porru-locci, Major in tl1e Air Force; Roberto Cin11 naruta, l\!Iajor in the Artiller)7 ; Non-Co1nmissioned Of-ficers (J u�basci): Ali Uelie, Omar Kt1l1nia, Aden Kobeir, 01nar Abdullal1, Salad Assan. Junior Non-Co1nn1issioned Office1 (l\lluntaz): Serar Nur. Mr. LESSON1\ added tl1at the nati,,e vitnesses spoke Italian fairly ,vell and ,vere already in Europe, at Naples. Mr. DE L,\ PRADELTJE: I-las l\!Ir. Jezc any conclusions to st1b1nit? Mr. J:r::zE: I tl1inlc tl1at a l1eari11g is absolt1tely u11necessar)', but I have 1 10 legal objection to raise. It ,i.,ill mea1 1 a ,vaste of tin1e for the Co1 n111ission to hear testi1nony wl1ich is it1 any case disJJt1 table. I am very anxious for tl1e fiftl1 Arbitrator to l1ave sufficient tin1e to study tl1e ,x;hole of tl1e c1uestio 1 1, if l1e has to give an opi11ion i11 tJ1e event: of disagreen1ent. The l1earing of wit11esses wot1ld retard tl1e proceedings. Count ALDROVANDI: I conclude tl1.1t tl1ere is a difference of opinion. Tl1 e Agent of the Et.11iopia1 1 Govern111ent considers it t1seless to l1ear the ,vitnesses; the /\.gent of t11e Italian Go,,ernn1ent t11inks it essential. Tl1e Commission ,vill nov.r l1ave to decide this fJOint. What is yot1r opinion as to the procedt1re to be adopted st1bsequently? Mr. DE LA PRADEL.LE: If it is decided to }1ear \vitnesses, the Agents of tl1e t,vo Governn1ents could 1nake their rejoinders later. [Ivlr. LESSON,\ a11ci Mr. JEZE ,vitl1drew.] fvlr. DE LA PRADELLE: As tl1e Agent )f tl1e Italian Government has stated tl1at l1e co1 1sidered it essential to hear wit11esses i 11 order that tl1e Arbitrators could forn1 an opinion, l do not think tl1e C)1nn1ission ca11 ref use to coinply ,vitl1 this request. Count ALDROVANDI: I also declare myself i11 favor of the l1earing. 1\1r. DE LA PRADELLE: It ,vill be necessary to organize tl1e l1earing of ,vitnesses i11 a practical and speedy 1na11ner in order not to gi,,e the i 1111Jression that a dilatory procedure is being followed. Cot1nt AL.DROVANDI: A co11iniu1iique migl1t be issued in ti1nating tl1e decision taken to l1ear tl1e depositions of witne3ses at Bern. Mr. POTTER: l t will also be necessary to n1ake representations to the Swiss Government. Count ALDROVANDI: I l1ave already asked tl1e Italian Govern1nent to see tl1at




tl1 ere are no difficulties in tl1 e ,vay of the Co1 11 n1issio11's r11eeting at Ber11 . I sl1 all also get into co1n1nunicatio1 1 ,vi th the Italian I�egation at Bern. rfl1e n1 e11 1bers of tl1 e Co111111 ission can pay a courtesy call on the representatives of tl1e Swiss Gov­ ern1 nent. As regards the hearing, I tl1 ink: that t,vo or three days ,vould be sufficient. After a short excl1 ange of ,,ie,vs, the Coin mission tool{ tl1e follov,ring decision: After l1aving l1eard the agent of the Italian Governn1ent sub1nit conclu­ sions i11 favor of the hearing in a city to be specified of a certain nu1nber of persons ,;,.,hose names l1e ga,,e, the Con1 mission clecicled to agree to this re­ c1i1est. !'he -�om1nission noted the reservatior1s 1 nade by the Agent of tl1 e Ethi­ OJ)Ian Governn1ent, 11 ot 011I)' as to the expediency, but eventually as to the value of sucl 1 a l1earing. The Corn1nission fixed as the place for this hearing the city of Bern, at the earliest possible elate. The date ,vas to be con1111 unic'-1ted IJy the Secreta.riat to the i\gents of the two Governments. In co1111nunicating this decision to the representatives, the secre­ taries of the Con1111ission ,vould 1 1otify thern unofficially tha.t the date ,vould prob­ ably be Friday next. It was not expected that tl1e l1 earing ,vould last n1ore than t,vo or three days. In deciding to proceed to Bern to hear the persons proposed by the representa­ tive of the I talia11 Go,1ern111 ent, the Co1n1 nission reserved the rigl1 t of bot11 Agents to subrnit, ,vith all 11 ccessary despatcl1 1 any inforn1ation regarding persons who111 they ,vould specially desire to be l1eard. [ fl1e rneeting rose at 7.30 p.111.] r


Paris, Aitgtlst 20, 1935




IN1'0 1'FIE lNCIDfu�T





1. GuERAZ;\,f..\1'CII f\FE\VERT<E, director of tl1e Provinces of Jijiga and Ogaden and also at tJ1 e present ti1ne officer in co111n1 ,l11 d of Gt1erlogubi, 111 ade tJ1e follo,v­ 11 tak:e11 oatl1 in tl1e na111e of the Emperor: ino b rerJort, afte r ]1 avi g . 1 t gt1ard On 19 Tahsas at 5.30 I l1ad sent an order for t �n soldier: to mou1 _ 1 ps ian 1f , troo Ital and , t line tl1a ond bey go to 11ot and line e sam as usual 011 the can1e not to fire a11y shots unless tl1 ey began to fire. "At 9, l1o,vever, the Italian troo1Js l1ad con1e up ,vitl1out_ being seen, be�ng hidden in the forest, and killed t,vo sentinels a11d ,vounded a third. f\fter ,vl1 ich they retired. . "On the 2 r Ter, a t 5.30 a.m., I sent t,venty-four sol?1ers to n1ot�nt guard on the same line as usu<ll and, ,vhile they ,vere on tl1e san1e line, tl1 e Italian troops ca1ne 1 See note 8 to text, s1tjJra, p. I. 0




up and fired on tl1e1n after encircling tl1en1 . I-laving l1eard tl1e fusil­ Iade at Gt1 erlogubi, I sent eigl1 t:y soldiers to help tl1e sentinels. \i\ll1en tl1e sol­ diers sent as reinforce1nents l1 ad joi11ed tl1e se1Ttinels and v.rere ask:ing tl1 e reason for tl1e sl1ooting, tl1e Italian troops retur11 ed and, e11circli11g t11e1n, k:illed t,vo of ot1r soldiers and wounded tl1 ree otl1ers. As our soldiers were defendi11g tl1 ern­ selves on tl1 e spot!))' fi.ri1 1g rifle -sl1 ots, tl1 e Italian troor)s retreated, after blo,ving ,:vhistles. As I l1 ad l1earcl several sl1 ots and tl1 ougl1 t tl1 at there ,,,ot1ld be clead and ,:vounded, I sent a lorry to our men. And as there vvere two clead and three woundecl, tl1 e)1 ,vere conveyed on tl1e lorry to our can1p. "It ,vas after the figl1t at \iVal \iVa.1 tl1at tl1 e Italia11s entered f\fdul), Afyeraton ancl Oubetalen. Before tl1e \,Val \iVal fight tl1 ese areas ,vere guarded by our soldiers. '' Since 26 I-Iedar, i.e. since the fight at \i\ial \,Val, and up to 26 Ter, Italia 11 aero­ planes fle,v over /\do, Guerlogubi and Afclub twice a day. S0111etir11 es t\:vo aero­ planes fle\V o,,er our can1 p at Guerlogubi. \iVe cou11 ted abot1t seven IJombs (s01ne of \vhich burst and otl1 ers l1ave so far 11ot eJ�I)loded) v.r}1icl1 tl1 e Italian aero­ planes tl1 re,:v on 28, 29, and 30 I-Iedar 011 our 111en at Gt1erlogubi." QUESTION: "It l1 as been said that they built a \vago11 road. But fro1n ,vhat point and tlJ) to \vhat J)oint did they n1 ak:e it?" REPLY:" After tl1 e figl1t at v\ial \i\lal tl1 ey built a wagon road fron1 vVarder to Afdub. The11 after !)ringing on to it their lorries ancl tank:s tl1 e)1 co11structed a roaclway of about one kilo111etre fro1n Afdub to Guerlogu bi in tl1e direction of ot1r can1 p. I lcno,v for certain tl1at tl1ey constructed about one lcilometre of road." Guerlogubi, 13 Yek:atit 1927. (Sig1ied) GuERAZMATCii 1\FEWERIC.E. LORENZO


I-Jj.'i. 1JJE \,\ioLDE GUEBRIEL, subordinate officer (in co1nn1 and of 25 1nen) of tl1e I-la1Tar Gendarn1 e Force, afJpeared, and, after ha\'ing tak :en an oat11 i 11 the na1ne of tl1e E1nperor to tell tl1e truth, replied to our questio11s as follo\vs: QUESTION: "v\Tl1e11 yo11 left l1ere 1 \:vl1 at orders were yo11 given?" Rii:.PLY: "!11 the first place, I was ordered to go a11d mount gt 1 ard at the place ,vhicl1 ,vas l)ei11g guarded by our Son1ali soldiers. Tl1 ree 1ner1 f ro1n I-Iarrar and tl1ree 111 en f ro111 Legahen1 edo rr1ade six, inclucling 1nyself, wl1 0 vvas i r1 cl1arge of tl1ern, and there vvere also six J)ersons in each sectio11 . Al togetl1 er ,ve were t:\ve11ty-four perso11s, arid ,ve recei,,ed tl1e order on 21 Ter, about 5.30 a.n1., and v.1e set out. En route, sot11e of us cli111bed up the trees and looked rou11 d us ,vl1ile \Ve ,vere pursuing Ot1r ,vay. A man \vho ,vas 011 a tree ha\ri11g told us tl1 at lie had seen on the other side fJeople coining do,v11 fron1 a tree and running to,vards us, ,ve said to one anotl1er: "These people are co111i11 g to us to seek : a qua.rrel. Let tis turn back." Ai1 d we tur11 ed back accordingly. \tVhile we were returr1ing, the)' pursued us and fired shots at us. As t11ey \vere firing several sl1 ots a11 d as tl1e fusillade was becoming more intense, we retreated at a ,,ery raJ)id pace. On tl1 at occasion, we had no 011.e wou11ded a11d as it is forest cour1 try, could not ascer­ tain t11e number of aggressors. The place ,vl1 ere tl1 is incident occurred was l1 alf an l 1 our's march away from our camp. 2.





"Tliereafter, as tl1 e fusillade l1 ad been l1eard i 11 tl1 e can1p, helJ) reacl1 ed us. Just as ,ve w �re tall<:i11 g ,vith the soldiers ,vho ha.d con1 e to hel 1) us about tl1 e fusil­ Jade, the I tal1a11 troops, l1 aving pt1rsucd us again, firecl shots on us, after surrou1 1d­ ing us on the rigl1t and left. vVe defended ourselves as best ,ve could. "TJ1is seco11 d dispute l1aving tal<:en place near our can1 p, about ninety n1 en l1ad come to l1 elp us. During tl1 e seco11cl fusillade, t1-vo soldiers ,vere killed and tl1ree ,vounded on our side. After exchanging sl1 ots for about half an hour, tl1e Italian troops ,vitl1 dre,v. 1"hereafter ,ve returned tal<: ing ,vitl1 us our dead and ,vouncled." )'Otl gone before that day to n1 oun t guard?" QUESTION: " Ilad l<.EPLY: "Before t11 at day, I t1sed to go up to the line ,vl1 ere our sentinels ,v·ere keeping guard and inspect. After n1,:tking the inspection I returned. But ,ve 11 ad 11 ot l 1 ad any ro,v after that ,vl1 icl1 occurred previously (-i.e. 011 19 'l"a.hesas). ,.l'I1 e day ,tfter tl1 e quarrel 011 21 Ter, t,vo aeroplanes, after flying round for about t,venty 1ninutes 11ear r'\fdub, returned in a soutJ1 erly direction." QUESTION: "Before that day, l1 ad you see11 an Italia11 aeropla11e coining to observe at Guerlogubi? '' REPLY: "Si11ce tl1e <la)' of n1y arrival at Guerlogubi, during the first ,veek:, it made a reconnaissance morning and evening, but later it ca1ne every third or fourtl1 day. I sa,v only three bon1bs wl1 ich l1 acl 11ot burst and ha.d been dropped before our arrival, bt1t 110 bo111 IJ was droJ)ped after our arrival." TJ1is declaration was read to l1i1 n and l1 e corrol)orated it by affixing l1 is sea.I. Guerlogubi, 13 Yekatit 1927, Year of Grace. Seal of I-I.ti.ILE \iVoLDE GUEBIZIEL. LORENZO


3. GUEDRE MIKl\EL I(ELEL, police1nan at Dire-.Daoua, after ]1 ;:1ving S'vvor 11 in tl1e 11 ame of the E111 peror to tell the truth, gave the follo,ving re1)l)' to our ques­ tio11 s: "In the mornir1g, l1 aving bee1 1 tolcl to go and 1nou11t guard, I left tl1 e ca1rq) of Guerlogubi ,,ritl1 five persons of ,vho111 I ,vas i11 com111 ancl, and ,ve reached the place 'vvl1 ere our sentinels ,,,ere n1ot1 nting guard. I thinl<: that ,ve were t,venty­ four 1ne11 ,vl10 were res1)01 1sible for 111 ounting· guard. \Vhen ,ve reacl1 ed the line, we told a certain Ecl1et€:, a policen1 an fro111 Degal1emedo, to climb up a tree. After l1e l1 ad clin1bed the tree, he told us: 'Three Italian soldiers on the other side ha,,e seen n1 e and ha,,e clescended fro111 the tree.' rfhen ,ve told him to co1 ne do,vn fro1n tl1 e tree quickly and he ca1ne do,vn. I1nmediately after, ,vl1ile ,ve were standing in our line, the Italian soldiers ca1ne up to us at a very rapid pace. vVhen tl1 ey ca11 1e 11 ear us, they insulted us first by sa:r1 ing: 'vVhere would you be going?' and tl1 en an order a terra ,vas given and a ,vl1istle. At that 11 1oment they fired shots at us, after }1 aving st1rrounded us. Thereafter we defended ourselves by retreating. After w e had ,vitl1dra,vn to a great distance, help arrived (about eigl1ty or ninety n1en). As the rei11forcen1ents ,vere questioning us abot1t ,vl1 at had happened, tl1e soldiers, ,vl1 0 had pursued us, surrounded us, a11d, after again giving a signal by whistle, fired volleys at tis. As tl1e place \Vas wooded, I could not make out the number of tl1e Italian soldiers, but tl1ere ,vere several sl1ots.




\:Vl1 en tl1e second volley ,vas fired, tl1ere were two soldiers killed a11d three ,vounded 011 our side. As it is ,vooded cot1ntry, I dicl not lear11 tl1e nu1uber of dead and wouncled on their side. f\fter the enen1y ,vitl1dre,v, ,ve returned, taking with us ot1r dead and \.Vounded." QUESTION: "Whe11 you left in tl1e n1or11ing, ,vl1at order v.rere you gi,,e11?" REPLY: "\.,..,le v.rere ordered to kee1) g,1ard carefully, looking to rigl1t a11d left, a11d if the Italians can1e to us, 11ot to fire sl1ots u11til they began to fire." The above state1nent was read to l1iru and he confir11 1ed it by his signature. Guerlogubi, 15 Yekatit 1927, Year o{ Grace. (Sig1ied) GuEBRE I\111<:AEL.


policeman of I(ebri .Del1are, can1e forward a11d, after swear­ ing in tlle 11a1ne of tl1 e Emperor to spea {: only the truth, replied to tl1e questions as follo,vs: In the 111orning, about 6 a.111., l1avi11g bee11 ordered to n1ount guard at ilie place ,vl1ere \Ve kept guard before, I le:·t ,vith five rnen of vvhon1 I \vas in con1: n1and. Orders had also IJeen given to si� persons in eacl1 section. \Ve ,vere alto­ getJ1er t,venty-fo11r 111en ,-vho ,vere ordered to go a11d r11ount guard and we ,vent accordi11gly. 011 arriving at the line, we divided up and ,ve re111ai11ed sta11ding. I ,vas i11 one line ,vith three n1 en. Then suddenly the Italians arrived ancl, after an order a terra., fired shots at 11s. AfteJWards when ,ve l1ad left our line a11d gone bacl<., several n1en f ron1 our ca111J) arrived to help us, but I do not l.;:no,v l1ow 1nany. As the reinforce111ents \Vere asking us ,vliat had happened, tl1e Italians ca111e up in J)urs11it and again fired volle)!S at us. During this fusillade, t,vo n1en ,vere Jcilled and t,vo ,,rounded on their side. /\s tl1eplace is ,vooded, I could not ascertain tl1e nu111 ber of the enen1y, but there ,vere sev:!ral shots fired. vVe also fired sl1ots, after they had fiJ·st fired 011 us. Final! )' 1eturned to our ca1np, tak:i11g ,vitl1 us 011r dead and wounded." QUESTION: "\i\Then )'OU left in the 1nJr11ing, \Vhat orders l1ad you received?" REPLY: "\i\ie \.Vere ordered to go and :nount guard carefully and if the Italians attacked us, not to fire shots before tl1ey began to fire." After reading his state1nent he confir11ed it by l1is signature. Guerlogubi, 15 Yekatit 1927, Year of Grace. (Sigried) ZELLEKE RoBI. RoBI,



5. i\ certain DE�lEKE


police11an frorn ,.fenann, after s,vearing i n the na1ne of the En1peror to tell only the truth, gave the following rerJlies to our questions: QuES'fION: "\i\lhen you left i11 the 111-)rning, v. J1at orders had you received?" REPLY: "To prevent tl1 e e11 emy advancing on our camp, \Ve were ordered to n1ount guard and keep a careful ,vatch, and if by cha11ce the e11e1nv should coine 110� to fire before they fired, but if tl1ey Jired, to return tcJ our ca111�, firing n1ean� while, and e11ter our trenches i1nn1ediately. Bei11g i11 con1ma11d of five soldiers I went v,ith our leaders to rejoin our positio11 s and 1nou11t guard. Six persons w�re ordered to set out from each section, 1naking a total of t,vent)'-four persons. \i\loLDE,






On arriving at tl1 e place where \Ve ,·vere to n1 ot1nt guard, ,ve told Ecl1ete to clin1b up t !1e tr :e. 1-Ia,ring noticed an I talian s)ldier descencling fron1 tl1 e trees and -n1ak1ng his \Va); towards us, l1e told us to take care, ancl, as soon as J1e had cli1 nbed do,vn the tree, the enetny soldiers arrived. Tl1ey fired on tis, insulting us at the same tin1e. \"Ive retreated firing anrJ at tl1a1 n101nent reinforcements consisting of f\iter j)ining these reinforcements a11d while 1nore tl1 an forty An1l1 aras arrived. they "'ere inquiring \.Vhetl1 er \.Ve I-1ad not bEen massacred, t11 e enen1y again came up in pursuit and fired shots at us. In t 1is last encounter, two persons "'ere killed and three ,,,ot1nded on our side. 011 the otl1er side I saw t\VO persons shot do\v11 , but, as tl1e place is ,vooded, I could net distinguish ,vhether they \vere k:illed or just ,vounded. TI1e enemy l1 a,,ing retired we then returned, taking \Vith us tl1e boclies of our deacl and ,vou 11ded." QuEs1·10N: "Ca11 yot1 say 110,v 111any Italian soldiers there ,vere?" REPLY: "1\s tl1e place is wooded, I coul<l not sa�r ho\v 1nany, but there were several sl1ots." After l1aving his staten,ent read to hi111, he confirn1ed it by affixing his mark. Gt1erlog11bi, 15 Yekatit I92i, Year of Grice. DE1 'IEKE vVoIJDE. [I-Iis mark.] 6. ECHETE .t\BEGAZE, a policen1an fro 111 Degahn1 eclo, after having s\vorn to speak 11othing l)ut tl1e truth, replied to the questions JJut to hin1 as follo\l1s: QtrES'fION: "\Vhe11 yotz left ,vhat orders vere you given?" REPLY: "\lve left Guerlogubi at 5 a.m. acco1 npa11ied by Ato I-IaJ,Ie Wolde Guebriel wl1 0 was tl1 e l1 earJ of our group of six persons. \Ve \vent to tl1e place ,vhere ,ve ,vere n1oun ting guard previously, for ,ve ,vere resJJonsible for guarding that i::,lace. \Vl1en ,ve arrived I cli1nbecl up a tree to look: round and then sa\.V someone descend fron1 a tree and I told our peo1)le. I in1mediately climbed down and ,vhile v.,e were tal{ing up our guard the enen1y arrived and firecl on us, at the san1 e tir11e hurling insults. As the place was 1,voocled I sa\v about ten persons. Discharging our rifles ,ve v.1ithdre\" ancl recei,,,ecl reinforcements coining fro 1 n our camp. 'v\lhile ,ve were talk:ing ,vith tl1e n1 en of tl1 e reinforcing 1Jarty, the enen1 y ca1ne up again and delivered a vJl!ey of shots. During t11 is fight ,ve had t,vo n1en 1-:illecl and three ,voundcd; I cb not !{no,v \vhat happened on their side. After that, as tl1ey ,vitl1 dre,v ,ve left tJ rejoin our ca 1n1J taking ,vitl1 us our killed and ,vounded. I do 11ot k:no\v 110\\ ma11y n1en were i11 tl1e reinforcing " party. After this statement ,ve read to the person interrogated ,vhat is ,vritten above and he confirmed its correctness by affixing l1is finger111 ark. Guerlogubi, 15 Yekatit 1927, Year of Gr2ce. - Mark.] Ec1-1ETE ABEGAZE. [ IIis ::::ountersigned: LORENZO TAEZAZ. YEKA'.f!T I92i IN AccoRDA.NCE WITH THE ORDER oF ,i\.To Lo1IB.'TZO TAEZ1\Z (I) HERSI OunfER, centurion, after having s,vorn in the na1ne ? f the En1peror _ to speal{ notI1i11g bttt tl1 e trt1th, replied to tle questions pt1t to l11m as follo\vs: INQUIRY }JELD AT GUERLOGUBI,



After tl1 e battle of \i\Tal \Val a11 d on our return Ato Ali Nour ordered us to mount guard i11 order to protect ot1r men \vl10 l1 ad not yet arrived. On 28 I-ledar, Fridav, at 10.30 a.n1., a11 Italia11 aeroplane arrived and fot1r tin1 es drop1)ed a set of fou� boml)s, making sixteen bo111l)s in all, and macl1 ine-gu11 ned us. Thirteen of the bombs dropped bt1rst and tl1 ree ,vere found unexploded and \Ve brot1gl1t 011 e of the 111 along lJ)' motor-lorry to I-Iaradigt1it, Balarnbaras Demsse and I." His declaration \Vas read to l1 ir1 1 and l1 e s,vore in tl1e na1 ne of the Em1Jeror that ,vhat l1 e had just saicl ,vas really his own state1nent and l1e confir111ed it by n1aki11g his finger1nark:. I-IERSI Ou�IER. [His rnark.] 11

(2) HERSI TH 1\HIR, chief of tl1 e tribe of Ibral1im, after having s\vorn i11 the nan1e of tl1 e E111peror, to spealc nothi11g bt1t tl1 e trt1tl1, re1Jlied to tl1 e qt1estions pt1t to l1 im as follo,vs: On returning after the battle of Wal \,\lal to Ado, Ato Ali Nottr J1ad ordered us to mount guard in order to protect ot1r 1uen ,vho l1 ad 11 ot yet arrived; we \Vere sixty soldiers, tl1irty of wl1on1 l1 ad been ordered to protect tl1 e i11 habita11ts against brigands. 011 Frida), at al)out 10.30 a.m. an Italian aerOJJlane ca111 e up ancl after clropping sixteen bo111bs fired on tis \vitl1 1nachine-gt1n. Tl1irtee11 of the bornbs dropped burst and three . \"''ere found in a field. vVe exploded one of tl1ese bo1nbs rJy setting it alight a11 d the otl1er ,vas 11anderJ over to Balan1baras Denisse v. 110 took: it to I-Iaradiguit. After tl1e tl1irty soldiers left for I Iaradigt1it tl1e Italian aeroplane rett1 rned in the afternoon and drop{Jed several bombs." J Iis - staten1 ent \Vas read to him and }1e S\vore i1 1 tl1 e nan1e of tl1e En1 peror that \vhat he just said was really l1is o,v1 1 statement and l1 e confirmed it by making his fingern1arlc. 1-lERSI THAHIR. [I-Iis n1 ark.] 11


(3) TAf:IIR 1\11 AFfMOUD, ordinary soldier, after having sworn in tl1 e na1ne of the

Emperor to speak : 11othing l)ut tl1 e truth, reJJlied to tl1 e questio11 s pt1 t to l1i rr1 as follows: "On our retur11 f ron1 the l)attle of \,\ial \t\Tal, ,ve ,vere ordered by Ato Ali Nour to 111 ount guard at Ado. On Friday 1norning \Vl1e11 tl1 e heat of tl1 e st111 began to 111 ake itself felt, a 11 I talia11 aeroplane can1 e over and dro1Jped bombs-I do not kno,v 1 1 0w n1 any bombs. \lve took the other i)on1b to I laradiguit v.,ith Bala111baras Demsse." His declaratio.n was read to hin1 and he confir1ned it by 1naking his fi r1germark. TAHIR. l\1ABMOUD. fl-Iis n1 ark.J

(4) OUMER lBRAIDN, ordinary soldier, after l1aving S\vor11 in the 11 a111e of t11 e

En1 peror to tell notl1 ing but tl1e truth, replied to tl1e questions l)Ut to him as follo,·vs:

�1,\TERI,\L SU13�1IT'fED BY ETI-I IOPI1\, AUG. 20,



"Tl1ree da>rs after our return from th e battle of v\lal vV al sixtv soldiers of us ,vere mou11ting guard at l\do. 011 Friday n1orning ,vhen the heat of the su n ,va s begi11ning to be felt, an ltalia11 aeroplane ca111e up and dro pped bo111bs on us. It dropped several bon1bs but I did not count 11 0,,r 111any bon1b it dro pped. \\Te s transported 011e of tl1e unexploded bo1nl)s ,vitl1 Bala1nl)aras Denis to I-Ia radise . " gu1t. 1 -Iis declaration ,vas read to hin1 and l1e conlir111ed it by n1al<-ing his finger111ark. OUl\fER i\BRAlIIN. [ IIis - 111ark.] (5) SE1IE'fERE l-IouRouo1, after 11 a.\,ing s,vor11 in the na111e of the En1r>cror to tell nothing 1:iut the truth, re1)licd to the questions put to hin1 as follo,vs: "On our return frot11 the battlc of \Val \�/al sixt,, soldiers of us staved at Ado t:<) 111ou11t guarcl. 011 l;'riclay an Itali an aer<.1plane ca111e up and droJ)pecl four borr1l)s on each of four places ancl tl1en C>JJened 111achine-gun fire 011 11s. Three cif these bon1bs dror) pccl clid not ex1)locle. \\1e explocled one of these three bornbs by setting it aligl1t; another bon1!) ,v,Ls handed o,rer to Bala111baras De111sse and ,ve transported it to I Iaradiguit." I-Iis declaratjon ,vas read to him and l1e confir1necl it L1y· 1nalcing his fingern1arl-:. SE11E1'ERE I-lotJROtJOI. [I-Iis n1arlc.] J


(6) ALI !\nn1, a11 orclinary soldier, after ha,,ing s,vorn in the nan1e of the En11)eror to sr:ieak: 11othing l)ut tl1e truth, reJ)lied to the questions pt1t to hi,n as follo\vs: "1-\fter tl1e battle of \Val vVal 011 28 I-Ieclar, 011 Frida.>', an Italian acro1)lane can1e ancl droJ)ped sixteen i)o111l)s on us lvho ,vere at i\do to rnount guard and then opened 1nachine-gu11 fire on us. Of the sixteen lJon1bs drOfJped only three die! not eXJ)lode. \\1e set alight and exr)locJed one of the unexr>loclecl bon1bs and ,ve transrlortcd another bo1nb ,vitl1 Bala1nl:iaras L'1en1ssc to I I- aracliguit." I·Iis declaration ,vas read to hin1 ancl he confir111cd it l)y 11 1aking his fingcr111arl(. ALI ./\BDI. [I-Iis ,nark:.) (7) l\·I,\U:\IED Ousl\fAN, an ordinar)' soldier, after having s,vorn in the nan1e of the En11)eror to SJ)eal<- r 1othing but the truth, ans\vered the questions put lo hi1n as follo\vs: "f\fter the battle of \\!al \\7al or1 tl1e day on ,vhicl1 our fast bega11 \ve \Vere at Ado to n1ou11t guard. i\n Italian aero1Jlane arri,:ed and dropped bo1nbs on four points, four bon 1 !Js eacl1 ti111e, and the11 openecl 1nachine-gun fire. Only three of the bo1nbs clroJ)pecl clid not CXJ)lode. Of these three bo1n!Js we exploded one by setting it aligl1t. Together ,vitl1 Bala111baras Den1sse ,,,e trans1)orted one bo111IJ to I-Iaradiguit." . > . . k. ar ern1 1ng 1s 1 fing ! 1nak b ' rt 1ed firn con he and l i1n 1 to l reac ,vas 1 - declaratior I Iis 1VIA.H1IED OusirAN. [I-Iis marl{.] Countersigned: LORENZO T,\EZAZ. .




26 Ter 1927, Year of Crrace. •

Jjects, tl1e First h su! itis Br , 1ed io1 e11t r 1 n fte na rei l1e 1s so1 _ per en sev t)rfor e We, tl, Rer A�onacl1 e and a ek elb DJ as ng a,,i 1 l nis : Yo ber Ha of e 1 1 trib _ e tl of ng bei Section 1 2. Doual1 l\1el1 a1necl, na, 1111 De id, I-la ed a111 1 Iel l\ I. , aid l Ied a1n 1 l 1\tlo a as Demin - ecl, 8. Nou 3. Aly I-laid, 4. Nour Yessouf, 5. Abdi lgal, 6. Iln1i !gal, 7. \iVaisso IIer :_ - se11 Ilye, :2. Metal I--IadJ1 Tehama, 9 . Baroud Liban, 10. Abeye11 IJiban, I I. IIas Ousn1 a11 , blacksmith, 13. Abrahi1n I-Iadji Ousman, blacks1n1th, r4.. I-Iassen Ghadji AlJdi, 15. Tcl1 an1 a 1\!Ioussa, 16. Il1ni Yessouf, 17. Ous1nael Yessouf, - r Dye, 2 r. Abdoulal1 i Igal, 22. 18. Tcl1ama Igal, 19. Nour I-Iadji lgal, 20. IIari Moudmed vValk, 23. l{an1 a11 \i\laiko, 24. Abdi Igue, 25. vVerson1a Boulale, 26. 1 Abdoulahi Meban1011d, 27. Tcl1 an1 a 1\llel1an1ed, 28. l\1ou1 1 1ned Areb, 29. l\I al1 moud B. Bot1lale; Second Section, 1Jeing of tl1 e tribe of I-Jaber Yonis, having as Djelbeka Rer J-Irsi i\yenacl1 e and as Demina Tehama Gouled, r. Ous1nael Abdi, 2. Av. el Al1med, 3. Douale Il1ni, 4. I-Iassen \Vaik, 5. Tcl1 an1a Ali, 6. Yessouf Aly, 7. Tahir 1-Iassen, 8. Aden1 \i\1erso1na, 9. Guele Al)', ro. Abdi \i\!ais, 11. l\1ouh1ned \lvais, 12. Tvleha1ned I-Iasse, 13. Igal Soid; Tl1ird Sectio11, being of tl1 e tribe of Haber Awel, l1 aving as Djelbel{a Abclela I-Iasse and as De111 ina Ade11 1 lVIegt1en, 3. Abdi Aly; l:;-ourtl1 Section, being of tl1e tribe of 1. Bihi Wersen1a, 2. Gaye IIarbi, Idegaele, having as Djelbelca Rer Gou led a11d as Den1 ina Dje1nbir I{al1 in, I. I-Iassen Nour, 2. l{elJera Yassin, mal{e the following declaration: "After l1 aving can1 ped at tl1 e {)lace called Ella at G11erlogt1bi, ,vl1 ile ,ve were ,vatering our anin1 als, on 21 Ter 1Jy tl1e An1l1aric reck:oning and 23 Sl1 u,val of tJ1e l\ifohamn1eda11 era, at nine o'clocl{ in the morning, tl1 e Italian troops l1aving ap­ proac11ed suddenly tl1 e place ,vhere the Et11 iopia.11 soldiers were standing on guard, bet,veen Afdub and Guerlogubi, ope11ed rifle-fire on tl1en1 after l1aving surrour1ded them. i\ncl as tl1e bullets ,vere con1ing as far as tl1e place called Ella at Guerlogubi, we ot11ers began to flee fro111 GuerlogulJi, talcing ,,ritl111s ot1r ca1nels, sheep, and goa.ts. TJ1e sl1ots passing througl1 tl1 e solcliers' can1p reac11ed the place ,,1 I1ere ,,re peasa11 ts ,vere e11camped. Sl1 ortly after it ceased ,ve sa,v tl1 e EtJ1ioJ)ian soldiers co111ing tlp carrying tl1 eir two dead a11d tl1ree ,vounded. Then on the follov,1ing <la)', 22 '"fer of the Amharic and 24 Sl1 t1,val of tl1e lv1oha.n1 n1 edan era, at ten o'clock : in the n1orning, an Italian aeroplane, ,vl1 icl1 can1e fro1n the direction of tl1 e place ,vhere tl1e Ethiopian soldiers were, ,vl1eeled rouncl ,ria Afdub. When it reached Afdt1b it fle,v ,,ery lo,v bt1t ,ve did not see ,vl1at it w..1s doing. Again on 23 Ter, or 25 Sl1uwal of the Mohan1medan era, at eleve11 o'clock in the morning, two Italia.11 aeroplanes, wl1ich carne frorn tl1e direction of f\fdub, after wl1eeling round at tl1e point wl1ere the Etl1iopian soldiers were, tt1rned back. Again, a third ti1ne, on 26 ,.fer, or 28 Shu,val of tl1 e 1V[ohan1 11 1edan era, at eight o'clock in the 1norning, an Italian aeroplane ca.n1e and after fl),ing o,rer tl1 e place where the Ethiopian soldiers ,vere, ,vitl1clre,v. ,.fbe dista11ce bet,;i.ree11 Guerlogubi wl1ere these events occurred and vVal \,\Tai is two days' n1 arcJ1 on foot. As we were enca1nped at the place caJled Ella we sa,v ,:vith our o,v11 e),es a11d heard ,vith our own ears all of this. We ha,,e sworn on ot1r faith and on tl1 e "nika" of our wives to tl1e trutl1 of tl1 ese facts. All the fort),-se,,e11 of tis ,vit11essed it and ,:ve confirn1 our statement b)' 111 ak·ing a 1nark: ,vitl1 our left thun1 b. 1











NouR J-1.<\DJI lGAL


OusM1-\EL YEssou1;·




I-I.s\ssEN vvA1sso







l\t1 OUH�IED





Dou ALI IL1i:11 Anni vVA1s


Tea.AMA l\10USSA

NouR YoussouF

lGAL S1\lD




[Tl1eir J\,1arks]



MouH?trEo W.11s TCFIAi'tft\



Of the forty- �e\re11 witnesses abo'\re cited, tl1e forty-five found signed, but the t,vo otl1ers, l1 av1ng gone av.ray, for t11e ti 1ne being, did not sign. By order of Gueran1atcl1 Afe\.vork: Certified correct copy: LE�fi',JA, Secretar)1•

ANNEX N J) ROCEEDINGS OI1 THE COM1\1ISSION AT BERN A ugitst 23, 1935 On August 23, 1935, at 3.30 IJ,111., the Cornmission conducted a hearing of the persons from ,vho1n it had decidecl to gather infor1nation in accordance witl1 tl1e propositions, ,;vl1ich it had adn1 itted sulJject to every reservation, of tl1 e 1\ge11t of the Italian Governrnent. At the beginning of the rneeti11g f\1r. ]EZE saicl that, IJefore the officials cited to giv·e ,vitness can 1e to tl1e table of the Comn1ission, l1e wisl1ecl to repeat the ob­ ser\ratio11s \.vhicl1 l1e had already n1ade. I-le had already pointed out, before l(nowing ,vl1at persons it \.Vas proposed to hear, that tl1e i11formation to be given by these persons seen1 ed to hin1 unnecessary, and tl1at for t\vo reasons. Nov, that l1e knev, the persons i11 qtzestion, he would amplify his reasons. In the first place, Go,,ernor Ra\ a could not lJe regarded as a ,vitness, seeing tl1at he was not present a t tl1 e events \.vhicl1 occurrecl. A ,vit11ess, after all, could only be asked to testify to ,;vhat l1 e J1ad seen, not to \.vhat l1e J1ad not seen. As regards Captain Cimn1aruta, he was present, !Jut nothi11g ,,,as know11 about the others. Secondly, they ,vere not genuine ,vitnesses wl10 could testify quite i1 1dependently, seeing that tl1ey ,vere connected witl1 tl1e Italian Gov·ern 1nent, being in its service­ in otl1er \.Vords, they ,vere i11 the employ of the Italian Government. 1




At tl1 is stage !\'Ir. ]EZE wot 1 ld like torefer to the IJOi�t of ,,iew stated so clearl)' . c 1 and so fra.nkly b')' Mr. Lessona ,vl1en he saicl that the t1zen� of a state o,ved tl� e latter con1 iJlete obedience. That n1 igl-t be true of Italy IJu t 1t ,vas not tl1 e case 1n France or in other cou11 tries. 111 a matter of beari11 g testi11 1011y, it l1 acl to be given i11 alJsolute independe11 ce, regaidless of tl1 e con� equences : vl1i: !1 i_t n1 igl1t e11tail for a go,,ernrnent. I-le l1 i111 self lad had tl1e experience of being 1n d1sagree­ n1ent with l1 is o,vn Govern1nent in cira.1 111stances sin1 ilar to the present sitt 1 atio11 but 110 one in France l1 ad e, er 1nade reu1arlcs to l1 i1n on tl1 e subject. 1-Ie believed tl1 a.t other persons attending tl1 e Comruission's 1neeti11gs l1 ad fot 1 nd t11e111 selves i11 tlle san1 e sitt1ation but tl1 eir co 11 sciencE could 11 ever be affected IJ')' sucl1 a circun1 stance. If they were jt 1rists, tl1 ey could express tl1 eir opi11ions, e,,en against their o,vn Government, a.nd as citizers wl10 l1ad to bear ,vit11 ess to facts, tl1ey would s1Jeak the trutl1 ,vJ1 atever it ,vas, ,vithout any thot1gl1 t of tl1 e disagreeable consequences such truth 11 1ight ha,re for their O\.VI1 Gov·ern111e11 t. I-1aving 1nade those t\.vo ren1 arks, l1 e ilvlr. ]EZE) 11 ad notl1 i11g ftrrther to clo but to listen to ,vhat \.vould be saicl bt 1 t he n1 t1St again e11 ter every reser\1atio11 as regarcls the value of sucl1 depositions. Mr. LEsSONA w-ished to mal(e a few ·e111 ark.s on the staten1 ents v.rl1 icl1 l\1r. Jeze l1 ad jt1 st n1acle. The Age11 t of the Eth:opia11 Governn1ent l1 acl saicl tl1at the Gov­ ernor of Son1aliland v.ras not a \vitness 1vho hacl see11 the incidents. f\ distinction cot1ld be drawn betwee 11 witnesses cle a.1,1,dit-it and \.vit11 esses de vt'.su. Those \Vere t,vo kinds of evidence \Vhicl1 might lJe :lifferently assessed but tl1 e former ty·pe of evidence \\ras to s011 1e degree ,,alid. ,\s regards the other \.Vitnesses, tl1ey ,vere persons \vho had certainly IJeen 011 the spot. Captai11 Ci1nn1 aruta l1ad, of course, bee11 tl1 ere; 1\1 ajor Porru J..,occi ,vas the officer con1 1nc111ding tl1e aero1Jlane sqt1adro11 ,vl1 icl1 l1acl flo\vn o,rer the 1\nglo-Ethiopia11 ca111 p, and tl1 e dubats had also been 011 the actual site of the eno)ttnter at \i\Tal \A/al. Referring to th.e second obser,,ation n1 ade, Mr. LESSONA ,vas sorrv tl1 at a 1nisunderstanding had arise11 due to the fact that he had perha1Js 11ot 11 1 ade hi111 self perfectly clear ,vhen SJJeak·ing in a la.1guage wl1 icl1 was not l1is o,v11 . I-le l1 ad n1eant to say in his earlier rernarks that, if cloul)ts \.Vere entertai11ed regarcling ,vitnesses \vl10 \.Vere oflicials on tl1e ground that tl1 ey o\ved obedie11 ce to tl1 e state, the same reaso11ing n1igl1 t be applied ti) all citizens, si11 ce, general!)' spealcing, all citizens had duties of obedience towards tl1e state. Neitl1er the s1Jecial olJedience incu1nbent upon officials, hov,ever, nort11 e general obligatio11s of citizens to,vards the state preve11 ted then1 fro1n telli11g tl1 e trt1 tl1 . That explanation, he thought, woulcl n1ake l1is meani 11g plain. l\11r. DE LA PRADELLE said tl1 at it ould be advisable for tl1 e Aaents of tl1e e, t,vo GovernJ11ents tl1emselves to ask tl1e ,vit11 esses \vl1 ate,1er qirestions tl1 ey thougl1t necessary. Naturally, there ,vould be no o1Jjectio11 to tl1 e i\rbitrators tl1 emsel,,es taking t]1e opportt 1 nity of :1.sking the "'it11esses "tnv questions \.vl1 ich they tl1ougl1t should be asked. Count ALDROVANDI asked wl1etl1er 111 e \.vitnesses ,vould l1 ave to l)e s,vor11. Mr. ]EZE obs:rved �hat the u�ual for 1 n of oatl1 could not be a1Jpliecl in the present case, as it required tl,at witnesses sl1ould not be in the service of eitI1er of ilie parties. 11r. LESSONA suggested adopting tl1:! for11 1 of ,vords laid do,vr1 in tl1 e Rules of 1






Procedure �f tl1 : I-Iagu: Cot1rt of I11ternational Justice "'l1 icl1 ,vas less precise tl1an tl1 �t g1ve�1 tn the 1• rencl1 Code of Civil Frocedure. lVIr. ]EZE P01�1ted ot1t that tl1 e pt1rpose of the oath as custon1arily worded was to enable sancttons to be taken in the e,,ent c f perjury. Such a form of ,vords ,voul d be rather ,vouncling to tl 1e susceptibil i1ies of a person l ike the Governor ,vho ,,,ould sl1 ortly be appearing. Mr. l\10NTAGNA said that it ,vas e,,eryo11e'.) duty to tell tl1 e trutl1 ,vhatever their standing. lVIr. DE LA Piu\DELLE Sc.lid that the ,vitnesses ,vl10 ,vere about to l1e introduced ,vere not peopl e ,vho ,vere stra.ngers to the I tal ia11 l\.rbitrators. It could IJe affirmed on tl1e strengtl 1 of ,vl1 at ,vas kno,vn atout the 111 that they ,vere perfectl)' honorable ger1tl e11 1en ,vl10 ,voul d repl y in an l1onorabl e ,vay to the questions ask.ed the1n. Tl1 at ,vas all the Co1nn1ission needed. lVIr. ]EZE agreed ,vitl 1 ,vhat had l1een said as regards tl1 e first three witnesses on tl1 e l ist bt1t l1 ad reservations to er1ter as regards the others. [Governor RAV,\ came to the table of the Comrnission.] l\tlr. LESSONA asked l\.1r. Rava ,vhetl1 er and 110,v l 1e l1ad l)een inforn1ed of the mo,,emen ts of tl1e troops \\'l1 icl 1 l1ad collected t) 1nalze a11 attacl{ in tl1e district of \:Val \i\ial and \i\Tarder. l\!lr. R,.\V1\ explained that, about the end of At1gust, 193,i, his inforr11ers, i.e. the nati,,e agents ,vho suppl ied hi111 ,vitl1 informatil)11 1 l1ad warned l 1i1 n of n1 oven1 ents of irregular troops or sl1 iftas. lr1 EthioJ)ian ths word 1neant botl1 irregular band and brigancl, as there was 11ot a very great clifference bet,vee 11 tl1 e t,vo. On re­ ceipt of this inforn1 ation Ivlr. Rava l1ad directed tl1 e attention of the Governme11t Commissioner \\1ho ,vas in tl1e district in c1uesti:>n to this situation and l 1e in turn had coll ected further inforn1ation. It ,vas t11 tB ascertained that a certain On1 ar Samantar, a native su!Jject (of Ital ian SomaEland), ,vho ,vas guilty of having assassinated the Ital iar1 Ca1)tain Carol ei, and on ,vl1ose l1ead a price had been set, had left Etl1iopia and ,vas in the vVal \Val-1Narcler neighborhood. This cir­ cun1sta11 ce l{ept tl1 e st1rro11nding population in :1. certai11 state of agitation-more particul arl y tl1e tribes ,vhicl1 ,vere Italian subje:ts._ Tl1 at ,vas the first indicatio11 ,vhich they had had of ,vl1at ,�.,as fJre,,ring. Foll owing the alJove ne,vs, other infor111atio1 had reached lVIr. Rava through the Italian post o f \,Va.I vVal-vVarder. Son-x:tin1 e in October or November I�ieu tenant l\il usti reported that the n1ove1nen ts referred to ,vere becoming more marked and that there \\'ere also groups of regular Ethiopian troops, i.e. ir1 addi­ tion to tl1e sl1iftas. Tl1at ,vas the second p1 ase of preparation. Tl1e tl 1ird period began '\vitl1 the arrival o f tl1e British l\,1ission, accompanied first by a grot1p of Ethiopian troops and follo\ved soon af:er by a1 1otl1 er troop. This influx of arn1ed men, regular soldiers under tl1e co 1nn1ancl o f tl1e two Fitauraris, and irregulars under tl1e con1n1and o f tl1 e a foresaid Omar Samantar, l1ad gone on and on. Mr. I,E.SSONA asked Ivir. Rava ,vhether l1 e had been able to convi11ce himself that these troops J1 ad aggressive intentions a11j ,vl1 ether tl1 e presence of such a _ cro,vd o f arn1ed men and of tl1e thot1sands of 1r1en ,vl1 0 ,vere collecting could be explained unless it ,vas inter1ded to essay an aggression. Further, he would like

TI:Il:i: WAL \VAL ARBITRATION 1 iopian Missio11 to l1 ave such a tl -E glo An e 1 tl for l ura nat s ,va it er eth 1 ow wl to kn large escort. . 1 could be estimated at about 1 me 1ed arn of r 1be nun t11e t tha d sai VA �\ . ivlr h vel o tra vrit ays al,v an ica Afr in n to1 cus tte s ', wa it usl � vio Ob 00. 1,5 00 1,4 or ) 1 en varying between fifty 11 of ber num a of sist: con t 1 l 1nig er, vev ho, , 1 icl 1 wl ort esc vlission could i 1 tisl Bri e 1 tl t tha le sib 1Jos 1 s in ,va. It . ost and t;o hundred at tl1 e n1 l1 ave l1 ad an "escort" amounting to : 1 600 111e11 . Na.turally, in face of such a dis­ play of force tl1 e Italian autl1 orities l1 ad no option but to believe in aggressive intentions. Moreover tl1e aggressive intentions of these forces been proved in a tl1ousand otl1 er wa)rs. Tl1 e first group of these troops, tl1 en, had reacl1 ed tl1e Italian front li11e held by the du}Jats. These were regular tro); ps, quite differe11t from tl1 e sl1iftas. Tl1 ey were in tl1 e Italian service and co1nrnanded by native no11 -con1111 issioned officers from tl1 e regular corps of the Ascari, (Royal Cor1Js of Colonial Troops) and by Italian officers. The group of Etl1 iJpia11 troops drev.r tip before a J1.tsbasci on duty in tl1 e line wl10 asl{ed tl1em where tl1 ey wa11 ted to go. I-Ie ,vas told in reply that they l1 ad the rigl1 t to proceed where tl1ey lik: ed, since they l\rere in territory belonging to Et11iopia. The J·usba�i pointed out to tl1e1n tl1 at tl1 ey n1t1st be of tl1 e fact that they ,vere in I ta.Iian territory, a place wl1 icl1 for several years had been peacefully occupied by Italy. The Ethiopians did 11ot insist. It would be incorrect to say that tl1ev had been forced by tl1e J1tsbasc-i to cl1ange tl1eir camp. TJ1 e native 11on-comniissioned officer l1ad sin1 pl) told tl1 en1 that they could 11ot go 011. 'fhey had t.l1en stopped at tl1 e point ,vhicl1 tl1ey l1ad reached, i.e. a bare t'\\'O or t11ree rr:etres a,vay from tl1e line occupied by the Italian dubats. Mr. LESSONA asked whether tl1e Eritisl1 authorities were cognizant of the fact that \\Tai \,Val and \\larder l1ad for a long tin1 e past bee11 occupied by Italian troops. Mr. RAVA said that r10 other viev could be taken. Tl1e Italian troops }1 ad been in control of tl1at area since 1�28 and tl1ere had bee11 fortified posts since 1930. The district \vas a short distance a,vav - fro111 Britisl1 S01naliland and tl1e British autl1 orities ,vere i11 constant tot1cl1 witl1 t1 1 e i11 l1 abita11 ts of the spot, particularly with tl1 e Dolbochanta. It was in1 possible that t11 e Britisl1 autl1 orities could have been t1naware of tl1e I tafian occupation for four years. Mr. LESSONA asked l1ow Mr. Ra,a could explain tl1e fact that Lieutenant­ Colonel Clifford seemed to }1 ave 1Jeen very a.sto11 ished to discover Italian fortified posts. Mr RAVA said that Lieutenant-Colone.I Clifford could 11 ot possibly l1ave been _. surprised. 1-Ie was perfectly a,vare of the fact tl1 at tl1 e Italians ,vere there; only they had prevented him from doi11 g vl1 at he probably i11 tended to do a11d 1 1 e l1 ad ther1 sho,vn his surprise. Mr. � AVA added.:that l1 e felt bo11nd to say all that l1e thougl1 t. It was necessary to pt1t 1t clearly: Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford a11d his 1nission l1ad sirnply been the screen under cover of wl1icl1 1,400 or c,500 n1e11 had been .:tble to rea.cl1 the line of wells at Wal Wal and Warder. Naturally, the possession of tl1 ese wells would have suite� � he �thio �ans admjrably and it would l1 ave been ver ' agreeable to ? ) tl1 e author1t1es 1n Br1t1sh Son1aliland for the wells to be in the haiids of the 1



Ethiopia11s a11 d not in those of Italy. Tl1e autl1orities of Britisl1 Somaliland l1 ad al\vays practiced a policy of encirclen1ent, ·i.e. they had always tried to send the _ largest possible nt1 1 n �er of Kabyles, ar1ned tribes subject to Great Britain, into tl1e area r1ext to Ital1an territory. Tl1at 11acl not been the work of tl1 ree or six 1nontl1s or of a )'ear; it l1 ad been begun n1uch earlier. rfl1 e BritisJ1 ,vere tryi11 g in tl1is '\\7ay to create a kind of zone of influence on the other side of the frontier line between tl1 e Ogaden and Italian territory. The Governors of Italian S01 nali­ land had been a,vare of the fact for a long tin1e past. Tl1 ere I 1ad always l)een dis­ putes on the question, because tl1e Britisl1 autl1orities claimed that all frontier incidents bet\veen tl1 ese J(ab)1les, Britisl1 subjects, i 11 Ethiopian territorv and tl1e frontier I{abyles, Italian s t1bjects, sl1 ould be settled by an Anglo-Itali;n l\!Iixed Con1nussion, as had al,va)'S been done, witl1out any difficulty, in the case of inci­ dents bet,veen tl1 e I(abyles 011 tl1e frontier of British Somaliland and those on the frontiers of I tali an S0111 aliland. rfl1 e 1talian authorities, however, had al­ ,vays refused to agree to tl1 is procedure a11cl had claimed the rigl1t to settle these incidents directly, on the ground tl1at the arined I{abyles in c1uestion ,vl1 oin the Governn1 ent of British Soi11 aliland had allowed to enter Ethiopian territory, \Vere no longer under it s control and outside its sovereignty. If tl1e Britisl1 au­ thorities cot1ld not seize the \Velis then1selves, it could not do them anv harm for the Ethiopians to seize tl1em. The Britisl1 lVlission, and in.ore especially Lieute11ant-Colonel Clifford, had been asked by the Italian authorities wl1etl1er it adn1 itted that the ,vhole crowd of armed 111en before \tVal \1/al forn1ed its escort and ,vl 1ether it accepted resr)onsi­ bility for them. f\.fter all, it \vas qt1ite understandable that tl1 e fact of I ,400 to I ,500 Ethio1)ian soldiers collecting before a post ,vhicl1 was far a,vay froin the military centres ,vas a matter of very serious concer11 to tJ1e Italian Govern1nent. Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford l1acl t\vice bee11 questioned on tl1 is point, even by letter, and l1 ad always refused to reply. It \Vould have been i 1 npossible for l1in1 to argue tl1at I ,500 1nen cons titu ted his escort ,vl1en the normal nu 111 IJer of inen in an escort did not exceed t,vo I1undred. Actually, the real escort of the Britisl1 l\1ission consisted of about eigl1ty n1en, including thirty Askaris of the British Camel Corps and forty or fifty Ethiopia11s. It was tl1ese very i11 en \vho with­ drew with the Britisl1 l\.1isssio 11 and Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford to Ado, in tl1e first place, ancl tl1en farther on. \,Vl1at explanatio11 could there be for eighty men \Vithdra,;.ving and I ,400 re 1 naining before the Italian positio11s? Before tl1 e Britisl1 Mission came on tl1 e spot, the post at Wal vVal \Vas held by 150 to 200 men. It was 0 11ly \\'l1 en l1e saw tl1e reports wl1icl1 l{ept on comii1 g in day after clay about tl1e influx of regular ai1d irregular Ethiopian tr��p s that he (l\t1r. IuvA) ]1ad t11ought tl1at it would be prude11 t to se11d up add1t1onal men, a few machine-guns and to have aeroplanes i11 the neighborl1ood. Actually, there were only tl1ree macl1ine-guns available: t\vo at vVal Wal �nd one at vVarder. Wl1 en lie saw tl1 at tl1e Ethiopians of the so-called escort did not leave witJ1 the Britisl1 lVlission, l1e was confirn1ed in the in1 pression wl1icl1 11 e had held for a long time past regarding t.11e defi11 itely aggressive i 11tention� of the � thiopi­ ans. 1·11at, speaking quite franl(ly, ,vas one of tl1e reasons ,vh1:h had induced . tl1e Etl1iopians to attack the \veils of Wal \Val, \Vh1ch they beJ� �ved we:e �ro­ tected by only one J1undred forty to one hundred fifty dubats. fhe Etl1 1op1ans


·aged in it by I1 ad been }1e ,vould I1ot say, J)t1sl1ed iI1to tl1 is 111 0,,en1ent, but encow lonel 11 the British So111aliland autl1 orities or, i f tl1ey lilced, IJy Lieute a11t-Co Clifford. J\1r. LESSONA asked "'110, judgin� by tl1 e reports received by tl1e Governor i 1nn1ediately after tl1 e \i\Tal \,Val e11gage1ne11t, sl1 ot1ld be regarded as tl1e aggressor? J\ilr. RAVA said that }1 e l1 ad receiv?.d the first reports of the attack during tl1 e nigl1 t of Dece1 nber 51 1934. I t too:e the form of a brief, hastily-,vritten, tele­ graphic report to the effect: "The E1hiopians attacked st1ddenly about 5 or 5.30. Surprised by tl1e sudden attack our dubats have l1 ad to ,vitl1 draw. Tl1 ey are, however, still holding out in front cf the fortified posts. Furtl1er ne,vs later." 1'hat "'as during tl1 e nigl1t. l'v1r. Rava had in1n1 ediately tak:en steJ)S to l1 ave re­ inforcements sent to Wal v\lal and v\arder. Happily, tl1 ese reinforceme11ts ,v; ere not needed as on the follo,ving day tl1 e dulJats had rallied a11 d, tinder tl1eir co1n­ n1a1 1di11 g officers, Captain Cin11naruta and Lieute11a11t l\1usti, l1acl not only re­ gained their old positions but l1 ad p1t to fligl1t tl1e ene111y, wl10 l1ad a!Jancloned his ca1np. Replyi11g to a question by Coun1 ALDROV,\NDI, l\1r. l�A\11\ said that during the fight there \Vere, altogetl1er, in ·:l1e neigl1borhood of \,\Tai \i\Tal, ·i.e. between \,Val \Val, \\larder a11d Galadi, abot1i six hunclrecl 1nen. Count l\.LDROVANDI asl{ed ,vhat was the size of tl1 e v\Tal \;\.Tai garrison before tl1 e arrival of tl1e Etl1 io1Jians. Mr. R. .\V1\said tl1 at it consisted o'. fro1n 130 to ISO men. Count ALDROVA1'1DI asked to \Vhat11oint the Italian garriso11 l1 ad retired during tl1e first phase of tl1e engagement. lVfr. R1\.VA explained that it ]1ad ,vitl1clravvn to tl1e fortified posts. Tl1ese (farii1z·i) \\1ere built of 1nt1d ,vitl1 n1achine-gt111 emplacen1ents so as to be able to resist in case of attack. Cot1nt ALDROVANDI asked l\-1r. R'-,,a ,vl1etl1er 11 e l1ad been able to send rei11 force1r1e11 ts before Dece1nber 4 ";hen l1e 11ad l1eard of tl1 e arrival of I 1 500 ar1 ned Etl1iopians. IVIr. RAVA replied that, after an in:erval of nine montl1s, he could not be exact but he belie,red that tl1e reinforcemEnts had arrived 01 1 December 2 or 3. As regards the Italian garriso11's vithdrawal at tl1 e outset, he explai11ed that this circumstance \\'as due to two rea.sons. In tl1 e first place, the Etl1 ioJJian at­ tack had been so sudde11 that tl1 e Italia 11s had bee11 surprised. In the second place, there was no officer on the EpOt at tl1 e time of the attack:, as Captain Cimn1aruta ,vas then at \i\1arder, about fourtee11 kilon1etres a,vay. \i\ll1 e11 ]1e l1 ad 1 1eard the noise of the firing, Captain Ci1n 1nart1 ta l1 ad tried to get back as soon as possible, but, as often l1apJ)ened in such cases, tl1 e lorry had I1 ad a breal.;.do\vn. In any case, the Italian officer l1ad l1ad to con1 e ti!) 011 foot and l1ad arri,red ,vhen the dubats l1ad already bee11 forced to witl1 dra\v a little. Next 1nor11 ing, ver)' early, before tl1 e sun was fully up, i.�. between 4 and 5 o'clock, tl1 e figl1ti 11 g had been resumed with the result ,vl1icl1 th ey all kne\v. �r. ]EZE enter _ed a reservation. J\tlr. Rava's stateme11t co1 1tained poi11ts which would require to be cleared tp. A good part of the state111 ent \Vas tl1e expression of personal views. 1



23, 1 935


l\t�r. Ra,,a ,vas ask: ed bJ, l\1Ir. LESSON A concer11 ing tl1 e wa)' in ,vl1 ich the . i Ethiop ans l1 ad reacl1ed the wells as a1 1 escort tcJ the Clifford l\iJission.

Mr. RAVA recalled a precedent. f\t a 111 eet:ing \Vhich l1ad i)een held at I-Iarra r or f\dclis Ababa ancl \vhicl1 hacl IJeen attendedb), the Chief of the .Belgian lv1ission i11 Ethiopia, the latter l1a.d dra,v11 the Ethiopian Government's attention to the fact tl1at the vVal \Val ,veils ,,,ere of ,,er)r great in1portance to EthioJJia and l1 ad ad,rised the Ethiopiar 1 Gover11me1 1t t o 11 ego:iate \Vitl1 the Italian Governn1ent ,vith a vie\V to excJ1 anging all or s0111e of thesE ,veils for jJri,,ileges of another kind to be accordeel by tl1e I talian Govern,nen t. 'fhis suggestion 111 ust 11 ave had no efTect. Tl1e Ethio1Jian Governn1ent, ho,ve,;er, had thought t11at, instead of nego­ tiating, it "-'as easier to seize the \Velis ,vhere : here ,vas a s 111all garrison of 130 to 140 n1 e11 . According!>', it had begun its preparations for aggression as far back as the rnon t:11 of August, The armed 111�11 had been asse 1nlJled-whicl1 ,vas no sign of frienclsl1i1J for Italy-under the cc1n111 and of this On1ar San1antar, a nati\'C Italian s11lJject \Vho had treacherou�y assassinated an Italian officer. After this beginning events-l1ad gone 011 n1aturing until the attack:. Lieutenant­ Colonel Clifford hctppe11ed to be tl1 ere and the rest could easily be inferred. lvir. JEZE saicl t11 at this was a 111 cre assun1ption. Re1Jlying to a c1uestion IJy Cou11 t f\.LDR.OVANDI, lVIr. RAV,\ said that 0 1 nar San1antar ,vas an1or1g the escort. IIe - added that the Italian I...egation at i\cldis I\baba, l1aving learned fro111 the Go,:ern 1 nen: of Italian So,naliland that 0 111 ar San1 antar had been e11rolled b)' the Ethiopian Go,,ernment, and given a high rank and sa.lary, l1ad sent i11 a protest to the E1hiopia11 Government; no reply had been n1ade to that protest. l\11r. ]EZE asl(ed \vhether Mr. l<.a,.,a ,vas a\ that tl1ere \Vas a trealyl)et\veen Ethiopia and Englc1nd to allo,v tl1 e tribes \Vl10 ·.vere subjects of Britisl1 Son1 aliland to come and re1Jlenisl1 tl1eir jJrovisions in the district of \i\/al \i\/al. Tl1e l\nglo­ Ethiopian Con1 n1ission \Vas i11 that district fa- the very pur1Jose of deter1nining the boundaries of the grazing lands a11d the conditio11s for replenishing supplies. lvir. R,\\'A said that the Italian authorities had never prevented the replenish­ ing of supplies. l\tf r. ]EZE said that ,vas proof that the distdct ,vas i11 Ethiopian territory. lVIr. LESSON,\ i 1 1tervened to object to reopening the discussion on tl1e sovereignty of tl1e district. . . lvlr. RA.V,.\ saicl tl1at it \V,ls no proof at all. The \veils ,vere 111 Italian posses­ sio11 . TJ1 ere \Vere agree 1 nents ,vitl1 E11gland to enable the tribes to co 1ne and ,vater their cattle at those ,veils. That ,vas all. 1 111 ade no reference l\ I r. LESSON..\ pointed out tl1 at tl1e Anglo-l�lhiopian 1'reaty to tl1e \Velis at \\Ta.I \,\ial-\\larcler, but to the zone of tl1e Ogaden. lVIr. ]EZE said that ]1 e ,vas satisfied to have ask: ed the c1uestion. . 1Et e d tJ1 \\-·e 1 ad al,vays allo l s tie ori th ? au _ n lia _ Ita e 1 tl at th lvlr. RAV.A affirn1 ed len 1 sl1 their s ppl1es rep d an me co tc d lan ali 1 n So � sl1 iti Br of opian tribes and tliose ns. lia Ita th dy of sto cu th in re \Ve 1 icl ,vh lls we e th at � � q uietly and peacefully 1 e I taha11 Govern� tl 29 19 111 at th are aw s wa va Ra r. l\!I r J1e 1et lVIr. ]EZE asl{ed lvl ver11 n1ent because tl1ere w:re 1nent had su binitted a claim to the Etluopiar. Go 1eaded for I tal1an l al, \,V al vV m re f g tin ar st 1 1 , icl ,vl tribes t1 11der Britisl1 rule territory.



Mr. RAVA said tl1 at in 1929 l1e was 11ot yet Go,,ernor of S0 111aliland. I-Ie wisI1ed to n1ake it clear that fro1n 1928 to 1930, tl1e district of vVal Wal ,vas u 11 der the consta11t st1pervisio11 of Italian patrols, \\ritl1 ou t a11y objection l)ei11g raised by E11gland or Ethiopia. Since 1930, i.e. in tl1e last four years, a11 d i 11 December, 1934, fortified posts l1 ad bee11 built and the occupatio11 l1 ad been 111ade permanent. Mr. ]EZE wished to raise anotl1 er point: Iv1r. Iiava said that vvl1en the attack was launcl1 ed, tl1 ere was no Italian officer 0 1 1 tl1 e spot, but 011 ly two native no11 comn1issioned officers. Thus, Captain Cim111aruta, ,vl1 0 was called as an eye­ witness of tl1 e attack, ,vas not 011 the spot. It \Vas a I)ity tl1at there l1ad been no Italian officer to keep tl1 e troops in l1and. Tl1at was said not only to prove tl1 at tl1ere were no eye-witnesses, but �!so because, if tl1e idea was to trace ,vl10 \Vas the aggressor, it ,vas difficult to adopt the Italia11 tl1eory, since the only perso 11 s wl10 could be trusted were the officers. No great reliance \Vas placed on the natives. lvlr. RAVA said tl1at at that rate tl1 ere was no valt1e to be attacl1ed to any e, i­ dence given by Etl1iopians. lvlr. ]EZE repeated that l1e n1ust n1alce tl1 e point that tl1ere ivas no Italia11 officer on tl1 e spot. Mr. RAVA observed tl1 at, if t11e Italia 11 s had intended to attack, tl1e officers would have been on the spot. l\1r. }EZE said tl1 at this was not a deliberate attacl<:. The poi1 1t was to cleter­ mine wl1 icl1 side fired the first sl1ot. No Italian officer could say that it ca1ne fro111 tl1e Ethiopian side because there \Vas 110 Italian oflicer tl1ere. In st1cl1 circu1n­ stances 1 v.1!1en tl1e 1nen were not controlled by tl1e officers, an i 11 cident could occur. Count ALDROVANDI pointed ot 1 t: tl1at, wl1e11 Captain Ci1nrr1art 1 ta arrived, the Ita.lians \Vere in the course of witl1drawing. Tl1ey l1 ad, tl1 erefore, undergone a11 attack whicl1 had forced tl1e111 to retreat. Mr. ]EZE ,vished again to draw the Com111ission's attention to tl1e fact tl1 at, according to the Italian theory as it 11 ad just been stated by lvlr. Rava, it would appear that t11e responsibility for tl1e aggressio11 lay upon two Govern1nents: the Etl1 iopian Govern1nent in tl1e first place, and the Britisl1 Go\ ernrr1e11 t in tl1e second place, because the Etl1iopians l1 ad bee11 brougl1t UJ) to tl1 e wells by tl1 e Britisl1 lvlission and left by it there witl1 out being diso\vned. After having pointed out certain disti11 ctions as regards tl1e connection between tl1 e Ethiopian acl\1 ance and the Britisl1 l'vlission. l\1r. RAVA explained tl1at the Italian forces l1ad no reaso11 for attacking. Tl1e Ita1ians ,vere in tl1eir posts; it was the Ethiopians ,vho can1 e ttp to tl1e111 witl1 I ,400 to 1 1500 n1e11 . Tl1e ti1ne of attack, between S o'c.lock and 5.30, was the most favorab.le to the Ethiopians, because tl1 e Italian aeroplanes l1 ad 011ly e11ot1gl1 ligl1t for a few 111inutes' opera­ tions. All the factors were unfavorable to the Italian forces, so that the Italians withdre\\1 Their discipline ,vas extren1ely strict; tl1at of E t1 ropean ar111ies was nothing in comparison. Their definite a11d strict orders \Vere 11ot only 11 ot to attack, but not to reply to the constant JJrovocation to wl1 icl1 they ,vere subjected by the Etl1iopians. The t\vo lines ,vere only a fe,v 1netres apart. rfJ1 e Etl1io­ pians threw bones, shouting: 11 There is to a1JJJease your hu11ger ! " They invited the ltaliai1s to desert. TJ1 ey yelled: "We l1 ave already beate11 Italy; we will beat her hollo\v ! " The Italians never replied. Tl1 e Ethio1Jian 1




23, 1 935


regula �s or shiftas already had their rifle s Joi 11 ted at the target, i.e. tl1 e non­ _ comn11ss1oned officers, and, at tl1 e first vo ley, it ,,,as the no11 - c om1nissionecl officers ,vJ10 fell; that ,vas even one of tl1e rmsons ,vl1 v at the outset tl1 e dubats retired. Mr. Rt\V� denie? tl1at Ca1Jtai11 Cin1 1T1aru la had ta1<:en LI{J a rather aggressi,;e a11d unbending attitude to the Ethio1Jians ard e,,en the British autl1 orities. He could deny tl1 at in the n1ost for1nal ,va)' fJossitle, as he ,vas fully a,-vare of the facts. I-le had read i11 a docu111 ent the reproacl1 111 ace against J1in1 : that he had used the pronou11 "vo1:" (2nd person JJ!ural) in a letterto an Ethio1Jian officer. Mr. R.s\VA. pointecl out, ho,ve,,er, that. ,vhen l1e l1 imself spol<:e to lVIr. JVJ ussolini, l1 e alwa)'S used "voi" \vl1 icl1 , i11 Itali,tn, ,vas not an insult, but a very defere11tial for111 of adclress. It ,vas alleged in tl1e sa111e clocurnent that C ::1 ptain Ci 111n1 aruta had called Fitaurari Shiferra "ca/Jo di sciiifta ". That ,vas not true. I-Ie had applied that terr11 to anotl1 er officer ,vl10 ,vas ,vith Fit£urari Shiferra and ,vho was actually a shifta chief u11der t11 e orders of 0111 ar San1 cntar, ,vho1n the Italians cottld only loo!< u1,on as tl1 e worst of bandits. Furt11ern1ore, CaJJtain Ci1 n 1naruta had told tl1e Britisl1 1Vlission tl1 at it ,vas ,velcon1e in Italian Territory, eve11 up to T\1oga­ discio, and that, if it l1ad a11y olJservations to rnalce, l1 e ,vould have it sent under escort to Galadi ,vl1 ere a Gover11n1e11 t Co1111nissioner resided. I-Ie had added that the 11ussio11 cot1ld dra,v v,,ater from tl1e '"-'ells :1.t vVal \Val -\\'arder, providecl they sent u11arn1 ed 11 1en escorted by' a11 Italian chief and an Italian soldier. f\t one tin1 e, in order to avoid a11 y !)Ossil)!e i11 cident, on tl1 e instructions of the Govern­ ment of I talia 11 S0111aliland, he l1 acl proposed that, ,vl1 ile leaving it, of course, to the tv,r o Governn1ents of Ron1 e and Addis Ataba to decicle on the frontiers, they should clra,v a line of dernarcation l)et,veen the trooJ)S on both sides by putting in posts, or else n1 ak:ing special n1ark:s on the t1ees. rfhe Ethiopi;:tns had ref used, lJecause they' had co11 1e ,.vitl1 the intentio11 of cccupying the place. J.,etters "''hich had been found i11 the deserted can1JJ sho,ved ,vitl1 the greatest clearness the in­ tention of occUJ)ying \i\Tal \Val. One of those letters, the speaker said, ,vas ver)' signific,1nt; it read: "It vvotdd IJe better if ,ve returned and if it \Vere said of us that ,ve hacl occurJiecl the place, ratl1 er than :hat it should be saicl of us that ,ve had gone there to ocCUJJy' the JJ!ace and l1 ad �eturned \vithout doing anything." There ,vere otl1er private but ,,ery interesting letters v:hich reacl more or less Ii Ice this: \Ve are I1ere to occuJJY tl1e ground. V/e l1 ave not yet firecl the first sl1ot, but we ,viii do so; pray God to l1elp us, etc." lVIr. RAVr\ added that lie could still understc.nd up t o a certain point people vvho had not bee11 on the spot ]1aving doubts as to ,vhere the responsibility for the aggression lay. Bt1t l1 e hin1self had bee11 tl1 er�, had received the first telegram on the night of the attack a 11d l<:ne,v tl1at there could 11ot be tl1e least doubt 011 the subject. l\!Ioreover, aggressio11 ,vas an Et11iopian l1 abit. In 1906, tl1 ere ,vas tl1 e surrender of Bardale, ,vhen Etl1iopians enter;d Italian territory and massacred t,vo officers wit h a ,vhole troop of J\scaris. 111 ere \vas-l1 e hi1nself could witness 1 to it-the threat inade )Jy Gabre l\ lariam in 1-\ugust and Septen1ber, 193 I. 1 aliland ,vitl1 n n So lia Ita of r tie on r :' e th at d ive arr acl 1 1 1 an ari 1 DegiatcJ Gabre l\tl Col­ of the l era en G ytar cre Se the : 1 se1 en 1 l t d ha va Ra r. l\tI 00 1,4 to 1,500 n1en. arded reg be t no uld co ces for of er rsf tra is 1 tl at tl1 1 tcl gia De y e 1 on to point 011t to t1 , for \Vhere ere th of t et ou "G d: lie re:p cl ha ief ch n JJia l1io Et 1 as a friendly act. TJ e 11



you are 110 w I 1nust co111e the day af te: ton1orro,v ,vith ot1r troops." It \Vas only after a ,,igorot1s I)rotest by tl1 e Italian Legatio1 1 at i\ddis Ababa, a11d 111ore espe­ cial!)' after pron1JJtly massi11g forces c.t tl1e frontier that tl1ey sect1red the witl1dra,val of Gabre l\lf aria111 ,vl10 had i11 tended not to go lJack but l1ad been deserted by l1 is lieuter 1ants ,vl10 fou11cl tl1e adve11 ture too risk: ),. Tl1e Ethiopians 1nade their aggressive intentio11 s very clear. A I-It1ngaria11 doctor i11 their ser,,ice fell ill a11 cl retu:ned hon1e. Passi11g tl1 rougl1 Mogadiscio, he said t1 1at l1e did not cleny at all that tl1 e Etl1iopians i11tended to trespass on Italia11 territory. In the letter to the Secretary-General of Italian S0111 aliland, ,vl1icl1 l\1r. Ra,;a J1ad already quotec, Degiatcl1 Gal1re l\1Iarian1 saicl tl1at the country 1Jelo11 ged to Etl1iopia fron1 Belet lVIe11 to Braidoa. rfhat ,,,as the san1e as if so1neone l1ad said tl1 at Italy lJelo 11ged to hi1 11 fron1 tl1 e Brenner to Bologna! Finail)', the Italian at1tl1 orities ,-verE acct1storned to ra:::.2ias 011 tl1e Son1aliland frontiers. l•requently, Italian dul1at� stopped in tl1eir pt1rsuit of brigands IJe­ cause tl1ey had instructio11s not to cause a11y inciden.ts a11d tl1e)1 ,vere afraicl to go be)1ond tl1 e fro11tier. Incide11ts li!{e that ,,,ere very nu111erot1s. :rvir. l�AVA concluded l1is deposition by sayi11g tl1 at tl1e district of \i\lal \i\lal­ Warder contained alJout tl1ree l1 undred ,veils. That n1ea11 t tl1 at tl1 e possession of that area v.ras 1nuch n1 ore i1nportant to Etl1 iopia tha11 the possessio11 of lVI ust­ l1ail referrecl to by tl1 e Degiatch Gabre 1Vlaria111. But for Etl1 iopia to say 110w tl1at sJ1 e clid not kno,v that tl1 e Italians ,vere tl1ere ,vas not only beyond all prolJ­ ability, but also beyond all understandi11g. [Governor RA.VA ,,rithdre�,. Major C11•IM1\RU'f;\ was introdt1ced. As J1 e ,vas not sure that l1e co11ld express l1 i1nself correct!)' in Frerich, l1e asked the Con11nis­ sion's per1nissio 11 to testify in Italian.] lVIr. l.EssoNA asl<ecl lVIajor CiI111naruta to clescribe wl1 at l1 e lc11 e,v fro111 fJersonal obser,1atio11 at the tin1e of the attack. 1\/fajor C11v11-1ARUT.<\. . said tl1 at he ,vas at \tVarder, the l1eadl1uarters of tl1 e Area Com1nand 011 Dcce111bcr 5, ,vJ1en, alJoJt half-past five, l1 e l1 eard shots fron1 tl1e clirection of vVal \rVal. I-Ie i1n111ediatcly took: tl1e car at l1is dis1Josal; as it l1 ap­ penecl, he J1ad a few n1on1 ents previoL1slv made UJJ l1 is 111ind to proceed to \i\lal \,\la! in any case to inspect the troops, a duty ,vl1 icl1 he perforn1 ed daily. Count ALDROVANDI asked wl1at \Vas tl1e dista11 ce between \i\Tal \\1al and \1/arcler. 1\1ajor C11-r:M,\RUTA replied tl1at it was 12½ kilon1etres. I le - l1ad then hastened 1 1is departure and left for \,\1al \tVal V{liere he arri, ed after the figl1 t l1acl alread)' begun and ,vl1 en the Italian t 1·001Js we:e in the act of ,vithdra,ving. :rvrr. LESSON,\ asked by ,vhon1 and how tl1e attacl{ I1 ad been begun. Major CJ1i{1i{ARUT.<\.. replied that tl1e attack had started i 11 tl1e follov,,ing manner. Tl1e dulJats were in tl 1e line a few n1etres a,vay fro111 the Etl1io1J ia11 troops (and the i. rreguJars n1ingled \vitl1 then1). E·,ery clay tl1e clu!Jats had bee11 insulted by tl1 e Ethiopians, and bo11es an.d otl1er articles ,vere tl1 row11 and invitatio11s ex­ tended to desert a11d cross over into tl,e e11en1y lines. At a certai 11 mo111e11 t an Ethiopian soldier l1 ad fired at an Italian se11 tinel wl10 \Vas }Josted 011 a tree and 1




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grazed l1is left cl1eek. Tl1e soldier \vl10 fired \Vas at a distance of perhaps some t,vo metres fron1 tl1 e senti11el. Mr. ]EZE asl{ed ho,v lVIajor Cimmaruta l{rl e\v that. Major C11r?\,�ARUTi\ said that he l1 ad l)een tolcl by his sergeant ,vho ,vas in con1 1 nand of t�1e I 111e. In the line control v.ras exercised by the \\rl1 ite officers and _ non-con1m1ss1 oned officers and tl1e1 1 by tl1 e nati,,e nor1-co111111issioned officers and sergeants. l'vlr. ]EZE asked ,vl1etl1 er l\/Iajor Cin1111aruta hacl ,vitnessed it l1 i1 11 self. lV[ajor CIMl\f,\IlU'fA repliecl tl1at he had not. lVIr. LESSONA ask:ed \Vl1 etl1er it ,vas tl 1e J11sbasci ,vho had reported the 111atter or if it ,vas tl1 e sergeant. l\tlajor CI1fl\11\RU1'A replied tl1a.t it ,vas the sergeant in com 1nand of the du bats. l\tlr. ]EZE asked ,vl1etl1er l1e ,vas an Italian or Somali sulJject. 1\1ajor Cr�rMARUTA said that l1 e ,vas a S0111 ali, a native non-co1nn1 issioned officer. Count ALDRO\'ANDI asked wl1etl1er the soldier ,vho l1 ad been ,vounded by the gunshop had died. lVIajor C11'L\1,\RUTA re1Jlied that tl1 e soldier ,vas still alive. \VJ1 en l1 e fell from the tree, a piece of ,voocl ha.d piercecl l1is heel. The tree ,vas of medium height, as there ,vere r1 ot 1nan:r big trees. 1\!lr. LESSONA asked if it ,vere true that Italia11 losses consisted 1 11ai11 ly of non­ commissioned officers. 1\ifajor CI.A-Ill-f,\RUTA said tl1 at all tl1e no11 -con1 missio11 ed officers had fallen im­ n1 ediately. At tl1 at ti111 e they \vore a colored turba11-the sergeants green, the corporals red and the la11 ce-cor1Jorals ,vhite. 1'11us, the Ethiopians kne,v ex­ actly \.vhich N.C.O.'s \Vere in tl1 e line and they even k:ne,v then1 personally, as for twelve days past the troops l1 ad bee11 faci11g each other. In aclditjon, the N.C.0. 's \Vore a ta.ssel of tl1e sa1ne color as the turl)a11, except the lance-corporals ,vho ,vore a black tassel instead of a ,vhite one lik:e their turban. The rifle-sl1 ot ,vas im111ediately followed by a volley fron1 the ,vhole Ethiopian line. Tl1 at \vas 110w tl1e fight IJega,1. Count ALDROVANDI asl{ed ho,v long it l1ad tak:en l\ilajor Cimn1aruta to reach tl1e spot. i\1Iajor Cii\11'.fARUTA that it had tal.:en seve1 1teen or eiglrteen minutes, ni11e­ teen at the 1nost. Tl1 e road ,vas quite straight and goocl s1Jeecl could be made. 1\ilr. ]EZE asked ,vl1 ether it ,vas a road or a track. Nlajor C11-11rARU'fA replied that it \vas a tracl{ ,vith a11 excellent natural foundation. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE remarked tl1 at 12:,-f kilo 1netres in eigl1 teen n1 inutes see1necl to him to be a goocl speed. Major C1�1M 1\RUTA replied that a 11 even greater s1Jeed could be attained. Mr. DE J.,,\ PR t\DELLE askecl 11 0,v long the car I1ad been stopped. o t Nlajor Crr,I�l,\RUTA could not state tl 1e e.xact tin1 e just long enougl1 to get � and get i,1 again. TI1 e last J)art of tl1 e road, about a l1undred 1netres, l1e l1ad 1n any case covered on foot. he er y eth ctl wh exa to say ta aru nm 1 Ci jor Ma e Jil� uld ,vo LE EL AD 1\!Ir. DE LA PR had reacl1 ed tl1 e scene of co1nbat on foot or in tl1e car.



l\1ajor CIMMARUTA reJ)lied that, wl1 �11 he got ot1t of th.e car, tl1 e bullets \Ve� e _ already beginning to "''histle rot111 d l1im; l1e \vould not l1 ave b: en al)le to clr1ve 1n tl1 e car right up to tl1 e level of the fort ,s l1e ,vould J1 ave be: n 111 t. Tl1 e road fro111 vVarcler to \�/al Wal debot1ched just at 1l1e level of the fort, 1n front of tl1e gate, a11 d ,vas con1 pletel}' e.xposed and tl1erefore very dangerot1s. 1-:le J1 ad, tl1 erefore, gone up to the fort on foot because it was dangrrous to dri,,e in t]1 e car: l1e l1ad done tl1e last stretch on foot, a little 1nore ii1an a }1undred n1 etres. Mr. DE L..<\ PRADELLE re111arked tJ,at that had nothing to do ,vitl1 the car breaking do,vn. tviajor C1M1-t,\RU'fA agreed tl1at it had not. Tl1ere l1ad bee11 a breakdo,vn but it l1ad beer1 J)Ut right immediately a11 d it J1ad nothing to do ,vitl1 tl1 e fact that l1 e had reacl1 ed tl1 e fort on foot. 1�11 at l1a:l occurred because it ,vould 11ot l1a,,e been \\rise to go on ,vitl1 the car wl1 ich form�d a \ier}' large a,nd f)rominer1t target. l\1r. DE LA PRADELLE ask:ed at ,vhat ti1ne Major Cin1111 aruta had reacl1 ed the spot. Iviajor Crit?vfARUTA replied between half-J)ast fi,,e and six. Tl1e sun set about 6 p.1n. Whe11 lie arri,,ed it ,vas still da} ligl1t. Mr. POTI'EH. ask:e d ,vl1 0 ,vas i11 co1nn1and of the I ta1ian troops in this sector at this tir11e. l\1ajor CI:bfM .ARUTA replied that l1 e l1in1self \vas tl1 e officer con11nanding tl1 e Italian troops. l\tlr. POTI'F.R asked wl1 0 \Vas in co111111and duri11g l\1ajor Ci111 111aruta's absence. 1\1 ajor CrIDfARUTA e.xplained that every sergeant l1 ad a sector of tl1e front and tJ1at tl1e \vl1 ole line was under the com111 a11d of two j1J.sbasc-is. iVlr. PoTTEH. asked if tl1ere was not a senior co111n1 anding officer. l\1ajor CThiAfARUT.!\ said that tl1e seni)r of tl1 e two j1,sbascis \vas responsible for e,,erything ,vhen tl1ere ,vas no ,vl1ite 111a11 . If tl1 ere ,vas a w]1 ite man, he assu 1 ned res1)onsil)ility, even if l1e lvas only a 1 1c11-com1nissioned officer. Count ALDROVANDI asked \vhat was the lengtl1 of tl1 e Italian line. J\/Jajor Ctt11MARUTA said that it 111easured more tha11 a I,ilo1netre, perl1 aps a kilon1etre and a l1 alf. It ,vas not a straight line but a11 irregular line ,vhich ran tl1rough bush. Count ALDROVANDI asked whether t:1e line follo\ved the ,veils or not. Major CrMi1ARU1'A explair1 ed that the two lines traversed tl1 e ,vells. Tl1ere ,vere 359 wells at \i\la1 Wal, of v1l1icl1 t:1 e Ethiopians held tl1e last te11 or fifteen ,vl1ile tl1 e ItaJian line ran at rigl1 t angles after the last te11 or fifteen. I\1 r. ]EZE asked if all the sergeants ,rere natives. Major C11i11i1A.RUTA said tl1 at they were all old native non-con1n1issio11ed officers but under the control of Italian offi.c:rs. The troops ,vere under the direct co1nmand of the r1 atives, because a \Vl1 :te officer could not con1rnand a troop. 1\1r. !)OTTER expressed surJ)rise tl1at there was no Italian officer in comn1and at the time of the attack. lVIajor CIMA-JARUTA said tl1at tl1e I talia11 officers and 11on-co1111nissio11ed officers came a11d \vent, taking duty i11 tur11 s or tl1 e line, either l)y day or by 11ight. He ,vas not i11 a I)Ositio11 to leave an officer :>11 permanent dutv because J1 e l1ad r1 one. Tl1e officers and non-comn1issioned officers took it in turI1s witl1 l1 i 111 to exercise • • superv1s1on. 1



lVIr. ]EZE further inqtzired ,vhetl1er, at t1e time of the attack there ,vas an Italia� officer or non-co1nrnissio11ed officer on the spat. l\�aJor CIMMARUT1-\ a11 swered tl1at there ,,,ere no n-com 1 nissio11ed officers a11d natives. Cour1t ALDROVANDI askecl lv1ajor Ci1n111 aru ta ,vhat l1 e had see n ,vl1 e11 l1 e reacl1 ed the post. lVIajor CIMi\f;\RUT.A describecl his entry irto the fort ,vl1 ere extren1 con e fusion prevailed. A start hacl already been n1 acle in transporti11 g the Italian dead and wounded; tl1e ,v�n1 e11 a11d children who lived in the fort ,vere uttering cries of alarm. One section of tl1e dubats ,vas giving ,vay, ,vhile a1 1other section ,vas still in the line and holding out. Count ALDl{OVANDI ask :ecl ,vhetl1er he haj seen tl1 is personally. l\1Iajor Cli\li\-I.ARUT1-\ cleclared tl1at l1 e ,va� present. When l1e said "line'' l1e did not mean tl1e front lit1e ,vhicl1 ,vas l1eld at the tin1 e of the attack })ut a line farther back, for there had alrea.cly been a general "'·itl1 drav, al. As soon as he arri,,ed he had learned of tl1 e deatl1 of se,0ercl non-co111n1issioned officers. One of the j11,sbasc£s ,vas ,vou11decl: l1 e was still i11 1he line and did not lea,,e, though he ,vas bad!), ,voundecl in tl1e shoulder. A 11 1n1unitio11 ,·vas already beginning to give out. 1'hat ,vas the position. Count ALDROVANDI asked ,vhat steps he hacl tak:en. l\ilajor CIM1'1ARUTA said that l1e had i11 11rediatel)' clen1anded an1 n1unition and also rei11forcerr 1 ents fro1n \\larder. The la:ter, ho,vever, could only be sent in lin1ited nu1nbers, for \\larder was practically denuded of troops. IVIr. DE L1-\ PR.-'\DELLE v.ra11ted to kno,v l1 ow tl1e request ,vas macle. IVIajor Cr;INI1\RUT1-\ explained that l1e l1a:l sent t\vo couriers-t,vo dubats on foot and tJ1en t\VO more 011 111 tiles. I-le \Vas afraicl that the Ethiopians n1 ight cut the con·1n1unications and tl1 erefore l1e had sent the messages by t\.VO different routes, so tl1at one lot migl1t arrive in the eve11 t of the other tvv'o being captured. After the messengers left, l1 e had collectro the 111en ,vho \Vere in tl1e fort, hacl 1nade then1 gather up the cartridges fron1 tl;e deacl ancl ,vouncled in the trenches, distributed the c,:1rtridges \.vl1icl1 re1nainecl, and had then gone l1in1 self i11 to the line and ,varned all tl1 e men that all possible resistance ,vas to be s110,vn. :f\1 r. DE L1\ PRADELLE asl{ed :f\1I ajar Ci1n111 c1ru ta to explai11 all that l1ad l1appened to his personal k :no,vledge fro1n tl1e 1110111 Ent l1 e arrived ti!) to the end of tl1 e engage111 e11t. lVIajor Crrvll',,I,\RUTA we11t on to relate that \vhe1 1 he reached tl1e line, the troops hacl only a little a1nn1unition left; it toolc the am1nunitio11 about two hours to a.rrive. During tl1ose nvo ho11rs he sta}'ed ,vitl1 the troOJ)S. The clubats stood fast, not only \VitJ1out advanci 11g but also i'irtually witho11t firi11g, as tl1 ey had very little am1nunition. In any case, the rigl1 t l1 ad already fallen. lVJr. DE LI\ PRADETJLE asked ho\.v it ,vas that the Ethiopians did not tal<e ad­ vantage of the situation. wI ajor Cr1vfi\-f1\RUTA e.xplained tha t tl1e Ethiopians h� d not take11 advan �age 11 ot n10,;e, determined d1d d an e lin the 11g alo sed per dis re we ts ba clu e e 1 t1 aus bec o tained to let theinselves all be massacred. BesidEs, tl1 e Ethiopians l1ad als sus 1 very l1 igl1 as the)' could e1 be ve ha : no ld cou e ral mo eir t1 1 y usl vio ses d ol) los an have advanced. 1



Wl1 en the a1n1 11unition arrived, the dt1bats ,vere refor1ned a11 d reopened fire, keeping it up ttntil tl1e mor11ing. All tl1 is 11ad go 11e on in tl1 e dark: as it ,:vas a 1noonless nigl1t. In tl1 e 111or11i11g l1 e ,,Tfs able to observe tl1at tl1e Ethiopians l1ad loaded tip their 1nachi11 e-guns a11d tl1eir 1nore va.Iuable belongings and l1 ad gone a,vay. 1'11 ey left a rear gt1ard, ho,ve·ver, to protect tl1eir retreat, ir1 clt1ding a few 111 en cl1osen from their o,v 11 parlJ' to s:re 11gthe11 tl1e resistance. Tl1 e fight tl1us ca1ne to a11 end. He (l\1ajor Ci11111 1aruta) concentrated tl1e dubats in the line of the forts i11 a very close area. 1\ilr. DE LA PR.ADELLE asked 110,v 1nany v.rere l{illed 011 both sides. lVlajor CL\fAi.1-\RUTA said tl1 at, as far as tl1e Etl1 iopia11 s , :vere concerned, he could specify those wl1orn l1 e sa,v on 1he ground-they an1ou11ted to I I 8. 011 the Italian sicle tl1 ere were tl1 irty l{illed. The Ethio1Jian dead v,,ere not cot1nted in tl1e n1 or11i11 g IJtt t sorne days later, before tl1ey ,vere buried, beca11se tl1e troops had other 111 a tters to attend to. Mr. DE L1\ PRADELLE asked if tl1 ere were tanl{s used on the Italia11 side. Major ClM1iARUTA said that tl1ere ,vere t\vo ta11k:s, but not in the beginning, as they too l1 ad come fron1 \\larder. l\1r. DI� L,\ PRADELLE aslced at ,vhat t in1e tl1 e,, l1 ad arrived. l\'1ajor CIM1li1\I{UTA explained that one J1 ad arrivecl before and one after hi 111. 1-Ie had give11 the order to leave \\larder as l1 e l1 ad l1eard the firi11g. The orcler given to tl1 e officers ,vas to interve11e if the figl1 t had already actually begun. 1\1[ r. DE LA l)RADELLE said tl1 at in tl1at case one of tl1e tan !{s l1 ad arrived before lVJ ajor Cin1111 aru ta. lVIajor CrM?.tARUT1\ said tl1at one l1ad 1rrived before l1i111. It ,vas u11 der tl1e con1 111a11 d of an officer. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE ask.ed ,vhat ,va� tl1e positio11 of the tank in relation to tl1e line of attack. lVIajor CIM?l-fAl"lUTA ren1arked that the line had already been tl1 ro,v11 back. tvir. DE LA l)R1\l)ELLE asked ,vhat ac:io11 ,vas talcen b,, tl1 e tanks. .l'viajor Crtif?lfARUTA. declared tl1at tl1 e :ank stopped close to tl1 e dul1ats and tl1 en ,vent to the left and the rigl1t tryi11g to protect tl1 e men and not allow t11 e Etl1i­ opians to ad,,ance. It sl1 ould be observed tl1at the tank's radius of action ,vas lin1ited because the ground was full of .1oles and ditcl1 es and trencl1 es and tl1 ere were also the \vells. The latter I1ad no ;iarapet and tl1erefore consisted mere!>' of l1oles in the grou11 d. Furthern1 ore, as i:0011 as darkness fell, tl1 e tank was unable to operate longer. Cou11t AL01ioVANDI ask:ed ,vhether it i1as still daylight when Major Cin1 1naruta arri,,ed. l\1ajor C11i:rr.:1ARU1'A said that it \vas still daylight bt1t tl1e sun was a!Jout to set. Cou11 t filDROVANDI asked 11 0w n1L1ch longer tl1 e light lasted . .1\1ajor Cr�U!AllU·TA said that it only lasted a little ,vl1 ile; tl1ere ,va.s the ki11 d of light which followed in1 111 ediately after tl1 e sunset. Mr. POTTER asked w11 en tl1 e second 1ank arrived. f rvr ajor CIMMARUTA said t11at it arriva:I sl1 ortly after l1 e did. . f Mr. POTTER said tl1 at it was nigl1 t tl1en. Major Cl:ID �ARUTA agreed tl1at it was practically nigl1 t, and in point of fact _ this tank's action was extremely limited. J





lVIr. DE LA PRADELLE asl(ed whether t11 e first ta nl{'s action l1ad also been limited. Major Cii\:aft\RUT,.\ explainecl that tl1 e actio11 of th e first tan!<: l1 ad also IJeen li1nited in the general sense of the ter111 , but that of the secon was eve11 1 ore d n lin1 ited. l\1T r. DE LA PR,\DELLE observed that there l1ad IJ een a period of t,\'O J1 ours duri11g �vl1� cl1 the It� lia11 s ,:vere without an1n1unition ancl the t:a11 k: ,vas very Ii111 ited 10 its operations. If tl1 e Ethiopians J1 acl been self-co11 fident, tl1 ey could, in. view of tl1 eir nu n1 bers, ha,,e advanced, and 1night ha·ve create d an a,vl�,vard • • situation. lYiajor C1�rM.-\RUT1\ did not thin!< that they possessed the necessary n1orale to do so; tl1ey l1ad see11 t11e t,;.,,o tanks, tl1ey l1acl seen the steadiness of the dubats ancl the intervention of t:l1e aeroplanes anrJ they 1r1tist already have Iearnecl of the death of tl1eir co111 111ancling officer, Fitaurari Ale11 1aio. .. lvlr. DE Li\ PRADE LLE olJ served that it ,vas the first time that he had l1 earcl a11y reierence mad e to aeroplanes. \i\7hen did they arrive? lvlajor Cri\fi\I:\RUTA ex1Jlained tl1at the aeroJ Jlanes arrived fron1 \,Varder. \.Vhen he left \Varder in the 111 otor car the aviators leit \vitl1 their planes. lVIr. DE IJA PRADELLE ren1arl{ecl that i11 that case the aeroplar1es ,vc:re at \\larder also. l\Jajor C1iiMAl\UTA confir111ecl that they ,:vere at \;\larder. lVlr. DE LA PRADELLE ask:ed 110,v n1any tl1ere ,vere. . Nlajor Cr1-111,r,\IlUT.A said that there \Vere three 1nacl1 ines. l\Ir. DE LA PRADELLE asl(ed ,vl1y the aeropla11es had left anrl ,vho gc1,,e tl1 e1n the order to leave. l\'Iajor CiiYll'rI.ARUTt\ sairJ that l1 e hin1 self had given the order to leave. Cou11t f\.LDJ{OV.ANDI acldecl that.1\1Iajor Cim 1 naruta, ,vhen he sent off the tanks, had also given orders tl) tl1 e aeroplanes to leave. l'viajor Cr1-a.1,\RUTA explained that the senior officer had been sum 1 noned ancl he had given l1irn his orders. l\n aeroJJlane had gone to n1ake a recon11aiss,1nce around \A.larder, as it ,vas feared tha.t that locality 1night also be attack:ed, but it hacl orders to interfere if there ,vas a fight in the direction of vVal vVal. iVIr. I)E LA PRADELI�E sairJ tl1at, as the l\Jajor hin1 self ,vas setti11 g out, it \vas naturaJ for J1i1n to visualize the !)Ossibility of a fight. I-lad the {Jlanes arrivecl before the lvf ajar? lVIajor C1l\[!IJARUT1-\ said tJ1at one of tl1e aeroplanes arrived before him. As regards the second, J1 e had not l1een able to observe it as l1e ,vas busy and not JJay­ ing muc h atte11tion to sucJ1 tl1 ings. Tl1 e tl1 ird 111achi11e certainly arrived 111uch later, as it ,vas the one ,vJ 1 icl1 ,vas rnal._ing the reco1111aissance. I-le add.ed that the aeroplanes hacl 11ot been able to carry out a11 effective bombardrr1ent of tl1e first line because tJ1 e t,vo opposing lines ,vere in close contact. Tl1e aeroJJlanes had attacJ.:: ed from t l1 e rear. Count ALDROVi \NDI remark:ed that an attack on tJ1e rear, a.part fron1 the direct results ,vas alvvays extremely effective. . l\lir. DEL,\ PRADELLE \\rished to n1 ake the point clea�: I-lad �he air f�rce repre• _ 11y l(ind of direct action during a t ou ry car to le ab 1 1 bee not its ted un sen by thr ee the night?





rjng the 11 ight but in Niajor CI�-IM,\RUTA. said that tl1ey l1ad tal{e11 no action du tl1e earl)' evening. . . 1,,e 1 arr 1 11 d � 1 tl1e ?ayMr. DE LA PRADELLE said that at least one of tl �e pla1 e� l � 1 time, seeing t1 1 at Niajor Ci1n1nart1ta l1 i111self arr1,,ed v. h1le 1t v.,as still dayltgl1 t. I-lad that aerOJJlane taken any action? I-lad it been able to thro,v any lJ01nbs? I-lad tl1ere been any cast1alties from tl1 e bo111bs? . l\.1ajor C11i1111-\RUTA saicl t11 at one aeropla11e had certainly clroppecl s0111e bon1bs. Nlr. DE LA PRADELLE asked 110,v many bon1 bs l1 ad beer 1 dropped. 1\llajor Cr1r11AilUT i.\ could give 11 0 particulars. 011e of the Air Force officers could say that. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE said tl1at, ,x.,J1e11 tl1 e iVIajor arrived, l1e l1ad see11 I1ir11self t11 at confusion prevailed and tl1at the 11 ative troops ,vere retreating. The effect of the aeroplane, tl1erefore, J1 ad not prevented the Italian troops fro111 continuing to retire. :rvJajor Crbi1fAH.UTA said that one section of tl1e dubats ,:vas i11 tl1 e line and still showing resistance. A smaller section ,vas at tl1 e fort. 1\/Ir. DE J_,A PRADELLE ask:ecl 1 10,v 1nai1 ) n1en there ,vere 011 tl1e Etl1 iopia11 side. NI.ajor CIMM.:\RUTA replied that tl1 ere ,, rere I ,500 or }Jerhaps even I ,600 111 en. Mr. DE LA PR..ADELLE said that the follo,vi11g 1nornii1g I I 8 Ethio1Jians I1ad been found killeel. :t\1ajor Crt1r11ARUTA said that the r I 8 clead l1ad not all l)een fot1ncl in the 111or11 ing IJut later. Ninety-tl1 ree l1ad bee11 fou11d one day and tJ 1 en a11other two or tl1ree in tl1e busl1 and tl1e11 anotl1er three or four on tl1e Ado road. Tl1 e total ,vas I 18. 1\1 r. l)E L1\ PRADELJ,E observed that at that ti1ne tl1 e Ethiopians ,vith I ,500 n1 en coulcl certai11l)1 have tak :en the offe11 sive. l'Vlajor Cil'lfMARUT.A. said that l1 e did not kno,v \vhat hacl l1appened in tl1 e enen1y can1p. Mr. DE LA PI{l�DELLE ,vent on to say tl1at, for a space of t,vo l1 ot1rs, at a tirr1e \vher1 tl1 e aerorJlanes \Vere absolutely 1Jov.1erless, ,vl1e11 tl1e two ta11ks ,vere con1pletel)1 imn1 obilized b)1 the darkness, and \Vl1 en there ,vas 110 resista11ce sl1 ow11 by the Italian troops because of the shortage of an1n1 unition, tl1 e so-called attacking troops had consistently failed to take adva11tage of tl1 eir st1periority. Nfajor Cth>JMARUTA said that l1e could not explain ,vl1y tl1ey hacl so acted. Per­ haps the)' ,,,ere baclly led or ,vere r1ot i11 a good state of r11 orale because of the death of their con1111a11ding officer. 1 11 aclclitio11 , tl1 ey l1 ad see11 tl1 e steadi 11 ess of t11e dul)ats, ,vl10, tl1ougl1 they ,vere short of a1n111unition, ,vere 11 ot absolutely ,vithout supplies. He l1ad alread)' described l1 ow he l1 ad 111ade the n1en collect the a111munition wl1 ich. was still left on the killed and \VOt 1 nded so as to distribute it to tl1 e others. Besides, the Etl1 iopians did not l{11ovv l1 ow tl1 e I talia1 1 troops were situated. 1-Ie had given orclers to his 111en not to fire L111less they \vere sure of hitting. l\1oreover, the Ethiopians would have l1ad to advance ,; vitl1 ou t cover, wl1ereas the dubats were lying pro11e bel1 i11d breastworks. Mr. POT"fER asked 110,v 111at1)' men there were 011 the Italia11 sicle. .. replied tl1at tl1ere were 430 1nen. Ivlajor CIM\iARUTA �1r. POTTER remembered tl 1at J\!Iajor Cin1 n1aruta l1ad spoke11 of explosions which he l1 ad l1 eard wl1 en he ,vas at \¥arder. \\That k:incl of exiJlosions ,vere tl1 e)'? 1

PROCEEDINGS .s.\T BERN, 1-\UG. 23, 1935


Iviajor CIMi\fARUT;\ said tl1 at he had l1 eard tl1 e fusillade ,vl1icJ1 at the beginning of tl1 e fight l1ad been ,,iolent. 1\1r. ]EZE doubted \Vhether rifle-shots could ha,,e been l1 eard at Warder ' 12½ kilometres distant. l\11ajor C1?1-r1r,.\RUTA explained tl1at in Somaliland rifle-shots ,vere heard e, en at a distance of thirty t o tl1irty-fi,:e kilon1etres, particula.rly ,vhen tl1 ,vir1d ,va e s fa,,orable. Sound carried distances ,vhicl1 1night seen1 in1probable because there were no ol)stacles to pre,,ent its trans1nission. Ivlr. DE L.A PRADELLE asked ,vhat \Vere tl1 e I talia11 losses in the Wal \Val engagen1e11 t. lvlajor C1i\fi\IARUT1\ reiterated that they an1ounted to thirty n1en. l\1r. DE LA PRf\l)ELLE observecl tl1at tl1 ese losses of thirty men had been sus­ tained out of a total of 430 111en. f\notl1er re1Jort, ho\vever, had talked of a strength of six hundred 11 1en. l\:Jajor CI�Ii\J,\l�UTA explained that men \vere enrollecl every day. Further­ more, after tl1 e \Val \Val incident, steps l1ad beer1 taken to send Lil) reinforcements and i11 tl1at way a higl1 er figure had IJeen reached. Count ALDRO\',\NDI said that .l\1ajor Cin1 maruta ,voulcl certainly kno,v ,vl1 at force he had at the tin1e tl1e action at: Wal Wal began. IVIajor C111�J,.\RUTA repeated that tl1at force a1r1ounted to 430 men. l\fter­ wards it ha.d bee11 joined by the n1 en ,vho had carriecl the a1nn1unition and then reinforcen1 ents arrived, so tl1at the force could thus have attainecl a larger figure. 11r. DEL.A PR,\DELLE asked 110,v n1 any n1 en there \Vere at that tin1e at Warder. l\1Iajor Cil\IllIARUTA re1)lied that tl1 ere ,vere bet,veen eighty and r1i11 ety men sta­ tioned in the fort. TI1en there ,vas another post farther 011 in the direction of Affieraddo and, in addition, there ,vere t11e frontier guard patrols. lVIr. DE L,\ Pi:i�\DELLE asked if tl1e tanJ.cs and aeroplanes ,vere at \.Varder. l\rlajor C11:I1It\RUTA replied in the affirn1ative. .i\ilr. DE LA PR,\DELLE ask:ed if there ,vere tanks at v\1al \:Val also. ]'viajor CI�Il'.I,\J{UTA repliecl in tl1e negative. Count i\LDRO\'ANDI ask·ed ,vl1>' tl1e tanl{s and aeroplanes \Vere at \Varcler and not at Wal \¥al. lvlajor C1i\-Ill-fA.RUTA said that \Vas due to tl1e fact that tl1e J1eadquarters com­ n1and of tl1 e sector ,vas at v\Tarcler. v lajor Cirn1 naruta that son1 e ,vitnesses l to out ted poin E DEI�L P1iA DE LA r. J l', , given a different time than l1alf-past fi,,e as the_beginning of tl1 e fight. lVIajor CI.�lllIARUTA replied that 110 one J1 ali told 11111: so. . . . Mr. DE J_,1\ PRADELLE 111entioned tJ1at there \Vere d1screpanc1es 1n the It�l1an telegrams as regarcls the tin1e of the figl1t. l11 some cases five o'clock ,vas g1v:11 - asked l\riajor Ci1nmaruta ho,v he could explain and in others J1 alf-past five. I Ie this difference i n tl1e tin1es. 1at th fi ht began about tl d rte r epo 11 g i I1av d cte olle rec \ c . UT AR � � I IJ\CI!V jor 1\tla _ been a hav t gl m1 or 1t ore bef tes nu mi fe,v a n bee e hav ht nig � 1 � ast it five f-p hal ence few minutes after, but it was impossible that tJ1 ere sl1 ot1ld be a serious differ in times. "ff ce of ha If an hour been er d1 · e th nd sta er 1d u1 t no d ul co LE EL AD PR l'v1r. DE Li\ t,veen tl1 e times i11 son1e I talian docume11ts and in others. 1



Major C11f1IARU'fA re111arked that, \Vl1 en firing began, tJ1 e last thing an)'011e would think of doing ,vould IJe to look: at l1 is ,vatcl1 . lVIr. JEZE declarecl 011 ce again that this \,,as not tl1 e testi1nony of a11 eye-witness. 'Mr. LESSON1\ said tl1 at l\1ajor Cin1n1 aruta vvas a11 eye-v;r itness, at any rate fro111 tl1 e time l1 e arrived 011 tl1 e spot. l\tlr. JEzE said tl1 at l1 e did not deny that tl1 ere l1 ad 1Jee11 a figl1 t; tl1e in1 portant poi11t was to kno,v v.rho started it. l\ilajor Ci111 maruta cot1ld 11 ot k:110,v tl1 at because he \vas not present. Mr. LEsSONA asl{ed vvhetl1er 1\!Iajor Cimn1 aruta l1 ad defi11ite evidence to prove tl1 at the Britisl1 aut}1 orities ,·vere a,vare of vVal \Val IJei11g i11 Italian possessio11 . TVIajor CIMMAR.U'fA declarecl tl1 at tl1e)' ,vere undol1btedly aware of tl1e fact. I-le spoke English and v.r as therefore aJ)pointed by the Italia11 Government to ne­ gotiate witl1 tl1 e Britisl1 of-fici�1ls. Naturally, in the course of tl1e cliscussions, he had frequently talked to tl1 e British officials of vVal v\7al and \A.larder as Italia11 observation posts. TVIajor C11ir11AilUTA also recollected two e1Jisocles ,vl1ich would corroborate his statements. I-Ie l1 ad already n1 et tl1 e sa111 e Anglo-Ethio­ pian Co1nn1 ission which had after,varrJs co1ne to \Val v\Tal; he l1 ad rr1 ct it at Dar­ chen Chegno or TVIadaljl1 ego. On that occasio11 the Co111 n1ission \vas constituted quite differently-the escort consisted of only tl1 irty or fort)' ar111 ed 1nen and there were about a l1 undred laborers. Cot111 t ALDROVANDI ask:ed if Colonel Clifforcl v,ras also there. lVIajor CIMMARU'fA repliecl tl1at Colonel Clifford arri,,ed the day follo\ving his departure. On tl1 at occasio11 the Co111111ission l1 ,1cl a.skcd tl1 e Italia11 1Jost at Do i no for \Yater, ,vhicl1 ,vas ref used by the native sergear1t i1 1 charge. In dis­ cussing this incident \vitl1 the British officials l1 e l1ad poi11ted ot1t to the1n that Lhe Co111n1 ission l1 ad 1 nade a rr1istal{e in asl{ing a native for vvater, as the latter \Vould certainl')' ha,,e to ref use tl1 e request 11ot havi11 g a11y instructions on the point. l-Ie hacl tl1 e11 adcled tl1 a.t, if tl1 e officials l1 ad applied to l1 in1 , tl1 ey coulcl l1 a,1e had water not only at D0111 0 but at \Val \tVal and \i\larder also. Another ti111 e-Major Ci111 n1 aruta did not 110\v re111 en1 ber tl1 e exact elate, but could trace it-a Britisl1 official fron1 tl1e district of Burao l1ad to asl{ hi1n wl1 ether the Italian sergeant ,vho resided at \A.larder l1 ad in l1is cl1arge any cattle belo11 ging - tool{ official steps to trace tl1 e cattle and replied to a British nati,re su!Jject. I Ie to tl1 e British official tl1 at tl1e sergeant \.vl1 ose nan1 e l1 ad bee11 reported to l1 in1 did 11 ot exist or was ,vrongly described. Tl1 ose episodes sl1 ovved tl1 at tl1 e British autl1 orities ,verc a,vare of tl1 e Italian occupation of the \tVal Wal area. l\1lr. LESSON.,\ asked if the clra\ving of ,vater fron1 the ,veils at Wal \:Val and \rVarder l1 ad been regulated by the of-ficer i11 cl1,1rge of tl1e Italian I)Ost c:tt \,\larder as far as regarded also Ethio1Jian nationals a11d British Somalila11 d st1bjects. Major Cl�fMARU1'A said that tl1e Ethjopian tribes and tl1 e Britisl1 tribes coulcl not co1ne a11 d dra,v ,vater v.1itbout ask:i11 g per1 nissio11 fron1 the Italia.n officer in charge. Tl1ey ,vere allotted their pro1Jer turn, v,ritl1ot1t ,vaiting until all tl1 e Italian tribes J 1 ad bee11 sup1)lied, so that tl1 ey could be given all tl- i e ,.vater tl1 at was possible. Everyt11ing was settlecl by tl1 c post at Wal vVal v,,J1 icl1 can1 e under the orders of v\larder. No Ethio1Jia11 or Britisl1 subject could be allo\\red to go to the ,veils ,vithot1t asking the {Jermission of the Italian a.t1thorities. 'l,l1 at ,vas a usual thi11g a11d k11 ow11 to all the natives for years past.




Mr. DE Li\ PR1\DELLE asl<ed 110,v lon g 1\/Iajor Cim1naruta l1 ad bee n at \¥arder. lVIajor Cil\-ll\'£1-\RUT.1-\ repliecl that he had beer i,1 So , n1 a1·1 I an d a bout· t·en years an d . · 111 co n be ,nman d of tl1e \,�/al \\ial sector three ti 1 had e nes. 1'he last tin1 e l1e had been there for severctl 111onths. Co� nt ALDROV,\NDI askecl ,vhether he had &a),ed there longer n o t1 1e other t,vo occas1ons. l\J; ajor C11r�-I-'\RUT.A rer.>lied that on the fir�t occasio11 l1e had re1 n al ou 11ai ed J t four n1o nths and tl1e second time three n1 ont1s. lvlr. DE L.<\ PR,<\DELLE said that, according t) l1is information the vVarder com' mand i n cludecl \Val Wal. .l\1Iajor C1Mi.-I.ARUT1\ re1)lied in t11e affirn1ati,,e. The post of \Val \Val ca1ne under \Varcler. lVIr. DE Lt\ PR A.DELLE asked if t here ,vas anotl1 er Italian officer there when l\,Iajor Cimn1 aruta arri·ved. lVIajor Ct�Ii\I.<\RU'fE\ replier] tl1 at there ,vas , . lieutenant. rvir. DE L:\ .PR,\DELLE asl{ecl if \:Varder ,vas l1eld perman ent!)'· l'viajor Cii\1i\1t\RliTt\ repliecl tl 1 at \Varder ,va3 tl1e l1eadquarters of a f)er111 anent co1nmand. I -l e ,vas posted there because le hacl other sectors to supen:ise but there ,vas a lieute11 ant ,vl10 lived tl1 ere pern1 an en a nd l 1ad a l1 ouse and office. l\-Ir. DE L,\ PRi\.DELLE asked since ,vhat date \1/al \,\1al had IJ een held t,y the Italians ,vithout a breal{. l\·fajor Cr1rrv1A1�U1'A declared that it l1 ad had an Italian garriso11 since IVfarcl1 or 1-\pril, 1930. At the IJegin11ing it l1ad been under the surveillance of n1obile pa­ trols, but ir1 1930 a fort ,vas L,uilt and a pern1ane11 t post created. l\Ir. ]EZE ask:ed if it ,va.s a field fortification. 1\iiajor Cii\I?.f,-\RUT,\ exrJlain ecl that it ,va.s an earth,vorl�s, surroundecl by a palisade, t,vo and one-half to three n 1etres l1ig-h, n1ore elevated fron1 the insicle so as t o facilitate the use of guns. Ivir. DE LA PR1\DELLE asl�ed ,vl1ether the crra nge111 e nt referred to by l\-1ajor Ci1nrr1aruta regarding \vater supr)lies alread j' existed at the t i1ne of tl1 e n1 ol,ile patrols. i\Iajor Cr111J,\RUTA explained that the n1ent had always existed. The ,vater ,vas for the use prin1arily of tl1e I)eople ,vho ,vere subjects of Italy; after them others could be allo,ved to use it. In this respect Italy had taken over the rights of the Sulta1 1 of Obbia. lvlr. POTTER asked ,vhether, ,v.l1 en lVIajor Gm n1aruta talked of "our })eople" or "our subjects," l1e was al\vays referring to nati,,es or ,vl1ether there \Vere also I talians i11 tl1ose parts. .lvlajor CI!lfl'\-fARUT,\ saicl t11at he ,vas referring to natives on ly. There were n o ,vhites in that clistrict except a fe,v traders. Coti n t ArJDROV..\NDI, in accorclance \-vitl1 tl1 E ,vishes of the Con1mission, asked l'vlajor Cimmaruta to hold J1 imself a t the Con111issio n 's disposal for an other day, as it no,v J1 ad to hear Major Porru-Locci of the Air Force. [Major Cr111ri\RUT,<\ \-Vitl1 dre,v.

ivlajor PJRRU-Loccr was introduced.}



Mr. LESSONA ,,,ished to kno,v ,vhat l1 ad occurred duri11g the fligl1t over the Anglo-Ethiopia11 camp and l1 ow Majer Porru-Locci could explai11 that fron1 tl1 e ground it ,vas believed tl1at the plane l1 ad pointed its macl1i11e-gt1n at tl1 e group of Anglo-Ethiopian officials v.rl1icl1 indt1ded Captain Ci111n1aruta. Nlr. ]EZE observed that tl1 e question l1ad 110 refere11 ce to tl1e \7iJal \;\/al fight. :Nlr. J..,�SONA said that the event 11 1d occurred before tl1e Wal \i\lal action. :Nlajor .PoRRU-Loccr deposed that on Nove111IJer 23, 1934, l1 e l1 ad received orders from tl1e Color1el comn1a11di11 � tl1 e Royal Corps of Colonial Troo1)s to leave T\1ogadiscio and proceed as qt1ickly as possible to \i\lal \;\/al and place l1i1n­ self under tl1 e orders of Captain Cimma.rt1ta. Tl1e order referred 1nerely to armed Etl1 iopians and shiftas, so that he ,vasunaware of the presence of the n1e1nbers of tl1e Britisl1 Con1 n1ission. He had i11srructions to carry out a reco1111aissance and to avoid absolutely any incide11 t ,vl1 ich n1igl1 t seem to be an aggression. \;\/l1en l1e reacl1 ed the post after a flight of sev:!ral l1ours, l1e got tl1 e i111pression that the situation was very serious, in tl1 at he !tad observed the Etl1 iopian enca1np1nent in front of tJ1e Italian li11 e and then the two lines of armed men ,vitl1 rifles J)oi11 ted at one anotl1er. In tl1 e center there wa; a grot1p of JJersons ,vl1 0 ,,,ere talki11g. Count l-\IJDilOVANDI asked wl1 ether T\1ajor J:>orru-Locci l1ad flo,v11 direct fro111 l\1ogadiscio to \Val \;\/al ,vitl1 oi1t looking for Captain Cir11n1 aruta but 1nal�ing a reconnaissance im1nediately. Major PoRRU-Loccr explainecf that l1 e had gone to Galadi to fincl Captain Cimmaruta ,vho ,vas not there, had contint1ed 11is flight to \i\larder ,vl1ere he had also failed to find Captain Ci1 11maruta, and l1ad then proceeded to fly to Wal vVal, ,vithout landing, of course. Mr. ]EZE asked wl1at was tl1e dista11ce IJet,veen Mogadiscio a 11d \Val Wal. Major PoRRU-Locc1 said that 11 e had coverecl about 850 kilometres flying. .A.Jter an inter111 ediate la11ding for luncl1 11e conti11 ued on to Galadi, ,vhicl1 was alJout two hundred kilometres avvay fron1 Wal Wal. After leaving again from Galadi he had 1nade a reconalssance orer \Val Wal and then retur11 ed i1nmediately to Galadi witl1out la11 ding. Nlr. JEZE asked whetl1er tl1e Nlajor 11ad got into touch with the Italian officers at �larder and \,Val \,\la!. Count ALDROVA.NDI explained tl1 at 1e had not done so because l1 e had fou11d no officers. 1-Ie was, ho,vever, a,vare tl1 at there were Etl1iopian soldiers and sl1iftas in tl1 e district. Major PoRRu-I..,occ1 continued his staten1ent to tl1 e effect that in tl1 e previous July he had already made a reconaissance fligl1t for a sin1 ilar purpose. I-Ie repeated that, to start with, l1e lad received a ratl1er serious i111pression as it seemed to hin1 tl1at Captai11 Cin11n.aruta had been 1nade prisoner because, i11 stead of being in tl1 e Italian line, he was more in the direction of the Ethiopian line. But then l1 e l1 ad been reassured 1-vl1en he saw tl1at Captain Cin1n1aruta was conversing ,vitl1 tl1e perso11 s arot:nd l1 im. Major PoRRu-LoccI made several fligl1ts inside tl1e Italian carnp, flying over the lines 1-vell behind and waiting for Captain Cimn1aruta's orders. As l1e sa,v that Ca �tain Cimmar11ta was giving 10 orders and ,vas even proceeding towards the I tal1an fort fallowed by the n1ot)r-lorry and 111 aking signs with }1is arm to show that he required nothing, he (l\[ajor Porru-Locci) continued his fligl1 t and




returned to Galadi t o report to tl 1e Governor of Mogadiscio on the reconnaissance "'hich he had made. f\s regards the poi11 ting of th e n1achine-gun he denied in the most categorical fashion, on his honor as an officer and a gentlernan, that tl1e n1acl1ine-gun could have been pointed at tl1e Co111n1ission, n1ore particularl y since Captain Cin1ma­ ruta ,vas in the middle of tl1 e members of the Co1nmission. Th e on l y object which ,vas pointed at the camp ,vas a ca1nera, as l1e l1ad al ready stated in his re­ port. Th e photograpl 1s taken ,vere annexed to the Memorandum of the I talian Go·vern n1en t. Major PoRRU-Locc1 tl1ought he coul d explain tl1c 1nisunderstanding as follo,vs. In tl1 e S01nal il and Air Force macl1ines t l 1e 111achine-guns were placed transversely on the fuse I age of tl1e plane. v\1 h en t h e pl ane dipped, the machine-gun ,vould be poi11ted to,vards tl1c grot1nd but it ,vas not th en in a position for firing. To be in t he firi11g positio11 t l 1e ,vea1)on l1ad to be turned round. l\J r. }EZE asked -v.1 !1ctl1 er l\1Iajor Porru-Locci had taken part in tl1e Wa l Wal incident. ivlajor PoRRU-Locc1 said that l1 e had been in con1mand of the Air Force. Count ALDROVANDI asked ,vl1at ,vere his l1eadquarters. l\'Iajor PoRRu-LoccI repl ied tl1at h is headquarters ,vere at Warder. l\ l r. JtzE asked ,vl 1ether l1e had taken part in the expedition of the aeroplanes \vhich had gone to drop bombs. l\t l ajor PoR.R.u-LoccI replied tl1at he personally l1ad not taken part_ but l1is - ,vas the officer in command of the military air forces of all rnac hines had. Ile Somaliland. Count f\LDROV,\NDI asked wl1ere tl1e Major ,vas on December 5 and 6. l\Iajor PoRT{U-LOCCI said that l1 c ,vas at Mogadiscio. I-le h ad taken part in the incident ,vhicl1 had occurrecl t h ree days after that of vVa l Wal. l\lr. ]EZE remarl<ecl tl1at there ,vere no airn1en present \vho had taken part in t l1 e engagen1ent; t h at proved t l1at they ,vere not eye-,vitnesses. 1\tlr. DE LA PR,\DELLE said that tl1e l\1ajor l1ad taken part in no action after tl1e \Val \,\'a l incident. I-le l 1ad arrived on the SJ)Ot three days later and had taken part in no actio11. l\'Ir. LESSONA pointed out that tl1e ,vord "action" ,vas a bit strong perhaps; 1t ,vas a case of a recon11aissance. l\ Iajor POJlRU-Loccr said t h at l 1e l1ad n1ade a reconnaissance before and after t he incident. lv f r. ]EZE asl<ecl ,vh et h er tl1e Major l1ad flo,vn over Guerl ogubi: hborhood of g nei the r ove vn flo, had e 1 l 1at l t d sai ccr -Lo RRU r PO lvf ajo Guerl ogubi. lan es had dropped bon1bs on that op aer n lia 1 Ita er l l1 et w ed ask EZE J l\tlr. loca lity. 1VIajor PoRRU-L_occ1 saicl it ,vas i1npossibl e. l len from th e f ve s ha mu s mb bo e th se ca at t11 � in l � 1at lvlr. ]EZE remarked t 111 th e neighborhood of ed ack att en be d ha r ajo I 11 the er skies. He asked ,vI1eth Guerl ogubi. · .1m 111 t he ne1g orhood hb · h to ed en pp ha d ha at th at th id sa Iviajor PoRRU-Loccr 1

of Ado.



i. ul) og erl Gu on s 1nb bo ped o1J dr ad 1 l o \vh d ke s a. tl en 1 ZE Mr. }E 1 dro1Jped at Guerlogul Ji 1 bee d ha s mb ) bo t tl1a n, ed 1 rn affi cI Joc U-J RR Po Major by tl1e S01naliland Air Force. , . . . J EZE said l1 ad Mr. LESSONr\ ,vo11 dered ,vl1etl1er tre pl1 otograpl1s \vl11cl1 Mr bee11 1nade ,vere genuine. Major PoRRu-Loccr added that bombs ,vere clroJJped in tl1 e neighborl1ood of bi. Ado because an aeroplane had been attacked, but 11ot at Guerlogu �1r. DE JJA PRADELLE asked ,vl1ether tl1e J\t!ajor l1i1nself \.Vas in tl1e aeroplane. Major PoRRU-Locc1 replied i n tl1e c.ffir1native. Mr. }EZE ask.ed ,vl1 etl1er that l1 ad h:1.ppened in Italian or Etl1iopian territory. l\!Iajor PoRRU-1..,occr replied tl1at it ,1as Italian territor)' since it ,vas controlled by Italian patrols. iVIr. ]EZE asked \vhetl1 er the Major i1ad bee11 attacked at Ado. Major PoRRu-Loccr declared tl1at he l1ad been attacl{ed in the neighborl1ood of Ado. There was no point \vl1icl1 could be said to be really }\.do; it \Vas a district wl1 icl1 was co,,ered witl1 busl1. Count ALDROVAl'IDI, in accordance Nitl1 tl1e wisl1 es of the Con1 mission, asked tvlajor Porru-Locci to l1old hit11self at 1he Comn1issio11 's disposal u11til tl1 e follo,v• • 1ng even111 g. [fv1ajor PoRRu-Loccr witl1dre\v.

Tl1e n1eeting rose at 7 p.1n.]

1:l 1,lgitst 24, I9]5 (CONDENSED.) ['fhe n1 eeting 1:egan at ro.30]

The Co111mission l1eard tl1e e,,idenc� of tl1e duba.ts called at the reqt1est of the Agent of tl1e Italia11 Governn1 ent. �ergeant (Sl1u1nbashi) 0111 ar l(ul1nia acted as interpreter. Tl1e first ,vitness l1eard \Vas Sergeant (Sht1n1basl1i) Ali DELIS. l\!lr. LESSONA asked tl1e ,vitness }1ov the figl1ti11g started. A.Ii . UELlS said tl1at the Etl1io1)ia11s l1ad fired 011 a sentry who \.vas posted in a tree. Mr. ]EZE asked ,vl1 etl1er it was a single sl1ot or several. Ali DELIS said that, after tl1e first ;hot, all tl1 e Ethio1)ians l1ad fired and had tl1 en advanced also. Mr. LESSONA asked l1i1n what else �e knew. Ali DELIS re1Jlied that, after the figl1 t began, he 1�11 e\v no otl1er Mr. ]EZE asked wl1ether, to the ,,itness' k110\vledge, orders l1acl bee11 gi,,en fron1 the Ethiopian side for the sl1ots and for the advance. r'\li DELIS replied that tl1e Etl1iopians hacl fired on tl1e native sentr)' and then, all at once, ,vl1en the se11try fell to the ground, tl1ey all began to fire. Mr. LESSONA asked wl1etl1er he had heard a11yo11e give orders to tl1e Etl1io1)ians to fire. A !i l!ELIS dedared that l1e did net know whetl1er orders ,vere gi,,en. 1�he Eth1op1a11s spoke a language ,vhicl1 dlffered from Somali.



1\1�. DE L,.\ PR.i\.DELLE asl{ed \vhat -v.ras the positjon occuJJied by the witn


ess in

the line. f\li UELIS said tl1 at l1e \\'as 011 tl1 e right. l\!Ir. DE LA Prv\DEI�LE askecl ,vhere the sentry \vas on whon1 the EtJ1 io1Jians hacl fired. Al i UELIS re1Jlied tl1 at l1e ,vas near the right flank:. M r ]EZE observed that in that case the first sl1ot hacl been fired quite close to : the \Vttness. J\li UELIS explained that he ,,,as a sergea11t ancl ,vas ,vallcing behincl the line. - ,vas ,,ery close ,vhen tl1e first shot ,va.s fired. I le I'vlr. ]EZE aslzcd tl1e ,vitness ,vhetl1er he ] 1 ad seen the sentry fall. J\li UELIS said that, ,vhen l1e l1eard the shot, he loolced a.nd sa,v the sentry fall. l\.'lr. ]EZE asked ,vhether tl1c sentr:y ,vas 011 a tree. - had received a Ali UELIS replied tl1at tl1 e sentr)' ,-vas squatting on a tree. I le sl1ot in tl1e rigl1t cl 1eelc but l1ad 11ot IJee11 very seriously : \voundecl. l\:Ir. J 11zE noted that the soldier ,vho ,vas acting as sen try 011 the tree had only been slightly \vounded in tl1e cl 1eelc. I Io,v did l1e con1e to fall? f\li UELIS saicl tl1 at l1e had l1eard the shot and seen the sent[)' fall. l\!Ir. l)OITEll asked ,vhat I1 ad hap1Jcned during the afternoo11 of December 5 before the attacl{ began. Ali UELIS said that the Etl1 iorJians ,vere uttering insults and saying tl1at the Italians should go a,va}' and tl1 at they ,voulcl take tl1 e land. I'v1r. POTI'ER \vished t o k110,v if ever}'Oll.e ! 1 ad bee11 ctuiet a.nd if 11othing l1ad haJJpened during tl1e a.fternoo11 before tl1e fighting l1ega.n. \Vere there no other incidents or 1noven1 ents of troops? f\Ji UELIS saicl that the Ethiopians \Vere all standing up, ready witl1 their guns. Count ALDROV,\NDI as!{ed if those insults l1ad been utterecl against tl1e Italians and if tl1e sa11 1e stale of exciten1ent also prevailed in the preceding days. i\li u·ELIS said that the EthioJJians had been reacly e\ en ea.rlier. iVIr. i\1IoNTAGN;\. asJ.::ecl ,vl1 e11 the Ethio1Jians had begun to l1 a,,e their guns in the firing fJosi ti011. lvir. DEL,\ PI{;\DI�LLE ex1Jlai11ecl that, as it hacl been stated that the rifles of the Ethiopia11s ,vere loaded ancl ready to fire, it ,vas necessary to l{no,v ,vl1ether a similar attitude l1 ad been acloJJted also during the days prececli11g tl1 e attack. f\li DELIS said that ,vl1en tl1 e Ethior)ians arrivecl they all l1 ad their rifles. I le could not say ,vhether they ,vere loaded. iVIr. ]EZE asked ,vhetl1er tl1e \vitness ,vas present at the incidents which oc­ curred on tl1e a.rrival of the 1-\nglo-Ethiopian Co111 n1 issio11 on Nove111ber 23. Ali UELfS re1Jlied that l1e was present all tl1e ti1ne. . . iVlr. ]EZE wished to l{no,v ,vhetl1 er, as stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford, the Italians J1 ad n1et J1i1n ,vit11 their rifles fJOinted at l1is escort. Coui1t f\LDI?OVi\NDI obser,,ed that the Ethiopians 11ad arrived before Lieuten­ ant-Colonel Clifford. iVIr. ]EZE asked \vhat had l1 a1Jpened \vl1en tl1 e Englisl1 arri,;ed. Ali UELIS said that ll e dicl not l<no,v the English; 11e only !{ne\v tl1at tl1ere ,vere son1e ,vhite men. 1

I 16


:Nlr. }EZE asked t11 e \vitness what l1 e had done w11en l1 e saw tl1e \Vl1ite 1ner1 witl1 the Etl1 iopians. Ali UELlS said that l1 e l1ad seen first tl1 e Etl1 iopians only and t11en tl1e ,vl1ite men along ,vith tl1 e Ethiopians. Wl1 en tl1ey came tov,iards tl1 e Italian line, he had made l1 is men lie down a11d had ren1 ai11ed standing by l1 in1self a little bel1 ind the dubats. l\tl r. ]EZE asked to wl1at tribe the witness belo11ged a11d ,vhether he was of tl1e sa1ne tribe as the n1 e1 1 who took J)art in the fig11t 011 the EthioJ)ian sicle. Ali UELIS said tl1 at he did not quite kno,v to whicl1 tribe the Et11iopians belonged; l1e thougl1t tJ1ey ,vere from tl1 e Ogaden. Mr. JEZE asked wl1 at was t.J1e witness' tribe. Ali UELIS said that 11 e belonged to tl1e Abergl1idi. l\tlr. JEZE asked if tl1 e t-wo tribes were friends or ene1nies. Ali UELIS said tl1 at tl1ey were not frie11ds a11 d ,vere not neighboring tribes. I\1r. PoTTER wanted to kno,v ,vl1 etl1er in tl1 e afternoon of December 5 e,,erything was qt1iet until tl1e figl1 t began. Ali UELIS said that in the af ter11oon of Dece111ber 5 ancl even earlier tl1e Etl1iopians were always ready a.11d the dubats too. Bt1t they \\'ere quiet. Count ALDROVANDI asked if it \Vas like that on tl1 e previot1s days. Ali UELIS said tl1at evervone - l1ad rifles. - on both sides al\vavs l\1r. Po1�rER asked ho,v long botl1 sides l1ad been quiet duri11g tl1 e afternoon. Ali UELIS said that the dubats cot1ld not see wl1at tl1e Ethiopians \Vere doing and the Etl1io1)ians could not see i11 to the Italia11 line, !Jut on tl1 e side of tl1e dubats it was always quiet. 11r. P01'TEH. asked ,vl1at was tl1 e JJOsition of tl1e st1n whe11 tl1e fight began. Ali DELIS replied that it ,vas near tl1e l1orizon. Mr. }EZE observed that the qt1estio11 s whicl1 ,vere being asked ,vere so detailed that, if he ,vere one of tl1e wit11esses, he could not ans,ver tl1 em hin1 self after sucl1 a long intenral. l\1fr. LESSON,\ said that the questions were very simple arid c1t1ite general in cl1aracter. Count ALDROVANDI added that tl1 e i11cidents in question ,vere so important that it ,vas quite natural tl1 at tJ1ey sl1ould l1 ave bee11 re111e1nbered. [Ali UELJS withdrew a11d Sergeant (Shu111 lJasl1 i) Salad AssAN was introdt1ced.] Mr. LESSONA asked tl1 e witness to say how t.J1 e figl1t started. Salad AssAN replied that tl1e Ethiopians had fired a sl1ot and a se11try l1 ad fallen on the Italian side. Mr. LESSONA asked tl1 e ,vitness whetl1 er l1e l1ad see11 the sentry fall. Salad AssAN replied in the affirmati,,e. l\tir. DE L.<\ PRADELLE asked what position tl1e witness occupied i11 tJ1e line. Salad AssAN said that he ,vas i n the ce11tre but slightly to the rigl1t. Mr. }EZE asked where the sentry was posted. Salad AssAN said that he was up 011 a tree. Mr. DE LA P¡RADELLE asked tl1 e witness v.rhat distance he was away fron1 tl1e sentry. Salad AssAN replied tl1at he was four or five steps distant.




[Salad Ass A. N ,vithdre,v and Sergeant (Sl1u 111bashi) Ade1 1 l{OBEIRE was introducec.] Mr. I,ESSON,.\ asked the ,vitness ho,v the fght began. Aden l{OB E lRE replied tl1at the Ethiopiars had fired a shot at a sentry. Mr. L E. SSON,\ asked ,vhether tl 1e \vitness lad seen the sentry fall. i\cle 1 1 l{OBEIRE repliecl in the affirn1 ative. l\1r. LESSONA asked if l 1e ,vas near the set;try and hov,r near. Aden KoBEIRE said tl1 a.t l1e ,vas near the ;entry, about three steps away. Mr. DE LA PRADl�LLE ask:.ed wl1ether the .vitness \vas i11 the same line as the sentry or behind him. f\den KOBl�IR.E re1)lied tl 1at he was a little to the right. [1�11e witness \vithdre\v.] Nir. DE LA P1�.,\DELLE tl1e Agent of :he Italian Govern1nent ,vl1ether he

could n1ake l1is sta.ten1ent the same day. .f\.1r. LESSONA reJ)lied that he would be ready the next n1orning. N1r. D E Lt\ I=> R1-\DELLE tl1 ougl1t it \YOtr!d be well for tl1e witnesses to remain at the Com1n.ission's disposal until the Agents of the Govern1 nents had n1ade their staten1ents, i.e. until t11e tin1e ,vl1 en the clisc1.;ssio11 of tl1 e case by the 1-\rbitrators should be !)egun. Count ALDROVANDI ask:ed if it would not be advisable to ask for so 1r1e informa­ tion fron1 the air force officer wl10 l1 ad been heard the previous day, regarding the - could also iive details about the action of the number of bombs dropped. Ile aeroplanes. l\1 Ir. DE LA PRADELLE thougl1 t t11at it was for tl1 e i\gents of the Governn1ents to say if the matter seemed to l)e i1nportant. Count ALDROVANDI said tl1 at in that case any hearing of \Vitnesses necessary could be adjourned to the follo\ving day. lVIr. DE L.'\ PRADELLE ask:ed Mr. Lessona ho\.v long he ,vould need for his statement. lV[r. LESSON,\ rer)lied tl1at he ,vould {)rob..bly l1a,,e to Sf)eal( about an hour. lv1r. J EZE said in tl1is connection that tl1e lengtl1 of his pleading \Vould depend on what l\1r. Lesso11a would say, but he thou[l1t l1e coulcl finish in a few 1ninutes, as he did 11ot think it likel)' that l\ifr. Lessora would bring up sensational argu­ ments at the last n101nent. [The next rneeting was fixed for Sunda)', f\ugust 25th, at 8 a.m. rose at 12 noon.]

The meeting

A ug1.tsl 25, 1'!35 1ents. n rn ,,e Go the of ts en e Ag th 1 tl wi et m ion e iss Th Com1n . e ng e ?vlr. LESSON;\: rfJ1 e staten1 ent \vhich I had tl1e honor to make at th 111e � o lowing on July 4. at Schevenii1 gen J1 as brought ot1t stfficiently clearly the tv, fol points:



I. Tl1 at tl1e attitude of tl1e Italian a.utl1 orities at Wal \\!al \\'as 111arked by the greatest 1noderation. Their guiding rule was always the followi11g: to avoid incidents and only in case of a11 attack to resist force by force. II. That, 011 the otl1er hand, quite apart fro1n tl1 e J)rovocative attitude a.dopted by tl1 e Etl1io1)ian troops, the docume11 ts found in the enemy carnp prove the deliberate inte11tion of tak:ing J)Ossess:on by force of tl1 e wells at \iVaI Wal. In the face of sucl1 over,vl1 elrning evidence the Etl1 iopian Government resorts to tl1 e 1nost elementary tactics, vi::., i: tries to minimize tl1e value frorn tl1 e sub­ jective sta11dpoint of the Italian docu1nentar)1 material; next, it seeks to weaken its substance and its spirit; lastly, it endeavors to minimize the in1J)Ortance of the docu,nents found in the Ethio1Jian can1p and relies entirely on documents from British sources, qualifying tl1em as absolutely objecti\;e and i1npartial. :Nlay I n1alce a closer a11 al)1sis of the other side's argt1n1 ent? In the first place, the Agent of ti� Etl1 iopia11 Go\'ern1nen t asserts that tl1e Italian case is lJased sin1 ply on assun1ptions. He adds tl1 at if asst1mptions ha\ re 110 value as evide11ce in l�t,v (praesurwjitio·,ies jiiris et de j1tre), they are products of tl1e i1nagination. I ,vill 11 ot contest the Ethiopia11 Agent's title to fatl1 er such a queer definition of ordinary assu1npti)ns (praesit1nptio1ies Jz.omi1iis), but I \vould point out that, wl1en t:l1e:y are weigl1t7, clearly defined and concordant, sucl1 as­ su1111)tions co11stitute material eviderce ,vl1icl1 is valid in all codes of civil pro­ cedure. It is, at any rate, certain that sirr1ple assun1 ptions, far from being the fruit of the in1agination, are the result of a strict process of logic, the weight of wl1ich is be)1ond dispute. That is \'!}1 y my oppo11ent tries to n1inin1ize their value because he is afraid of tl1 e1n. In the second place, t11 e question a!: to the n1ethod to be followed in ascertain­ i11 g tl1e facts i1 1 this dispute is very sin1 ple. Tl1e problern is to determine the aggressor, i.e. which of the t,vo bodie:; of soldiers facing 011e another began the attack in order to dislodge tl1e ene111y :·ron1 his position. Tl1is can be deter111ined in t\VO ways: eitl1 er by ascertai11 ing directly ,vl1icl1 side fired tl1e first sl1ot and launcl1ed the attack, or by considerin� tl1e previous behavior, botl1 in the recent a11d tl 1e more re1note past, of tl1e two ?arties, to reach tl1e conclusion as to which of the two parties \Vas tl 1e aggressor. The for1ner n1 etl1od, clearly, would give the best results if the fight l1ad occurred i11 tl1 e presence of in1partial and careful observers, properly placed to watch the 1novements of tl1e t,vo parties. In the case before us, 110\vever, tJ1e only JJeople who ,vitnessed the attack ,vere the co111batants 011 both sides, so tl1 at it was not directly observed by a11yone not a party to the dispute. I am firn1 ly convinced that the clear, accurate, and concordant evidence obtai11ed as a result of the prese11 ce <if tl1e officers and officials of st1ch a great, ci\1ilized country as Italy are both in for111 and substance con1 pletely conclusive as co1n1)ared ,vith the confused and co11tradictory staten1 ents of the Ethiopians, most of which entirely lack any guarantee of autl1e11 ticit),. It is, at an)' rate, certain tl1 at, even if the direct evide1ce leaves a11y doubt i 11 the 111 inds of tl1e Arbitrators, this doubt ,vill certainly be dispelled lJ)' tl1 e assun1 ptions, for, as I l1 ad tl1 e honor to point out at the me�ting on July 4, it is certai11 tl1at the facts 111ust fit in and not clash witl1 the es�ential pre1nises. 1'11 ere car1 , therefore, be no suspicion tl1at the attack was launched by the party wl1 icl1 has given definite,


25, 1935


unequivocal ai1d rei�erated proofs of its determination to be cautious and cool. In other ,vo:ds, until tl1e Ethiopian representative has provecl tl1 at some nev, factor has arisen to change the attitude of Ca1)tai 11 Cin1maruta, inspired as it was by a sense of respect for the orders receivecl, we can be sure that he did 11-ot attack beca1tse lie liad orclers ·riot to a.ttack a.-1irl bcca.itse he h(LS alwa)'S claimed that he 011t)' wa-rited to defend Jz.i1riself. In his efforts to defeat this argt1ment the Ethiopian re1Jresentative begins by ren1 arking that the assumptio11s have been taken fron1 Italian docun1 ents. It is higl1 time for n1e to n1 al{e n1yself c1uite clear on this point: the Italian docun1ents are absolutely reliable. In the first place, because they are the ,vork: of officials and officers of a great civilized country ,vho realize tl;eir duties and their resJJonsibilities. In the seco11cl place, because they are docu1nents of a don1estic character, co 1npiled at a time ,vhen there was absolutely no idea ,vhat the incident ,vould lead to. Subjecti, rel>' and objectiv·ely consi dered, therefore, they are genuine docu­ n1ents, not, as l1as been alleged, d ocuments prepared for the special purpose of this arbitration, wl1 icl1 no one thougl1t of in 1934. Furt J1er, the Ethiopian representative would even deny all value to the docu­ ments found in the Ethiopian camp. Realizing, howe,,er, that this is dangerous ground, l1e glosses O\'er the poi11 t and n1erely states that these letters are general in content a 1 1d private i11 cl1 aracter, being addressed personally by one officer to another. \Vhile rernarking that the mere examination of these documents pro,:es their autl1enticity, let n1 e consider what ,veight is to be attached to the other side's observations: (a) The letters are in tl1e possession of the Con1 n1ission; it is for the Commis­ sion to sa>' ,vhetl1er their tenor is general or ,vhether it constitutes clefinite evi­ dence of a d etern1 ination to attack tl1 e Italian troops l)efore \Val \Val and ,vhether they do not form a cl1 ronological record of the preparations n1ade for the attack. \V11 en the state1nent is (i 1 1 tl1 ese letters) that \Val vVal is the only place \vhere there is plenty of water and it is ir11 n1ediately added that steps must be taken to satisfy requirements and not return empt)'-l1anded, ancl that it is there­ fore necessar,, to meet and get ,vater; ,vhen reference is made to an operation ,vhich, if suc;essful, "viii be a glorious feat; when, seve11, days before the fight, a list of the troops at \\ial vVal is asked for; ,,,hen, on the day �efore the attack: son:e one writes: "Our ,veapons are loaded, we have not yet bred ; but we are tn. this situation " ,vJ1 en God is called t1pon and the ,visl1 expressed to meet again alive; when all these facts coine to light, it is in1possible to talk of general expressions bereft of any conclusions. . . . . . 1 0s­ 1n t ite 1s ha qu 1t t ou 1nt p uld ,vo I n, tio jec ob d on � sec e � (b) As regards tJ1 _ � dinary pri,,ate commun1cat1ons or as s ter let se tl1e of ts ten con sible to look on the exchanged between officers and officials. . d 27, 1934, are writ­ an er 2? m ve No 011 rra ife Sh i ? ar ur ta Fi The orders issued by 1em a very forn1al es tl giv 1ch ,vh h da Ju of on Li e t11 of al se l ten under the imperia official cl1aracter. • • · a perso11al decision d be ul co it at th e eiv 11c co to le i"b ss po · Furti1er, ·1t 1s reaII y 1m 1



of officers or officials to keep a11 ar111s and am1r1unitio11 register; that news of the co11ce11 tration and 111ove111en t of troops cot1ld be regarded as private 1natters; a co111111u11 ication about tl1 e nun1 ber of a�n1ies asse111bled for tl1e military expedi­ tion" is a private con1 n1 unication or tl1at tl1e view expressed by one of the most in1portant cl1 iefs of the Etl1 io1Jian forces (Fitaurari Alemaio) regarding the im111i 11er1ce of tl1e Ethiopian attack is a simple private opinion. Quite the contrary: tl1ese are official papers a11d documents; tl1e docu111e11ts ,vhicl1 I have J)rodt1ced are issued b)' the Etl1ioJ)ian n1ilitaf)' departments; tl1ey are certainly clear, definite and unique evidence of the preparation and execution of the attack made by the 1nilitary forces of tl1 e Governn1ent of Etl1 iopia. rl'hese docun1ents, the exceptional irnJ)Ortance of wl1ich tl1e Com1nission will not have failed to observe, a1nply and c early prove tl1e trutl1 of tl1e Italian case. II

I tl1ink tl1 at I l1ave no,v shown that J1 e criticis1ns passed on my method, 1ny docun1ents a 11d m)' assun1 ptions are er1tirel), inconsistent. Let me 110,v consider tl1e Ethio1)ia11 Govern1nent's allegation that tl1e Italian troops co1n1nitted the aggression. Tl1.e r'\gent of Etl1iopia, \vhile saying nothing wl1atsoever about all the docu­ n1.ents i11dicated at the n1eeting on July 41 wl1 icl1 prove tl1e pacific a11d conciliatory i11tentions of Captai11 Ci111n1 aruta-l d1aw tl1e Arbitrators' attention once more to these docu 111ents-asserts tl1 at our officer" ,vants a figl1t" and tl1at l1 is attitude was provocative and aggressive. \.:Vhe11ce does l1 e deri,,e these deductio:is, ,vl1ich are really n1ere in1agination and not the outcome of a strict, logical investigation: Let 111e analyze my oppone11t's argume11t: (I) Reference is 111ade to tl1e Clilfordletter (.A.nnex 3, page 14, First Etl1 iopian l\ l[ernorandum) in whicl1 the A11glo-Ethiopian Comn1issioners "regret to note that they l1a,,e bee11 1)reve11ted by fore<: from n1 oving about freely in Etl1iopian territory." That is very serious provoca:ion ! Because l1e prevents foreign regular 1nilitia from entering territory which is under the autl1ority of the Italian State, occupied b}' his troops a11 d placed in his keeping, Captain Cim111aruta is a provocate1,r! Really I conceptio11s could not be more obviously i11verted. Provo­ ca.te,1irs are the people wl10 clain1 to advan.ce into territOD' occupied b )' otl1ers1 not those ,vl10 fJrevent tl1em f rorn adva11 ci11 g1 the reasons being, as we sl1all see later, tl1at melior est co1tdit-io poss,£de1itis, because sin1ple occt1pc1tion is a juridical fact \\ l1ich is protected by international law, because, as bet,veen a party which in­ tends to invade and a part): whicl1 preve1ts the in,,asion, it is unqt1estio11ably the forn1er ,vl1icl1 deserves to be qualified as provocate·ztr". (2) In his letter of November 24, 1934 (A11nex 7, page r6, First Etl1 iopian l\1Jen1orandum) Colo11el Clifford speaks ,)f "tl1e provocative attitude adopted by tl1e Italian authorities" !Jut l1e is careful not to say what tl1at attitud.e was. f-'er11aps, for hin1 and for his pride anytl1ingtl1at prevents liis wishes being realized is a provocatio11. That is a view which savors more of qitia norr11i1·ior leo ilian of the n1ost elementary rules of international law. (3) A certain amount of stress is laid on paragrapl1 No. 2 of the report of November 30, 1934 (Annex 14, page 19, First Ethiopian l'vlen1orandum): 1





.l\t the ver)' 1no111ent it r ached Wal \iVal, the Co1n1nission found itself in _ , '; the presence of tl1e Italia n �)anda" arne d ,vith n1 odern rifles: tl1e "b a11da" under tl1 e o�der s of a S01nal1 N.C.O. refused, pointing their ri fles, to evacu­ ate �he territo� 11eeded for the ca1nps of the t,vo lVIissions ancl the ,veils required for their water-supply. It ,vould appea.r froin tJ 1 is passage tf1a.t, i1nn1ecliatel r tl1 ev arrivecl, the Ethi­ ) opi ��s mad e tl1e ar rogant clai 1n that the Jtalian soldiers shou giv up ld e their posit.Ions so as to enable the ne,v ar ri,,als to )ccupy them. It \Vas, therefore, the Ethiopi ans ,vl10 ,vanted to establi sl1 then1,elves in the zon occ e upied by our dubats. This act of clear provocation and presu111 ption 011 the part of the Ethi opians, which, as can be seen f ron1 this san1e parag raph 2 of the Cl ifford report, wa fol­ s lowed by an attempt at expulsion b}' force, constitutes the first incident in the aggressio11 ,vhicl1 occurred i mn1ec.iiatel)' aftcr the arrival of hostile troops 011 the spot. The Etl1i opian Go,,er11 ment, ho,vever, ,vould like the Commission to belie"·e tl1at the provocati on was the resista1ce offerecl to the preposterous clai m of the other party, res istance ,vh ich \vas no� only a duty l)ut also a rigl1t. He re again I n1 ay repeat ,vhat I l1ave sai:l in (1): the Italian "banda" wl1 ich was holcling the I)Osition and wl1ose d uty it was to prevent arn1ed troops, no matter what their nationality, fron1 advanci1g, acted perfectly legitimately ,vhen it r efuse d to allow tl 1e so-called esco rt to aclvance and to leave tl1e place clear for foreign troops wl1 ic.h clai1ne d tl1e right to se1 up their tents there. It ,votilcl be a strange distortio11 of the facts or a11 illusion to r egard such an attitude as pro• vocat1,,e. (4) Further Italia11 provocation, it is alleted, i s to be found in the fact that in his con1munication Captain Ci111n1aruta usecl the eXJ)ression caJ;o briganle" in adclressing a senior Ethiopian officer ancl in \rriting to him used the second person pluraJ. The re are hvo 11 1isunclerstandings here: the lvord "shifta" v.r }1 ich primar i ly means II bandi t" is co111n1onl)' used to descr ibe irregular troops. Consequently, in this particula r case shiita cl1ief" ,voulrJ n1 ean chief of an irregular banda", such as had actuall)' corne to reinfo rce tl1e regular trOOfJS for the attack on the \Val \Val \veils. As regards tl1e use of the second person plural, this is oft.en done in Italy, par­ ticularly i n South Ital)', fron1 v.rl1ich Captain Cimmaruta co1nes, as an ordinary for1n of speecl1 ,vithout an)' derogatory i1n1Jl ication. (5) It is alleged that a further act of provocation was the fli ght of aeroplanes over the encampn1ent. . . The evidence given by l\if ajor Porru-Locci sho\.ved that the aviators, not having seen Captain Cirnma ru ta at \\Tarcler ancl bei.1g anxious as to ,vhat had l)eco1n� of hin1 decided to continue t11eir reconnaissance flight. They returned after having con� inced then1 selves that their chi ef ,vas s,fe ancl sound. The 1nisunderstand­ ing al)out the famous n1achine-gun in a firing J)osit:io� l1as been -�ven better V Iajcr, ,vho has g1_,,en_ a practical deri:on­ l e sam the of ce exJ)lained by the ev i clen stration of ho\v the n1 achine-gun in turning rouncl the axis oi the fuselage would be pointing to the ground wI1en the plane clippe� ea r th,vards to _ 1�ak:e a _t�rn_. ng their interFurthermore, is it possible to im,Lgi ne that Italian ofncers, realizi II





natio11 al obligations a11d tl1 eir responsiblities, cottld l1a,1e tl1reatened witl1 ar111s the group of Englisl1 officers? Is it i11aginalJle that tl1ey would trai11 their ,veapons on the very group in the mids: of w}1 ich was Captain Cin1111 art1 ta \.Vho migl1 t have bee11 wounded ,vit11 tl1e others by any sl1ots fired? The above observations are st1f-ficierlt to dispose forthwitl1 of tl1e aero1Jlane i 11 cident of ,vhich sucl1 a fuss has been made by tl1e Ethiopia11 side. (6) It is alleged that further evidenceof the Italian desire to be J)ro,,ocati,,e is to be found in a passage in paragrapl1 7 of tl1e report of Noven1 IJer 30, 1934, wl1 ere it is said tl1 at "Tl1 e Commission rret and tl1 e t\vo Co1nmissio11ers addressed a joint letter protesting against aggressive arn1 ed opposition." It is clear, 11 0,v­ ever, tl1at it is an obviot1s contradiction to talk of aggressi,,e opposition and still more certain that tl1 is is a case of the usual device of regarding as prov·ocation tl1 e exercise of the rigl1t of defence on o:cupied territory. (7) Tl1 e Britisl1 Ivlission (see paragraph 13 of tJ1 e report above referred to) complains that it was constantly tl1 ,varted by tl1 e unconciliatory and disobliging attitude of the Italian officer. Tl1e facts l1a,re refuted tl1is t1nfot1nded assertion, seeing that the documents and tJ1 e repa-t itself (cf. paragrapl1s I I and I 2) sho,v tl1at Captai11 Cimn1aruta n1ade a fi11 al proposal, wl1icl1 was "si11 cere and oppor­ tune," witl1 a vie,v to obviati11g inciden:s and oA·ered to {)er111 it the Con1 1nission to draw as n1uch water as it required fron1 a11y ,vell selected behir1d the line of l1is 'banda'.'' Tl1e proposal and the offer, 10,vever, ,vere refused by the Etl1iopians on i11 consistent pretexts, prete.xts ,vhicl1 were a poor disguise of tl1eir intention not to accept a peaceful solution whicl1 ,vould l1 ave 1nade it l1arder or e,ren in1 possible to carry out the attack pren1 eclitated and prepared. And then it is stated tl1 at Captain Cin1 1naruta's attitt1de was t1nconciliatory and pro,rocati, e ! (8) Lastly, it is cited as an essential and cl1aracteristic fact tl1at Colo11el Clifford expressed his extreme ir1digna.tion at tl1 is particular demonstration . .. fhe Britisl1 Com1nissioner1 s indign:1.tion re,,eals anotl1er aspect, alread )' referred to, of his mentality ,vhicl1 leads him to regard as an act of provocation the legitimate exercise of anotl1 er perso1's right solely becat1se it co11stitutes an obstacle to his plans a11d desires. This beha,,ior on the part of Col. Clifford affords 1ne an op1Jortunity of examin­ ing his attitude and the worth of his declarations. The Agent of tl1e Ethiopian Govern1n�nt l1as endeavored to sl1 0,,, tl1 at he is an impartial observer, the subject of a natio11 friendly to Italy, and tl1 at, t11 erefore, e,rerything wl1ich he says is to be believ1:d. I will say notl1 ing for tl1 e ti111 e being of the friendsl 1ip, wl1ich we cannot say hc.s, of late at any rate, been very 1nanifest. Let me ratl1er consider whetl1 er Colonel Clifford's staten1ents deserve all the credence clain1ed for them by n1 y opponent. Colonel Clifford wisl1ed to enter tl1e zone of the \Val Wal ,veils, {)itch his car11p th er: and carry out tl1 e investigations '\\'hich lie cleclares ,vere tl1 e purpose of his . �1ss1on .. I-le meets, l1 owever, the I talic.n troops v.r]1 ich are iJrotecti ri g the occu­ pied ter �1tory and do not allow l1 i1n tc execute l1is scl1 emes. Tl1 is, of course, upsets b1m botl1 as a man a11d as a Br:tish officer. For tl1 at reaso11, fro111 the actu� m �ment wl1en tl1 e "banda" hinders l 1im fro1n f)Ursuing his rottte and fron1 camping 1n tl1 e zone of the Wal Wal wells, Colonel Clifford 1 nust be looked t1po11 1


25, 1935


as a part)' directly and seriously concerned, becatise }1 e I1 as a personaI ob"1ect1,· e . . . the atta1nn1 en t of wl1 1ch 1s pre,,entecl by th e Itali ans. � � the ?iscussion ,vl1ich _ enst1e�J and ,vhich continued for several days the Br1�sh officer ' �as not an 1n1 part1 al s1Jectc.1tor !Jut ratl1 er the antagonist of the . !ta han autho rities, a inan ,vho ,va.s being prevented fron1 doing ,vl1 at he had intended to do, and wh o consec1t1ently chafes against the hindrance collides ,vith it, tries to ove rthro,v it, and joins ,vit:h the T�thiopians in their effo�ts to acl1ie,;e the_ joint objecti:'e. Only in this ,va) and in the light of this very sin1 ple ps>:cho­ log1cal obser,,at1on can ,ve explain the attitucle of Colonel Cliffo rcl, which is far from being ,vhat tl1 e attitucle of a neutral olJserver should I1ave been. 1-Ie esp�us� d (for ob,,ious reasons about ,vhich I, however, prefer to say nothing) the Eth1op1an cause. The best proof of the corclial help ,vhicl1 he gave tl1at cause is to be found in t} 1 e ,va rm t ribute of thanks paid to hin1 by the Etl1 iopian Missjon in parag rapl1 5 of the 1\.1emora11dum cited as Annex 17 of the First Ethiopian :rv1emorandum, page 22. (9) _A. s soon as tl1e Englisl1 left, the guns ,vent off by tl1emselves" says the Agent of the Et11iopian Government in his statement. Actually, t11e r.Jission left on November 25 and the Ethiopian attacl< was made on Decen1ber 5. '!'hat is, there ,vas an interval of ten da)'S; t11 is fact by itself shows tl1e specious natu re of the opposing side's argu1nents, wl1ich try to 1nak:e out that the Italians, not being anxious to have any incidents with the B ritisl1, ,vaited for tl1en1 to leave in order to attack tl1e Ethiopians. Ir1 order to prove tl1 at the attack was lat1ncl1 ed by the Italian t roops, tl1e rep re­ sentative of the Ethiopian Governn1 ent, without even tf)'ing to r efute the con­ tents of tl1 e documents annexed to the Italian Ivle1norandum, whicl1 l1ave been collected ,vith every gua.rantee as rega rds form and substance, bases his case essentially on the note of l\tl. Lorenzo Taezaz (Annex 13, page 19, First Ethiopian �le1no ra11dum), on the evidence collected by l\1fr. Curle a11 d lvl. Taezaz and on the deposition made by the sick-attendant Lemme Ibr acu. All this material in no \Vay ,veakens the conviction ,vhich emerges fron1 the docun1ents annexed to the Italian l\'lemo randum. This conviction has been very clea rly confirn1ed IJ)' the evidence give11 before the Con11nission: In the first place, by the e,,idence of persons who ,vere eye-witnesses. They have told )'OU tha t botl1 sides ,vere on the qu,i vive for several days, but that no unfo rtunate incide11t l1afl occurrecl e,,en during the afternoon of Decen1 ber 5, when "just as the sun wa s almost sinking" a sl1ot was firecl fro111 tl1e Ethiopian line. . . y, 111 the left cheek. l�his shot ,vounded a sentry posted in a tree, but only lightl rly stated by l'he sentr)' Jet himself clown fron1 tl1 e t ree. That l1as IJeen ve ry clea the witnesses "'ho ,vere only a few steps away fron1 tl1at tree. d by tl1e Ethige ar ch dis s wa y lle vo se en int ry ve a ot is sh 1 Immediate ly after t1 opians and the attack \vas thu s sta rted. . . 011 this point. t ub do no is e er th s se es tn ,vi e th by n From the replies give _ 1at 110 r J1ance ca11 be t us ld to s ha nt ne � 1 n er : ov G n ia oJ) hi 'fhe Agent of th e Et i 1 1 on rot1nd and : ss is th rn tu d ul co I . es ? � placed in tl1 e statements of th e nativ refer I p t bu ns 1a op l11 Et e th t ou ab e ad m retort th at th e sa m e reinark 111 jgJ1t be 1





simply to ignore the co11 ten1pt sl10,v11 b)' the Agent of tl1 e Etl1iopian Gover111nent for ot1r brave soldiers. You have l1 eard tl1en1, ge11 tle1ner1: you .1ave 11oticerJ their very definite gestures, the gleam in their eyes, their prot1d bearing, tl1e frank: and si1nple way in wl1icl1 they withstood e, e11 the cross-exa1ninaticn of the f\rbitrators and tl1e Age11t of tl1e Etl1iopian Government, all of ,vl1icl1 pro\e that tl1 ey \Vere speak:ing tl1e trutl1 and notlung but tl1e truth. Bear in mind, ge11tlen1en, the circun1sta.nces of the l1earing of tl1ese hurr1ble and lo),al servants of 1 taly and your con,riction will becon1 e t1nsl1 a.k:able. Tl1 is conviction is reinforced bv ., the state1nents 111ade lJy the Governor of Somaliland ar1d by Captain Cimmaruta. I shall ref er only to tl1e substance of tl1ese. There was no Italian officer on the spot when tl1 e figl1t began. It is not to be supposed, not for a11 instant even, that c.n attack ,vould have IJeen made on the ene111 y li11 e witl1out ,vJ1 ite officers being prese11t. Shortly after tl1e fight began tl1e an1 .nunition ,vas al1nost exl1austed. It is obvious tl1at, if tl1 e Italians l1ad intended to attack, care ,:s,rould l1ave been taken to collect in tl1e post a considerable store of reserves. Tl1e aeroplanes and ta11l{s left \i\Tarderonly when tl1 e firing was l1 eard. If tl1e I talia11s l1 ad \Vanted to attack, these \veapons of \var ,vot1lcl have been on tl1 e spot. The line of dubats 111ade a [Jartial witl-.dra,val, wl1 ich pro,res tl1at the Etl1 iopi­ ans were tl1 e attack: ers, for if they had 111erel)' been defencling themselves against an Italian assault, such a \Vitl1 dra,val ,vctild have been inexy)licable. On the first voile,, - aJmost all tl1e N.CO.'s were l{illed or wounded. Tl1 is all pro,,es that tl1e rifles were trained 011 thcn1 to kill tl1 em oA· f ro111 the very begi11 • n1ng. It is clear, therefore, tl1at the attack. ,v:1.s r11 ade by the EthioJJians and tl1 at the declarations of the dubats are true. The same declaratio11s were n1 ade to Cap­ tain Cimn1art1ta as soon as l1e came on tl1 e spot. 1-Ie received the1n from tJ1 e lips of the soldiers tl1 en1 selves shortly a.fter the engagen1ent. You \vould be acting ,vise)),, if tl1ere ,vere no other direct proofs, in relying on the statements of those \vl10 had an entirely fresl1, 1nigl1t I sa)' live, account of the incidents. I foresee tv,,o olJjections, one of \vhich l1as almost been voiced already by the Agent of tl1e Ethiopian Governn1ent. It will be argl1ed that the point is not t) detern1i11e wl10 i11te11 ded to attack but ,vho fired the first shot. It will be added tl1at, as tl1ere was 110 ,;.vl1 ite officer 011 the spot, tl1 e first shot clearly was fired by the dubats. To tl1is1)urely arlJitrary conclt1sion 1 ,viii reply that it l1 as no serious founda.tio11. What rnt1st cl1 iefly be l)orne i11 mind is the perfect discipline of our colored troops and the forn1 al orders issued 11 ot to provoke the Ethiopians in any wa)'· I l1ave a clear recollectio11 of the stre,s laid by tl1e Ethiopian Age11t on the words of the Governor of Son1 aJila11d: "Tl1 e dubats rallied and under their com1nanding officer, etc." That expression does not, of course, mean tl1 at \vith­ out wl1ite officers t11 e dubats are fools or madrnen: it was said to explain that Captain Cimmaruta's presence l1 ad madeit possible to arrest the incipient retreat and restore order. 1

PROCEEDINGS A'f BERN �UG ? .. - ' - . -::,,



Ir1 any case, tl1e version according to which th e sh.ot was fi1re d b)' tI1 e . . dubats 1n the absence of ,vh1te officers is refuted by ti1e .Et h'1op1a · n report of . . Decen1ber 9, 1934, ,vl1ere 1t 1 s stated·· "Shouted orders of 1 a, terra , ,vere I1 ear· 111 d· , . . . . . · the d1rectlon of tl1e 111 d1v1dual shelters ,:vI1 ere tl1 ·e Ita 1·tan troops were stat1011 erJ. .1 Thereupon all .the troops entered their sl1eltei·s. I n1 .1· tel v af terwar ds a . 111erJ1a . rifle-shot and tl1e sl1 out of 'Jitoco' ,:vere hearrJ." Tht1�, accorcling to tl �is docu111ent, tl1 e theor:y advanced by the Agent of the _ Ethiopian G�vernn1e _ nt t� refuted, for this docu1nent affirn1 s that regular fighting orders ,vere given tn Italtan a11d tl1 at it was only after these orders tl1at the battle began. In that case what l1appe11s to the shot fired. by a dubat on l1is o,vn initia­ tive witl1ou t cause or reason? Tl1 e second objection witl1 \Vl1ich I n1 ust deal is 1nore or Jess as follows: 1-Io,v is it pos�ible tl1at the Ethio1)ians, ,vl10 were the la.rger force, should have _ kept quiet all n1gl1t, even "'hen they realizecl tl1 at tl1 e dubats had not enougl1 an1 mt1nition? l�he reason is very si 1 nple: The dubats had not stopped firing, for they still had a few cartridges ,vl1ich they only used ,vl1e11 sure of their airn; once Captain Cimn1aruta had arrivecl the dubats rallied and stood , er): fir1n; Su1Jplies of ammt1nition arrived abot1t t,vo hours after tl1 e arrival of the Italian officer; The n1 orale of tl1e Etl1iopians ,vas badly sl1ak:en for: The clul1a.ts l1 ad fired about forty tl1 ousand sl1 ots (each 1nan had an allo,vance of eigl1 ty bullets and tl1 ere were 11early five l1undred of tJ1 em in tl1e fight); Fitaurari Alen1 aio, tl1eir in1 mediate chief, had lJeen killed (see Anne:< I 5, page 23, First Ethiopian l\1emorandu1n); The Italian Air Force l1ad dropped about t,vo hunclred bon1 bs (each plane had 74 2-kg. IJombs and 24 12-l{g. bon1bs of tre1ne11dous explosive force); The tank:s ,vere clearly visible even in the dusk: and the:y l1 ad even fired a fe,v volle}'S. All these circun1 stances ,vhich I l1 ave jt1st e1nphasized furnish a very simple explanation of tl1 e inertia sl1 ow11 by the Etl1 io1Jians ,vithout resorting to an artifi­ cial and pure!>' defensi,,e intentio11 wl1icl1 in any case is refuted by numerous proofs and argu1nents. I end on tl1 is point: Tl1 e Co1n1nission l1 as in its possession the documents and the results of the l1 earing of witnesses: it can read them, compare them and thus by ved is pro as s, ian iop Eth tl1e by 1ed 11cl lau s ,va ack att the t tha ce lf vin itse con the sequence of eve11ts f ron1 the mo st re1note to th e n1ost immediate. 1

ve ssi gre of an ag ult res the s wa al 'Af al \1/ at l1t fig e th t tha 1-Iaving tl1 us sho,vn entra­ e nc th !)y co ns pia hio Et e tl1 by ed nn pla s wa it at th mentality to,varcls Italy; ble t11 e reasona all g tin ec rej r te af , at 1 tl _ s; op tro r ula eg irr tion of regular and enly 111 �he dd d su l1e nc lau s ,va ck ta at e 1 tl a, trt ar m m Ci ain proposals made by Capt duty to exarr11ne y w m no is it s, es cc su its te ita cil fa d ul wo ss l1ope that its suddenne rty• J)a r he ot e th of ns tio ac e 1 tJ of v , . la in n what viev.r s11 ould be take pressed l1is reg:et e ex or m ce on s l1a nt ne n1 er ov G n Jia oJ hi _ The Agent of th e Et s1on us sc e d1 th om fr ed ud cl ex en be ve ha ld ou that the question of tl1 e frontier sh



by the Council of tl1 e League of Natio1s. I thinlc that l1e has no reason to complain or to consider that l1is defense l1as been a1nputated, for, as we shall soon see, the solution of tl1e dispute is tf1 e sa1 11e wl1ether Italy is J1eld to ,vield sovereignty de jure or to be tl1 e de facto holder of authorit},. Keeping witl1in tl1e limits laid down in tl1e resolution of the League of Nations, it is not difficult to pro,,e tl1at the act, or rather tl1 e series of acts, committed by tl1e Ethiopians against Italy is co1itra juj, A. It is necessary in tl1 is connection to point out tl1at the zo 11e of wells at \1/al Wal was subject to tl1e autl1ority of tl1e Italian State a11 d had for several years been in its 1naterial possession, a fact of whicl1 tl1e Etl1iopian Government was fully aware. Tl1e fact is so well kno,vn tl1at there is no need to dwell on it; suffice it to Sa)' that this zone came under tl1e Sultanate of OblJia which in virtue of tl1 e Protec­ torate Co11vention of 1889 ,vas subject to Italian sovereignty and that Italian troops had bee11 posted tl1ere for about seven years. Tl1e latter circu 1nsta 1 1ce is proved not only by tl1e Italia11 docu 1nents but also by the documents submitted by tJ1 e Ethiopia1 1 Govern 1 11ent. For instance: On page 38 of tl1e Aide-Menioire sutmitted by the Etl1iopian Government to tl1e League of Nations, tl1ere is an l. \nne.x 4 (Report of the Anglo-Ethiopian Delin,i tation Con1n1 ission). It gi\'es i11 sun1 n1arized form a survey of pasture­ grounds by zones and in cl1ronological order; under the date 1928 tl1ere is an entry: "Post of 50 troops establisJ1 ed at Warder (dispute at \1/al \1/al bet\veen Habr Junis and the troops)". 1'11ere is tl1t1s no doubt that, fro 1n 1928 a.t any rate, tl1 e Italian 1nilitary occupa­ tio11 of the Wal \1\lal wells (wl1 icl1 for1n a 1opograp11ical a11d ad 1ninistrative wl1ole with the place known as Warder) was cefinite and k:now11 and that tl1ere ,vas even a conflict on the SJ)Ot witl1 tl1e Italian troops. I ,vould add tl1at, wl1en the Italian Governn1 ent was telegrapl1 ically informed on April 4, 1934, of the threatening concentration of troops round tl1 e Wal Wal­ \;\/arder zone (see Annex rd to the Italian Memorandt1m), it hastened to instruct the Italian Minister at Addis .i\b . aba to inform tl1e Ethiopian Go,,ern1nent of tl1e concentration of troops "inte11ded for an attack on \\Tai Wal and \;Varder, the \veils of ,vhicl1 are at present used by very large nt1n1])ers of our subjects" and to ask it to gi,,e the most earnest attentim to the aggression whicl1 was being set on foot agai 11 st us (see Annex Ie to the Italian I\1emorandurn). In his telegram of April 29, 1934 (see .\nnex If to tl1e Italian IVIen1orandu111 ) Minister Vinci gave the assurance that l1 el1ad spoken to the Mi11 ister for Foreign Affairs "in accordance ,vitl1 Your Excelltncy's instructions." The Go,,ern1nent of Ethiopia l1 ad, thus, been i11for1ned once 1 11 ore of tl1 e Italian occupation of the zone in question of the ariim•u,s rem s·ibi habe1idi of tl1 e Italian State, of tl1 e threat which ,va.s being prepared against the territory under its authorit)r and materially in its possession. Finally, even tl1e first Etl1 iopian lvlemo·a1 1dum, though v.ritl1 a vie\v to contest­ ing the value of the fact in connection witl1 the qt1estion of fro11tiers, fi 11ds itself forced to admit tl1at since 1932 tl1e zo11 es in question l1ad been visited by "native patrols of tl1 e Italian military forces" (ste First Ethiopian !vlen1orandu 1n, page 3, paragraph 10).


25, 1935


The evide11 ce give 11 on tl1 is point b,J, wia 1•·or c·11 nmaruta proves once n1ore a • • • truth ,vhich 1n any case 1s beyond clispute. The � ajor l1 as told you tl1� t l)eing responsible for the political relation s witl1 � . . tJ1e British Son1alil and a11tl1or1ties , 11e had f recitie 11·tlv . ss t l·1e _ ha · cI occasion · t·o discu . question of \Val \Val and \:Varder ,vitl1 tl1 err1. I-le added that, 1 1 a,,ing received compl aints about a na , ti·v·e NT . co . . J1 avi.• ng re. . fused to all o\\' tl1 e Anglo-Ethiopian Co111mission to dra,v water from the ,veil at Doi no, l1e l1 ad repl ied tl1 at, if the application had been macle to hi111 he \\'Ould ha,,e been very pl eased to grant it, not onl y as regards the well s in qt;estion but also for those of Wal vVal-\,\larder. 1-Ie has also assurecl you tl 1at the use of the Wal vVal-\i\larder wel ls ,vas reg�l at:d and super,;ised by the Italian authorities, ,vho allo,ved Englis11 and . Ethiopian subJects to cor11e and dra,v supplies tl1ere. If one ren1embers the ii n­ portance of \vater in these desert areas, it ,viii be real ized tl1at the J)erson in ch,1rge oi ,vater suppl ies n1 ust necessaril )' hold authority over the place. B. I-laving tl1 us clearly proved tJ1e esser1tial n1aterial circu 1 nstances, the juricl ical consec1t1e11ces follow fron1 the most elementary rules of Ia,v. I do not kno,v ,vl1ether Ethiopian l aw takes no cognizance or does not define the difference drawn by Ron1an [,aw for 1nore than t,vo thousand ,,ears between • property and possession, and accordingly, between de j·ure ar1d de facto so·vereig11ty. Ir1 any case, as the Ethio1)ian State wishes to pass for a civilized State, it 1nust con1 pl)1 with objective international law, ,vl1 ich is precise!)' the body of rul es regarded b)' those subject to international law as bindi11g for the purpose of regu­ lating tl1eir rel ations. This l aw, l1 0\\1ever, fran1 ed as it is on the basis of Ro 1 11an Law, talces account in the sphere of rel ations lJet,vee11 civilized peoples of even ordinary so·vereigr1ty or de Ja.cto authorit) and protects it as such. On this essential ru le the Ital ian Go,1 ern1nent bases its charge of a breach of the l a\\, of nations agai11st the Etl1 iopian State and invokes its possession of the zone uncler discussio1 1 1 a possession wl 1ich bears all the cl1aracteristic features of legiti­ n1ate possession 11ec vi riec clam 1zec precario. T 1\ ec vi, because t l1 e occupation of tl 1is place ,vas carried out peacefully and \vitl1out bringing force to bear 0 11 tl1e Ethiopian Govern111ent ,vhich l 1as never made an:,: cl ain1 s on this subject. 1Vec cla1n, l1ecause the occupation took place openly, in full cl ayl ight as it ,vere. }lee precario, since 110 provisional authorization ,vas . asked for bv the Italian Go\rern 1nen t or granted IJy tl1 e Ethiopian Government l possession as against fu Ia,v of n e,,e n, sio ses pos cal idi jur l of rea t e s is cas thu a· I dict·um itti Ethiopia, tl1 at is, protected as st1cl1 and n1ore particularl y by the i1·iter possidetis. . . ssion of the Ital ians, Inasn1uc}1 as tl1e district of vVal \Val was in th e l a,vful posse ly �y tl1e inter­ se eci pr ed ect ot pr on ssi sse po s wa on ssi it is certain that t11 is posse 1 11 ount to say111g t� at the a nt ta ll y a tu vir is 1 ich wl s, inc dict1,1n 1{ti f>ossidetis erga 011 cking the m ta at y fro sa to t no , on ssi sse po g in tit sp di in Ethiopians ha d to refrain fro Ital ian positions. . . 1 e tole! the Eth1op1ans ,vl10 l n he ,v ht rig as w y gl in , rd co . Ca<p trun · c·tmmaruta, ac . v\1al . . at lls ,ve e th ng p a1no sun1 moned hinl to ,vithdra,v and allow foreigners to ca1n es ss po e th nd fe de to ht rig is l1 d an ty \Val that, on th e contrary, it w as J1is du 1



sion of the Italia11 {Jositio11 s against ,,iole11 ce of a11)' k:ind a11d by whon1soever shown. Tl1e expression of the Roman praetor is re - ecl1oed, approved and inco11testably applied by international law. From I-Jugo Grotit1s (Dej1tre belli ac fJacis, Book II, Chap. 23, § 19) to Fra11 cisco de Victoria (De jitre belli, §§ 27, 30) and Vattel (Le droit des geris, II, XVIII, § 337) all are in agree1ne11 t in asserti11g that nielior est co11ditio posside1itis; tl1 at possession n1ust be respected, tha.t it is i11adn1 issible to take up arms to obtain possession of so1netl1 ing to v.rl1 icl1 one clain1s to have a rigl1t. 'l�l1e expression uti possidetis, tl1 erefore, l1 as passed i11to tl1e ter1ninology of inter11atio11 al la\v as meaning II the actual possession by rigl1t of conquest, oc­ cupation or otl1 erwise," as was recently pointed out }Jy Vaugl1a11 \VilIiams, Judge of tJ1 e Anglo-German lVIixed Court of i\rbitration, in a course of lectures gi,,en at 'fl1 e I-Iague on "I-Io,v Diplomacy \,Vorks" (Rec1,1.eil des Cot.trs, 1924, III, Vol. 4,

p. 2 57),

If we aJ)pl�, to the case before us these principles and rules, wl1icl1 l1 ave not been contested throughout tl1 e last tl1ree centuries, tl1e Italian Go\1ernn1ent is entitlecl to contend tl1 at the unlawft1!11ess of tl1e Etl1 iopian attack is obviot1s and cannot i11 any \.vay be attenuated. C. The Agent of the Ethiopian Governn1 ent has tried to den)' the legitimacy of the I talia11 possession of the \\Tai Wal district on the strengtl1 of tl1 e documents supplied by Colonel Clifford, tl1e partiality and objectivity of wl1ich I l1 ave alrea.dy discussed. In the ,,ie\v of the Ethiopian Governn1 ent's Agent tl1 ese doct1ments \\1ould prove tl1at the possession \Vas not patent. Reference is 1nade to the follo\vi11 g passages fron1 these documents: (a) Note of Novcn1 lJer 23, 1934 (Annex 3, page 14, First Ethiopian Memo­ randun1 ): They regret to note that tl1 e}, have been prevented by force from n1oving about freely in Etl1 iopia by the Italian authorities in the \Va.I \i\lal region." (b) Note of the same date (An11 ex 5, page 15, First Etl1 iopian l'vlemorandum): n They v.1 ill be l1 app)1 to receive you at the carnp of the British Missio11 at Wal \i\lal." (c) Note of Nover11ber 24, 1934 (Annex 7, page 16, First Ethiopia11 l'v1emo­ randum) in \Vl1ich there is a reference to the present work in Ethiopian territory of the Britisl1 lVIission. (d) Note of No,,ember 29, 1934 (An11ex 9, page 17, First Etl1iopian I\1en10randum) in v.1 hich it is stated: "Tl1ere 11as never been any question of tl1 e Com­ mission's entering Italian territory." (e) Report of November 30, 1934 (Annex 14, page 19, First Ethiopian l\1e1no­ randun1): Ii

§ 4· " .In the 1neantime, on an emine11ce exactly 1,350 metres to the south, a defen�Ive post l1 ad b�er1 olJser,,ed, in tl1 e middle of a clearing, frorr1 whicl1 the I tal1an flag v.ras fl}'Ing.'' § 7. "The Co�n1ission met in the afternoon, ancl tl1e two Com111 issioners addressed �o t11e ,Con1 mande1: of tl1e Sector' a joint letter, dated Noven1be r 23 f.!ro �esting �ga1nst aggressive armed OJJpositio11 of the Italian troops in Ethiopian territory." . § 9, :'On liis arri,,�I, Capt�in Ci111n1 a�uta sought from tl1 e ot1tset to avoid d1scuss1ng the question for1n111 g the principal subject of tl1 e Commission's


19 3_.,

I 29

protes�, declaring tl1 at J1e, as a membe r of tlle Arm w as not �o! lpetent to deal with a problem \vl1icl 1 concer ned only the pol.1tY 1ca I .' l author1t1es " ec t b § 11 ·. "J a�l e per fectIY cl ear to the Ethiopian 1\1ission that this de .· �1 1n1gl1t create an ur1desir fact� sI�t1at10 abl e situatio · n as regard s I.tal·1an terrItor1al cla1 n 1s." § 2 I. "The Britisl1 Con1n1 issioner poin ts ou t tJ1at , as f ar ack as M arch b � 18, .1932 . . , Capt ·In c·1 n1n1aruta 11a d reqt1ested tl1e District Officer at Erigevo (Br1t1sh Somal1land) to tel egrapl1 to his Governrn en t ·1 rder t o I·n for ·t I that, sl1otil d tl1e Angl o-Ethiopian Del imitat1 . l1 to drn ' n Con1 n11:1ssio ra,v � n w1s , o water from tl 1 e ,veII s at Dan10 · wouId be . ' Wal \,Val an d WarcJer, ti1e c apt ain • · tr c�ions 111 t11e matter It goes withot1t saying that tl1e hapJ?Y tO g·Ive ins . Br1tish Govern111ent� d1cl not even reply to suc11 a comn 1unication ." Fron1 the _,vhol : of these quotations it is easy to observe that here again _ ts being n1ade to conft1se the qt1estion of frontiers with that of an atternpt • possession. T!1e doct1n1e11ts m:ntion ed . tal k: of the territory of Wal \Val as Etl 1iopian terrrtory and base tl1e1r reaso n ing on this assurnption . It never even occurred to Colonel Clifford to consider the area as u n der Italian sovereignty and I1e thougl 1t, accordingl y, that l 1e ,vas entitl ed to have an open entry; l1 e thotight that the opinion tl1 us held \Vas st1 fficien t to l ead to the Italian flag being re1noved an d free passage give11 to tl1e Ethiopia11 troops protected by the British flag fixed i n a box "in orde r not to en croacl1 on Ethiopia n territory." All this, 110,vever, l1as 11 othing to do with tl 1e fact of possession \vhich was known to the Govern1nent a11d the British authorities, even thougl1 Colonel Clifford sa,v fit to forget it. Apart from the docu111ents referred to, it sl1oul d be born e in mind that Captain Cirnn1aruta has stated that the Italian fortified post had bee11 established for sorne years past, that the ti1ne-schecl ul e for using the watering-pl aces at the \.Val \Val ,veils ,vas arranged eve11 for the Britisl1 and Ethiopian nationals by the Italian authorities and tl1at the Britisl1 authorities had applied to the latter when ever they had bt1siness co11nected \Vith the district of \Val Wal. It is, furtl1 er, necessary to observe that in§ 21 of l1is l"<.eJ)Ort Colonel Clifford himself adn1its that a11 Ital ian con11nu nication ,vas sent to the District Officer of Erigevo, even though the Col onel \vith a crudity of l anguage (which is one that the further proof of l1is partial ity and of the irritation ,vhich he fel t) 1rvrites 1 with a reply. 1 tio ica un 1m con s thi or n o l1 n eve t no did e11t 1 British Governn n1unicated or com t no s \va on ssi sse I)O t of fac e tl1 at th say to an That does not 1ne ,vas not kno\v n . e nd nt of tl1e pe de in ite qu ing th n1e so is on ssi sse po Actually, the 1 1otoriety of the . Con sequently, the t no or d ize n og circurnstance that the possession itsel f is rec nce or iza gn ng co ki ta of )' \Va a y ll a re is cl1 l1i (,v t en silence of the Britisl1 (;overn1n r iety of the to no e th 111 fro ts ac tr de y ,va no in ) n io ct at least of not raising an obje • possession. l 1er circumstances, ot o 'hv 1 on fr ed rr fe n i be so l a ay ni This notoriety, 111oreover, •


l1 lVIission before_ �he s ti ri B e l1 t of l va ri ar (r) A lrnost simtiltaneously ,vilh the r1t1sh � e t� of y �r et cr Se e th e m ti at th well s at \Val Wal, Mr. J elJ b, w·}10 ,:vas at 1rs tn the ff� A n tg re �o r fo r te is in lv1 e th Embassy at Rorne, ve rb ally infor ined s Governhi n1 ro s f on t1 1c rt st in on ng ti ac i, person of Consul-General Guar11 ascl1 ell



ment, that British engineers wl1 0 vvere mal{ing investigatiox1s relating to the deter111i11 ation of the fro11tiers between Ethiopia and Somalila11d inter1ded probably to ,,isit the ,veils of Wal \i\ial and Warcler. The l\1i11 istry of l:;-oreign Affairs conveyed this comrnunicatio11 to the Colonial Ministf)' ,vhich in its turn i11 for1 ned tl1 e Governor of Somaliland. As no exact notice was sent i11 adva11 ce, 110,vever, Captain Cim1naruta could not be informed of the n1atter in sufficient time. (2) The fact tl1at tl1 e Italian possession of \,\Tai Wal was known to the British Goverr11 nent ,vas officially ad111itted by :rvlr. Eden ,vhen, at a session of the I-louse of Co 111 n1ons on February 22, 1935, he stated in reply to tl1 e I�abor Me 111ber, Nlr. Paling, that the existence of Italian garrisons at the Wal Wal ,vells ,vas known to the Britisl1 Govern1ne11t even before 1932. There is, tl1erefore, no doubt that Italian possession ,vas a generally l{nov.rn fact. It ca11 not be said that tl1e possession was not peaceful because there were Italian garrisons c1uartered in tl1 e districts. Tl1e "peaceful" 11 a ture of tl1e possession must be considered in relation to tl1e ti1ne of tl1 e acqt1isition (,vhicl1 in tl1 is particular case was effected without a blow being strt1ck:); it is, 1 noreover, a well -known fact that, particularly in tl1 e case of irnJJortant territories adjacent to tl1 e frontier zone, the establishn1 ent of a garriso 11 is a natural and eve11 neces­ sary demonstratio11 of the autl1 orit")' of tl1e State, tl1ougl1 n1erely a defacto one. Co11sequently, tl1 e construction of a fortified post and tl1e i11troduction of a garrison do 11ot 111ean tl1at viole11 ce is e1 nployed !Jut rather tl1at the rights arising out of possession previously effected are being exercised. It is, accordingly, true tl1 at our possession is patent and peaceful and eo ipso legitin1 ate: as sucl1 it has been declared a11d proved, tl1ot1gl1 as regards tl1e conse­ quences of tl1e preven,tio1i of disl1trbance, legitimate possession is unnecessary­ any kind of J)ossession sucl1 as tl1e dete11.tio admitted by my opponent hi1nself bei11 g sufficient. It is equally impossible to refute tl1e idea of possession by a reference to Article 10 of the Covenant of tl1e Leagt1e of Nations. Article Io, it is true, imposes the obligation to respect territorial i1 1tegrity, but iliis l1 as nothing to do with possession. Tl1 e Ethiopian Gover111 nen t 1nigl1 t have cited Article 10 in one way 011ly, i.e. in clairr1i11g its alleged rights. Tl1 e Ethiopian Government, however, preferred to resort to violence, tl1e very violen.ce ,vhich was forbidden it !Jy Article Io. It ,vas only wl1 en its violent a11d aggressive action was shattered by the bravery of tl1 e Italian troo1Js, and onl)' then, tl1 at ilie Ethio�)ian Government re1nembered the Cove11 a11 t and complained to the League of Nations, assuming i11 the face of all the facts the role of the injured party. • • • • • I sl1all soon have finisl1ed abusing your patience but it is i 1 11portant tl1at I should examine tJ1 e question from a sligl1tly different aspect. Even if tl1 e problen1 is considered without account of any tl1eories regarding possessio11 and the right of prevention of clisturbance whicl1 arises tl1 erefrom, i.e., if we look at it solely fron1 the standpoi11 t of JJublic Ia,v the result at whicl1 we arrive is absolutely tJ1 e sa1 ne. It ,viii thus JJe possible to gi�;e another


25, 1935


proof of the soundness of the I talia11 case and of · ti1 e bas1· c assun1pt1ons . · w}11ch I am mak1ng. Speaking b �fore a Coinmission consisting of pe rsons \vho are not only familiar _ _ 111 ,v1th ternat1onal law but are ,veil kno\·vn for ti 1e1r· expert I<:no\vI ed ge o f the . . . subJect, no lengtl1y argu1nent 1s required. One of th e n1 ost in11)ortant rules of this law is that J t" · n. Tl1e re a 1ng to aggr essio . . . . . defin1t1on of aggress1011 11npl.1es 1n tu rn the clete·rn11·nat1· · I 1, wI1en , on o f ti· 1e acts wI11c . . . con1 m 1 �ted on s1)ecific subJects or on equally specific objects, co nstitute the actual aggress1011. Let n1e for tl1 e ti111 e being refrain f ron1 defining the factors on the basis of which it is possil)le to cletern1ine the active st1bject of aggression and concentrate on consi ?ering the juridical nature \Vl1 icl1 should characterize the object of ag­ gressi on. Obviously a res n.11,/liits g_·uae occitf)a•1iti concedilitr cannot be the object of aggres­ sion. Clearly, also, an aggression can be con1mitted on territory sulJ ject to the de }·tire so,,ereig11t)i of a sttbject of international la\v and (according to the vie\v unanirr1ousl)' tal{en in all writings on international la,v and also by all prac­ titioners) e,,en territor)' subject to the ordinary de facto authority of a subject of inter11ational law. This rule is based on tl1e same foundation as the rttle regarding the safeguarding of possession, vt'.z., the need to protect possession, to avoid provocation to acts of violence, the responsibilit)' for which it would be sought to attenuate by alleging that the de q110 territory was not dee1ned to be properly subject to the authority of a third party. Actually it \VOtdd be rnucl1 too convenient if an act of violence could be justified by the assertion that it \Vas intendeci to achieve something v.·hich the agent deerned legitin1 ate; to do so would be putting execution before cleclaration, ,vhereas in the sphere of lavv the rule is tl1at declaration should precede execution. This is ,vhy, so far as aggression is concerned, clefacto authority exercised over a territory is absolt1tely equivalent to sovereignty. For this san1e reason the 7 territory of \.\ al \,\7al ,vas, fron1 tl1e juriclical point of vrie\.v, capable of constituting the objective ele1nent of the action in question. From the st1bjecti,,e standpoi11t, tl1 ere is really no necessity to try to build up here a theory about the aggressor. It is i11 any case certain that, \Vhether \ve adopt the strictest rules (,vit:h a definite enun1eration) or ,vhether ,ve follow 1nore flexil)le principles (\vith a series of e.xamples), an aggressor is considered to be a person ,vho commits one of the follo\\ring actions: (a) In,,ades with arn1ed troops, even ,vithout using force, territories under the sovereignty or n1ere rle facto authority of another party; . . i nvasion) to t oun am s not doe ack att the if en (ev ces for ed arm h wit ks b) tac ( At territories wh ich are i11 the conditions above-mentioned. l In the case before us it cannot really be clenied tl1at the territory of vVal \Va g ,vas (as it still is) tinder the atitl1ority of the Italian Sta�e, !)rotected �y its fla post, and de fei1ded by its regular military forces. Italy has bu1lt tl1 ere � for_t1fi:d has ct, tr1 is d1s th s to ces ac d an h ug ro th it ns tra 1 e tI has brought under control rt and pa e t ar ub a do nd yo be icl \vh ts ac eslac -p ing ter : regulated th e us e of the wa parcel of the exercise of tl1e powers of state authority.


It is clear, therefore, tl1at tl1e attack 1r1acle b)' tl1 e Etl1io1)ia 1 1 troops constitutes an aggressio11 and that it is Etl1 io1Jia ,vl1icl1 deserves to be denon1inated tl1e aggressor. As a 1natter of fac .t the attaclc 111ade lJy the Etl1io1Jia 11 troops agai11st tl1e line of Italian dubats res1Jonsible for tl1e defence of a territory ,vl1icl1 is unquestionably u11 der tl1e authority of I ta!)' is ampl)' st1fficient to 111ark a 1 1 aggression in wl1 ich the qualificatio11 of aggressor can undottbtedly be attributed to Ethiopia. •

The conclusio 1 1 above ex1Jressed makes it absolutel)' useless to refer to any l1elief l1 eld by the local Etl1 iopian au tl1ority regarding tl1 e so,:ereign t:y to wl1icl1 tl1e scene of tl1e incident is sul1ject. \,Vl1 atever n1ay be Fitaurari Sl1 iferra's co 1 1viction on tl1is sulJject it is devoid of a.ny juridical ,,alue eitl1er for tl1 e pur1Jose of justifying t11e aggression or for 1niti­ gating i11 an)' ,vay tl1e responsibility therefor. It is, therefore, beyond question that wl1en the so-called escort under the command of the Gover 11 or of tl1e Pro,,ince of Jijiga and Ogaden arrived at the wells of Wal Wal it cottld not but realize i1111 11ediately, fron1 ob,,ious a11d out,vard signs, that it ,vas i11 a territory wl1icl1 was already per1na 11 e1 1tly under Italian authority. These signs (as 1 nen tioned in the Ethio1)ian rvI en1 ora11 da) are: (a) 'l�he existence of a. fortified })Ost of a })errna11ent cl1aracter o,,er whicl1 the Italian flag v. as fl)riI1g; (b) The occupation by regular troOJ)S ,vl10 were not enca1nped on tl1e s1Jot but ,vere living tl1ere 1)er111a11ently; (c) Tl1 e exercise of supervision as n1anifested by tl1e prol1 il)itio 1 1 to enter t11e area occupied by tl1 e Italia 1 1 troops. Fitaura.ri Shiferra l1 ad tl1us lJeen able to observe (and l1e did i11 fact ol)serve) that the area of the \,Val \i\lal ,veils was perrr1a1 1ently under tl1e authority ot Italy. In such circumstances, eve11 if l1e h,:id held tl1 e most for111al ancl 111 ost profound conviction as to tl1e area in question belonging to Et11io1Jia, l1e could 11 ot l1ave attacked it because the rules of internatio11al law insist 01 1 tl1e de fa,cto sittta Lion be-i11g respected, eve11. 1.vhen it is lleeniecl to be co1itrar)' to la'lv. An attack on territory occu1Jied b )' and subject to tl1e aut11ority of a state cannot be excused by a subjective conviction of the illegality of the occupation or submission, without destro) ing the rt1le wl1icl1 considers as an aggressio11 any invasion of or attack on a territory subject eve 11 to tl1e 1nere de facto autl1orit>' of a state. Of itself this rule prohibits an attack made 011 tl1e pretext of unlawfulness; if it did not I)rohibit it, it would be self-destructive. A state wl1ich complains of a breach of international law l1 as at its disposal all the 1neans permitted by law itself for ren1oving tl1 e inj1.,,ria,. 1iesort to violence is only regarded as legitin1ate in the case of flagrant aggression. 'I'l1is is certainly not the position with ,vhic11 we are deali 11g since (and there is no doul)t on this point) the district of Wal Wal l1ad not been occtqJied just at tl1e 11101nei1t but l1ad notoriously been for a long tin1 e past under tl1e authori�, of the Italia11 State. 1





Fo r tl1is reason th e Fitaurari sl1ot1lcl have .respect · · ed 1't, w1 1ate\rer convic tio n ha he a ve ld m to ay th I e a 11e ,vfulness of tl1e occupation; this ,vas � the attitude _ 1 oul sl d, strictly, l1ave observed. which lie �nternatioi� a! _la w cannot be ignored by the representative of a state ,vhich cla1n1s to _be civilized. sta te's degree of civiliza tio111nust be i·n toto et qii in alibet _ pa:te; 1f its represe _ ntat1ves on tl1e borders are ignorant of international Ja,v or if, being a,vare of It, tliey tra11 sgress it, tl1e de facto responsil)ility neverth eless falls on th e state, ,;vhetl1er tl1ese representatives J1ave acted on tlie orders of the central authorit)' or on tl1eir o,v11 initia tive. It is even im p? ssible to i111�gine (tl1ough the argu1nent l1as a purely moral . :, alue) tl1at tl1e F1taurar1 experienced a sudde11 mental reaction ,vhen 11e saw the I talia11 flag fl:ying over the wells of \iVal Wal. Such a reaction n1t1st be categorically excluded if we reflect that tl1e attack ,vas n1acle several da)'S a fter the Fitaurari noted tl1e fact and ,vas t11erefore not the efTect of an i1n1)ulse bt1t of a deliberate process of reasoning. (3) rfl1 is process of reasoning ,vas all tl1e n1ore faulty inasmuch as it conflicted ,vith the rnoderate ,:ie\:vs advanced by Captain Cimmaruta and as tl1 ere ,vas a possibility of asl{i11g for anrJ receiving instructions fron1 t11e ce11tral govern1nent. T11 e Italian officer repeatedly statecl that it was l1is <lt1ty to continue the occu­ pation of tl1e territor): intrusted to his garrison, but that, if there ,vere any legal or political qt1estions, tl1ey would l1 ave to be considered by the cornpetent author­ - even offered to l1ave the Fitaurari escorted to Galadi to give l1 im an ities. 1 Ie opportunity of tal!{i11g to tl1 e Italian political autl1orities. 1-Io,v shot1ld the Ethiopian chief have l)ehaved? rfhe la,v of civilized nations offered hi1n one solution only: to infor111 tl1e central governn1ent so th at it could get into toucl1 ,vith the Italian Gover111nent or at any rate secure its instructions. In the case in question, l1owever, Fitaurari Shiferra_ \vl10 had a pre111editated scheme for conquering tl1e ,vells :2.t all costs and for this purpose had collected large nu1nl)ers of arn1 ed troops on the pretext of escorting t:he Commission, clid not behave at all i11 a reasonable ,va)' but wished to try to achieve his ol)ject without bothering a.bot1t anything else. lVfore than that; !1 e firmly belie\,ed tl1at 1 011 ce l1aving occupied the ,vells, he could justify l1is a.ction and attenuate the responsibility inct1rred by alleging his convictior1 that the district was uncler Ethiopian sovereignt)'· This pretext, however, could carry 110 ,veight in view of the rule� of law re­ pa­ ferred to and applied: a pretended belief in the unlawfulness of Ital1an occu _ tion is by 110 ineans a justificatio11 for the attacl{ and is in fact an _aggress1on be­ cause it ,vas directecl against territory which had for a long t1�e past bee11 te. per1nanently occupied by a 11d ,vas u11der tl1e authority of_ t�,� I t?I1an Sta 1s1b1l1ty 1s con1plete and 1 po res e th ; nd ou gr e tl1 to ls fal rfhe pretext, therefore, as such must be declared.


· a lian l\1emora11dum is It e tl1 o Ad d an bi gu lo er Gu f As regards tI 1e 1nc1'dent s o . . . ard the s · · I1e ha 1on 1ss mm Co e · th d · ·de 1 a b 1 011 b er 11ev s \.va 1 y b' ver expl1c1t. Guerlogt1 . very definite state1nent made by iVlajor Porrt1-Locci. . . nder1su m s · ou vi ob an , ) Io p • • (cf S O\V s h 1 • • • There is, as the Ital1an 1\11 em orandun • ch it is l11 w b1 gu rlo ue G of t ric st di e th of s standing: Lieutenant lVIe:>'S' report talk

1 34


impossible to define. 011 the contrary, tl1 e i1npression is conveyed that by the use of vague exi)ressior1s it ,vas i11te11 ded to regard tl1e bo1nbard1nent of Ado as l1aving occurred at Guerlogubi. . . . expla111ed to tl 1 e point ]Vf ajor Porru-Locci l1 as On the latter Con1rn1ss1011 that, ,vl1ile l1 e was recon11oitering and flying over the Ado area, l1 e ,vas attacked by Etl1iopians who fired several sl1ots at tl1e aeroplane. l-Ie replied by dropJ)ing two bombs. •

A.s regards tl1 e other incidents to "·l1icl1 the Co1nmission's attention l1 as been directed I refer it to the description five11 in tl1e Italian Nle1norandum. •

JVly summing-up and conclusions a�e: It follo,vs fro1n the Italia11 I\1emorandun1, the staternents of tl1 e Italian Gov­ ernrnent's Age11t and the documents .5ubmitted: ( 1) That tl1 e \,Val \N'al incident 1rust be regarded as a real aggression pre­ n1editated by tl1 e Ethiopians and acco1n1)lisl1ed witl1 the intention of forcibly deprivi11g Italy of the possession of a territory ,vl1 icl1 had for several years been under her authority. Consequently, tl1e Ethiopian Go,,ern1nent is directly responsible for the aggression referred to. (2) Tl1at tl1e san1e Party is respon,ible for tl1e incidents whicl1 occurred sulJ­ sequently UIJ to May 25, 1935. :rvlr. ]EZE said that, before replying to the staten1e11t 1nade by the Agent of the Italian Governn1ent, l1e wisl1 ed to a;sure tl1 e Con1 r1ussion tl1 at tl1 e Etl1iopian Govern1nent and its Age11 t l1 ad only 01e concern: an in1partial quest for tl1e truth as re,1ealed by the facts. Accordingly, l1 e did not regard tl1 e argu111e11 ts, both tl1ose which l1 e l1 ad already advanced and tl1ose whicl1 he was going to advance 110,v, as tl1 e J)leading of an advocate ,v :10 proposed to prove at all costs tl1at things had happened i11 a certain manner. Tl1 e arguments to wl1ich tl1 e Co11 1n1 ission had listened l1 ad been subn1itted in a spirit of tl1e greatest sincerity and loyalty, and it ,vas in the same spirit tl1 at the memoranda received by it had been drafted and expot1nded. That sincerity was clearly sl1ow·n by tl1e ,1ery fact tl1 at, as far back. as December, 1934, the Etl1iop1an Government had asked for a resort to arbitration. \N'hatever the objectiors ,vere whicl1 l1ad protracted tl1e proceed­ ings up to tl1e present moment, it \Vas not the Etl1io1Jian Government whicl1 had sho,vn the slightest opposition or raised the slightest obstacle. That fact alone sho,ved that his attitt1de l1a.d been 1rarked by loyalty, sincerit)' and courteS)'· The Commission l1ad not heard a sinile aggressive expression in anytl1 ing which he had so far said. At a 1no1nent as serious as that whicl1 they ,vere at present passing· tl1 rougl1, when not 1nerely peace between Italy a11d Etl1iopia bt1t also the peace of tl1 e world ,vas threate11ed, l1 e would be loath to say an),tl1ing wl1ich might envenom the discussio11 or create a disagreeable situatio11. He 1nust, how­ ever, take account of all tl1 at l1 ad o:::curred and of what tl1 e Com111 issio11 l1 ad heard. The juridical case had alrea:Jy been stated by tl1e Ethiopian Govern­ ment and by the verbal pleadings wbich l1e himself had submitted.



\Vith a 1 1 eloqu :nce adroitness, and ability worthy of every conin1endation tlle : f\gent of the I t�l1an Governm�nt had counte red that case with a statement of the _ It �han sta�dpo1 nt. The 1\rb1trators ,vere j uri st s ,vit11 such a11 expert knowledge _ of 1nternat1onal la,v tl1at 1 t ,vot1 ld be a reflection on tJ1 en1 to reopen the discussion of �hese ! ��al argu 111ents. I-le ,vo uld tl1erefore confi 11e hin1self to elu cidating a fe,v _ points ar1s1ng �u t of tl1e hearing of the ,vitnesses, n1aking 50111 e additions to the arg uments ,vl11ch l1e l1 ad already advanced and wl1 ich the Agent of tl1e Italian Governn1ent had found in adec1uate and dra,ving attention to t11 e vie,vs expressed by Governor Rava ,vl1 icl1, he tho u ght, brougl1t out very clearly ,vl1 y t11e \Val \Val incident had occurred. Those ,vere the tl1ree J)oints which he proposed to deal with in t urn. I-le ,votild take first the testi1nony regarding the actu al fact of the aggression at 'A'al \Val. It ,vould be recallecl that, at the first J1 earing of witnesses, }1 e had entered certain reservations. I-le had said tl1at it se e 1ned to him that these witnesses clid not include an y of tl1 e people ,vl10 had taken part at the beginning of tl1e aggression. Tl1at s tate1nent l1 ad been confir1ned more fully tha11 he had e.xpected it to be beca use the evidence sho,ved that even Captain Ci1 nn1aruta had not bee n present. Govern or Rava was not there, Captain Cim1nar uta \Vas not there, the officer i11 co1nmand of tl1e Air Force ,vas n ot there: no one had been present at tl1e \iVal \Val i11cident. Ther e ,vas 11o t a single eye-,vitness of the oc­ curr e nce. Tl1 e o nly people on tl1 e spot ,vere tl1e native N. C. 0.'s. During tl1e evide11ce given by these native N. C. O.'s, l\r1r. J1lzE obser\ ecl, h e had noticed the t1nifor111ity and the identity of tl1 eir replies, namely, that a shot had be en fired at a sentry posted in a tre e , a c urio us position, incidentally, for a force ,vhich ,vas not proposing to figl1t and was t,vo n1etres a,vay from the enen1y. The sentry fell and ,,,as slight!>' \VOt1nded but ,vas still alive. :rvr r. JEzE \Vas surprized that, ,vl1e11 tl1 ere ,vas the testi1 no11y available of the ver): JJerson ,vho had be en tl1e first victin1 of tl 1e aggression, no one l1ad thought of 1naking use of it. Sucl1 testirr1on>' wot1ld l1 ave been more interesting than that of JJeOJJle \vho had seen nothi ng. 11r. J EZE ,vas also surprised to see that this versio11 of the incident had been presented 11ov,r for the first ti1ne. \Vl1e11 Govern or Rava dre,v up l1 is report, irr1mediatelv after tl1e occt1rrence, i.e., 011 Dece1nber 12, he had given a diffe re nt version. - l\rlr. Rava's report, ,vl1icl1 co u ld be read in the l\1en1orandu 1n sub1nit ted by the Italian Governn1 ent, only said that a shot had been fired in the air fron1 the Ethiopian side, t hat this shot ,vas apparently to serve as a signal and that it \vas in1mediately follo,ved by a volley fired by tJ1e Ethiopians. There ,vas, no mention of tl1e sen try's action. Tl1 c1t was a ne,v circumstance and l\!lr. J�zE repeated that he was s ur1)rised to observe tl1is contradiction bet,veen the Italian I\1emorand um (l\nnex 14, J)age 81) and the testi1nony no,v heard. To start ,vith it \Vas no t a case of a sl1ot fired at tl1e sentry b ut of a signal given . There ,vere'. thus, t,vo different versions: (1) in Mr. Ra,7 a's report; (2) in the depositions 1nade by Captain Cimn1aruta ar1d the native N. C. O.' s : . e lvlr. ]EZE repeated that it ,vas stran ge, in ,,ie,v of thi s d1screpa11cy, that th Agent of the I talian Govern1nent v,rl10 ,vas certainly a,vare of it had not brought for,varcl here the ,;vitness who ,vas the real victin1 . . . . tion It ,vas also c urio u s that tl1 e Air Force officers ,vl10 had tal�en part 111 the ac 1


11ad not been brougl1 t over, ,vhereas one _A._ir Force officer had been brot1gl1t wl10 }1ad seen nothi 11g since ]1 e \vas 11ot tl1 ere. Tl1 e sa111 e re1nark applied to tl1 e Italian officers ,vl10 were i11 con11 nand of tl1 e ta11Ls and \vl1ose evidence ,vould l1 ave been interesti11g. l\.1r. JEZE wondered wl1y tl1ey l1 ad not bee 1 1 brougl1 t over. Mr. LESSONA pointed out tl1at it was impossible to deJ)rive I taliar1 Son1 aliland of its best of-ficers for tl1 ree 1non tbs. Mr. ]EZE said that, in bri11 ging in witresses, tl1e Agent of the Italian Govern­ me11t had chosen precisely tl1ose \vho J.·ad seen 11otl1ing, ,vhereas lie had not brougl1 t in the \vitnesses \vl10 had seen. Tl1e l\rbitrators \vould draw their o,vn conclusio 11s. Mr. ]EZE added tl1 at it ,vas curiot1s also to olJserve tl1at this version of the se 11 try was first produced on August 24, 1935. He did not know wl1y tl1is ac­ count l1 ad been changed !)ut ,vould point out tl1 at tl1 ere was a contradiction and a ratl1er st1bstantial one involved. It \va5 ct1 rious also that tl1 e Somali N. C. 0. s heard I1 ere (i11 Bern) l1 ad una11in1 ously s:ated tl1 at they v.,ere all at the extre 1 ne right of the li 1 1e, a few metres behind tl1 e iree and all standi11g up keeping a ,vatd1 on tl1 eir rnen. l'vir. Ji.i:ZE wondered 1 10,v 1nany N. C. O.'s there could l1 ave been in the \vhole line of I ,500 metres1 if there were as 1nany as five or six in a space of a fe\v metres. Besides1 it l1 ad been asse�ted here tl1at at the first \iolley all the N. C. O.'s had been k·illed. Yet tl1ey h,1d seen tl1ese N. C. O.'s l1ere and they were i 11 excellent health. Tl1ere was, tl1us, anotl1er contraclition \vhich he wished to point out to the Ai·bitrators. All tl1 is evidence, l1owever, seen1ed stra1ge. I-low did it co1ne that, tl1roughout the wl1ole of this business, there was not )ne officer in the line? 1'he reason was tl1 at tl1 ey were engaged in 111aking ready to co 111e. It was stated tl1at they ca 1 ne only as soon as they l1eard tl1e rifle-sl1 ot. But to l1 ear a rifle-sl1ot at a distance of fourteen kilon1 etres 011e n1 ust really l1 av� a very good ear. Major Ci1nmaruta had certainlJ, acute hearing and it was probable that tl1e otl1 er officers would not l1ave heard \vitl1 sucl1 clear11ess, realizing in1mediately tl1 at a11 attack ,vas being made. Captain Cin1n1aruta arrived imnediately but the aeropla11 es and ta 11 lcs arri, 1ed before 11i1n. Ivfr. ]EZE recalled il1 at 1\1r. DE L. .\PRADELLE l1 ad asked a very defi1 1ite question in order to learn wl1e11 those machines l1ad arrived and had been told in reply that tl1ey arrived before Captai11 Ci1nn1aruta. 1 Ivlr. ]EZE drew the Arbitrators attention to tl1ese circu1nstances to sl1ow tl1at tl1e aggression was most certainly the act of tl1e Italians. \N'arlike acts had defi.nitel)' been committed, conducted \ritl1 extreme energy, seeing tl1 at tl1ere were aeroplanes and tanks, tl1ough Captain Cimmaruta wl10 l1ad sent then1 cot1ld not know ,vhat l1ad happened since he w�s not tl1ere and l1ad only arrived subse­ quently. It migl1 t have happened that a hunter l1 ad fired-as had already oc­ curred-and tlien tlie Italian officer tl1 rev his instru 1 nents of ,var ir1 to the attack \Vithout realizing in tlie first place v, it was a hunter ,vl1 0 had fired or an aggression ,vl1 ich l1ad been com1 nitted. Mr. JEZ.E said that Captain Cim 1naru1a seemed to him embarrassed \vhen l1e - would recon1 n1e 11d tl1e l1ad to reply to the definite questions p1t to hin1 . Ile Arbitrators to per·use pages 23, 24, et seq. 1)f the mint1tes of the meeting of At1gust 23, which ,vere drafted vef)' correctly an1 very clearly. Thus, tl1e tanks and aeroplanes bad arrived on the spot before Major Cim1


25, 1935


maruta; tl1 e l atter did not know exac�tl y ,vli at had happened. Th at seemed to , . Mr. ]EZE strange. It seen1ed to l1 in1 to be the ex. ecut·10n o f a program o f aggres. . alre ady planned, i.e., whe11 tl1e ps� ycto sion 'cac l mon1ent· seemed to l1a,,e ar• log ·i rived a ll n1e a 11s of wa r ,vere put into action. The N · C. 0.'s h a� given :tl1 eir testin1 011J, .n a rather confused way IJecause tl1ey could not be as precise �s witnesses ,vho ,ve,e educated persons. Til ey explai ned as best th�y could but 111 a very vague way. It ,vould be interesting to cl ear up _ this question o f the first shot. Personally he bel ieved that the presence of the aeroplanes and tan ks fitted in very ,veil ,vith the evidence wl1 ich had been sub­ mitted by tl 1e Ethiopian Governn1 ent regarcling what had happened son1e da.ys before the attack. f\ccording to the e,,idence of certai11 ,vit11esses deserters from the Ital ian l ines ,vl10 had arri,,ed i11 the Ethiopian lines, Captain Cin1 maruta would appear to have inade a speech to his cu bats and N. C. O.'s a11d to have told the111: "I(eep quiet; it ,vil l be 1ny ,veapons ,,I1ich ,viii be used ,vhen they are there. It ,vill be '\\1e ,vho will n1ake ,var and ,viii a:tack. Keep quiet: if they resist, we ,vill wipe tl 1en1 out." I t ,voul d have been very interesting to inquire into this point. 'fhe representati,:e of the Italian G+)vern1nent, rnoreo,,er, had the dubats there, those perhaps ,vhc, l 1ad been present a.t that speech of Captain Cin11naruta at Warder and it ,vould IJe interesting to k110,v if tl1e:y had heard tl1ose remarks. The Ethiopian Government had produced Evidence; ,vhat had happe11ed fitted in ,vitl1 tl1e speecl1 made by Captain Cin11naruta son1 e tin1 e previously. The us e of mechanized weapons ,vas tl1 e execution of the program announced l1y Captain Cimmaruta at \i\larder; it had IJeen purely and simply put into effect. l\1r. }EZE then said that l1 e ,vas surprised at tl 1e Agent of the Italian Govern­ ment remarking tl1 at he thougl1t it unl ilcely that the ,vords "ii. fcrra" and uf1toco" could l1 ave been heard in tl 1e Ethiopia11 camp; according to hin1 it \Vas i1nprobabl e that peopl e '\\'ho did not kno,v Itali an ,votild understand such orders. .l\tl r. J i.::z'E pointed out, however, that in tl1e French cdored arn1y there ,vere not verj' n1any orders. A minin1 um lc 110,vledge of the lan�uage ,vas taught to tl1e soldiers and the orders wer e al,va)'S gi,ren in Fre11 cl1. 'Ihe soldiers possibly did not kno,v the language but t11 ey,v the 111ilitary orders. Frencl1 officers did 11ot give orders in tl1e language of tl1 e 11a ti,,es; they said, fer instance: " Portez-arn1es ! " and the to soldiers knew wl1 at 1noven1 ent they had tJ execute. I t ,vas not necessary n1 ake a speech but to give very simpl e orC:ers and these ,vere al ,vays issued in French. 1 011y l 1eard ,vas of no advantin tes :he t tl1a ed n ai int 01a ZE JE r. 1\!I In conclusion , tage to tl1 e Italia11 ca se and ratl1 er helpful :o the Ethiopian.. . l 1ich ,vas, he said, ,,e': i1nportant. ,v , int po nd co se e th to ed n r tu f\1r. ]EZE th en 1e t e of nc de as evi e lu va e th d � se es str d ha t en n1 The Agent of tI1 e Italian Govern v! r. Rava had also dra,v11 tl1e Co1nn1i� ­ d n I a 1 p 1 letters fouii d in tJ1 e deserted ca 1 lop this ve de . to · le ab en be r fa so t no d ha ZE ]E r 1 . ·ion t o tl1i·s po s1on ' s at· t ent· . int • rv· · e,v should i t v l1a r ,, v. o, kn t ye t ·nt, no d di he n , e ng ni ,e e, } 1 at Sc 1 . . for, as 11e h ad sa·d . poi ke inqui:ies m ad to d h ha e H s. nt rre cu do � e es th be tal{en of the au tl 1e 11 ticity of . . i ne nu ge g i be of gn si y er ev ed ,v sh t� . � � and he could say no w tl 1at these documen _ in g ard g re t bu ny de t i no d d he 1 cl l1i \V of Tl1ere was one o f th em , the authenticity �· urar•1 Alemai·o. lv"Vhen , of Fi ta d, bo e •t u on J d n ou f 1 } at t · s: ion at wh·1cl1 he made reserv ld thus 1,ave been ou w it ; n1 hi on l a te s I1i this cl1ief w as killed the Italians found 1



possible to write a letter and affix the seal to it. Bt1t the Ethiopia11 Gov:rnn1 ent did not 111 ake that assertion: it 011ly said that it v.1as n'?t absolute!)' certain about the autl1 enticit1' of tl1e letter. Tl1e otl1 er clocume11ts, however, were autl1entic. These letters ,vere of two l<lnds. Sorne were an exchange of personal senti­ n1 ents and tl1 ere v.rere otl1ers 1 011 wl1icl1 tte Agent of tl1 e Italian Gover11n1 ent had laid special stress, wl1ich v.rere orders. 1'11 ese were orders sent on November 17 and 20, 1934, by Fitaurari Shiferra to Fitaurari Alemaio and Fitat1rari Tessa1na. T\1 r. JEZE proposed to start ,vith the letters vvl1ich bore a personal ch.aracter. In a private letter Fitaurari Alemaio, wh) l1 ad been on tl1e spot for several days I)ast in tl1e presence of tl1 e Italian soldier�, wrote that, as was said, the guns ,vere loaded on botl1 sides, t11 e two lines ,vere w:1.tcl1ing one anotl1er, etc. It ,vas not at all surprising tl1 at he sl1 ould say that son1 etl1ing bad ,vas goi11 g to l1appen and that prol)ably tl1 ere would be an excl1 ange of rifle-sl1 ots. Tl1at ,vas 11ot eviclence of pre1 neditated aggression on tl1e part o: the Ethiopia,n Governtnent No sur­ prise need be felt that the sentiments of the troops facing one a 11 otl1er were not of the friendliest: the)' ,vere eyeing one anot1er, tl1ere was a feeling of po,vder in tl1e air and that it would explode-it did even explode. It ,vas tl1us understandable tl1 at sucl1 letters could l1 ave been excharged. Tl1 ere was notl1ing surprising in soldiers sa);ing that tl1 ings were serious, that tl1eir lives were in danger, that they must con1mend tl1eir souls to God, etc. He saw no proof, 110,vever, in these docu1nents of an aggression pren1editatec by the Etl1iopian Govern111 ent. Tl1e seco11d class of documents consisted of orders. On tl1is point I'vir. ]EZE could clo 110 n1ore tl1an interpret wl1at h::.d been said by his Governn1 ent. The Ethiopian G,overnn1ent said that in tl1e docu1nent ,vhicl1 l1ad been translated b;' the Italian Governn1ent there ,vas a reference to a "mi Iitar)' e.-xpedition ". The representati,,e of the Italian Govern1nent made his wl1ole argument turn 0 1 1 this point. Tl1e f\ 1nharic expression, l1owev1:r, l1ad been baµJy translated. It ,vas essential to understand ,vhat t11is "expeclitio11 " was. It ,vas a regular thing for the military' cl1iefs to l1ave to invite certain indi,,iduals to appear a11d do military service, furnish an escort, help in collecti11g taxes, etc. 1�11e cl1ief then ask :ed to be inforn1ed ,vho 11ad and ivl10 had not 1nade an appearance. Sucl1 \'.vere the orders whicl1 were contained in the docnn1ents submitted to tl1e Con1 mission. Tl1at did not 1 nean at all that there was an organized expedition; it ,,,as simpl)' a summons to people to come and perform a service of the nature describecl. l\1f r. JtzE wondered if there ,vas reall:; an)' grcJt1nd for building Uf) 011 sucl1 docun1ents all tl1e argun1ents advanced by the Agent of tl1e Italian Govern111 ent. As far as l1e was concerned he would lea\'e it to tl1 e l\rbitrators to decide. Mr. ]EZE then turned to the third poi1t. I-le ,vas sorry to l1ave to say here that what he l1 ad l1eard fro1 n the lips of l\1r. Rava had cat1sed l1 in1 the greatest as­ tonishment. In his vie\\', after having he:ard tl1ose words, tl1 e Wal \,\Ta] incident was completely cleared tip. He could seethat an aggression had been com1 nitted and that it had been committed by the ltalians-he ,vas convi11 ced of it. But there was no one there and it was necessaf)' to collect doct1ments a 1 1d inforn1 ation in or�er to bt1ild up argu1nents and to determi11e wl10 ,vas responsible for tl1e ag­ gression. Wl1 e 11 he heard tl1e state1 nents 11 1ade by i\1r. Rava, fvlr. ]EZE tinder­ stood. The Governor of Somaliland, I'vlr. JEzt we11t on, l1ad a ,vliole network of i 11-


25, 1935


formers and spies in Eth iopian territory and those inforn1ers ,vere 11atives. To be a good spy one l1ad to be intelligent. 1\.1r. ]EZE d id 11ot know whether l\t1r. Rava's informants ,vere ver)' intelligent. Perhaps he l1acl taken the stories of certain native informe�s as tl1 e real article and t11 at ,vas an initial point ,vhicl1 _ affect�d his state of mind . It ,vas, after all, lvI r. Rava wJ10 had given tJ1e in­ structions an� ord ers; he l1 ad not concealed the fact ancl, i 11 any case, it ,vas clear from the Ital1an l\tl e1norandum also. Captain Cin1n1aru ta had bee11 merely his executive agent. The Gover11or's state of mind, t herefore, ,vas explained, in tl1e first place, by the importance ,vhich he attached to the infor1natio11 ,vh icl1 l1e had received f ron1 t h e natives. Tl1ere ,vas also a seconcl point, lvl r. ]EZE continued. I-Te would venture to as­ sert t hat Governor Rava hacl lost h is head co1npletely ,vh en J1e heard that it ,vas a question of a ba nd ,vhose chief ,vas a certain Omar Samantar, wl10 had once l�illed an Italian officer. l\1r. ]EZE understood this feeling of exasperatio11 in the case of a Colonial Governc>r ,vho J1 ad seen one of his officials killed and l1ad then learned that t11e murderer ,vas present i11 the neighborl1oocl. 1\.1oreover, 01nar Samantar ,vas a for1ner Italian agent ,v h o h ad gone over to the enen1y. l\1r. Rava, thus, thoug ht that tl1is was a plot laicl by tl1is agent and that he \.Vas going to be at­ tacked. In addition, 11 0,vever, th ere ,vas the resent1nent felt by an Italian Gov­ ernor against tl1 e neigh boring British aut horities. That ,vas usual in all colonies. In every colony' it might be said tl1at tl1 e officials on the spot lacked sa1ig-fro-id. In th e fi rst place, tJ1 e clin1ate of h ot countries 1nade it an easy matter to lose sa1tg­ froid. (l\!Tr. J EZE apologized at t11is !)Dint for using an expression ,vhich sounded like a pun.) Furth er, the fact t hat colonial officials ,vere in toucl1 ,vith other aut horities led them to l)elieve t h at whatever those aut11orities did ,vas tl1e result of deliberate oppositio11 or rivalry. Colonials were hun1an beings and tl1at be­ lief ,vas understandable but it \.vas essential t hat the Central Govern1nent should closely scrutinize everytl1ing t h at tl1eir officials conjured up so as to recluce it to reasonable pro1)ortions. Continuing his remarks, l\!Tr. ]EZE said that Mr. Rava had laid accusations ,vhic h ,vere really extrao rclinary against Lieute11ant-Colonel Clifford a.nd th e British aut horities. I l- e ,1entured to clra,v the Arbitrators' attention to the state­ ments made b)' l\!Ir. Rava at tl1 e meeting of t h e Co 1nn1ission on August 23. �c­ cording to the minutes of t h at meeti11g, l\!fr. Ra,,a (cf. pages 6 a�� 7 of tl1e 1:1� n­ utes) had referred to a t)olicy of encirclen1 ent practiced by the Br1t1sh �uthor1t1es ancl ai111ed at t he terr itory occupied by the Italians. The tex: t of the minutes \.Vas as follows: fvl r. Ra,,a added th at he felt: bound_ to say all _tl1a� h_e thougl:t. It was necessar to u t it clearly. Lt. Col. Clifford and his 1n1ss1on l1ad s1n1ply been cover of ,v hich r ,400 or r ,500 men l1 acl be:n a�le to reach er uid :n t11e scre . the po�sess1on of tl1es.e vv c l 'and \Varder• ·Natura• llv, •v · l 1,;a h e t 11ne of ,ve11 s a t \xra �• · · h ties o d ,veils ,vould 11 ave been very agreeable t_ o the E! h. 1op1 ans a� the aut � T!1e catitl1orit 1 es of Br1bs h Somaliland had al\.vays 1 and • · Br1· ti·s I1 . orna1·1 1n .· · d to send I ays tr1e . tl:1e practice d a po icy of e,1circlement, i.e. the)' l1 ad a\.v 1 n, ta Br1 at Gre ject to sub es tril) d , ctrr es, I r · b I(a f ? )er ml nu largest possible _ . �11at had not been tl1 e \.Vork: of three . into. t h e area ne xt to I tal1a11 territory or six mo1; �hs or o f a y.�ar ,.. 1't h d been begu11 n1uc h ear1 1er. 11 d of zone of influence a lci ate cre to � wa s i . th 10 g in try re ,ve 1 sl Th e Br1t1 _ e Governor� Tl1 ritorv. ter lian Ita e �h om r f r tie on f r e th on the other side of




of Italian Son1aliland l1ad bee11 a\vare of tl1e fact for a lo11g tin1e past. There had al\vays bee11 disputes on the q.1estion IJecaus� tl1e Briti�l! autl1o_rities clain1ed tl1at all frontier incidents bet,veen tl1ese l\.ab}rles, Br1t1 sl1 subJects, in Ethiopian territory and the fro11ter l(abyles, Italian subjects, should be settled b}' an Anglo-Italian Mixecl Commission. Again, on page 7 of the 1ni1111tes it vvas stated: That, spec1.king c1t1ite frankly, \VaE one of tl1e reas'? ns \vhicl1 l1� d induced the Ethiopia11s to attack tl1e ,veils Jf \\ial \i\!nl, ,vh1 cl1 tl1ey bel1e\1ecl ,,,ere protected by only r40 or r50 dubats. '"fl1 e Etl1iopians ha? been, l1 e ,v?tfld _ not say, pt1shed into this move1 nent, bt1t encot1ragecl 1 n 1t by tl1e � r1 t1sl1 Somalila11d at1tl1orities or, if tl1ey liked, by Lieutenant-Colo11 el Cl 1 fforcl. Mr. ]EZE said tl1 at Tvlr. Rava's state of mind did not surprise l1 i 11 1, as it: ,vas so consistent witl1 tl1 e halJits of local colonia. authorities. If tl1 ey reflected 011 \vl1at happened a1nong Frencl1, British or Belgic.n colonial authorities, it \Vas al\vays the sa111e thing. 1v1inistries were always getting reports about the unclerhand 1na11ret1vres of the e11e1n)r. Unfortunately, it ,vas these perso11s \vl10 did not al,vays l1 ave a clear insight wl10 isst1 ed orders arrl 111ilitary orders. On page II of the 1ninutes, iv1.r. ]EZE ca1 tinued, there ,vere so1ne n1ore declara­ tions by l'vf r. Rava: I-Te cotdd not accuse Lieutenant-Cclonel Clifford of l1a,,ing laid the plot but he could not entirely exclude tl1 e belief tl1 at, as tl1e Clifford iv1ission hacl founcl itself faced by tl1 e intention ,vhicl1 tl1e Ethiopia 11s l1ad cherisl1ed since tl1 e n1ontl1 of August of occupyi11g tl1 e \;Jal \i\Tal-\\Tarder area, it l1ad helpecl i11 facilitating tl1e n1atter. The state 111ent was thus n1ade openly arid seriously that a Britisl1 officer, a man belonging to a nation wl1 ich \vas i11 friendly relations with Italy, Lieutena11t-Colo­ nel Clifford, had COOJ)erated in fa.cilitatir.g an attacl{ by the Etl1 iopia 11 s or1 the Itali ans. Mr. Rava had gone on to say: I-l e had tl1e in1 pression tl1 at the Britisl1 Missio11 had served tl1e purpose of bringing up c1uietl)' all the men tl1ought necessary for carrying out tl1 e plot, v.rhich Lieutenant-Colonel ClifTord not laid but whicl1 was certair1lv part of the Etluopians' designs. IVlr. Rava then ,vent on to prove that t :1is accusation was tl1 e outcon1e of long practical experience; l1 e ,vas an old African official, l1e kne\v tl1e Britisl1 in t11ese qt1estions. rfhat \Vas what 11e thought of the British. Mr. }EZE continued to quote fron1 the \1rords of l\1I r. Rava. 011 page 15 of the mi11utes it was statecl: 1Ie - could not exclucle _ the bel_ie� tl1at, as tl1 e Ethiopia11s' scl1 en1e was re,,ealed tl1at day, the Clifford rv11ss1m l1 ad lent a frie11clly ha11d and abetted '"[hat was quite a different n1atter from a11 accusation of hav­ �he scheme. _ ing laid a plot. Mr. ]EZE observed tl1at l1e could not s<:e any great difrere11 ce !Jut l1 e left it to the Arbitrators to judge t11e state of Mr. Rava's 1nind. 1-Ie added that he had dv1elt on tJ1is point i11 order to sl1 ow that Governor Rava had given orders to the military forces to send troops, tanks, aeropla11es, etc.; J1 e bad sq.i� s9 l1 iJ11si;:lf and h;:id tak{;!n the re:spo11sibility for it. \i\!J1 at se11timents




had led l1i1n to take action? Firstly' J1 e J1 ad acte d • ormat1o • n on tI1e bas1s • · of 1nf • . supplied by natives, seco11 dly, out of a feeling of exasperat'10n aga1nst 01 nar · San1antar and, Iastly, because of tl1e rivalry that ex isted b etwee . n the Ita1·Ian and the British autJ1orities. Hu1 11 an nature ,vas st1cl1, l\1Ir. ]EZE re 1narl<ed t l1 a·t f .· dsh'1p cou Id onIy exis , 11en . · t . t1o na ee ns ,vh1ch were not 11eigh!)ors•, ,vhen nat' bet,v n ions were ne1g · hi)ors, t I1e . . . norm al state of 11 u1nan1ty ,vas ,var · The chief enen1 y was one,s ne1g · hb or. . l\1r. LESSONA said tl1 at he could not mal'--e that stat· · e1nent aI)OUt· F.. ranee, for instance. Mr. ]EZE ,vent on to say tl1at, according to l\1lr. Rava's own sta te 1nent l1e had taken his precautions ancl issued certai11 orders as a result of tJ1 e aggressiv e atti­ tude ass�uned by the Ethiopians. l·Ie so hi111 self in his declarations (page 5 of the minutes): l'!aturally, in f�ce o� such a clisplay of force, the Italian autl1 orities had no option but to believe 1 11 aggressive i r1 ten tions. Tl1 at ,vas all because there ,vere I ,400 or r ,500 1 ne11 in front of the Italian posi­ - confirn1 ed J1is state of mind ,vl1 en he said later (page 8 of the 1ninutes): tions. Ile

\\il1e11 he sa\v that the Ethiopians of the so-called escort clicl not leave with the British l\!lissio11, l1 c \Vas co11firn1ecl in tl1 e in1 pression which he had held for a long ti1ne past regarding tl1e definitely aggressive intentions of tl1e Ethiopians.

That, lVIr.]EZE re1narked, \\'as ho,v the story of tl1 e aggression ,vas concocted. But ,vhat ,vas tl1e attitude 1nainta.ined b)1 these aggressors who were so violent? l\!Ir. Rava described it himself in his further remarks: r[ he first group of these troops then had reached the Italian line held by the dulJats....Tl1ey clrev.r LI!) before a jusbasci on cluty in the line ,vho asl<ed then1 \vl1 ere tl1 ey ,vantecl to go. 1-Ie \Vas told in re1)ly that they had the right to proceed where they lil<ed, since they ,vere in territory belonging to Ethiopia. 1�11e jusbasci poi11ted out to them that they must be a,vare of the fact that tl1 e,, ,vere in Italian territor,,, ,vhich had for several years been peacefully occupied IJy Italy. The Ethiopians did not insist.

Thus these aggressors, at a 1no1nent ,vhen, as a result of their 11 urnerical superi­ ority, they could have brok:en in tl1 e Italian line, n1 eet a single N. C. 0. and with­ dra,v, or do not insist. l\'lr. Ra\ a !1 in1self said (page S of the 1ninutes): The)' hacl then stOJ)ped at the poi_nt ,vhich they_ had reached, i.e. a bare tv:o or three metres a,vay fro111 the hne of the Italian dubats. 1

l'Vlr. ]EZE ,vould point out tha t these people ,vho had been preparing for ag­ gressive action for mo1 1tJ 1 s past ancl ,vho had been l\!Iachia,,ellian enougl1 to im­ plicate a BritisJ1 officer as a ,villing abettor of the aggression l1 ad really sho,vn great 111 oderation; he ,vould not say co,vardice as l1e k:ne,v that the Ethiop�an 1Ir. Rava from ma 1ng l\ ted en e,, pr t � no ad 1 l at Th troops ,vere particularly brave. r, d d fin1tely arrangen1ents a 11d issuing niilitary orders. 1\llr. l�ava,_ 1noreove ha : s): ute min the of 8 ge (pa d sa1 had I-Ie en. giv ers ord assun1ed responsibility for tl1 e d not witl1drawn ,vith ha �n n1 00 1,� of rt co es led al -c so e th The fa ct that yord�r _for �� ss ce e ne th ue iss to 111 ]11 ecl cid de ad 1 } d or Lieutena· nt-Coloilel Cliff 7hen the Br1l.Isl1 IvI1ss1on \,\ . er rd Va l-\ c 'a v\ al rein · forc1ng tl1e J ta1·1a11 post at W

Tl-fE vVAL vV1-\L •.i.\RBITR.ATION

can1 e on tl1 e spot, tl1 e JJost of \,Val vVal-\i\farder ,,.,as l1eld IJy I 50 to 200 men. It ,vas \Vl1e11 l1 e sa,v tl1e re1Jorts coining i11 day after clay about tl1e i11 flux of regular a11d irregular Etl1iopian trOOJ J? that ]1e (Mr. Rava) l1_ ad tl1ougl1 t tI1at it would be {Jrudent to se11d up add1l1onal 1nen, a few 111 acl1111e-guns, and to l1ave aeroplanes in the neig11borl1ood. Actually tl1 ere were only tl1 ree machine-gt111s: two at \i\lal \,Val and one at v\1arder. . . vVhen l1 e sa,v tl1at tl1e Ethiopians of tl1e so-called escort cl1d not leave with the British 1\/Jission, he was confirn1ed in tl1e impressio11 whicl1 l1e had l1ad for a long tin1 e past regarding the definitely aggressive intentions of tl1e Ethio• p1ans. TJ1 ere, said l\tl r. JEZE, tl1ey had tl1e origin of the incidents and tl1ere was tl1 e explanation of the speech made by I\1ajor Cimmaruta. Tl1ere was the man wholly responsible for the occurrences. Tl1at explanation was not only natural and l1uma11 but it was also confirmed by tl1e state1nents made by Mr. Rava. Thus rv1r. Rava, wl1ose e,ridence he had tl1ougl1t was absolutely unnecessary, had proved to be a witness of tl1 e greatest importa11 ce because he l1ad tl1 rown a strik­ ing ligl1t on the incidents at \Val \Val. But there was still somethi11g more, said Mr. JtzE. I-lad tl1 e Ethiopia11s, full of the spirit of aggressio1 1 referred to by 1\/Jr. Rava, taken advantage of tl1 e pres­ ence of tl1e British? If tl1e British 11ad been their accon1 plices, tl1e Etl1 iopians' game was very si111ple: tl1 ey l 1ad only to attack witl1 the complicity of tl1 e British and imJ)licate the Britisl1 flag in tl1e bt1siness. It was in tl1 e i11terest of the Ethi­ opian Govern1nent tl1at tl1 e Britisl1 Government shot1lcl be involved along witl1 it. The Etl1iopian Go, ern1nent, 11 0\J.rever, l1ad taken no advantage of the presence of the Britisl1 . Tl1e local authorities had not lJel1aved as thot1gl1 tl1 ey cl1 erished aggressive intentions-not at all. The Wal vVal incident l1ad only occurred te11 days after tl1 e Britisl1 left. \i\Tl1en l1e (l\tlr. ]EZE) l1ad said tl1at the aggression l1ad occ11rred i1n111 ediatel}' after tl1 e British witl1dre,v, he meant to say sor11 e tin1e after; actually, the Etl1 iopians and Italians l1 ad ren1 ained facing each otl1 er an­ other ten days ,vithout fighting. Tl1us, if, taking advantage of tl1e presence of the British and of the ,vealcness of tl1e Italian troops, tl1e Etl1iopian troops had ,vanted to move forward, they ,vould have routed their adversaries. Tl1ey l1ad not done so. On tl1 e contrary, in vie,v of the fact that tl1e Ethiopians remained quiet and peaceful in front of the Italian li11e, Captain Cin1 n1 aruta had felt that l1e could go off and not leave a single ,vhite officer or N. C. 0. in tl1e line. Tl1 at ,vas a Ver}' serious matter. l\t1r. ]EZE wondered wl1 etl1er, at a time ,vhe11 a11 aggres­ sion n1 ight be com1nitted and very serious conseqt1ences ensue, it ,vas ,vise or pruclent for an officer or a governn1 ent to lea,,e natives together wl10 e.xchanged insults all daJ, long (wl1 ich 1night lead to ar1 exchange of blows) without a ,vl1ite officer in co1nmand. Actually, no aggression by the Etl1iopians was appre­ hended. The essential point \vas to give the deadly weapons whicl1 were being concentrated tirne to con1 e up. \Vl1 e11 they actually clid arrive Captain Cim­ n1aruta brougl1 t tl1 em into action in111 1ediately without hin1self ascertaining wl1etl1er tl1 ey should be employecl, and the attack was lau11 ched. 1�1 1at ,vas 110w it all J1appened. It \Vas onl )' necessary to liste11 to tl1 e depositio11 s and compare tl1e1n witl1 the doct1ments tabled by tl1 e Etl1 iopian Govern111 e11 t. l\t{r. ]EZE drew attention, further, to one fact regarding the legal case built up by Mr. Lessona. He thought it strange tl1at all tl1e 1naps edited by tl1e Italia11 1


2 5, 1935


Gover11me11t until recen tlv - s110\.ved tl1e f ro11tier, \"l · s th.ere was no f ronuer · ea .,, i er �= ·1n . the map sl1own publ1shecl br tl1e Italian Go,,ernn1ent also in 1 9,, . 4 Tl1at \.vas a very �trange circumstance. In 1932 lvlr. Carosell had publi i shed a _ book Fer�o e Ftto co 1'lt Son1alia_ ,vitl1 a pref ace b)' General De Bono and a 111 ap an­ nexed wl1icl1 s110,ved tl1e frontier. In 1934 he published a ne,v inap on w}1icl1 the frontier was no longer sho,vn. It see111ed t � hi�, tl1erefore, to be clear, and the Arbitrators would say \.vhat they felt on thi� po� r1t, that the aggression l1acl been planned for a long ti1ne past. _ n t mainta tha I-le did in t tl1e \Val vVal incident itself l1 ad been prepared l)ut an � opportunity for a fight was sot1gl1t, a preteJl.1: was souglrt and that prete.xt ,vas to _ serve to give Italy control o,,er Ethiopa. The first excuse ,vould be excellent and ,vhen it occurred it ,vould be seized. Tl1at ,vas tJ 1 e explanation of the \Val \,\la} incident. I'v1r. LESSONA pointed out tl1at, as it had not been demarcated on the spot, the frontier ,vas arbitrary. l\1r. ]EZE said tl1 at the Arbitrators still had at their disposal several persons ,vho had bee11 brougl1 t t o Bern. If they felt tl1 at they should be heard, he hacl no objection; it might be of i11terest. l-Ie hi1nself had nothing more to add as the legal case wl1icl1 he l1ad subn1itted seen1 ed to l1i111 to be sufficient. I-le dissociatecl himself fron1 the legal ·vie,,,s expressed by the Agent of the Italian Government \.vhicl1 l1 e thougl1t ,vere extremely dangerous. Tl1e Arbitrators would state the law on the subject ,vhen they pronounced on tl1e incidents which were the main subject of tl1eir 111 ission. Mr. LESSON,-\ said tl1at he could give a reply to l\1I r. Jeze but he \.Vas afraid that this '\\'ould dra,v a rejoinder from the Agent of the Etl1 iopian Governn1ent and protract the case indefinitely. I-Ie felt, n1oreover, that the Comn1ission had been sufficiently inforn1 ed by the staten1ents ,vl1icl1 l1ad already been made. In any case, if the Con1n1ission ,vishecl to have further i11forr11ation fro111 tl1e Italian Gov­ ernn1ent he ,vas at its disposal, as ,vere also tl1e ,vitnesses. [fvlr.


and Mr. ]EZE left the room.]

Mr. POTTER said t11at l1e ,vould liJ.�e to as!{ Major Cin1maruta a question but he would not insist if the other 1ne1nbers of the Con1rnissio11 wished to declare the case closed. v f lr. DE LA PRADELLE said tl1at, fron1 the juridical standpoint, a full staten1 ent had been given of tl1e Italian case. There ,vas nothing wl1ich called for a reply seeing that t11e Ethiopia.11 l1ad rested upon his pre,,ious _ p_osition; tl1ere l1ad ­ been no close fighting. Accordingly, l1e sa,v no need for a reJ01nder to tl1e de_cla rer, tl1a t t11ere were questions e, how , felt s wa it If ts. gen \ !r the rations made b ) be do11e by the ,vhich s}1ould be ptit to the witnesses, he would prefer this to Agents t11e 1nselves. be cleared up should ld cou l1 1ic v1l ng thi ery ev t tha ht ug tho DI AN OV DR AL t Coun 1at he l1ad be cleared up. As far as I1e was concer11ed 11e ,vas satisfied witl1 ,vl heard. rn1 tion. l\1r. l\1oNTAGNA sa id tl1 at he too had sufficient info � . g t11e case of din ar ils reg ta de er rth ft1 ve ha to e lik uld e 1 I Mr. POTTER said that

1 44


the sentry. I-Ie would like to kno,v ,vhytl1 at soldier l1ad been wounded so lightly and to learn all tl1e circun1stances of tl1e case. Mr. DE L.t\ PRADELLE y,,ould like to htve particulars about tl1e flight over Ado seeing tl1at the officer ,vho had made the fligl1t ,vas tl1ere; l1e ,vot1ld lik:e to ask: l1 im what 11ad led I1im to drop bon1bs, how he had realized that tl1ere v;as a 1nenace impending and how l1e had carried out his action. Cou11 t ALDROVANDI said that tl1ey 1n:gl1t start by questioning tl1 e dubat \\1ho was not present at the last meeting. [Sergeant Omar ABDlJLL,\H was brought i11 .] Mr. DE Ll\ PRADELLE asked at what :ioint i11 tl1e line the ,vitness '\\1as posted. Omar ABDULLAH said tl1at he ,va.s in �he middle of tl1e line but more t<)\vards tl1e rigl1 t. Tvlr. DE LA })RADELLE asked whetl1 er the witness had seen tl1e sl1ot. 01nar ABDULLAI-. I replied that l1e l1ad seen it. Mr. DE LA PRl\DELLE vvantecl the witness to explain wl1etl1er l1e l1ad seen it or merely heard it. 01nar ABDULLAH said that he ,vas ,vall1ing bel1ind tl1e line whe1 1 l1e l1eard a shot, looked round and saw. Mr. DE I...A PR.<\DELLE aslced ,vhat l1aC: l1e seen. Omar ABDULLAI:! said that he l1ad seen the sentr)r fall to the ground. ivlr. DE l...A PRADET�LE asked ,vl1etl1er the ,vitness sa,v a gun pointed in tl1e sentry's direction. Omar ABDULLAI:! said that l1e sav1 a gun pointed, the shot was fired, and the sentrv fell. Mr. l\1oNTAGNA asked in wl1 at language the military orders were given. On1ar ABDULL,\FJ ans,vered that orders were given in Son1ali. Mr. ]EZE inquired in what language Grders ,vere given at drill. On1a.r ABDULL.IB said tl1at tl1e orders ,vere given i 1 1 Somali. O,nar J{UL:?.<IL<\, the i11terpreter, expltlned that tl1e dubats knevv only four orders in I ta! ian : "r'\ttentio n! ", Present arms! ", Ground arn1s! ", " Disn1iss ! ". Mr. DE LA PRADELLE observed that those ,,,ere the orders given at drill i11 time of peace but he ,vould like to kno,v in ,vhat language orders were given during action, e.g. the order "Fire!". Tl1e INTERPRETE.R and 01nar ABDULL.\H said that st1cl1 orders ,vere also given in Somali. .Nlr. ]EZE tl1ought that this ,vas rather i1nprobable, seeing that the officers cer­ tainly had to give orders in tl1eir ow11 tc, 11gue. Mr. I...ESSONA explained that tl1e dubats ,vere not regular troOJ)S; the)' were ir­ regular militia wl1 0 were only gi,1en elementary 1nilitary training. £,,en in battle they were always tinder tl1e direct command of tl1e native N. C. O.'s. 1


[On1ar ABDULLAH left tl1e room.


l\1ajor CIMMARUTA was brought in.]

Count ALoROVANDI asked in what lanbuage orders were given to tl1e soldiers in the line whe .n it was a case of firing or going into action.



1 45

M a jor Cih-I1fARUTA s aid that he n1ust assuine tll at ti1e forces \Vere composed of . irregular troo ps . The l{abyles ,•,h ·• o ,v · atche d t•he fro ntier · ,vere not given real, .. . . proper, nJilitary trai11ing. The dubats \ver e not u nder the direct comman d of an An o�ficer coinn1anded several gro ups. Th o fficer e san1e was tr ue of the : Somalis ,vl10 did 11ot know Italia11 and orders could no t be given in that lan­ gua ge. The sergeants t1sed Son1ali for all tl1 e various orde rs of a military nat ure. rvr r. JEZE ,:vondered ,vl1ether there ,vas not a kind of contr acliction between the declarations of l\1ajor Ci 111rr1aruta and tl1ose of Governor Rava ,vho had said that the troops ,-vere splendidly clisci1)lined and trained, even better than the European troops. l\1a �o r CIMl\IARUTi\ replied that the fact: of the orders having been given in _ Somali cl1d not n1ean that: the troops ,vere undisci1) lined. t\ distinction should be n1ade bet,vee11 for1 11al and sulJstantial disci1Jline. f\ 1nong the troo1)s formal discipline ,vas ,,irtually abolishecl but tl1e s ubstantial discipline was iron in char­ acter. lvlr. J EZE thought tl1 at it ,vas of prin1ar) in1portance that military orders should be brief, q u ick, and executed pro1111)tly; for tl1 at reason they could not be trans­ n1itted as tl1 ey \VOttld lose in incisiveness and effectiveness. It ,vas 11ecessar�', therefore, tl1at tl1ere sl1ould be direct contact bet\veen the officers and men and to that end it \Vas esse11tial tl1at the orclers should l)e understood by the men. Even tl1ough the soldiers did not understand the language they understood those orders -after all. tl1ey \Vere not nu111erous. �[he order" Fire!" 111ust be carried out im­ mediately if a volley ,vas to be fired by all tl1e n1en. I-le could not in1agine a firing order given by an officer in his o,vn language and then translated by an N. C. 0. into another la11guage. It \V,1s not necessary to n1al{e long s 1Jeeches but to say a few very simJJle \vords lil{e "A terra! Fttocol" Tl1e order \Vas the 11 c.1uick: and incisive and coulcl be i1nn1ediately put into exec u tion. l\:1ajor Cii\1111ARUTA said tl1at the san1e result could be olJtained even if the order \Vas given i11 S0111ali. Co u11t f\LDROV,\NDI asked \vhat langu age was spol{en by the sergeants. l\1ajor C1.r,1111ARUTA re1Jlied tl1at they SJJOl{e Son1, :t!i because they co uld not make themselves understood in another language. 1�11e result \Vas the same beca use, \Vhether they ,vere given in Italian or Son1ali, the orders ,vere in1mediately exe­ c u ted. lvlr. DE LA PR,\DEI.LE asked ,vl1ether, ,vhen Italian officers were present, the latter gave orders in Italian to the sergeants who then repeated them in Somali. rge nts l\Jajor Crr-,fi\{ARU1'.<\. explained that tl1e orders ,vhicl1 ,vere given to the se � rs. die the of sol nd n1a com ect dir in not re we s cer offi tl1e ce sin , ers ord ere e not tru \V The officers exiJlained to the sergeant \vhat had to be done an� tl1e se�geant �hen u e direct t translated the orders received into S01nali, b ut the officer did no iss orders. . on ati lan xp ble ba e pro be to 1 hin to m � see � t no did s i\tlr . ]EZE sa id that thi at land. The "capi co 1,-zanda, 1ite" \Vere only sergeants �r some�l11 ng of th _ . 1 the special organ1zat1on tl \Vi ed int a qu ac be to d ha e on at 1 tJ l\:Ir. LESSON.'\ said e \vo uld be ez J r. se Ivl ca at tl1 in ; ris ka As t no re \Ve ey 1 TI . of these irr egtilar tr oops 1


rigl1 t. 1 11 the case of dubats, l1 owever, the direct con1 mand of the soldiers ,vas in the l1ands of the "capo coma1ida1ite." l\1r. ]EZE said tl1at, in tl,at case, during tl1 e figl1t tl1 e officer would have to ask the "capo conia11.da·1ite" to tell tl1e soldiers what to do. Ivlajor ClM?>.f,\RU'fA remarked tl1at tl�e san1e tl1ing occurred \Vhen orders were transn1itted, for insta11ce, from tl1 e battalion to a com1)any. 111 r. JEZE said that tl1 e officer co111 1 11 ancling 111 ust al,vays l)e responsible. l\'lajor C11it11-1ARUTA replied that tl1 e .vl1ite officer l)ore tl1e responsibility. In point of fact, if anything happened contrary to tJ1e orders gi,,en, the officer ,votilcl have to repeat tl1e order but could not drectl)' address the soldiers except through the sergeant. Mr. ]EZE said that he did 11ot quite urrlerstand hov,r sucl1 an arra11gement ,votild work during the fight. Major Cr1,r1IARUTA stated tl1 at it \Vas in1 possible to act differently for tl1 e sim­ ple reason tl1 at the officer clid not speal, tl1 e language of tl1 e soldiers and the sol­ diers did not SJ)eak the language of tl1e officers. Mr. MONTAGNA ask:ed wl1at attitude was taken tip by tl1e ar1 11ed Etl1 iopians ,;i,,)1 en they arrived at tl1 e wells. Major CIMMAR.UTA said that, before proceeding to Wal \Val lie l1 ad invited Colonel Clifford to 111 eet l1in1 in tl1e e,r<:11ing. Before the reply ,vas received an exchange of sl1ots toolc place bet,vee11 the Italian and Etl1iopian patrols. \,Vl1 en he heard the firing 11 e did 11ot wait for Colonel Clifford's reply but clin1 IJed in to the lorry and left i 1 nmediately for Wal \Va. to see w11at l1 ad l1appe 11ed betvree11 the Comn1 ission and tl1 e dubats. That \Va3 011 tl1 e morni11 g of the 24tl1 . When he arrived at \,\lal Wal l1 e dro"e up to tl1e fort and sulJsequently made inquiries of a J usbasci in the line of ar11ed men. \Vl1 en l1e reached the post 11e fot1nd about sixty dubats under the orders of a sergeant trying to l1old back a crowd of arn1ed Ethiopians wl1 0, with le,1ellecl rifles, \Vere trying to seize the neigl1IJoring ,veils. 1-Ie ,vent along the ,,I1 ole line a11d realized tl1 e gravity of the situatio11. That was why he had \vritten a second 11ote and sent a ,,erbal message to Colonel Clifford inforn1 ing l1 i1n that, having arrived at \iVal \iVal and not l1 aving received an}' reply, he ,visl1ed to speaH to him in1 111ediately. Colonel Clifford replied tl1at l1e l1 ad already sent a letter 1naking a11 appoint111ent ,vi tl1 l1 i111, a letter ,vhicl1 I,ad crossed ,vitl, l1is arrival. In any case tl1 e Colonel e11c]osed a copy of his letter and renewed the invitation to co11 1e to l1is ca111p. Major C11-1AfARUT.i\ had therefore gone out on tl1 e nntor-lorry and was preparing to cross tl1 e Italian line in order to enter the Ethiopan can1p. Suddenly tl1 e Etl1iopian sol­ diers pointed their guns at l1 im and orcered hin1 to J1 alt. An Ethiopian officer came UJJ a11d he told the officer that }1€ wisl1 ed to speak to the Britisl1 colonel. The officer replied tl1at he had orders to escort l1i111, climbed into tl1 e lorry and brought l1i1n to the Britisl1 camp. ! □mediately l1 e met the Britisl1 colonel, l\i1ajor CIM!rlARUTA acquainted l1i111 wi:}1 tl1e seriousness of tl1 e sitt1atio11 and asked l1 im if he had seen the li11 e of arrned men which was standing read)' "'ith rifles cocked. Mr. ]EZE thougl1 t that there must l)e a confusion l1 ere and that i\.1ajor Ci 111111a­ ruta \Vas probably referring to anotl1er incident. Mr. Rava t 1 ad said tl1at it ,vas a native N. C. 0. whrJ had stopped the Etl1 iopian troor)s.




Count ALDROVANDI said tl1 at Governcr Rava had described the events of Noven1ber 22 , ,v l1ereas lvlajor Cin1 maruta va,s referi· i'ng to N oven1 ·ber 23. M aJor · . Ctmmaruta wa s not tl1ere on November 22• Major Cil\fMARUTA confir1ned that l1 e w1s referring to No veinber 23. _ lVIr. MONTAGN;\ pointed out that he l1a:I askecl wl1at was tl1e attitude of the armed Ethiopia11s during th e first incident, on the first day. Cot1nt ALDRO\'ANDI said that 1\!Iajor Cim1naruta had, 011 the contrar)', replied . ,v1th an accot1nt of ,vhat l1ad l1 appened on the 23rd. M�. POTTER \\'anted to k110,v ,vl1y tl1e sentry had been so ligl1tly ,vounded. \Vas 1t perl1aps becat1se the EthioJ)ian sol�ier was a bad shot? lv1ajor CIMMARUTA said tl1 at it ,vas ver} si1n ple; the sentrv as soon as he saw the rifle pointed at him made a n1ovement on the tree and -fell off, so that the bullet only grazed him slightly. �1r. ]EZE said tl1at this was a possible e.xplanation but tl1 at 1\!Iajor Cirn1naruta could not be positive as l1e had not seen i:. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE asked Major Cin1naruta whether he himself had had an opportu11it)r of questioning the ,vounded nian. lvlajor C111l\-IARU'f."\. said that l1e had interrogated almost all the dubats and therefore the wounded man also, and that they had all repeated the sa111e thing. T\-1r. ]EZE asked l1ow it came that tl1 ere were t,vo , ersions: the one of the sol­ dier ,vho rose up and fired a sl1ot as a signal and the other the version of the sen­ try. �1ajor CIMM,\RUTA explained that tl1e irst report ,vas sent by telegraph; it might be that it had referred to a shot in tlie air witl1out making it clear that ac­ tually tl1 e sJ1ot was fired at a du bat. It wa� a confusion that he could not account for other,•.-ise. l\lf r. ]EZE observed tJ1at it was all due totl1e fact that there was no one on the spot wl10 could now give exact infor1natior. l\!1r. I�ESSON A did 11ot tl1 in k tl1ere ,vas ary contradiction. It 1nigh t ver}' ,vell be t11at tl1 e Ethio1)ian soldier ,vl10 l1ad stoo:l up to fire had discharged his rifle in the direction of the tree ,vithout J1aving even seen tl1e sentry. lvfr. ]EZE said that, according to tl1e statements of ,vitnesses, trees in that dis­ trict were n1 ore of the nature of busl1es, i.e., not very high. If a soldier fired on son1eone wl10 was on a tree, l1e must l1ave done it from a prone position. No one ,vould get UJ) to fire a shot poi11t blank. 1

[lvfajor PoRRu-Loccr was brought in.) lvlr. DE LA PR 1\DELLE ,vished to ha,re a fLller and n1 ore detailed explanation of ,vhat had induced the lv1ajor to drop bomts on Ado. fvfajor PoRRu-Loccr said tl1at tl1e L1ombsw� re not dro� ped exact� y on.Ado but . in the neigl1borl1ood of Ado. The track lecd1ng from \�1 al v\tal to ,� do had been _ _ _ controlled by patrols of dubats. \,Vith a vie\v to avo1d1ng possible 1nc1dents the patrols had been replaced by air reconnais�ances. These la� ier l1ad been made on tl1 e evening of the 6th, the morning of :he ith, the dayt11ne of the 8th, etc. _ During til e reconnaissances made in tl1e afternoon of the 6t� 1, the morning of the 7tJ1 and the evening of the 7tl1 no troop move1nents of any importance had i)een


noticed but onl)' corpses and objects abandoned along tl1e road, rnarking tl1e fligl1t of the Etl1iopians. On the 111or11 ing of tl1e 8tl1, l10\ve·1.rer, a J)atrol ,vas observed alJout four or five kilo1netres away from Ado making for tl1 e Italian li11e. The plane, tl1 erefore, fle\.v lo,,r in order to see "'l1at tl1 ese 1ne11 ,vere doing, IJecause tl1 ey \Vere 1noving towards Ado. It was absolute!)' essential to desce11 d as in that district the busl1 was very dense and 1nen could, tl1erefore, ,,ery easily l1ide u11der tl1e trees \.vhen an aeroplane aJ)peared. 1�11e crew l1ad tl1en clearly seen tl1ose n1en firing at tl1e aeropla11e. But, as tl1 ougl1 tl1at ,vere not sufficie11t, tl1e crev,r 11oticed tl1at tl1e me11 l1 ad fired at the aeroplane because a shot l1ad pierced tl1e rigl1t ,ving leavi11g a distinct hole some 25 ce1rtin1etres awa)' from the J)ilot's seat. Major PoRRU-Loccl l1 ad tl1en ordered tl1e observer to drop a bomb. To do so successfully it \Vas necessar}' to get farther a,�,ay and rise a little higl1er because tJ1 e IJon1 b l1 ad to fall fro1n at least five hundred n1etres altitude, otl1er\.vise it wot1ld not explode. I l-e l1ad, therefore, 1nade a s111all tur11 to get to tl1e J1eigl1t necessary for dropJ)ing the bon1b. I-le l1ad noticed tl1at the 1nen were fleeing i11 the direc­ tion. of 1-\do. After l1e l1ad fired and dro1JJ)ed t,vo or tl1 ree IJ01nbs on the grourJ of arn1ed 1nen l1e .kept a close watcl1 to see ,vhether there were otl1ers in tl1 e neigl1 borl1ood. Tl1e ex1)losio11 of a 12 inch l1omb ,vas very i1n1)ressive as it produced a colun1n of smoke bet\.veen two l1undred and three hundred 1netres higl1 . \;\Then l1e arrived near Ado, close to a little lal-:e, the IJresence of other arn1ed 111en, a!Jout: fifty, \Vas olJserved; these OJJened fire also on tl1e aeropla11e. Tl1e .fVI ajor l1acl the11 ordered tl1e observer to continue dropping tl1e last IJombs on boa.rd, had descended and fired the last rounds in tl1e n1acl1ine-gt1n and tl1en re­ turned to tl1e can1p to give the alarm a11cl report tl1at a group of armecl men \Vas heading for Ado. Tl1e l'vlajor had in1n1ediately ordered tl1e otl1er machines to talce off and make some rnore recon11aissance fligl1ts. rfl1ese n1achines had observed 11othing further. 1�11e arn1ed n1 en had concealed themselves in tl1e busl1, l1 ad disap­ peared. After landing and 1nak:ing a close e.xaminatior1 of tl1e n1achine he l1 ad fo11nd tl1at it had been hit by otl1er shots, also i11 tl1e right ,ving. 011e of the bullets }1ad passed close to the petrol tank :. Ivlr. DE LA. l'RAnELLE ,,,isl1ed to ask one c1uestion. A t tl1e moment v1l1en, after descending to reconnoitre, the fJlane rose to drop tl1e bon1bs, \Vas it st1fficiently l1igl1 to con1plete its flight at that moment? Major PoRRU-Loccr replied tl1at l1e had descended lo\.v enougl1 to 1nak:e a close inspection all round; l1e was at alJout t,vo hu11dred 1netres altitude but l1 ad 011 ly 1nade one turn a11d had tl1erefore not bee11 able to ascertain exactly wl1etl1er tl1ere were other persons i11 tJ1e ,,icinitv. Nlr. DE LA PRADELLE askecl furtl1er \vl1en it ,vas that the lVIajor had noticed tJ1e firing aimed at the aeroplane. Major PoRRU-Loccr replied tl1at, wl1e11 I1e observed tl1e ar1ned 111en firing rifle shots lie had looked around to see whether tl1e n1achine l1ad been hit; he had im­ mediately noticed a mark or1 tl1e right \Ving wliicl1 had not bee11 tl1ere before. The aeropla11e was flying lo\v to carry out tl1e reco11naissance. Wl1en he saw tl1at

PROCEEDINGS AT 1� .t-\Iirs '.A.UG 2 . 9,



the n1acl1ine had been l1it l1 e rose quick! y_a nloment.. ,vas suffici.ent to frorn t\VO hundred to five hundre d n1etres. 1,he l\1ajor ,vished to state that if the aeroplane. I 1a d not. been htt, . .in accordance ,vith tl1e instructions received bO;,1 f 1.oinc the • Governor ancl fro1n his con1manding 0 ffic,�r: ·h e wouId n�t. l1 a·ve 0 :de_red IJoinbs to be dropped, as it ,vas the Governor's _ er d or to a,-oid an)' 1nc1dent ,vJ1 ats exp 1c1t . oever ancf to retali• ate only 1f attacked. . . . So mt1c 11 so t··hat . 111 the 1.econna issance tligh ts ,v 11 .1C 11 11e 1 1i. 1nself had made 011 pre• .· le bo1nb I1ad been vi ous days 11ot a sing dropiJed. l\1r. DE LA PRADELLE asked ,vhether the fact of descend"ing Io,v over the n1en . . as regard eel offensive action. e b cou Id Major PORRU-Loccr did not believe it absolutely . Iv1r. �E I...A PR.-\DELLE asked to ,vhat l1eight the l\1aJ·or had climbed IJefore l\1ajor PoRRu-Locc1 said that he had cli1nbed to six hundred or seven hundred n1etres. lVIr. DE �-A PR.ADELLE \vi shed t() �no,v the 1 talian Governn1ent's vie,v regarding Ado, considered f roin tl1e standpoint of sovereignty and of }Jossession. l\rlr. LESSON1\ replied that, topographically considered, Ado was a part of \Val vVal. Tl1ere ,vas no f:ontier and in any case 1-\clo ,vas not occupied by the Italian troops. It \Vas certai nly a concentration point for the Ethiopians. l'vlr. DEL.'-\ I:,RADELLE thanked the Italian re1)resentative. [The n1eeting rose at

Ir .30


ANNEX 0 PROCEEDINGS OF TI-IE COlVJl\iJJSSION AT PARIS ..-1 ·1tg1.tst 29, I9J5 The ineeting opened at 10.30 a.n1. There ,vere I)resent l\rlr. Politis, Count Aldro,,andi, 1\rlr. lVI011tagna, Tvlr. de La Pradelle and i\rlr. Potter; also the Agents of the Governments. 1\rlr. POLI1'IS: f\t this prelin1inary 111eeting I have son1e con11nunications to n1ake and some questions to ask. The former relate to the tin1e li1nits for the Com111ission's proceedings. The Commission has studied tl1 e tern1s of its constitution and unanimously considers that in the resolution of the Council of the League of Nations of August 3, the date of September I is fixed to ser,,e as an i11dication. The tin1e limit \.vhicl1 has an i1nperative or virtual!)' imperative character is the date of Septen1ber 4. rfl1 e Co1nmission believes that the Agents of the two Govern1nents \viii agree with this opinion. 1\rlr. ]EZE: In my opinion tl1e proceedings can be co11tinued and the finding framed up to tl1e evening of Septeinber 3. l\ilr. LESSONA: T11 at is also ho,v I interpret the Geneva resolution of August 3. 1VIr. POLITIS: I infer that the Agents of tl1e t,vo Governn1ents agree tl1at tl1e sentence ca11 be validly pronounced up to Se1Jte1nber 4. I wisl1 further to point


out tl1 at the ti111 e at tl1 e Co111 n1 ission's disposal is very sl1ort, })articularly for tl1e fifth Arbitrator, and tl1 at in t11 e exceptional case of })rolongatio11 being found necessary on tl1 e eve of tl1 e expiry of the tin1e li1nit, tl1 e Agents of tl1 e respective Govern1nents ,viii be duly i11 for11 1ecl so that tl1 ey may say wl1 etl1 er their respective Governn1 e11 ts agree to tl1 at extensio11. 111 is, however, is a mere eventuality a11 d I trust tl1 at the case ,;,,,ill 11 ot arise. If I refer to •it no,v, it is in order to ask the Agents to be good enougl1 to obtain any i11structio11 s eventually required. 1\1r. J EZE: I tl1 ink tl1 at in an); case the extensio11 would need only be for a fe,v days at most. Mr. POLITIS: l'he second communicati:H1 ,vl1 ich I 11ave to 111al{e concerns tl1e premises wl1 ere tl1e meetings of the Comrnission are to be l1eld. Tl1 e Cornn1ission has just helcl a private 1neeting l1 ere at th� l-Iotel Meurice but l1 as fot1nd tl1at the material features of the prernises were 11)t consistent ,vith absolute neutrality. It l1 as therefore decided to hold its futur<: meetings at th.e seat of tl1 e 1\1l ixed Ar­ bitral Tribunals. Tl1e necessary arrangements l1 ave tl1 erefore been already n1 ade and this afternoon's meeti11g will be held at Rue de Grenelle. I ,vould ask the i\gents of the Govern1n�nts to be good e 11ougl1 to re1nain at the Co1nn1 ission's disposal, as it 111 ay happen curing its proceedings tl1 at the Con11nis­ sion 1nay require to l1 ave a particular point of fact cleared UJ). '"fhe Agents then1selves can i11 1agine tl1 e value of tin1e to tl1e Commissio11: every 1 11 inute COllnts. I ,:votild add next tl1 at I l1ave several questions to ask on the case before tl1e Co1nn1ission. I have a l{no,vledge of this case, as a result of careful readi11 g and a detailed study of tl1 e documents co1 11111u11icated to r11e, except, l1owever, for certain documents su!)tnitted by tl1e Agent of tl1 e Ethiopian Government on August 20 and tl1e n1 inutes of tl1 e 1neeti11g l1eld at Ber11 011 Augt1st 24, containing tl1 e depositions of tl1 e native non-com1n ssioned officers. Su!)ject to the con­ tents of those docun1 ents, I will fJut certain questio11s to the f\gents and rec1uest the1n to repl) as briefl)' a11d clearly as pcssible. I ,vould first like to kno,v whetl1er all tl1e incidents, other tha11 the \\Tai \.Val in­ cident, are pending before tl1e Com111 issia1 . It seen1ed to n1e to follow fron1 the reading of the docun1ents that several of tl1ese later incidents have certainly been r<:ferred to the Con1mission1 for instance, those at Ado, Guerlogubi and Afdub. I vonder, 110,vever, whetl1 er i11 tl1 e case of the otl1er incidents n1 entioned during tl1E proceedings, more particularly in tl1 e ,vritten proceedings, wl1 ether, at the present ti1ne, it is really the intentio11 of both parties to ask the Comn1ission to pronounce on them also. I put this question because during the oral proceedings, no very clear explanations were given on tl1e subject. I noticed a sentence in the staten1ent n1ade by tl1e I talia.n Gover11 1ne11 t's Agent 011 August 25 in ,vhicl1 he said tl1 at, as far as tl1 e otl1er incidents be­ fore tl1e Co111 mission were concerned, l1 e ,vould stand by the state111ent i,1 tl1 e Italian Me1uorandu1n. I would like to kuo,v exactly wl1 at tl1 e positio11 is i11 tl1is respect and, as the largest number of que3tions on this point ,vere asked by tl1 e Italian Gover11 1nent's Agent, I would request l1i1n ki11dly to supply explanations. lVIr. LESSONA: It is a fact that I took my stand 011 the Me1norandu1n of the Italian Govern1ne11t. As the Ethiopian Go,1errunent's entered a reserva­ tion ,vl1icl1 l1 e did not develoJ), it seemed to 1ne unnecessa.ry to add a 11y arguments 1


29, 1935


to tl1ose contained i11 tl1e Italia1 1 :Nie 1 11orandtim. ,.fl1e I 1. ta 1an Govern1ne.nt . · ·1on to gi•ve J t1dgme11t also on ti w1·shes t•he C omn11ss 1e ot·I1er 1nc · 1de • 1 1 ts ,vJ11ch oc11. curre d tip to 1v,1 ay 25, 1935. On tl1is qu · estion• I s tancl bY t11e contents of the . lt a11a11 l\'1 en1oran du 1n. . · lVIr. J EZE: All th e incide11ts must be settled, L1ut ti1ere are t,vo ca tegor1es · of 111. . . . . . . c1dents tl1:re 1 s first vVal Wal; tl1e 1nc1dents follo,ving thereon-Afdu b, Ado and G�erlogub1; an d then tl1ere are otl1ers whic}1 are so insignificant that the Ethiopian Governn1ent reserves the rigl1t to discus·s tl1e1n On }y 1'f necessarv. 1�11e es. . . po sential int 1s to settle the incident of tl1 e attack at vVal vVal and ;hose ,vhich follo,ved thereon. The otl1ers are 1nore of the nature of ra' · J1 · tds unconnect·ed wit • • • . . . t tl1e I the\;\,1a� \1/al � nc�deilt. I think tha tahan Government also considers these t,vo se :1e� of 1nc1de1 1ts as qu�te distinct. It n1ig11t perJ1aps be expedient for the _ 1 1ss10 to s ttl 11 thes e 1nc1dents also, but, if this were to protract the pro­ Con1n : : _ ceedings, tl1e Eth1op1an Gover111nent would ask the Co1nn1ission to confine itself to the first group. Jvir. POLITIS: Is it tl1e Ethio1)ian Government's view that these incidents whicJ1 have no connection witl1 tl1e principal question bear a different character? 11r. ]EZE: Tl1ey are incidents of quite a different nature. ,.fhere was the \\Tai \Val incident, with a battle, or more e.xactly a brawl; following this brawl the Ital­ ian troops co 11ti11ued to advance and there were the i1 1cide11ts of f\do, f\fdub and Guerlogubi. Apart fro1n that the Italian Government, taking a series of i11ci­ deats, has added tl1em to the others but those are i11cidents \vhich have no con­ nection ,vith \Val \Val and its sequel. lVIr. PoLJTIS: I ,vould ask whether, taken by tl1emselves, the other incidents have tl1e same significance in. the Ethiopian Go,,ernment's ,,ie,v as they have in tl1e Italian Governn1ent's view? Tl1e Italian Go,,ern1nent considers that there is a charge of aggression also in the case of these incidents. Does the Ethiopian Govern 1nent deny tl1is accusation and invert it, i.e., 1naintain that, as in the case of the principal incidents, tl1e aggression was comrnitted by the l talian trooJ)s? 11r. ]EZE: On this I)oint I ,vould lik:e to consult the Ethiopian lvlinister in Paris who may l1 ave docun1e11ts on the subject. For the n1oment I cannot reply. fviy 1al, v\ l \Va the t tha rs side t I con . nite defi y 11 ver ly ai cert is v s vie, ent' Governm Ado, Afdub and Guerlogubi incidents for1n one wl1ole, for tl1ey are close! )' con­ nected, ,vl1ereas t11e otl1er incidents on the contrary are less irnportant. ess l\rlr. POLITIS: I pass tl1en to a second qt1 estio11. I noticed a certain vaguen g in the declarations 1nade b}' the tw o Agents as to the conclusions. :-'\ccorclin to ent ,vhen he the minutes th is point was raised by the Ethio1)ian Government f\g ed lat mu s on for usi cl con e th re we tly ac ex at ,vh to as ion definitely put tl1 e qtiest _ he 1nerely at d th lie rep ter lat e Th t. en r'\g n lia Ita 1 e tl ' b before t}1e Commission } onsible. sr) re s v,ra t en m rn ve Go ian op hi Et e th at 1 th 1 asked for a . declaratio Mr. LESSONA: Precisely so. 1 b:; n ve gi y pl is re th of ng ni ea m t ac Mr. POLITIS: J would ask then wl1 at is the ex 1e question now tl at th od to rs de un be to it Is the Italian Goveri1ment's 1\gent. 111n :nt or er ov ar ul ic rt 1Ja a t � no or r he et 1 l w y before th e Commission is n1erel ms previously ai cl 1e e tl ar , tly en qu se on C ? on si es party is responsible fo r t11e aggr . made dropped? . the ag. . . 1s to as n io a declarat n 1o ss n1 111 o1 C 1 e tl om fr k as J t l\/Ir. LESSONA: vVha


gression and responsibility of tl1 e EtJ1iQpian Governn1ent. Passing jt1dgment upon the latter is a n1 atter ,x,,l1 ich can be disregarded for tl1e time being, tl1ough it sl1ould not be dropped. Mr. J>oLITIS: I would poi11t out that this is a very serious qt1estion and tl1at is why I ,vish to ha,,e the n1 atter cleared up. Depending on tl1e view taJ.::en of a questior1, tl1 e attention of a tribunal n1ay be e,xtended or retracted furtl1 er or not so far. I ,visl1 to be as frank as possible so tl1at my idea may be quite clear. If the point no,v tinder considera.tion is 111erely the question of principle or a declaration of responsibility, so that once sucl1 a declaration l1as been rnade the discussion is closed, tl1 e fu11 ction of the Tribu11al would seem to be si1n1)ler than in the case where it is stated that a declara:ion of resJ)onsibility is ,vanted bt1t tl1 at the party reserves tl1e right to dra,v tl1 e recessary conclusions from that principle later. As the Tribunal does not know what that principle may lead to, it is necessarily J)laced i11 an in,,idious positicn. In an)' case tl1 e judge's thought on the n1atter is slightly embarrassed. That is ,vl1y I want to l1 ave the question cleared up. 1\1:r. LESSON;\: l11 order to supply the details requested by Mr. Politis, I must request my Govern111ent's instructions. I shall do so im111ediately and give a reply as s0011 as {Jossil)le. l\.1r. J1�z£: I feel no doubt on this poin: and l1ave gi,,en a categorical reply. I ha·ve stated tl1at i11 n1y Govern1nent's opi 1ion ,vhat is necessary is a declaration of res1Jo11sibility, n.otl1 ing more, witl1 110 conclusio11 to be drawn as regards compen­ sation or a11ythi11g else. The Etl1iopian Government's only ,visl1 is that in the whole of this business its attitude shot1ld 1Je recognized as correct and sincere; it only asks for peaceful and friendly relations. It l1 as limited the conclt1sions to the question of responsibility solely in crder to e,xculpate itself and i11 order to prove that it is not guilty of aggression. :rvrr. POTTER: I ,voulcl point ot1t tl1 at ihere is another problem involved also. Is the Co1111nission called upon to decide r1erely on tl1e question "'l1 ether Ethiopia is or is not responsible, or is it to decide also abot1t Italy's res1)onsibility? In other ,vords, is tl1e Co1nmission's task con1pleted if it decides tl1 at Ethiopia bears or does not })ear responsibility, or n1ust i: also consider tl1e question of declaring that Italy is or is 11ot responsible? lVlr. ]EZE: J\1y conclusions are tl1at tl1e Italian Governn1ent is responsible. The local authorities are responsible for tl1e aggression and the Italian Gover11 n1 e11 t is consequently responsible for its local reJ)resentatives. l\llr. PoLI'fIS: I ,vould point 011t tl1 at tl1 e t\vo Governments can1e to a tacit agreeme11 t in an exchange of letters in v;hicl1 tl1e qt1estions in dispute ,vere de­ fi11 ed. According to tl1is agreement, tl1 € Comn1ission will have to examine the de facto circumstances of tl1e Wal Wal i.1cident a11d the responsibilities arising therefron1 ; tl1e incidents wluch occurred 011 tl1 e I talo-Etl1iopian frontier, after Decen1ber 5, will also be examined by tl1t same Commission. Tl1 e actual \vords are: '' and tl1 e respo11sibilities i11 connecti), n therewitl1 ". Tl1e proceedings seem to me to prove clearly that tl1e Con1111issio11 has before it two very clear-cut opinions: one side maintains that tl1 e whole responsibility for the incidents falls on the Ethio1)ian 3overnn1 ent and tl1e other holds that it falls •entirely on t11e Italian Go, ernrne11 t. 1



1 53

fl..1r. POTTER: Tl1 �re has been some vagueness on tl1at point. the q11estion is definitely raised and tl1e Con1 mission Mr. PoL �TIS: I think that _ n1ust ex �m1ne the qu�st1 ?n of responsibility in all its bearings. fl..1r. ]EZE: Tl1e �th1op1an Governn1ent has clefinitely raised not 011ly the ques­ _ _ . t1on of responsibility but also the question of t11e conclusions, by stating that it _ did not propose t o dra\v any conclusions. vVhen it is said that the Arbitrators have :o ?etern1i11e tl1e responsibilities, tl1 at does not 1nerely imply a declaration of princ11)le, but 111eans that the incident rr1ust be settled as a ,vhole. The Ethiopian Government l1as stated tl1 at \vha tever the i-\rbitrators' decisions, it ,viii c a_ �ry them into effect. The proble1n raised is, therefore, the problem of e,xam1n1ng tl1 e quest.ion ir1 sucl1 a wa)' that when the incident is settled by the Com1nission, notJ1 ing further sl1ould re1nain at all. That is the vie\v ,vhich has consistently bee11 1naintained b)' the Ethiopian Government. l'vlr. POLITIS: I \Vould point out tl1 at the position is not the san1e on the Italian Governn1 ent's side. That is ,vhy I felt I 1nust definitely raise the question. The rep!)' given by the representative of tl1e Italian Governn1 ent will be of the great­ est importa11ce to me. ivlr. ]EZE: I think that it is the Comrnission's duty to define its po\\rers on this point, since tl1ere is a text wl1icl1 gives an exact definition of the Arbitrators' !)Owers. It is essential to settle this n1 ,1tter in such a way t11 at nothi11g 1nore is left. tvir. POLITIS: I ,vould not lik:e to prejudge the view \vhich the Co1nn1 issio11 will take, but I would ve11ture to observe forthwith that, if the two parties ask for a finding only on the tl1eoretical question of responsibility, the Com1nission cannot go further and clraw conclusions. If the !)arties agree in telling the Cornn1ission: exa1nine the material circu1nstances and fro111 tl1 e1n draw one single and sole con­ clusion-\vho is responsible for the saicl incide11ts-then the Commission \viii have done its duty b) ans\vering that question. But, in order that tl1 e Con1111 is­ sion should k:no,v where it is l1eadi11g, it n1ust be clea.rly understood that, when the questio11 is fJUt i11 this \vay, it is not per1nissible later to broaden the issue and to sa)': 110,v tl1at there is a clecision, the l)ractical conclusions follo\ving on this decision must be dra.1vv11 . 1'11at is a n1 atter for the t1vvo Govern1nent:s. It is essential that the Con1 111ission should realize the real position of the c1uestion. l\:[r. ]EZE: The Ethiopian Go,,ernment has al,vays held that t11 e whole questio11 should be settled in such a ,va.y that tJ1e incident ,vould be liquidated entirely by the 1-\rbitral Co,nmission. If the Arbitrators blame the Ethiopian Gover11 ment, the latter is prepared to accept tllat decision and to n1ake any reparations de­ cided upon by impartial arbitrators. Tl1 e Ethiopian Governn1 ent's point of vie,v on tl1 is subject l1as never cl1anged. \1/e rnust l1ave a final settlen1ent and not initiate a new quest:io11, because i11 such a case, under the 1928 treaty, that ial \r\la! incident and everytl1 ing \\ rfhe 1. tio1 itra arb 1 l fres uire req ld vvou n questio connected \J.'ith it 1nust be finall>' settled. 1�he Comn1ission must stand by tl1 e text of t11e agreement; it \viii see tl1at tllis is ho\v the c1uestion l1as l1een presented from the outset. Italian the en by ta!{ \v vie the of tain cer e!)' itiv pos be st mu \Ve : ITIS POL . lVIr 1 of principle con­ o1 ati lar dec a nt:s \Va it er eth ,vl1 .r nov k st mti \Ve . ent nm ver Go : derstandcerning responsibilities as constituting tl1e total of its clai111 s, on tl1e un 1


1 54

ing tl1 at the sentence to be pro11ounced will definitel)' close tl1e discttssion 01 1 the Wal Wal dispute and subsequent inciderits. \1/e r11ust lcno\.v \Vl1etl1er the Italian Go,1ernn1 e11 t proposes to ma lee clai11 1s or dra\V conclusions f ron1 any declaration which may be n1 ade regarding tl1e Ethio1Jian Gover11 1nent's res1Jonsibilily, or ,vhether it reserves its subsequent �ttit11de. 111 botl1 of tl1ese l1 ypotheses, the Com1nission will have something to say. 1 Assumi11g that tl1e Italian Go, ernment s rcprese11 tative infor1ns tl1e Com1nis­ sio11 that he onl)' ap1Jlies for a declaration of principle, but reserves the right later to clra,,,., the practical conclusions that hethinks shotild be dra,vn, l1e will fincl hin1self at varia11ce with the Ethiopian Government. Tl1 e Co1 nrnissio1 1 ,vill l1a,1e to co11 sider wl1etl1er such a dispute falls ,vit·hin its jurisdiction ancl wl1etl1cr it ought to settle it. I apologize for giving this trouble to the represe11tatives of the Governn1ents, but tl1e c1uestion is too in1portant not to be cleared up. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: I would like one point cleared up. Tl1e question ,vhich has no,v bee11 put to tJ1e .t-\gent of the I ta iar1 Govern111en t is as follo,vs: "Yott ask tl1e Con1mission to declare tl1e Ethio1Jian Governn1 ent responsible. So far, you ask for nothing else. Is it your i11tentic ,n, assur1 1i1 1g that tl1e Con1mission finds tl1e other party respo1 1sible1 to refer tl1e conclusions of our declaration to a clif­ ferent jurisdictior1? I ,vish to l1 ave a <I ear reply to tl1is question. Is the iclea to dra,v fro1n tl1e finding whicl1 ,ve ,viii issue all the conclusions ,vhich n1ight be drawn fron1 such a declaration in the internation�1l spl1 ere? Mr. POLITIS: I thin!( tl1at the Agent of tl1e Italian Govern111ent l1as fully under­ stood tl1e question a11d its implicatio11 s. I turn to anotl1 er question. It is a question of fact, but 011e wl1 ich to n1 )' 1 nincl still preser1 ts one point ,vl1ich is not clear. It J1c1s bee11 asserted 011 bel1 alf of Italy -and it has not bee11 contested by Ethiopia-that tl1e cJistrict of \,Val v\lal has been under Italian autl1orit)1 since 1928, i11 the forn1 of a system of 1nobile patrols, and since 1930 in the forn1 of a systen1 of pern1anent organization. It l1 as also been stated tl1at tl1 is state of affairs ,vas never at a11 y time n1ade tl1 e subject of protest by tl1 e Et11 iopian Govern111e11t ,,I1ich still clai1 ns tl1e sovereignt:)' of the district. I-lave I rightly understood a11d is it correct t:hat the Etl1 iopia1 1 Govern­ ment has never at any ti1ne made an official pre, test agai11 st tl1 e defacto situation whicl1 has bee1 1 created in tl1e \\la! \N'::11 district? 11r. ]EZE: If there is a gap in tl1 e documentatio11 I a1n prepared to 111ake it good. T}1e Ethiopian Go,,ernn1ent never recognized sucl1 a state of affairs. l\1r. POLITIS: The question is not the sa1ne. If the Ethiopian Co,,ernrr1ent had recognized tl1e fact, I would ask: anotlter questio1 1, 1Jiz., vVl1at was tl1 e rneaning of tl1 at recognition? But mine is a cliffer,!11t questio11: I \1/�1nL to !{11 ow whetl1er it is trt1e that, up to the Wal \N'al i11 cide11 t-for after the incide11t there ,vas a pro­ test made on Decen1ber 6-the Etl1iopian Govern11 1 ent l1 ad never at a11v tir11 e in a space of se,,en years, entered an officia protest. l'vlr. ]EZE: On that poi11t, I have already referrecl to a clocu11 1ent dra,vn tip in 1929. In this document, tl1e Italian Government co1n1)lained tl1 at tribes fron1 British S0111aliland, passing through the Etl1 iopian territcJry, clescended from vVal \Val in the direction of Italian territory. Tlus docu1 11enl s110,vs thal in 1929 at any rate, the Italian Government itself achnitted tl1 at it did 11ot occt1p)1 vVal \iVal. 1






'l'hat is a sig, �ifica11t fact w�ich occu rred in 1929. rl�he clocu1ne11t in c1uestion has heen placed 111 tl1e possess1011 of the Co1n,nission. l\1r. P0Lrr1s: I obse�e that in an)' case since 1930, the elate fron1 which the perma11ent occupatior1 is s.:1id to start, 11 0 clain1 has been 1nacle. I see fro1n the flossier tl1a � the Italian Governn1ent has on several occasions made di JJlon1atic . representations protesting against va1ious inciclent:s which occurred. }\.'lore partict1l,1rly, in tl1 e state1nent by the Italian Go,;ern1nent representctl.ive at the tneeting . on Augt1st 25 it is saicl (1Jage 17 of the n1 inutes) that in l\p ril, 1934, Counl V1nc1_ protested to the Ethiopian Gove rn,nent against the activities of Omar Sama11 tar and expressecl the suspicion that an attacl( ,vas being planned against \i\lal �:al. In making this p rotest Count Vinci \Vas obeying l1 is Govern­ n1 ent's instructions. These instructions were to protest and to d ra\v the Ethio­ pian c--;.overn1nent's attention to tl1e seriousness of the situation and the responsi­ bility ,vhich any incidents would involve. I fully realize the significance of this step but I have no cognizance of the Etl1 io­ pian Gove rnment's reply. Tvlr . I ...ESSONA: f\s in almost every case the Ethiopia11 Government made no repl)'. 1'v1r. PoL1·r1s: E,,en if 110 ,vritter1 reply ,vas given there ren1ains the fact that Count Vinci tall<ed to the Ethiopian l\tiinister for Foreign Affairs. I ,vould lil<e to know ho,v t l1 e latter reacted to tl1e Italian cliplomat's com1nunication. If he saicl nothing, his silence might be inte rpreterJ as a second acquiescence. M r . JEZE: I sl1all r e-read tl1e docun1e11ts carefully and inc1uire into this 1natter. 1\1r. LESSONA: I have only Cot1nt Vinci's despatcl1 ,vhich is re1) roduced in the Italian docun1entation. Tvl r. Por�ITIS: Tl1is despatch merely informs the Italian Governn1ent that the 1ifinister executed the 1nission ent rusted to him. l'vlr . LESSONA: If the despatch does not mentio11 any reactio11 on the parl of the l\tlinister fo r Fo reig11 Affairs, it is prol)alJle that tl1is reaction ,vas completely lacking. "' :rvr r. POLITIS: 1 11at is a point ,vhich it ,,.1oulcl be inte resting to clear up. Tvlr. f... ESSONA: I shall do n1y !Jest to clear up this point. 1\1Ir. POLITIS: This ,vas a ver)' im1Jo rtant conversatio11 ,vhich took: place in A JJril 1934, at a tin1e ,vhen, acco rding to Go,,e rno r Rava's declarations, the Govern1nent of Italia11 Somalilar1d hacl sufficient infor1nation to believe in the possibility and eve11 the in11ninent eventuality of an attacl< on \1/�l \,Val. Tl�e Italian Government l1acl tl1 e11 decided to instruct its representat1ve at 1-\dd1s Ababa to rnak:e rep resentations to the Ethiopian Govern1nent. No,v, if the Ethiopiar1 Govern1nent's ,riev, ,vas that ,vitl1 ,vhich \Ve are fa1ni_liar, it shoL'.ld have said the n that ,vhat was happening in tl1e \Val Wal area, ,vh1ch \Vas Ethio­ . Tl1at i� why i� is pian te rritory, shoulcl not concer11 the Italian �ove rn _ment _ fo r �ore1gn Affa1 rs. er 111st NI1 1an iop 1 Etl the by en giv y e[Jl r the ,v kno ant to import _ I have read the repl y of the Ethiopian Government's Agent v1gorously main­ at they \Ve:e ed, t ray bet s \Va tics ri th au lian Ita � the of h fait d goo the t g tha nin � tai _ _ ntere t 'n ,n ta d cer a s h ner or1 1nf se the : . � informed !)y native infor1ners a11d that . � Eth. 1op1an !'vl1n1s. m1s • J ead'Ing them. It \Vould in tha t case be c1uite natural 1f the . d ktn the of g hin 1s not re the t Bu ct. eITe t tha to lied rep cl ha s ter for Foreign f\ffair i11 the docu1nents.


Mr. Ji::zE: To unclerstand tl1e \i\lal vVal problen1 proJJerly it is i1n1Jorlant to gras1J the geograpl1ical situation of this district ancl its role. It is a territory wl1ere one n1 eets people from all the neigl1boring coLtntries; tl1ere are Italian tribes ,vl1 icl1 con1 e to dra\.v \Vater and Englisl1 or Etl1 iopiar1 tribes. It is a water­ i 11g-place and in tl1ose cot111 tries water is absolutely indispensable. 111 all the treaties betweer1 Etl1 iopia and l1er neigl1bors it is stipt1lated tl1 at tl1ere will IJe an arrangerne11t rnacle for tl1e use of the \�/al \�al ,veils. As it is tl1e only watering­ place i11 a desert area, everyo11 e l1as to come there for supplies. Tl1at is wl1 y ll1e Britisl1 l\ilission was coming to i11 spect tl1 e grazi 1 1g grounds and the Wal Wal \l.rells in pursuance of tl1 e arrangen1ent provided for i11 the treaties signed by Ethiopia ,vitl1 her neigl1bors and \vl1y tribes fro1n other countries ,vere i11 the district of\\ al \\'al. Tl1at cloes not n1 ea 1 1 tl1at tl1ere ,vas an occu1Jatio11 . l\ Ir. POLITIS: Tl1at is a point v, l1 ich \Vorries me. I ,va11 t to l1 ave as n1uch in­ forn1ation as possible. The san1e question, 1 noreover, arises in co11nectio11 ,vith a series of Italia11 dit)lon1atic representations referred to in tl1e Italian Govern­ ment's Memorandu1n 011 t)ages 17, 22 and 23. Page 17 contains tl1e following refere11 ce to this questio11: 1


In 193:,, t}1 e acti,1 ities of the Ethiopian con1ma11 clers in Og�tden along the entire lengtl1 of ll1e frontier of Son1 alilancl, in co11nection witl1 tl1 e expedi­ tion tinder the co1n111and of Fitaurari i\1 Iezlek:ia, again lecl to i11cide11 ts of all kinds, such as raicls, tl1e arbitrary arrest of Ita.lian subjects a 11 d tl1 reats of incursions in to So1naliland b)' ar1necl Ethio1Jian troops. 011 tl1is occasion, also, the Italian Governn1ent duly dre,v tl1e Ethiopian Gover11 n1e11t's atten­ tio11 to the serious nature of such inciclents; they continued, 110\vever, ttntil a sl1 ortage of n1an-J)O\ver brought. alJou t by losses tl1rough siclcness, sl<:irn1isl1es in connection \Vitl1 raids i11to Ogade11 ancl clesertion, inducecl Fitaurari 1\1ezlelcia to ,vitl1drav.r to I -Iarrar. I cannot find what re1Jly tl1e Etl1 iopiar1 Gover11 111 ent 1nacle to tl1 e I lalian re1J­ resentatio11s, or ,� l1 at \Vas its reaction. 1�he sa1ne thing occurrecl in co11 nectior1 \Vitl1 other representations. On page 17 of the Italian l'VIen1orandun1, tl1e incident is referred to in these terms: 1

In l\1ay 1934, raids ,vere 1nade by regular Etl1iopia11 troops in the frontier zone of Italian"' Somaliland ancl 3,656 oxen, 546 e\ves, and 17 can1els \Vere carriecl off. l he representations n1 ade by the Italian Legation at Acldis f\baba to the Etl1iopian Government witl1 a vie\v to the rett1rn of the live­ stock carried off, or tl1e t)ay1nent of co1npensation to the Italian st1bjects concerned \vere \vi thou t result, ho\vever. It is possible that there was no desire to return the live-stock: ancl that no reply ,vas therefore given; or the EthioJJian Governn1ent n1ay have replied tl1 at some­ thing \Vould be clone, or ha,1e give11 other rec1s011 s for rejecting the ltalian de111ancls. Not11ing is known on tl1e sL1bject. Tl1e san1e questicJ11 arises in connection ,vith tl1e next paragrc1pl1, ,i.,here there is a reference to Ll1e constant t111ruliness of the Etl1iopian chiefs i 11 Ogaden; the passage continues: 0 1 e san1 e occasion, the _Italia� Le.gation at f\ddis Ababa requested the _ ! t� 1�t_l1101J1a11 Goyern111 ent to give strict 1nstruclio1 1s to tl1e above-n1 entioned chiefs to refrain fro1u any furtl1er attacks tt{Jon the Italian posts.



1 57

IIe - re indeed it would be e,1 e11 n1ore interesting to kno, v ·ti·1e E• th.1op1an · Govern, . . ment s reply. Diel 1t ask \vl1al ,vere tl1 e posts in C LLesti·on :>• n1·d 1't perI1 aps po1nt J • , . • . s Et • .h1•op1an and not Ita out that t11 1s \Va c lic:a n terr·1 tory.? If 1t · I<:ept s1·1ent sueI1 • • silence might be conslrt1ed as acquiescence• PerJ1 c1J) -. S ti1 ere ,vas a rep IY, b' . ut tI1 e • • docun1 ents do not 1nention 1t. f\ t the botto i n of page I 7, th e I talia11 lvl en1or andui n goes on to say:

In tl1� course of_ the follo,vi�g n1 011ths, and as recently as Novem ber 1934 , tal the I 1ar1 IJegat1on at •t\dcl1s Abab , s obl i'g· c a wa • , ed on severaJ fur t .J1 er occa• sions, _though al\Va)'S ,v1th�ut result, to dra,v the Ethiopian Govern1nent 's attent_iori to the concentration of ar1ned Ethiopians ,vhich still continuecl in Ogaden ....

I ,vondcr ,vhat is the 111 eaning of the ,vords "thougl1 al\vays ,vithout result''. Does it 1nea11 a negative reJ)ly or an evasive reply, or did the-Ethiopian Govern­ n1 e11t reply to tl1 e Italian Govern1nent's representations by refusing to regarcl them as founded? 011 page 22 of the Italian l\1Ien1 orandnr11 1 there is a description of representa­ tions 1nacie i11 connection with an Etl1iopian attacl{ near 1\gal)le: f?r1nal [)rot�st ,vas n1ade to tl1e Ethiopian Government by tl1e Italian Legation at 1-\clcl1s Al)aba, ,vhicl1 reserved its right to determine the con1 pensation clue to our subjects for the losses sufferecl in the course oi the raid. f\

l-lere t,vo questions arise: \\ll1at reply ,vas given by the Ethiopian Govern1nent and ,vl1 at action ,vas tak:en by tl1e ltalia11 Legation at f\ddis Ababa on the ques­ tio11 of con 1pensation \Vhicl1 l1 ad been raised i11 the earlier representations? I\'l r. ]EZE: The question 111ay be settled by the follo,ving explanation. Possi­ bIJ, the Ethiopiar1 Governn1 e11t thi11l{s tl1at tJ1e tribes ,vhich con 1e lo \Val vVal go there to take advantage of the \Vater supply rights referred to in the treaties. In such a case there ,voulcl be no longer anJ' question of occupation. Nlr. POLITIS: I ,vould J)oint out in this connection that the docun1 ents pro­ duced in the I talia11 1\rJen1 oranclu111 refer to representations for incidents concern­ ing tl1 e I talia11 post at \Val \:Val. r\t the foot of page 17, there is a reference to steps tak.en to protest against tl1e concentration of troops in the Ogaden area. These are defir1 ile incicle11 ts directly connected with tl1e \,\Tai \,Val incident. On page 2., of the Italian l\1lerr1orandun1 1 it is further stated ,vitl1 reference to the Gogula incident tl1 at "tl1 is incident forn1ed the subject of a protest by the Jtalia11 (_�ovcrnment to the Ethiopian Governn1ent." I ,voulcl be obliged to the !\gents of the Govern1nents if they could give n1e such inforn1ation they n1a)' be able to obtain on this c1uestion, ,vhich ,vould IJe lil(e!y to clarify the Cominission's vje1,vs. I pass no\v to another question. On page 18 of the Italian lv1emorandun1, tl1ere is a reference to clocuments fro111 foreign sources, rneaning t,vo official Britisl1 pul.>lications. On the sul)ject of the existing disorganization prevailing in Ogaden, the Men1oranclu1n stc:ites: Such disorganisation is not pe�uliar to Eastern Etl1i�pia, but is also rife in the souther11 and wester11 provinces, a state1nent i;vh1cl1 can b� fully sub­ stantiatecl, i1zter al-ia., fron1 official British sour�es (see the \Vh1te Books published by tl1e United l{ingdo1n Gover11ment 111 1925 and 1028).


Tl1ere is too little ti 1ne availalJle for tl1e Commission to be able to cor1st1lt tl1ese \�ll1 ite Books, bt1 t, seeing that tl1e [ talian Gover111r1ent l1 as asst1med tl1e responsibility of qt1oting tl1em, its Age.1t might perha1Js tell the Co1n11 1ission \vhat these diplo1natic docun1en1-s contain. Mr. LESSON A: Jv1r. Gt1ar11 ascl1elli, 011c of tl1e secretaries of the Com 1 nission, \Vl10 has 111 ade a special stud>' of tl1is qt1eftion, n1igl1 t be asked to give an explana­ tion of this point. Mr. POLITIS: I "'ould observe tl1al tl1e matter is of great interest since it appears that Englisl1 sot1rces report the occurre1ce of incide11ts sin1ilar to those con1plai11ed of by tl1 e 1 talian Government, vrl1icl1 incide11ts 1nay l1ave led to British di1) lo1natic protests being macle at .1\ddisAbaba. The matter therefore becomes one of srJecial importance. If, on tl1e other l1a11d, it is n1erely a questio11 of infor­ mation regarding raids whicl1 are rnade ill this desert area, less in1portance cottld be attacl1 ed to t11e doct11 nent. l\. document n1ay be quoted n1erely for points of detail, but it: may also be quoted for essential ,natters. Mr. DE LA PRADELLE: Would it be paisible to l1ave tl1e original vVl1ite Books quoterl in the Italian :rviemorandun1 ? Mr. POLITIS: I ,vould like tl1 e Con1mission to have at its disposal tl1ese docu­ n1ents. Tl1 e Italian Government 's representative n1jg}1t, in order to facilitate the Co1n111 ission's ,vork, n1 arlc tl1e passages of greatest importa11 ce. I \Viii now aslc another question or1 a point on ,vl1icl1 all tl1 e versions agree. I refer to the fact that a first group of Etl1i)pians arrived on tl1e spot or1 No,,e11 1ber 22 and that tl1is group gradually increa;ed its size, until it ,vas I ,400, or even I ,600 strong. --r11e first group arrived or. Nove1nber 22 and the British Co1nmis­ sion 011 tl1e 23rd. The Com1nission re11 ained until the morning of the 25th, wl1 e11, for the reaso11s given in the Cliffcrd docun1 e11ts, it moved to Ado and the Ethiopian troops remai11 ed. It in11nedi:1tely occurred to me to ask: why tl1ose troo1)s l1ad remained tl1ere. I have foun:l an expla11 atio11 in the Anglo-Etl1iopian documents, but rnust say tl1at this explanation has raised other questions in 1ny n1 ind. l11 the Anglo-Ethiopian Commission'E Report of November 30, 1934 (Annex 14 to the First Ethiopian l\1emorandum, paragrapl1 20, page 21), tl1e follo\ving statement is made 011 this subject: Tl1 e Ethiopian escort remai 11ed in its position at \1/al \Val in order to avoid any appearance of a retreat:, \vhicl1 n1 ight cause a rising a 1 nong the populatio11 of Ogaden, seriously co111pron1ising the safety of tl1e Con1 1nission. 1�he Etl1iopian Mission l1ad already warned the Britisl1 I\tlission unofficially, nearly two n1011ths ago, of tl1e poss.bility of tl1at danger. Jvly question arises out of tl1e explanalo11 itself, ,vl1icl1 is gi,,en l1ere. I wo11der how the de1)arture of these troops could l1ave causecl a rising among the popula­ tio.n. I see no connection between tl1e · ,vitl1drawal of tl1e troops a11 cl an)' even­ tual rising of the popLtlation. I vvonder also what populations are referred to, if the district is desert and if there are 011ly 1101nad tribes. Bt1t there is anotl1er point. The repcrt says that it was esse11tial to keep tl1e troops in order to safeguard tl1e Anglo-Ethio1Jian Com1nission. But the Com­ mission withdrew thirt>' kilon1etres, for Ado is thirty kilometres dista11t fron1 Wal vVal. The question arises whetl1er the Com,nission's safety was !Jetter se-



15 9

cured by an escort thirty kilometres away tl1 an by an escort which ,vould be quite close to it. Mr. ]EZE: To reply to this question, I 1nust consult the Ethiopian Govern­ rnent. l\1r �OLlTJS : I pass then to another question, arising out of 1\,1ajor Ci,nmaruta's : _ clepos1t1on. I-J1therto, all the documents before the Con11nissior1 talJ.::ecl of an incicle11t-peacef ul, accorcling to so111e, and ratl1 er violent, according to others­ wl1ich occurred wl1en tl1 e Etl 1 iopian troops arrivecl on Noven1 IJer 22 before \\!a) \1/al. i\ccordi11g to Go,,ernor Rava's version, the EthioJJian troops on arri,,ing at this place and being in Ethio1Jian territory wanted to adva11ce, but founcl themselves faced b)' the Italia11 garrison. A native non-commissioned officer asked then1 ,vl1ere they ,vanted to go a11 d JJointecl out that they ,vere in Italian territory and cot1ld not go furtl1er. Tl 1e Ethiopian gro11p then halted t,vo n1etres a,vay f ron1 tl1e Italian line. According to the Ethiopian version, these troops wantecl to advance, arn1ed resistance ,vas offered and, to avoid incidents, they ha]ted t\vo n1 etres a\vay from the Italian line. In l'vlajor Cim1naruta's last deposition, another 1 natter is 1nentioned. A little incident-which is 11ot exactly describecl-occurred on the 22nd or 23rd. iVlajor Cimman1ta, being at \:Varder, heard a fusillade, hurried to tl1e spot and sa,v peo­ ple fighting. I l- e does not say I1ow the fight endecl. I-Ie says that l1 e went up to the first line and tried to see Colo11el Clifford ancl finally he cli1nbed into a motor­ lorry and ,vas stopped by Ethiopian soldiers witl1 fixed bayonets. An Ethiopian soldier came tip and after discussion escorted the I talia11 officer to the Anglo­ Etl1iopian camp. Tvlajor Cin1maruta says that tl1 at l1a1Jpenecl on the morning of the 24tl1, but tl1 at cannot be correct. Count ALDROV,\NDI: rfhere is a confusion in tl1 e dates. It sl1 ould have been the 23rd. i\,1r. POLITIS: Tl1en there is a si111ple material mistake. But, if the date is agreed to, there is still a difference on the inciclent itself. l\1r. 1'1ontagna asked Captai11 Cin1 maruta, at the Comn1 ission's meeting on f\ugust 25, a question about the attitude observed by the arn1ed Ethiopians from the n101nent they arrived before the ,,.,ells. Captai11 Cin1111aruta replied as follo,vs: Before proceeding to \:\Tai \,Val, l1 e had inv�ted Colonel ClifTorcl to meet hin1 in the eveni11g. Before the reply \Vas received, an �xchange of shots t?ol< place bel,veen the I t�tlian and Ethiopian patrols. � Vhen � e hearcl the firing, he did 11ot ,vait for Colonel Clifforcl's reJ)ly, but chn1 becl 10 to the lorry ancl left in11nediately for \Val \,\Tai to see ,vl1 at l1ad l1 appened bet,veen the Con1 1nission and the dubats. This therefore is another \'ersio11 of ,vhat had happened on the Commis­ sion's �rrival, n;1nely, that rifle-sl1ots l1ad been exchanged. 1�he question, tl1erefore, arises, first, ,vhat ,vas tl1 e sec1uence of e,,ents and, secondly, �10\V _,vas it that this firing begun bet\veen enemy patrols did not end at that tin1e 1n a


� That can be easily and s11nply explained. 1here are, perl1aps, .


l\'Tr. 1,ESSONA: re are the vember 22, but the · L5 ,vl1 ich occurred 011 No o f the 1·nci'clc11� t,vo versions • • • 11 1naruta ,vh1ch are 1dent1cal an d Ci1 r ajo J\lf of d an rd ffo Cli el declarations of Colon tl1 at ed . · lar ta dec aru 1m Cin jor · lVIa ion est qu s thi on t ub do o f eI1m1nate any k'1n d



the Etl1 io1)ian troops \Vl1icl1 arrived on the s1)ot ,,,anted to throw back: tl1e du bats ancl post tl1 e1nselves 11 ec1r the ,vells in orcer to dispose of the water they 1 1eeded. Colo11el Clifford sa)'S tl1 e sa111 e tl1i11g i11 his report: At tl1 e very mon1 ent it reacl1 ed Wal Wal, tl1 e Corn1nission found itself in tl1e presence of the I talia 11 troops arxned ,vit}1 1:1oclern_ rifl_es; tl1e troops, tinder the orders of a S01nali N. C. 0., refused, J)o 1nt1ng their rifles, to evacuate the territory needecl for the camJ)S of tl1 e t,vo 1\1Iissions a.nd tl1 e ,veils requirecl for their ,vater-suppl)'· The Ethiopiar escort, ,vhicl1 ,vas_ a strong 011 e, n1 an­ aged ,vithot1 t striki11g a blo,v to pusl1 back: the aforesaid troops about _300 n1 etres to tl1 e rear. 1�hat was an episode ,vhicl1 ,vas describe:l in identical terms I))' Colonel Cliffor d ancl Major Cimmaruta. Regarding the question of patrols, it should be obsenred tl1 at tl1is was not the line of du bats, lJut 1nobile patrols, who ,vcre moving about co111pletel)' isolated on the \Varder side. T\.vO of these enerny patrols 1net a11 d excl1 anged a few sl1ots. \Vl1e1 1 l'vlajor Cim1nar11ta heard tl1is firin?;, he hurriecl up to tl1e line to see ,vl1 at ,v:is l1appening and tried in1n1 ediately to spec1l{ ,vith Colo11el Clifforcl. "fhat hnppened on Nove 111ber 23. I\1r. POLITIS: Thi. s firing between patrols was first mentioned on i\ugust 25. Tl1a t is v,1hat is ,vorrying n1e. I ,vould ask: l\1I r. l..essona if he no longer acce1Jts Governor Rava's versio 11 to tl1 e effect tha.l it ,vas of deliberate inte11 t and not i11 an excess of n1 oderation that the Etl1iopi ans halted. J\:l r. l�ESSONA: Tl1 e first act of violence on tl1 e part of the Ethiopian troops ,vas \Vhen they thre\.v tl1e dul)ats bacl{ and seized son1e of the wells. There are 359 ,veils at \;\/al Wal. '"fl1e line of dubats was situated just a111ong tl1 e wells, for tl1e Ethiopians l1 ad t:ak:en I)Ossession of several of tl1 e latter. 1'his is a logical fact. It 111 ust be rcgarclecl as correct, for, if tl1e Etl1 iopians l1 acl not been in possession of several of tl1e wells, tl1cy ,vould not l1ave been al)le to ren1 air1 on tl1 ese positions for fifteer1 days. This is a desert region \Vhere it is in1 possible to exist ,vitho11t water. Nlr. PoL1·r1s: ln l1is deposition Major Cim1naruta himself declared that ten or fifteen ,veils ,vere in the possession of tl1e Etl1iopians. "fl1 at is plausible. �1ore­ o,,er, he co1ilcl not have held all tl1e 359 veils at \Val Wal ,vitl1 the sixty dubats ,vhicl1 he first l1ad at his disposal. From the n10 1nent, however, ,vhen tl1 e Ethio­ pian troops \.Va11tecl to advance and found thernsel,,es ir1 co 11tact ,vith the Italian forces, tl1ere are t\vo ,:ersions of the inc.idents. Now, however, it can be con­ cluded that we ha,,e got the t\vo versio 11 :: n1erged. 11r. IJESSONA: Tl1at is certainly so. rvI r. POLITIS: It ,,,ill still be necessary to determi11e the course of the i11cidents on No\re1nber 23. I sl1all have several questions more to ask, but as it is getting late, I prefer to keep these questions for another n1 eeting. It \Vas tl1 en decided tl1 at tl1e next n1eeting of the Co 1nmissio11 ,vottld be l1 eld at 3.30 p.m. at the seat of tl1e Mixed Arbitral Co 1n1nission, r 42 rue de Grenelle. [The meeting rcse at I p.rn.]



29, 1935


Th� n1 eeting ope11ed at 3.30 p.111. Count .l\LDRO\'ANDI: l\ 1Ir. Jeze referred at this rnorning's meeting to a docu­ . ment ,vl11cl1 he had handed to tl1e Secretariat of the Con11nission. Th e rlocu­ ment ,vas a not e con11nunicatecl in 1929 i)y the Italian Iviinister at Addis Ab aba V to the Etl1iopian I linister for Foreign 1-\ffairs, in ,vhich there was a reference to Vi/al \i\1al. Tl1e Secretariat is 11ot in j)Ossession of this docun1e11t. Ivlr. ]EZE: I ,viii suppl y tl1e Secretariat ,vith a copy of tl1e note in question. l\-1r. POLITIS: I ,vish to continue stating the series of questions wl1 icl1 I began this morning. I ,vould first like further details on a question on which the Ital ian officer, lVlajor Porru-Locci, gave exp lanations at Bern and which relates to the flight made over the encan1pment of the r\ngl o-Ethiopian :fv1ission on Nove1nber 24, 1934. I ,vould like to kno,v whether the Ethiopian Government is satisfied ,vith tl1e stateme11ts 1nade l)y Ivlajor Porru-I�occi on his honor as an officer. lv1r. ]EZE: I declare tl1at, for 111:y !)art, I n1ust adhere to \vhat is stated in Colo­ nel Clifford's docun1ents. Colonel Clifforcl is a n1an who !{nov,.rs what he is talk­ ing about and he has 1nade assertions not on l y once l)ut several ti 111 es. Tl1e Ang l o-Ethiopian Co1nnussion con1 1)l ained a lJout the flight n1ade by tl1 e Italian aeroplane and explanations ,vere then given but the reply was not considered satisf actOf)'. 1\.1r. POLITIS: It is y)recisely' necessaf)' to bear in mind the fact that Col onel C l ifford and the Etl1iopian reJJresentative on the Con1mission take the view that the Ita l ian attitude ,vas threatening a11d aggressive. Various questions ,vere then put to I\:fajor Porru-I�occi. t\s I an1 not a technical expert I have tried to obtain information on this point and, as a resul t of this investigation, I wish to ask certain questions. In the first place, I wish to knovv how 111any persons can be carried by an aeropl ane sirnilar to that ,vhich is accusecJ of having trained its machine-gun on the Ang l o-Ethiopian encamprnent. .lVlilitary experts have told 1ne that there could be only t,vo 1nen, a IJil ot and an observer, on such an aeroplane. The deposition 111ade by l'Vlajor florru-Locci, however, refers to" another person" who took photogra1Jhs. If that other person ,vas engaged in photographs he coulcl not be beside the n1achine-gun. Thus, the exrJlanation gi,,en by the Ita l ian officer is probably plausible. I have inc1uired whether the exp l anation given by the Italian lvlajor, doubt less in all good failh, ,vas p l ausibl e fro1n the technica l point of viev1 ancl the {Joint has been confirined. I no,v ask ,vhether the Ethio1)ian representative maintains his assertion that tl1e attitude of the Italian aeroplane \Vas threatening. Mr. ]EZE: I ca11 on ly refer the Con1 1nission to the documents ,vhich I ha,,e supplied. The persons ,vho ,vere on the spot ,vere also mil itary n1en ancl t!1ey \Vere ,vatcl1ing the aeroplane through fielcl-g lasses. It seems hard ly possible that they cou ld have rr1acle a n1istake. Mr. POLI1'IS: I notice that Colonel ClifTord, in stating ,vhat he had obser,,ed, refers to the provocative attitude adoptecl by tl1e Ita l ian authorities. I ,vonder in what the provocation lay·. . Mr. ]EZE: I re1)eat that I n1ust stand b>' tl1e docu� ents re1Jroduc1�g � he testimor1y of the persons ,vho were present. I do not th1nl{ that the Eth1op1an Governn1ent can go beyond v.,hat is stated in the docun1 ents.


Ivlr. POLITIS: I \vould obser\'e that Ivlr. Jeze l1 as ex1)lai1 1ed certai11 attitudes adopted by tl1 e Italian autl1 orities as the restilt of tl1 e false information received fro1 n their agents. Tl1at is \vhat Mr. J eze said about the state of n1 i11 d of Gover11 or Ra\ra, for instar1 ce. '"fl1 e san1 e consderatio11s ,vould apply to a11 )' l1 u11 1an bei11g wl10 is liable to 1 nake a mistalce. I wonder tl1 erefore wl1at is the I)sycl1ologi­ cal explanation of Colonel Clifford's belief tl1 at there was a tl1reat. l\1r. ]EZE: It would be necessary to asJ.: Colonel Clifford. Ivlr. POLITIS: I ,vot1ld point ot 1t further tl1at, if tl1e Italian air1na11 had been ordered to perfor111 a mission of a 11 intirridating natt1re so that the Etl1io1Jians should realize that tl1 e Italians had ver) powerful ,veapons of \var, tJ1 e object being to demoralize tl1e Etl1 iopian forces a11d force the111 to leave, l1 e ,vould have acted clifferently: l1 e would l1ave fired, pe�haps, tl1ot1gl1 in tl1e air. Mr. ]EZE: Accordi11 g to the Italian aviator's statements, wl1 en he reached the line l1e believed tl1 at Captain Cimmaruta l1 ad been take11 prisoner. Possibly at that mo1nent l1e made a threatening gesture i 11 order to inti1nidate the Ethio• p1ans. There is a docume 11 t on tl1is subject drc.w11 up by tl1e officers \\'ho ,vere on the SI)Ot and observed the incidents througl1 field-glasses. 1"11e 1 11atter ,vas tl1 e sub­ ject of an exchange of letters in \vl1icl1 tie question \Vas put to the 1-\ir Force officer and there was a reply. Consequentl),, tl1 e c1uestio11 was cleared up on tl1 e S()Ot at tl1 e tin1 e ,vl1en the incident occurred. Colonel Clifford insists that he n1 ade 110 1nistake. l\1r. POLITIS: I co111e nov.r to tl1 e events of Dece111 ber 5, TJ1ere is one point 011 ,vhid1 I would lik:e to 1-Je e11 lightened. l'tfajor Cim111 aruta has described what happe11 ed. 1-Ie said that J1 e ,vas at \Varder, that l1e l1eard tl1e sl1ooting at about 5.30 p. 1 n., that l1 e took his car, that the latter brok:e do\vn, and that l1 e arrived 011 the spot after having ,valked the latter part of the route. J-Ie added that it 1 nust have been a. little before 6 o'clock v.rl1e11 l1 e reached Wal Wal and tl1 at a few min­ utes later it ,vas alread), getting dusk for Ll1e 11 ight falls earlier in tl1ose parts. .l\1ajor Cimn1 aruta \\1as asked se,,eral qt1estions, 1nore especially about the aeroplanes a 11 d tanks w11icl1 l1ad also pro::eeded to tl1 e scene of the fight. 1-Ie rer>lied that one of tl1 e aeroplanes arrived before hi111 a 1 1d the otl1 er two after hi111 but l1 e could not say l1ow long after. As regards tl1 e tanks, l1 e said that tl1 ese l1ad been ordered by 11i 1 n to leave Warder ir11n1 ediately for \Val \Val. 0 11 e of tl1 e tanks arrived before l1 in1 . To ill)' 1nind tl1ere is one question ,vhicharises, viz., wl1 etl1er on a track : such as that described by Major Cin1maruta a tan:e can travel quicker tha 11 a 111otor-car. Mr. ]EZE: I have alread)' pointed out attl1 e tin1e v.rhen Nlajor Cin1maruta ,vas testifying that the car must have travelled ratl1 er quickly if it 1nanaged to do the distance of 12½ kilo111etres in seve11teen cir eightee11 minutes, at 111 ost 1 1ineteen 111 i11utes. Mr. POLITIS: 1'1ajor Cimmaruta said tl1a.t l1 e heard tl1 e fi1·i11 g at 5.30 p.n1 . Cou11t ALDROVANDI: Major Ci1 n111aruta said once that at sucl1 ti 1 nes no one looked at a watc.h. Mr. POLITIS: It can be taken tl1 at the fig1t started at \Val Wal abot 1t 5.30 p.m., l1owever, is not tl1 e point which i1terests 111 e at t11 e mon1 e11t. l\ilajor Cimmaruta has stated that tl1e tank whicl1 left along ,vith hirn arrived before



hin1 an d I wonder ,vhether a tank can do about sixty kilometres a11 hour. That _ _ po1 1 rt ,vh1cl1 I cannot grasp. is a Mr. LESSONA: l\1 Iajor Ci111n1aruta gave orders for two tanks to set out. One f then1 left i1nmediately. l\1l ajor Cirnmaruta's light lorry, however, l)roke do:n _ before setting off, as it ,vas being startecl up. Tl1us, the first tank set off ahead and preceded l\t1ajor Cimmaruta by a fe,v mi11utes. Some 1ni 11utes later the breakdown ,vas repaired and the 1notor-Iorry set off. The second tank ,vl1ic}1 was 11ot ready Ief t and arrived after the lorry. l'vlr. POLITIS: 1\ilj' quest:io 1 1 is wl1 ether a tan]� can cover 12,½ kilon1 etres in less than tv.1ent}1 1ninutes. I a 111 not an expert and cannot give a reply. 1\!Ir. )EZ.E: Tl1 ere are hea,,1, ta 1 1k:s and ligl1t tanks; their rate of speed is naturallv different. But I. do not kno,v ,vl1at kind tl1 is tank was. l'vlr. LESSONA: It ,,,as a light tank. Anyho,v, the ter1ns of the question as put by IvJ r. Politis n1ust be al terecl, seeing tl1at the ta11k left 1nore than ten n1inutes before Captain Cimmaruta. f>ut in that ,vay, the ans,ver to the question is clear. I\1r. l\:IONT,\GNA: Captain Cimmaruta l1ad two reasons for being late: the breakdown of the lorr>' ancl tl1e fact that he covered the last section of the road on foot. Iv1r. POLITIS: It is still a puzzling question that tl1 e tank: could travel 12,½' kilo1 netres in under t,venty 1ninutes. �'Ir. J EZE: It see111 s to 1 ne in1 possible. l'vlr. POLITIS: I turn to another question-that of the Ethiopian documents found after Dece1nber 5 in the ca1 11p abandoned by the EthioJ)ian troo1Js. During the oral proceedings the Agent of the Ethiopian Go, er111nent stated that l1e did not question the authe11ticity of these docun1ents. 1\/Ir. J J�ZE: I confir 11 1 tl1 at, except for the docun1ents found on J..�itaurari Alemaio. Mr. POLITIS: I note that the two Parties disagree as to the interJJretation to be placed on the docun1e11ts in c1uestion. In the ,,iew of the Ethiopian Goverrunent the docun1ents of two J<.inds: the first consists of letters of a JJersonal character, the second of orders issued. Tl1ese orders referred to ordinary recrui1j 11g opera­ tions, supplying escorts, etc. I woulcl lik:e to kno\v ,vhether a tJerusal of these docurnents per111its of the in­ terpretation given by the Etl1 io1Jian Govern1nent and \vhether in the passage ref erring to a "military expedition" tl1e J\mharic \Vord has been properly trans­ lated. Furtl1 er, tl1ere is another point regarding \vhich I would like to know whether I t. :ex the of ng ani me ral lite the h \Vit ent sist con lly rea is on ati the inter1Jret _ y ich the wh and ded nee 1s t tha ter ,va the ons nti me ich 1 ,vl ent un1 doc refer to tl1e must go and take. Italian Me1 no­ l\1r. LESSON A: Tl1e docu1 11 e11t ,viii be found on page 14 of the randum. 1 nbers of tl1e 1e tl1e of e on al po dis 's n sio 1is mn Co e th � at ce � 11 r. JEZE: I can J)la 1 a l1ter l transl a uon o� all these l:i, pp su uld co 10 ,vl , ris Pa � _ Ethiopian Legation in 11 excerpts; 1f tl1e Co 1 11m1 ss1on wou!d i en giv e ar e es th , lly ta docun1ents. Inciden to be produced 111 ve ha uld ,vo ts en n1 cu do e th n, io lat ns tra e et like to J1 ave a COITij)l their entirety. 1


1\1r. PoLI'fJS: I quote fro111 tJ1e doct1n1ent ,vl1icl1 is 011 page 14 of tl1e Italian Me1norandt1m and ,vl1icl1 begi11s as foll),:vs: '' .A.fter saluti11g thee I inforn1 tl1ee tl1 at in the place ,:vl1ere we l1a,;e arrived tl1ere is not st1fficient ,vater save at vVal \N'al." It is a letter addressed by Baran1baras GJ1abre l\1icl1ael to Fitaurari Alen1aio. ivlr. jEZE: Tl1is is not a11 order but a private docun1ent. As rega,rds all the docu1nents tl1e Etl1:opia11 Govern1ne11t would Jil<e to supply a te.xtual tra11slation, l)ut of the co1n1)lete clocuments, 11ot of e.xcerpts. That is wh)' I prOJ)Ose that tl1e Con1111ission should entrust tl1e translation to tl1e Ethio­ pian Lega tio11 in Paris. Mr. PoL1·r1s: Is the translation on pa5 e 14 of tl1e Italian l\1en1ora11du1n not a co1nplete translation of the docun1ent \\hose pl1otograpl1 is sho\vn in Annex 18? Mr. JEZE: I clo not think that tl1 e texts are con1plete, but the l\ge11t of the Italian Governn1ent has the original tex1s of tl1ese docun1ents, according to ,vhat l1e said at Scl1eveningen. Mr. J)0Lr1·1s: To judge fro111 tl1e staten1e11ts n1ade by lVIr. J eze at Scl1eve11ingen, tl1e Agent of the Etl1iopian Governme11t,vas t1nable to express an opinion on tl1e authe11ticity of tl1e doct1n1ents and \Vas obliged to wait for a re1)ly from his Govern1nent. rf]1at reply l1as no\v arrved since l\lir. J eze l1as stated that he ; adn1its tl1e autl1enticity of the documen1s and has a reserva tion to n1al<e onl :y as regards one of tl1e1n. 1\1r. ]EZE: The Ethiopian Governn1en1 !1as l1ad cog11izance of tl1ese docu111ents 011ly tl1rougl1 the Italian 1'Vlen1orandu111 bt1t l1as never l1ad the originals. can the Ethio1)ian Go\rer11111ent be sure that these docu­ Mr. POLITIS: 1Jo\v n1ents are a.utl1entic? 1\tf r. ]EZE: TJ1e signatures and seal wot�cl seem to be tl1ose of Fitaurari Shiferra. rfl1e seal gives tl1e docun1ents an appearance of autl1enticit)'. But tl1e Etl1io1Jian Government says so out of good faith, as it has 11 ever see11 tl1e originals of the documents. Mr. PoLI1'IS: 111 an e.xan1ination of tJ1is kind ,ve sl1ould co11sider 11ot only the seal but also stud)' the contents, tl1e tenor of the doct1ments. What strik:es 11 1e is that the Ethiopian Go\1ern111ent says tha,t tl1e docun1e11ts seern to be a.utl1entic. Mr. ]EZE: v\1hen tl1e Ethiopian Goverrment states that tl1e docun1e11ts seen1 to IJe authentic, it is doing so in perfect good faitl1. .l\1I r..POLI'fIS: I a1n also surprisecl that 1.he Ethiopian Go,,ernn1ent does not ask: to see the con1plete docun1ents and not n1erel }' excerpts. 1\/fr. ]EZE: rfhe originals are in the r-ossession of tl1e Italian Go, ernn1ent's Agent. If tl1e latter likes to let 111e havetl1em, I v,rill l1ave a translation 1nade at the Ethiopian Legation. Mr. POLITIS: Does lVIr. Lessona possess these docu111e11ts? l\1r. LESSON. .\.:Certainly. Mr. POLITIS: This is one of the n1ost ir1portant docu1nents in the doss1·er; tl1at is wl1y I would like the docu1nents subrrntted to tl1e Comn1ission. I \vould ask the representative of the Italian Govern111ent to be goocl enot1gh to have the111 checked. Tl1e i1nportant tl1ing is v.1heth;r tl1e portions of tl1 e docu111ents \Vl1icl1 have been 01nitted are reall)' unimporta1t and ,vl1etl1er the con1plete text co11fir1ns tl1e interpretation placed on it by 1he Italian Goverr1111ent. 1

I \I




I\1r. LESSONA: !11 that case it would be necessary to have an expert representing tl1 e Italian side also. I would a �d tl1at, as far as the docu111ent represer1 ted by Annex 18 is concerned, _ translation 1s complete; it is not an extract. TJ1e sarne is true of the letter of the October 20, 1934, of .Baran1baras Ghabre !\1icl1 ael to Fitaurari Alernaio. Count ALDROV.<\NDI: I consider tl1 at the Italian Government Agent is right. I think it ,vould be ,veil for experts fron1 botJ1 sides to meet in order to be able to compare tl1e texts. lvlr. POLI1'IS: I ,vould ask the Agents of the Governments to e.xpedite this 1natter as n1 ucl1 as possible. lvlr. ]EZE: If tl1e Agent of tl1e Italian Govern1nent would kindly' let n1e have the papers I will send them i1nn1ediately to the Ethiopian Legation. lVIr. POLITIS: I come now to my last point, a c1uestion which ,vas exhaustively discussed ,vhen tl1 e ,vitnesses were J1 eard at Bern, 11 an1ely, the question of tl1e sentry. It l1as bee11 pointed out by the f\gent of the Ethiopian Go\.rernn1ent tl1at tl1e Con1n1ission suddenly finds itself faced ,vith two different versio11s: the ·version of tl1 e ma11 who rose up and fired a shot in the air, ,vhich shot ,vas tl1 e signal for the battle or tl1 e fight. The11 tl1 ere is tl1 e ne,ver version, given during the oral J)roceedings, according to which an Ethiopian fired on an Italian sentry, that the said sentry ,vas ,vounded very Iightl)' in the left cheek, ancl tl1at he fell from tl1e tree on whicl1 l1 e was posted, tl1 is being tl1e signal for the fight. I ,vould observe that the question may be divided into several points. First, I wonder ,vl1 etl1er this shot fired or alleged to J1ave 1Jee11 fired on the Ethio1Jian side, as Captain Cirnrnaruta believes, accidentally struclc the se11 try, or ,vas really aimed at the latter. l\ilr. LESSONA: The shot struck the sentry accider1tally. Count ALDROVANDI: Ivlajor Ci111maruta did not make hin1self clear or1 that point. l\ilr. POLITIS: l\1r. 'Lessona's e.xpla11atio11 see111s to me to be very plausible. "fhe Etl1iopian soldier was very near the Italian line, about two n1etres c1,vay, ancl one would l1a,,e to be very clumsy to n1iss a man at such a distance. It see111s to 111 e that tl1 e Age11ts take the \'iew t11at tl1e sl1 ot ,vas fired 11ot at the sentf)' but in tl1e directio11 of tl1e sentry. TJ1ere is a second point: ]1ow did tl1e sentry, wl10 ,vas only lightly wounded, manage to fall? . lvlr. LESSON,!-\: Probably the se11try did not fall, but when l1e noticed that l1e was being ain1 ed at a11d tl1.1t they wanted to fire on l1 in1, he did ,vhat anyone else would }1 ave don e in sin1ilar circun1stances-he let l1 imself drop fron1 tl1e tree. Mr. POLITIS: Yet tl1e sentry ,vas in a good position for firing. Count ALDROVANDI: The sentry ,vas one against a ,vhole band on the otl1er side. It is very l1uman to try to escape. . , ­ . lVIr. DE LA PRADELLE: Tl1 ere were several men near the sentry 1hree \Vlt not t he can tha so , ide hirn bes re ,ve >' tl1e t tha d sai o wh d 1 ear } n bee e nesses hav have felt alone. . 1 e s ntry ,vas so lt htly tl y ,vh a rut n1a Cim in pta Ca ed :: asl � � I : . ER TT f>o i\'lr. r had fired acc1clendie sol n J)ia hiO Et tl1e se au bec n bee ve ha t 1 ·g} 1111 It d . e n \\,ou d • d t hat 1t · 11rnaruta rer)l1e Ci1 in 1Jta Ca ot. sl1 d ba a s wa I1e se cau be e els or ly tal



was because tl1 e soldier was a bad sl1ot rfl1 at exclttdes the l1ypothesis of an accident. Mr. POLITIS: I wonder v,rhj' tl1e sentry jid not empty his rifle at the same time. Mr. }EZE: I l1 a,,e already raised the c_ttestion of the ur1 lil.::elihood of a sentry t,vo metres a,vay from the line climbing up 011 a tree. Was it in order to see ,vl1at was l 1appening nvo 1netres away? But in that case }1e did 11ot 11 eed to cli1nb up a tree. Ivlr. I.JESSONA: One n1 ust l1 ave a kr1owledge of wl1at tl1 e jungle 1nea11s. l'v1r. }EZE: I don't kno,v \vl1 etl1 er the Agent of tl1 e Italia11 Governrnent k110,vs the jungle mucl1 better than I do or riot. Ivlr. POLITIS: Wl1 at was tl1 e de1)th of the Ethiopiar1 li11 es? Perhaps it was in1portant for tl1e Italian native soldier to know what was l1a1)1)ening in tl1 e enen1y li11 es and wl1etl1 er some distance behind there ,vere sucl1 weapons as 111acl1 ine­ guns, for instance, which are more important than rifles. That nught explain wl1y the sentry clin1bed up tl1 e tree. In anj' case it still rer11ains to be explai1ed how, in tl1e versio11 of pre1neditated aggressio11 , sucl1 aggression could be started b)r a rifle-shot. Count ALDROVANDI: Possibly the Etl1i:>pian soldier I1 ad been ordered to fire a sl1ot but not to fire on tl1 e sentry. He sliot u1)wards and the result was that the sentry was l1 it l)Oint-blank. Mr. POLITIS: I l1ave one final point to raise. It is a question ,vl1icl1 was asked during the oral J)roceedings but to \\ l 1icl1 I have found no adequate reply given. Tl1 is man who \vas only ligl1 tly ,vou11dec and is still alive, wl1y has l1 e not come and given evidence? Mr. LESSONA: Wl1 en the Italian Go\iernment learned that the Conciliation arid ArlJitration Co1nmission was to 1neet sl1ortly, it \Vired in1n1 ediately to the Governor of Son1aliland to send by the first stean1er leaving any persons wl10 could bea.r ,vitness. Fron1 Mogadiscio en order \Vas sent to \iVarder to get the n1e11 off .in half-an-l1our's time. The sentrv ,vas not there at the n1on1e11t. It n1ust be remembered tl1 at tL1 e dt1bats forn1ed a militia ,vhicl1 l1ad a special orga11izatio11 and tl1at from time to ti1ne the r:1ilitia 1nen even go off, along ,vitl1 tl1eir fa1nilies. As the sentry was not {)resent, he could not lea\,e witl1 tl1 e other dubats. 1-Jad the Italian Go,rernment imagined tl1at it was 011ly 011 At1 gust 25 that the witnesses would be heard at Berri, it would certainly l1 ave sent tl1e se11 try also. It believed, 110,vever, tl1 at the Co111n1ission would have fir1isl1ed its ,vork sooner. Count ALDROVA..NDI: It was believed that tl1 e witnesses would be l1eard very early. Besides, there are only two boats a 1nonth 011 tl1 e Italian Somaliland service. 1V1r. POLITIS: I have 110 more questionE to pt1t and I ,vould be very glad if tl1e Agents would please supply 111 e as soon as possible \vitl1 the infor111 atio11 \vl1icl1 I have requested. I may n1ention that in the afternoon tl'.e Age11ts could begin tl1e task of cl1eck­ ing tl1 e docu1ne11ts. In the interval Mr. Lessona could telegraJ)h to Ron1e and ask for sucl1 explanations as lie thinks acvisable. Mr. LESSONA: I could bring the docunents n1yself. Mr. J eze n1ight ask tl1e Ethiopian lVIinister to co1ne here i11 perscn, as this is 11 eutra1 territory. In that way the examination of the docu1ne11ts could begin in11nediately. 7


29, 1935

Mr. POLITIS: Tl1e Con1 mission can interv•ene if the Agents do not come to an agreement; if tl1ey do, that ,vould be sufficient. [Tl1 e Governn1 ent Agents ,vithdre,v and tl1e Comn1ission ,vent i11 to private session. l\1ean,vhile, l\1r. TECLE I Ii\W.\RIATE, Ethiopian l\rlinister, having been asked to attend by l\1r.J eze, arrived in tl1e company of the First Secretary of the Ethiopian Legation. J ointl)' vrith the Government f\gents he in1mediately proceeded to exan1ine the docu1 11ents. 011 the con1 1)letion of the exa1 nination, the Government f\gents, 1Vlr.1�ECLE 1-IAWARIATE and the First Secretary were summoned l)y the Con1111ission and brought into the 1 neeting-roon1.] Mr. POLITIS: \N'hat is the result of tl1 e exa1 ninatior1 made of the documents? ivl r. LESSONA: The texts reproduced in the Italian Govern1 nent's l\1emoran­ dum have been found to be absolutely correct. The letter which forms Annex I 8 l1 as been translated f ron1 the docu111 ent fron1 beginning to end. The letter ,vhich for 1 ns l\11nex 19 l1as been translated as regards tl1e portion in our possession, as it is a fragment of a letter. Mr. POLITIS: Does the perusal of the original show that it is a piece fron1 a letter or a11 extract? l\!lr. I.ESSON A: It is a fragment of a letter, a fragment ,vhich has been trans­ lated in full in the I talia11 1\1emorandum. l\!lr. ]EZE: Tl1e letter is not signed and it is even impossible to say from ,vhom it comes. l\1r. LESSON.<\: The na1ne of the person to wl1 on1 the letter is addressed is known-it is the Fitaurari Alemaio. lVfr. ]EZE: They are letters containing incorrect expressions proving that their \vriters are people of humble origin. l\!lr.POLITIS: Does this re1nark apply also to the letter in t\nnex r8? l\1Ir. ]EZE: Tl1e letter is fro111 a Barambaras, \vho is a sin1ple solclier. T11e ,vriter of the letter is a Baran1 baras, a rank ,vhich l\!Ir. TECLE I IA\VARI,\TE: is practically equivalent to that of corporal. The letter is addressed to Fitaurari .A.Ie1naio, ,vho ,vas the second in con11nand of the expedition. The rank of Fi taurari corresponds to tl1at of general. Iv1r. POLITIS: Is it possible for a corporal to \Vrite to a general? l\Ir. 1'EcLE I IA\VARIATE: It ofte11 l1 appens that a soldier sends a letter to his chiefs, ,vhicl1 is not very correct. In this case, the n1atter is not one for surprise, since tl1c Bararnbaras is a chief ,vl10 l1 as about nine soldiers under him. lvir. l)OLITIS: Tl1en, as far as the letters in Annexes 18 and 19, ,ve are no,v quite clear. The letter in Anne,'< 18 is reproduced in full and translated also in full. The letter in Annex 19 is only part of a letter, the only part ,vhicl1 ,vas found, but the translation is con1 plete. Can it be inferred from the l1 and,vriti11g of the letter who is its writer, for instance, ,vhether it is the same person wl10 ,vrote tl1e let�er in Annex 18?_ .. j Ivfr. TECLE I-IA\VARI,\'fE: To udge by t11e ,vords used 111 tl1e letter I tl1 1nk 1t 1s the letter of a1 1 ordinar1 · soldier. There are some ,vords wl1 ich are not ,vritten quite correctly. I do not tl1 ink that it can be tl1e same person who wrote the letter in Annex 18.



Ivlr. POLITIS: As regards tl1e letter contained i11 Annex 20, tl1e writer a11d tl1e addressee are kno,vn. Tl1e text of tl1e letter is con1plete. Is tl1e translation also complete? Mr. TECLE I-lAWARlATE: Yes, certainly. I may add tha.t Fitaurari 1\le1naio was the second officer in co111n1and of tl1e escort. Escorts l1ave of ten to IJe sent­ I refer to ,vl1at is described as a military expedition-because in tl1ese desert areas tl1e Sornalis so111eti1nes offer arn1ed opposition. Mr. POLITIS: '"fl1e poi11 t ,vl1icl1 interests me is to k11ow wl1ether tl1e translatio11 is complete or not. Mr. TECLE l-IAWARIATE: T11e translation is con1plete. There is 011ly tl1e fact that the Fitaurari l1ad aJready IJeen killed and all his effects lost. It is in1possible to say wl1ether tl1e letter was ,vritte11 by l1im or w11ether it was addressed before or after his death. Mr. LESSONA: This letter was not written by Fitaura.ri Ale111aio but by Fitau­ rari Sbiferra wl10 is certainly alive. Mr. TECLE HAWAR11\.TE: I n1eant to refer to the letter written by Fitaurari Alen1aio, ,vl10 is dead. As regards Fitaurari Shiferra I do not k:now tl1e latter's signatl1re. The signature would l1ave to be cl1ecked, for tl1e seal by itself means notl1ing. l'\llr. P0Lr1·1s: Is the docuinent in .t\1111ex 21 co1nplete? Mr. TECLE l-IAWARIATE: It is complete. Mr. PoLI'fIS: Is the docurnent in A11nex 22 also co1nplete? Mr. JEZE: It is rnerely an extract. Tl1e begin11ing of tl1e letter is ratl1er in­ teresting to read but tl1e Italian Governn1ent l1as not tra11slated it. JVlr. POLITIS: Can we l1ave tl1is translatio11? The SECRETARY of tl1e EtJ1iopian Legation: After tl1e salutation the letter reads as follo,vs: Your so11-in-Ia,v Ato Mettafierra Ferieu l1as clesertecl witl1 four 1nen. I did not 1{110,v tl1at l1e ,vas yot1r s011-in-law. I have l)een told by Fitaurari Shiferra. Now n1e11 are begin11ing to desert from tl1e other sicle and co1ne over to tis. The11 comes the text v..1J1ich has already beer1 translated by the Italian Govern­ ment. Mr. POLITIS: Tl1ere is nothing more to exa1nine but the document ,vritte11 in Arabic. Does the EthioJ)ian l'vlinister kn.ow Arabic? 1\1r. TECLE l-IAWARIATE: I don't know it. Ivlr. POLITIS: vVhere was this paper found? Mr. LESSONA: It was found i11 the same encan1pn1ent. Mr. POLITIS: I tJ1ink that we are now quite clear about tl1e letters in qt1estion. 1\1r. ]EZE: I reserve the rigl1t to furnisl1 a literal translatio11 wl1ich ,vill sho,v tl1at there are shades of meaning. As regards the 111eaning of the words "military expedition" wl1ich l1ave been referred to, I repeat tl1at this is a service expedition to collect ta.xes or supply escorts. The orders referred to i n the letters are precisely orders corresponding to such operations; there is no question whatsoever of tl1e \Val Wal incident. Mr. LESSONA: Mr. Jeze's statement is a mere supposition. The Commission only to look at tl1e dates of tl1ese letters and the chronological order of tl1ese



docume �t � to be convinced tl1 at this n1ilitary expeditio11 was in this particular case a m1l1tar)' expedition against the vVai \N'al ,veils. Mr. lYIONTt\.GNA: Why ,vas this 11 1ilitar1 ex1Jedition described as an escort for tl1e Angl o-Ethiopian Co111 n1ission if it other olJjects such a.s to collect taxes? l\1r . Po ���IS: It l1 �s beer1 ex1Jlained a. r eacly that tl1e expression "military . _ expedition 1s not quite correct. lYir. TECLE l-lA'\V,\.RIATE: l11 this case this n 1 ilitary expedition was a1Jpointed to act as an escort for tl1e Corrimission. It vas not a case of an armed expedition for \,Val \Val. lvlr. �ESSONA: In the order of Noven1ber 27, 1934, reproduced on page 14 of t11e Ital1,1n 1Ylemorandun1, at the foot of the page, there is a 1nention of \,\;al \Val. I l1ave notl1 ing 1nore to add. [Tl1e meeting ro�e at 6 p.m.]

Septeniber 2, I.935 1'11 e meeting opened at 10 o'clock:, a.111. Cour1t ALDROVANDI stated that, in vie\\ of tl1 e uncertaintv as to son1e of the declarations 111ade b y tl1e dubats at Bern .n the absence of the fif tl1 f\rbitrator, tl1 e ltalia11 Arbitrators proposed (as tl1ey had done twice alread:y) to hear the ) same persons again, a11 d, if necessary, others as ,veil, in exten sion of the i 11 quiry. This would enable the Commission to ad)pt an absolutely fair, equitable and decisive finding, esrJecially in so far as the incident of Deceml)er 5, 1934 \Vas concen1 ed. M'r. IvloNTA.GN,'\ said l1e ,vas in co111plete agree1nent \vith what Coun t Aldro­ vandi had just said. I-le v.rished to em1Jl1 asize the fact that certain evidence ,vas judged n1ore particularly by the J)ersona. i111 pression J)roduced. Not having been {)resent at Bern, l\1I r. Politis could uot forn1 such a personal i1n1Jressior1. That \vas ,vhy he would Iik:e l:Vlr. })olitis to be present hi111self when the \viti1esses gave evidence, as the other n1 e111!Jers of the Co1nmission had been. lVIr. de I�a Pradelle had hi111self said, aiter ha\'i11 g heard tl1e ,vitnesses, that he had the i111pression that their staten1ents ,vere quite sincere. It \Vas very important for 1Vlr. Politis to have the sa.rne in1pression aho. 1\!Ir. DE LA PR,\.DELLE saicl he took an entire!)' contrary vie,v of Count Aldro­ vandi's request, and ga,,.e ]1is reasons for so doing. First, the Italian Governn1e11t hacl lJeen al,le to have the evidence of persons, \Vho i11ciclentallv could not at that time be regarded as ,vitnesses, taken under circun1stances of absolute inequality. The Ethiopian Governn1ent, on the other l1and, o\ving to the short notice given, ,vas unable to arrange for a hearing of persons of different nationalities, Ethiopi:1n and British, ,vho could have give11 useful inforn1ation. Furthermore, tl1 e Ethiopians found then1selves under tl1 is l1andicap (one to whicl1 l\ lr. de La Praclelle felt he should drav attention) that, .vhereas the Ethio­ pian Governme11t had fron1 the outset agre?d to a I)rocedure of conciliation and arbitration \vl1 ich might have determined the truth imn1 ediately, the Italian - I




Go,,ernment had \vaited t1ntil lVlay 25, before accepting tl1e procedt1re of arbi­ tration, u11der presst1re fro1n tl1e Council of tl1e League of Nations. The actual effect of the 1)rocedt1re was tl1at the fifth Arbitrator could only in­ tervene i11 case of disagree1nent and 011ly 011 each point of disagreen1e11t wl1icl1 meant a,vaiting the end of the hearings at Ber11 l)efore declaring tl1at disagreement existed and calling that Arbitrator in. Tl1e latter would, tl1us, find himself dealing ,vitl1 proceedi11gs wl1ich l1ad been concluded and whicl1 could thus only be continued before l1im as ,vritten proceedings. Under iliese circu111sta11ces and for these reasons, Mr. de La Pradelle could not agree to tl1e proposal rnade by Count ,:\ldrovandi. Count t\LDROVAJ'1DI said that it ,vas not true tl1at tl1e Italian Gover11ment l1ad agreed to resort to arbitration u11der pressure fron1 tl1e Council of the League of Nations 011 May 25 only, because the nvo notes agreeing to refer the question to the procedure of conciliatio11 and arbitratio11, pro,,ided for in Article 5 of the ltalo-Etl1iopian treaty, \\'ere dated Ivla)' 15 a11d 16. Mr. POTTER did not think: tl1at an additional investigation \Vot1ld be either practicable or helpful. Mr. l\1loNTAGNA wished to mak.e an ol)servation. rvr r. de r_a Pradel le had referred to a11 alleged l1andica1J, inas111ucl1 as Ital )r had been able to bring for\vard witnesses, wl1ereas Etl1iopia l1ad l)een unable to do so. Tl1e ltalia11 l\rbitrators must co11test tl1is assertio11, because tl1ey l1ad ask:ed for witnesses ever since the Comn1ission's first 1neeting at l\1ilan on June 7 last. The Etl1io1)ian Arbitrators l1ad therefore had ple11�, of time to sum111on ,vitnesses, if tl1ey thot1gl1t it neces­ sary. I taJy ,vas not to blan1e for this alleged handicap; the Ethiopian Arbitra­ tors had, from tl1e outset, been put on an equal footing 011 tl1is fJoint ,vith the Italian Arbitrators. As far as tl1e pressure said to l1ave been exerted by tl1e Council of tl1e League of Nations was concerned, l1e must point out that, according to agreements be­ tween the t,vo countries, before resorting to the procedure of cor1ciliatio11 a11d arbitration, tl1ere l1ad been direct consultatio11s and diplo1natic negotiations. Italy tl1ougl1t sl1e \Vas respecti11g tl1e treaties in opening tl1ese diplomatic negotia­ tions which unfo.rtunately l1ad 11ot been successful. Conciliation and arbitration proceedings l1ad tl1e11 been OJ)ened, before the Council of the League of Nations had been able to e.xert any pressure whatsoever. Mr. POLITIS declared that tl1e t,vo grot.1ps of arbitrators disagreed as to the additional investigat-io11 for wl1ich the ltaiia11 Government's Arbitrators had asked. On n1ature reflection, lie agreed witl1 tl1e Ethiopian Governn1ent's Arbitrators. I-fe considered furtl1er in,restigatio11 absolutely unnecessar)'. 1-Ie said so because tl1e evidence of the natives wl1icl1 l1ad been submitted l1ad 1nade hin1 feel that it was giv·e11 by men ,vho were not free, wl1ose i11tellectual and 111oral standards were not on a level witl1 tl1ose of the other \\rit11esses produced by the Italian Government. He was of tl1e 01Jinio11 tl1at their staten1er1ts ,vere 11eces­ sarily unreliable and that, if they ca1ne back before the Con1mission-thcy or others of the sa111e type to make fresh declarations, t}1eir 11e,v eviclence ,votild be even less deservin.g of attention. For these reasons, lvlr. POLITIS co11sidered another hearing of these witnesses as entirely useless. Tl1e Commission had sufficient data at present to be able,




wit �out any ft1�ther investigation, to bring in a finding such as ,vas generally desired ancl wh1cl1 -to quote the actual ,vords of Count Aldrovandi-,vould be equitable, fair and decisive. I-le declared therefore tl1 at the majorit)' of the Com1nission was against the proposal to hold a further inquiry. Count ALDilO\'ANDI n1erel )1 ,vished to add that all these colored 111 en. a.II these d11bats, were the onl)1 ,vitnesses J)resent at the incide11t ., and the only people v1ho could report exactly ,vhat l1ad happened when the incident began 011 December 5. That ,vas ,vhy they llad bee11 IJrought before the Con11nission. The Italian Arbitrators had tl1 ought that their evidence ,vas quite clear, and that the incident of December 5 l1ad begun b)1 a shot fired f ron1 the Ethiopian side as a signal follo,vecl irnmediately by a fusillade-also fron1 the Ethiopian side. .lvlr. POLITIS thought it a pity that this in1pression ,vas not shared IJy the Et11iopian Government's f\rbitrators and even a greater pity that tl1 e fiftl1 t\r­ bitrator's in1 pression did not differ on this point fron1 that of the Ethiopian Arbitrator. [t\t this point the /tgents of the t\vo Governn1 ents entered.] fvlr. POLITIS explained that the Commission had sun1rnoned the Governrnents' l\gents because tl1e Italian Agent hacl still to reJ)l )' to the c1uestions he had at the meeting last Thursday. lVIr. LESSONA said he '\\'ould first of all table the text of the English \i\Thite Book: of 1925 whicl1 l1e had not )7et sub1nitted. f\s regarded defining the subject of the arbitral fincling, the Italian Govern­ ment held that the finding should deter111 ine, on the i)asis of tl1e actual text of the agreen1ent, the de facto circu1nstances of the \i\lal \Val incident and the responsi­ bilities consequent thereon. The text of the agree1nent did not appear to give rise to any doubts. The question was to decide ,vhether the incide11 ts had occurred as described in the Italian or the Ethiopian version, in other ,vords, to decide ,vho, as a consec1uence of the attack 011 December 5 a.nd of all the J)receding incide11ts, ,vas tl1 e aggressor ,vhose responsibility ,vas involved. If it had been intended to entrust tl1e Cornmission ,vith the task: of actually settling the consequences of responsibilit)', the ,vord "con1pensation" ,vould surely have been used, wl1ereas tl1is ,vord ,vas not to be found in any of the texts whicl1 constituted the arrangement. The Ethiopian Government's representative J1ad quoted Article S of the 1928 treaty i11 support of l1is case, but this argun1ent vvas a device that was contra[)' to all rules of interJJretation. The r928 treaty con1pelled the I-ligh Co11tracting Parties to "submit c1uestions in dispute to a procedure of conciliation and arbitration." It ,vas t!1 erefore impossi!Jle to unclerstand ]10\v this general rule could prevent the part1e� frorr � singling out one particular point to the exclusion of tl1e otl1 ers as the sub3ect ol the agreerne11t. e If, t}1 en, the question must be consiclered fron1 the_standpo1nt_ of the agreem _nt, 1an tal I of the 011 at1 ret erp 1nt the to, cl ere adh ly ict str be st mu ter and if tJ1 e lat


Goverr1ment was 1 1ot ope11 to doubt. Tl1 ere l1ad 11 ever IJeen any discussion as to the nature and arnount of reparations, a11cl, conseqt1entl)', tl1 ere ,vas no possi­ bility of declari11 g that a dispute existed. 1-Io\v coulcl it IJe sup1Josed tl1at pro­ ,,ision wot1ld have bee11 made in tl1 e agreen1 ent for a q11estion wl1 icl1 had not even arisen? Mr. LESSONA recalled tl1at Mr. de La Pradelle J1ad aslcecl the follo,..ving question: "Did the Italian Government propose to drav.r fron1 the Comrnission's findi11g the conseque11ces which it thougl1t could be drawn from tl1 at declaration 011 the i11ternational plane?" J-Ie rei)lied tl1at he thought it very doubtful \vl1 etl1er such a l)oint wl1icl1 con­ cerned tl1 e futt1re policy of the Italian Governrnent could have a 1 1:y bearing on tl1 e judgrnent whicl1 the Commission was about to pro11ounce. In any case, and in all sincerity, he ,vould declare tl1at, as the Wal \.\'al incident was one of the factors in the situation between Italy arid Ethiopia, tJ1c Italian Gover11ment must reserve the right to dedt1ce fro1n tl1e declaration of reSJ)Onsi­ bility any conseclue11ce of i111portance i11 tl1 e inter11ational spl1ere. !\.1r. DE L1\ PRADELLE said tl1at l1 e had also asked anotl1er question to \vhich no reply had been give11. I-le had asked \Vl1etl1er, in view of the fact that they vvere not callecl upon to decicle, in tl1e event of responsibility, tl1 e a111ot1nt of re1Jarations and generally the extent of tl1ose reparations, tl1at question \Vould, in the vie,v of tl1e Italian Governn1ent, constitute a proble1n for reference to a11 international court other than tl1e Comrnission. Mr. LESSONA replied that, i11 tl1e Italian Go,rernn1ent's ,1iev.r, tl1 e Con1n1ission coulcl only decide on tl1e facts and tl1e respo11sibilities arising therefro 1r1, disre­ garding tl1e question of reparatio11s. lVfr. POLITIS said tl1at l1e l1 ad ask:ed a question and l1ad received a very lt1cid reply. l-Ie ,vould, l1owe, er, point out tl1 at it ,vas not adequate to the te.xt, though adequate to the question wl1ich had been raised. As regards th.e reasoning wl1ich had been advanced, tl1at was a reasoning on which the Commission would have to take a decision. Tl1e text of the agreen1ent contained the words: "The respo11sibilities in co11 nection therewitl1," bt1t tl1e ,vord "responsibilities" had never been tal<en in private la,v, whetl1er pt1blic or international, to n1ean a declaration of principle; by "responsibility" was al,vays understood the general circumstances of anyone ,vho placed l1 in1self in opposition to a rule of la\v. When the parties l1ad agreed that the Con1mission \vould have to deter1ni11e tl1 e defacto circuznstances and drav.1 its conclusions as regards the responsibilities arising therefrom, the1r l1ad meant son1ething 011 \Vhich tl1e Com1nission would have to decide: but when he (I\1r. Politis) asked his question, he ,vanted to lcnow ,vl1at \Vere the intentions of the Italian Governrnent. As regards the reasons wl1ich had been given, it \Vas a purely juridical question wl1ich carne v,rithin tl1e Co1n111ission's jurisdiction and would IJe deter1nined by it. Mr. LESSONA replied tl1at, according to the rules of law, responsibility" was only the declaration rnade regarding a subject of la\v to the effect tl1at he 1nust be ans\verable for the consequences of anything whicl1 l1ad bee11 done by l1imself or by persons for whose actions he was responsible. A responsibility verdict ,vas limited to such a declaration; responsibility involved a.n obligation to pay dan11




17 3

ages, but it was not necessarily tl1 e duty of the judges ,vho had to determine the responsibility to decicle on those damages. Mr. ]EzE wisl1 ed to sl1ow that there \vas a 1naterial inexactitude in t1 1is question. _ The quest1011 of the an1ount of da,nages t 1ad been raised and discussed; the Italian Gover11ment l1 ad asked for $200,000 dan1ages. Thus there \vas a request for compensation. The Ethiopia11 Governn1ent, 011 its part, had declared that it ,vas ready to give any con1pensation decidecl on by impartial arbitrators. It ,vas, therefore, incorrect to say that this question had not been envisaged: on the contrary, it had been cliscussed. Secondl)', the text of the agreement ,vas forn1al. Tl1e problem ,vas to deduce the cor1sequences fron1 the responsibil i ties. Other,vise, it was no longer a case of an arbitral commission, but of a con1mission of inquiry. There ,vas a dis­ tinction in international law between a co111r11ission whicl1 hacl to establish t11e mater i al existence of certain facts and a commission of arbitration which had to put an end to a dispute entirely. I-le ,vould not d\vell further on the point since the Arbitrators \\1 ere fa1niliar ,vith the theories of international Ia,v. l\1r. POLITIS said that he felt it expedient to sum up the terms of tl1 e question. At t11e meeting on f\ugust 29 J1 e l1ad asked the representative of the Italian Gov­ ernn1ent tl1e follo,ving question: "\.Vhat ,vas the Italian Government's intention concerning an e\0entual decision by the Con1n1ission?" In other ,vords, ,vhat were the formal co11 clusions referred to the Com111ission for its opinion? There ,vere three possible alternatives: (I) either they ,vould confine then1selves to a si1nple tl1 eoret.ical declaration on responsilJility and, when that ,vas clone, the dispute was settled once and for all ,vithout any repercussions in the future; (2) a theoretical declaration on responsibility having been asked for it ,vas un­ derstood that the only practical consequences would be those already formulated in the d i plomatic notes of Decen1ber subsequent to tl1e incident of Decen1ber 5; (3) a request ,vas n1 ade for a theoretical declaration 011 responsibility, reservations being entered as to any possible consequences of a pecuniary or political nature which rn ight be deemed expedient when the occas ion arose. Having thus stated the question and its three possible solutions, lVIr. POLITIS believed that he coulcl infer that the Italian Government adopted the third. IVIr. LESSON.\ saicl that, had there onl:r lJeen tl1e incident of v\'al \.Val between Ethiopia and Ital)', he believed that this third solution should not have been adoJJted. i\s, l10\Ve\1er, the inciclent was merely one factor in a very complicated situation, it ,vas necessary for the Italian Governn1ent to reserve its attitude until tl1e Comn1ission l1ad given its ruling. l\11r. POLITIS said that the situation ,vas no\v perfectly clear and this question v1as settled. They could no\v turn to other questions. lVIr. ]EZE sa id tha.t Tvlr. Politis had asked him to explain the circumstances under whicl1 the depositior1 of a ,vitness on the Ethiopian side Ate Lemme Ibralcou sick attendant-had been given. i\ccording to a telegram whicl1 he had jus; receivecI from the Ethiopian Governmen:, tl1 is \Yitness l1ad giv�n his _ _ evidence at Addis Ababa1 in the presence of tl1e l\1 1111 ster for Foreign Affairs. He had also asl{ed Addis f\baba for information regarding ot}1er incidents tl1an that of Wal \Val and had yesterday received in this connection a telegra1n which he handed over for tl1e Com1nissio11's file. The telegra1n read as follows:



lnforn1ation asked for on August JO is as follo\vs: Italy cle11ominates as Afdub i11cider1t tl1 e incident ,:vhicl1 we call the attack on Gl1erlogubi. See i1 1 particLtlar poi11t I of ottr 11ote of Februar )' 21, 1935, Annex 2, thirty-four, a11 d note of l\tlarch 21, 1935, l-\1111 ex 2/51. See also Annex No. 25 sent type­ written i 11 our letter 22 fLtnbot and stencilled l,y OLtr Jetter 30th gunbot. Two. Agable. Etl1iopian so_ldiers not involved _case co�cer:ning dispute bel:\veen frontier tribes. Tl1 1rd. Omager. Version Etl1 1op1a not delay reprocluced in n1 emorandu1n � taly i:; rnaintained in. a�cordar1ce with tele­ gra1n sent press a11d you A1Jr1l 1. Four. Gogula 1nc1clents. Note taken Italy sumn1ary 11ot containing 1no� cletails than stated i11 n1emorandum stop. In ackno,vleclging receipt Government Ethiopia l1 as ask:e<l for local i 11 ,,estigation report 011 wl1 icl1 not yet received and Italy taken no other action tl1is case stop. This telegram s110,ved more particularly that there was a confusion behveen the incident called by the Italians t11e "Afdub i11cident" and by tl1e Etl1 iopians the "attack 0 1 1 Gherlogubi." Nlr. LESSONA said that l1e still had to give t11e Comn1issio11 a reply regarding tl1e Gogula incide1 1t. Tl1e Con1r11ission \visl1ed to kno\V "vhat reply tl1 e Ethiopian Government had given to the representa·:.ions 1nade by the Italian Go,,ernn1ent. His information fro1n Ro1ne 011 t:l1is sulJ:ect stated tl1at tl1e Et11iopian Govern­ ment replied on l\1ay 8, 1935, tl1at it l1ad at present no ir1formation on this inci­ dent, tl1at it was going to l1old an inc1t1iry and send a reply. f\s ust1al, reply l1ad never reached the Italian Govern111ent. Tl1e Co1nn1issio11 tl1 en went into priva:e session. [Tl1e meeting r0se at Ir a.n1.]

Septe1riber 3, 1935 Tl1e n1eeti11 g ope11ed at 12.15 p.n1. l\tlr. POLITIS said tl1at he ,vas going to ltave the l1onor of handing the Agents of the Govern ments an original and certifi:d true copy-certified correct by tl1e Secretariat-of tl1e decision arri, ed at jy the I talo-Etl1 iopian Commission of Conciliation and Arbitratio11 . He said that he need not read it as tl1E Agents \.Vould read it themselves. }le wished to add for insertion in the 111inutES tl1at tl1e Commission had given e,,ery care and attention to the consideration of tl1is difficult c1t1estio 1 1. The Commission \Vas glad to have beer1 able to adopt ur1ani1nous conclusions. Tl1ese conclusions were contained in the decisio1 1 \,V}1icl1 l1e l1ad the honor of l1 a11d­ ing to the represe11 tatives. Tl1is un.anirnity was tl1 e proof a.r1d tl-e result of the spirit of conciliation in whid1 tl1 is case l1 ad been exami 11 ed by the ArlJitrators appointed b )' tl1 e t,vo Govern1nents. He ,vished to pay a tribute to botl1 set� of .l\.rbitrators for the spirit of concilia­ tion shown and trusted ,,ery si11 cerely th1t tl1is ,vould be of good augur)' for tl1e future. He hoped that the san1e spirit of conciliation would be apparer1t i11 tl1e reports of the two Gover11ments concer11ed, tl1e relations of close cooperatio11 between which w�re tho�� �vhjc;4 w�r('.! de$tiqed t<;: e?{j�t b��w�e11 then1 in fu t\1re. 1


3, I 935

1 75

1-Ie trt1sted that tl1e Age11ts ,vould retain a happy n1en1ory of tl1 eir cooperation with the Commission. 'fl1 e .A..rbitrators on their part l1 ad to thank the Agents for tl1 e assistance wl1 ich the latter had given in the task of justice which hacl just been accon1plisl1 ed. By their statements ancl their adclitional explanations, the Agents l1ad helped the Con1mjssion to clarify its vie,vs 011 the various aspects of the very difficult ques­ tions referred to it for exan1ination. Mr. ]EZE \vished, before the Com1nission separatecl, to express the Ethiopian Go,1er11ment's tha11ks for the way in ,vl1 ich l\tlr. Politis had presided over tl1e discussions and l1 e thanked all the Arbitrators for the work which tl1ey had done. l\1r. POLITIS 1nade a final observation: the Con1mission felt that, so far as it was concerned. it had no communication to make to the press. I ts work ,vas finished; it l1ad been handed o,,er to the t,vo Go,1ernments and it ,vas for the Agents, acting in accordance ,vitl1 instructions received b�: them from their Govern1nents, to 1nake sucl1 use as they thought fit of this finding. Ivlr. POLITIS felt that, in rnaking a co1nmunication to tl1 e press, the Agents ,vould wait until t11 e 11ext da)' \Vhen the text of the finding \vould IJe handed by the Agents of the two Governments to the Council of the League of Nations, in accordance ,vitl1 the in,1itation ,vl1 icl1 the)' the1nselves had accepted at the n1 eeting of August 3. I\1r. LESSON,\ ,visl1 ed to associate himself ,vith the ·tribute paid to the Com­ mission by the Agent of the Ethiopian Govern1nent for having completed the difficult task entrusted to it. Mr. POLITIS declared the proceedings of the Con11nission closed. [Tl1 e 1neeting rose at 12.45 p.n1.J

ANNEX P DECISION OF TI-IE COl\1l\1ISSION Septe1nber 3, 1935 r. By an exchange of notes dated lvla)' 15 and 16, 1935, bet,veen the Italian iVIinister at Addis AbalJa a11 d tl1e lvlinister for Foreign i-\ffairs of Ethiopia, the Italian. and Ethiopian Governments agreed to submit to the procedure of con­ ciliation and ar!Jitrat:ion provided for i11 Article 5 of the Treaty of An1 ity bet,veen Italy and Ethiopia of August 2, 1928, "the de facto circumstances of the i�1ci_ �e.nt which took pla.ce a.t \,\'al vVal on Decen1 ber 5 and 6, 1934, and the respons1l)i!1t1es in co11nection there,vith." f\s it appears fron1 Resolution No. I of the League Council dated rviay 25, 1935 1 the two Go,,e.rnments also agreed to sub111it _to �he same procedure "incidents ,vhich l1av·e taken place on tl1e Italo-Eth1op1an frontier since Decernber 5, 1934." . . an tah I It ,vas also stated in this resolution of the League Council that the �o objection Government, in vie\v of tl1e rec1uest whicl1 had been n1ade to it, rais�d 101)1an Governregarding the nationality of tl1e arbitrators appointed by the Etl1 ment. isf m.m · � h e Co t ers mb me as ed int po ap ly ing ord acc s ent nm ver � Go 2• The tw o . Italy and of g I(1n the . I IM. of dor ssa 1ba An i and rov Ald , t un Co s1on, ti1e f or1ner,


l'vl. l'vlo11tagna, Cot1nsellor of State of tl1e I{ingdom of Ital)', a.nd tl1e latter M. A. de Geouffre de La Pradelle, Professor of Inter11atio 11 al I�aw at tl1 e lJniversity of Paris, Director of tl1e I11stitute of I11ternat ional Studies, and Mr. Pit1nan B. Potter, Professor of Internatio 11al Orgc.11izatio11 at tl1e Graduate l11stitute of I 11ternational Stt1dies of Geneva, a citizcr1 of tl1e United States of A1nerica. They also appointed as Agents attached to tl1e Co11 1n1 ission, the for111er, M. S. Lessona, Professor at tl1e University ol Florence, and tl1 e latter, 1\1. G. Jeze, Professor at the University of Paris. 3. Tl1 e Commission co11stituted as abc,re l1eld a first session at Milan on J u11c 6 a11d 7 1 at v.rhich it ]aid down its procednre; its ne,}."t 1neeting, wl1icl1 was to tal<e place at Scl1 eveningen (Netherlands) \vcs postponed until June 25 to enable its n1 e1nbers to take cognizance of tl1e claims, arguments, and evidence of the Par­ ties. 4. On Ju 11e 18, 1935, the Ethiopian Government stated tl1at it stood by tl1e 1ne1noranda sul)mitted by it to tl1 e League of Nations on January I 5, and l'vlay 22. (C.49.M.22.1935.VII. and C.230.1\tl. I14.1935.VII). On June 22, t11 e Italian Gover111nent s-1br11 itted to the Arbitrators a 111e111oran­ dum specially pre1)ared for tl1e1n. 5. Tl1e Co 1 n1nissio11, wl1 ich n1 et at Sc:1eveni11ge11 on June 25, 1935, heard tl1e statement of tl1e Italian Go\'ernn1 ent's Age11t. Tl1e Ethiopiar1 Gover11n1ent's Agent having, in the cot1rse of l1is statentent in reply, toucl1 ed on the question of the "o'\-vnership" of tl1 e territor}' in wl1id1 Wal \,Val is situated, the Italian Agent objected to tl1e exami11ation of this quesiio11 wl1icl1, in l1is Governme11t's opinion, did not con1 e witl1 i11 the Con1111 ission's co1npetence. Tl1e n1 embers of the Con1mission disagreed as to tl1eir po\ver to deterrnine its competence, and regarding tl1e recot1rse to the fifth Arbitrator provided for by the treat)r of 1928. The Con1n1 ission ,vas accordi11 gly obl:ged to suspend its proceedir1gs 0 1 1 July 9, 1935. 6. The i1 1terlocutory question tl1 us raised "Y.1as settled by tl1e League Council, to wl1icl1 tl1e t,vo Governments applied in order to obtain an interpretation of tl1 eir agreement regarding tl1e precise scope of the mission entrusted to the Con111 1ission of Conciliation and Arbitration. TI1e Council was of opi11ion tl1 at the tvo Govern1nents "did not agree tl1at tl1 e Commission should exa1nine frontier questions" and that consequently "the Commission must not, by its decision or. the \,Val WaJ i 11cident, prejudge the so­ lution of questions ,vhicl1 clo 11 ot fall ,v:tl1i11 its pro,,ince, and that it ,vould be J)rejudging that solution if it fot1nded its decision on the opinio11 that tl1e place at whicl1 the incident occurred is tinder the sovereig11ty either of Italy or of Etl1iopia. '' It considered that" while it is always open to tl1 e Com111ission to take into con� sideratio 11 , without entering upon any discussion on the r11atter, the conviction that was l1eld by tl1 e local authorities oneitl1er side as to the so, ereignt}' over tl1 e place of tl1e i 11 cident, tl1e Commission bas 11ot to take into account tl1 e circun1 stance iliat \,\lal \i\lal is under the sover<:ignty of one or other of the nvo parties, but must concern itself solely with tl1 e otper elements in the dispute relating to the Wal Wal incident." 1


3, 1935


It noted the declaration of the t\vo parlies to l1 1e effect that the four members of the Co1nn1ission ,voulcl proceed ,vithou t delay to designate the fifth Arbi­ trator \vhose appointment n1 ight be necessar)r for the carrying through of tl1 eir work.'' Lastly, tJ1e Council, "confident that the J)roceclure would l1 ave brought about the settlement of the clisr)ttte IJefore Septen1ber 1, 1935, invited tl1 e tv,ro Gover11n1ents to inforrn it of tl1 e result not later tl1an September ,�, 1935." 7. The Commission 1net at Paris on August 20, 1935, and proceedecl to dcsig11ate the fifth Arbitrator. Its cl1 oice t1nanimously fell upo11 M. N. Politis, Greek l\1i11 ister at Paris, me111 ber of the Frencl1 Institute ancl the Institut de Droit Internatio11al, forn1er l\tfinister for .Foreig11 Affairs, ex-President of the League Assembl)1 Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Law of Paris University, ,vho was requested to assist it in the eve11t of disagreen1ent. 8. After l1earing on tl1at same day the staten1ent of the Ethiopian Agent, the Com111issior1 decided to proceed to 13ern to receive the depositions of a number of persons callee] by the Italian Go,,ernment. 9. Tl1e depositions ,vere 111 ade on August 23, 24, and 25, 1935. They ,,,ere follov,red by the fi.nal statei11e11 t of eacl1 of the two Agents. Io. 011 its return to Paris on August 26, the Con1 mission began its cliscussions 011 the questions submitted for its consideration. 'fl1e four Arbitrators were unable to agree eit11er as to the actual circun1 stances of the Wal \V::il incident or as to tl1 e responsibilities arising in connection there­ \vith. I I. The intervention of tl1 e fiftl1 .l\rbitrator thus becan1 e 11ecessary. It tool< place on August 29. 12. I-:Iaving taken 11 ote of the general contents of the dossier, tl1 e various parts of wl1icl1 had been con1municated to hi1n on l1is appoint11 1ent, the fifth Arbitrator proceeded to discuss, in conju11 ction witl1 the other n1en1bers of the Co1n1nission, the pleadings on either side of tl1e questions in dispute. 13. As a result of tl1is discussio1 1 the Commission arrived at tl1 e follo-..ving decision: 11


1'r-rE vV:-\L \V;\L INcroENT 14. Tl1e \,Val \,\lal district, situated in a desert country a11cl frequented by nomad tribes under the authority of Great Britain, Italy, or Ethiopia, is of special irnportance o,ving to tl1 e ,veils, s0111e three hundred i11 nun1 ber, i_n t11� territory, _ the ,,,ater of ,.vhich is indisrJensable for tl1e requiren1ents of tl1e trrbes 111 question and their li,,estock. 15. 'fhis area has lJeen controlled si11ce 1928, and permanently occupied since ny. 1930, by the authorities of the Italian Somaliland Colo _ post of r6. TI1e Italian occt1pation of the area is symbolized by the fort1fied _ t. Al­ \iVal \\ al, ,vJ1ich is sulJordinate to that of \Varder, about :27! km. distan , it though it 11 as not been officially recognized by the Et111op1an �overn°:ent 1 al \iVal · \\ til the un ent nm ver Go t tlia m fro t tes pro never ga,:e rise to ar1y official incident. • n t 11at t I1 e • t1o v1c con the ies rit tl1o au n lia Ita the en giv d ha n tio pa ccu O 1 lS I-I. Tl· • . and . p1a ed by E• t I11o niz og s rec iva d an y rit tho att n lia Ita r de un s ,va a al are V ai \\T \,


the United I{ingdon1 , inas1nt1ch as it \Vas a constant I)ractice for tl1 e tribes under their influe11 ce to use the vVal \Val ,veils n 1 1der the super,,ision of the Italian au­ thorities. 18. On the otl1er hand, the Etl1iopia11 authorities vvere convi11ced tl1at tl1e area formed part of their national territory. 19. In recent years, mutual sus1)icion and anin1 osity l1ad developed betv.,ee 1 1 tl1 e Italian and Ethiopian at 1 tl1 orities. The Italia11 autl1orities l)eca1ne convinced tl1at tl1 e Ethiopians ]1ad hostile i11tentio11 �, and the Ethiopian authorities had tl1 e same conviction abot 1 t tl1e Italians. 20. In such a11 atmosphere of suspicion and apprel1 ensio11, the slightest incide11t migl1t lead to a rnisunderstanding and degenerate into a serious conflict. 21. On No,,e1nber 22, 1934 1 an Etl1 iopian force of about six l1 undred regular ai1 d irregular troops, under the co111 n1and of Fitaurari Sl1iferra, Governor of Jijiga and Ogaden, Fitaurari i\lemaio, and Omar Samantar, an Italian de­ serter witJ1 a price 011 ]1is l1ead for the murder of an Italian officer, arrived in front of tl1e Italian post at \,\!al \t\/al as the p:·otective escort of ar1 Anglo-Etl1iopia 1 1 Con11nissio11, wl1ich, having completed the demarcation of tl1e fro11tier between Et11 iopia and British So,naliland, and la,,ing i11 structions to n1ake a grazing surve)' in Ogaden, ,vas due next clay at \t\/al \\Tai, wl1ere tl1ere ,vas an Italian garrison consisting at that ti1ne of about 160 native soldiers (dubats). 22. 1']1e Ethiopian force, considering itself to be i11 natio11al territory, advancecl towards the ,veils; its advance was opposed lJy a11 Italian force, commanded by a nati,,e N. C. 0. ,vl10 asserted that tl1e vVal\i\1al area v.,as Italian territorv. Under the pressure of greatly superior nun1 berE, tl1 e dubats were obliged to fall back. leaving tl1e Etl1 iopians in possession of ten or fifteen ,veils. 23. Next mor11ing, No,,ember 23, t11e Anglo-Etl1 iopia11 Con1 mission arrived on the scene; at its l1ead ,vere, on tl1 e Britisl1 side, Lt.-Col. Clifforcl, and on the Ethiopian side, Fitaurari Tessa1na Bante. Tl1e same day, tl1 ey se11t a letter to tl1e officer con111 1andi11g .the Italian forces :n tl1e area, protesting against the oppo­ sition to tl1 e advance of tl1 e Etl1iopian force on the previous day, and against the forcible carr),ing--off of one of the Co 1 nm.ssion's N. C. 0. 's witl1 l1is rifle. 24. Next morning, tl1e Italian Con1nanding ()fficer, Captai11 Cimn1 aruta, visited tl1e men1bers of the Com111ission; he declared tl1 at he ,vas not con1petent to discuss the 1nain subject of tl1eir prote,t, "a problen1 v.rhicl1 concerns only the political autl1 orities"; but in ex1)lanation of the disappearance of tl1 e Etl1 iopian N. C. 0. he stated that the latter ,vas an Italian deserter ,vho had volu11tarily given hin1self up. l-Ie proposed to l1old an i11quiry into the matter, and offered, in order to avoid incidents, to establish a provisional li11 e of separation between tl1e ItaJia11 and Etl1 iopian forces. This offer, ,vhicl1, in for1n, appeared to the Anglo-Ethiopian Com1nission to be II sincere a 1 1d opportune," was not carried out. Captain Cimruaruta proposed to indicatt the position of tl1 e two opposing lines by n1 arks and signatures on tree-trunks; :l1is proposal, l1owe,,er, \Vas rejected by the Ethiopian Mission, lest its acceptanceof a provisional deja.eta sitt1ation might create a precede11t favorable to tl1 e Itali1n view. Sul)sequently, 11 0\vever, tl1 e Ethiopian l.vlission a.greed to the establishn1 ent of a J)rovisional li11 e of separation marked by twigs or thorns. 25. To give the Etl1 iopians access to other wells in a.ddition to tl1 e ten or fifteen


3, 1935


in their possession, the Italians were asked to withdraw a fev,, n1etres; Captain _ C1mmaruta refused, but offered to allow the Ethiopians to dra\v water behind the Italia11 lines, under J1is supervision. Tl1e 1\nglo-Ethiopian Comn1 ission did not see its way to accept tl1 is offer. 26. During tl1e conference bet\veen Captain Cin1 1naruta and t11 e Con1 111is­ sioners, hvo I tftlian aero1)lanes fle,v lo\v over the Anglo-Ethiopian camp, wl1ere the British ancl Ethiopian flags ,,vere fl)ring side by side, and the Comn1 issioners 11ad the in1pression that the 11 1achine-gun of one of these aeroplanes, which was I)iloted b :y l\tlajor F'orru-Locci, hacl bee11 trained upon them; they· regarded this as a provocation, and protested indig11antly. C,iving evidence before the Con­ ciliatio11 and i\rbitration Commission, ho\\•ever, Tv!ajor J)orrt1-Locci declared on his honor as an officer a11cl a gentleman that the machine-gun of his aeroplane was not trained u1Jon the Anglo-EthioJ)ian can1p, though a can1era ,vas. He ex­ plained that a wrong i1npression 1night be gained l)ecause tl1 e n1acl1 ine-gun ,vas mounted transversely on the fuselage, and consequently, when the aeroplane banked, the machine-gt1n would appear to be trained on the ground. He also added tl1 at his fligl1t over the c,1mp ,vas in 110 se11se a l1ostile den1onstration: under orders fron1 ]1 is SUJ)erior officers, he \vas carrying out a reconnaissance in search of Captain Cin1 maruta. 27. Tvloved by his "great indignation" at this incident, \vhich he regarded as a "J)ro,:ocative den1 onstration ", Lt.-Col. Clifford decided to \Vithdraw the British l\1Iission to Ado, s01ne tl1 irt:} kilometres from \\1al \iVal, in order not to complicate the situation for tl1 e Etl1 iopian a.uthorities, and to guard against any regrettable international i11cident; accordingly, next day, November 25, the British and Etl1 iopian 1\1issions left \Val \Val ,vith their respective escorts of thirty and fifty n1 en. 28. In the 111eantime Fitaurari Shiferra's force remained on tl1e spot and its effectives, after recei,,ing further reinforcements, ulti,nately attain.ed a strength of I ,400 to I ,600 r11 en; its J)resence and the increase in its strength naturally added to the 111 isgivings of the I talia11 autl1orities ,vhich they believed to l1 ave been justified i11 vie\v of docun1ents they subsequently found in the Ethiopian can1p. The Italian at1thorities tl1ereafter considered that the Ethiopian II trooJ)S '' claim to be tl1 e escort of the Anglo-Ethiopian Co111mission was clearly untrue and that the reason ,vhy it did not follow the Comn1ission was that it was pla11ning to attack, tl1e Italian garrison at the first opportunity \vith a view to seizing forcibly the Wal \.Val wells; in its report dated November 30, 1934, paragraph 20, the A11glo-Etl1 iopian Co1n111ission explained that the "Ethiopian escort" re­ mained in its position at \\lal \iVal in order to avoid the appearance of a retreat \vhich 111 ight cause a rising a1nong tl1e population of Ogaden seriously con1 1)ro1nising the safety of tl1e Con1111ission; in the proceedings before the Comrnission it was further stated, on behalf of Ethiopia, that believing the1nselves to be in ilieir O\VTJ territory, the forces \vl1icl1 had advanced as far as the wells could not retire ,vithout \vounding t11e pride and lowering the prestige of the nation; it should lastly be noted that on being asked by Captain Cin1 maruta whether tl1e troops \vl1ich re1nained at \i\ial Wal and v_,J,ich tJ1e Commission continued to regard as its escort really formed part of the Con,mission's Et11iopian escort, Lt.-Col. Clifford n1ade no reply. 1



29. For te11 da).rs after tl1e Con11nissio111s deJ)arture tl1e Ethiopia11 and Italian troops rer11ained in tl1eir positions, facing each otl1er at a distance ,vhicl1 in places ,vas no 111ore tl1an 2 metres, tl1eir loaded rifles in their 11ands, cl1allenging, insulting and pro,roking each otl1er. 30. Nevertheless, in accordance v.1itl1 11:s Go,,ernment's reco1n111e11dations, the Governor of Italian S0111aliJa11d continued to give tl1e co1nma11der of the vVarder­ Wal \i\lal sector for1nal written orders to r(frain absolutely fro1n any hostile act so lo11g as tl1e Ethiopians did 11ot use tl1eir arms agai11st the Italian J)Osts; and on l1is side the co1nn1ar1der of tl1e sector, Captain Cin1n1aruta, repeatedly approacl1ed the Anglo-Etl1io1)ian Co1n1nission and the Ethiopian rnilitary chiefs urging that tJ1e necessary precautions be tak:e11 to prevent any incide11t. On Nove111ber 26, 1934, lie felt uneasy as to the intentions of tl1e Fitaurari Sl1iferra and warned l1i1n that l1e woulr1 take such decisions as we�e required according to l1is reJ)ly. On Dece111ber 4 1 l1aving learned that on the p�evio11s nigl1t l1is n1e11 had tried to force the ItaJian li11e b )' removing tl1e brusl1,vood wl1ich mark:ed it, Captain Cimn1ar11ta sent l1im word that any act of violencE on his part would be countered by force. 3 r. At this juncture reinforcements arrived 011 botl1 sides of tl1e li11es. On botl1 sides, tl1e n1en watcl1ed eacl1 other, a.nd tl1eir nervo11sness increased o,ving to the fact that every day sl1ots were heard-eitJ1er accide11tal sl1ots or sl1ots at gan1e. 32. Sudden!>', on Decen1ber 5, towards 3.30 p.m. according to son1e a11d towards 5.30 p.1n. accordi11g to others, followir1g or. a shot, the origin of ,vhic]1 is disJ)uted, a ge11eral figl1t lJegan. At the sound of the firi11g, Ca1)tain Cin1mart1ta, wl10 was at \,\larder, ordered t,vo tank.s and tl1ree aeroplanes to lea\ e for vVal \i\Tal imme­ diately, l1e hims�lf also proceeding thitl1er n1 a light lorry. I-le arrived at \,Val \i\lal sl1ortly before 6 p.111., one tanl� and one a�roplane arriving a fe\v 1ninutes before l1i1n. Tl1e other tar1k: and aeroplanes c"1ne tip shortly after l1is O\vn arrival. Captain Cimmaruta found his men, consia:ing at this ti111e of al)out five l1undred clubats, having only native no11-cor111nissioned officers in comn1and, forced back beyond tl1e origi11al line, \Vith their a1111nunition practically e..i<l1austed. fie l1ad s01ne cartridges fou11d on disabled 1nen distributed among them and called for an11nunit.ion to be sent from \i\Tarder. Tl1ts amn1t1nition arrived two l1ours later. 1\1ean\vl1ile night was falling, tl1e fightir.g !)ecame desultory a11d soon ceased altogetl1er. On Decernber 6, at daw11 fig:1ting bega11 again and soon tl1e Ethio­ pians were routed and fled in the direction. of Ado, leaving on tl1e grour1d and in tl1e neigl1borl1ood 130 dead and a large nu111ber of ,vot1nded. TI1e Italian dubats lost tl1irty dead and one 11u11dred wounde::I. 33. T\vo diametrically opposite acco11nts are given of the origin of the first shot whicl1 caused the fight. According io one version tl1is sl1ot \vas fired frorr1 tl1e Italian line, after two orders clearly heard in the Etl1iopiar1 ra11ks l1ad. been given, na111el>' first" r1 Lerra" and tl1en f11.oco ,, . According to tl1e other version the shot was .fired by an Etl1iopia11 soldier, sta11ding uprigl1 t, in tl1e direction of a little tree in wl1ich was sitting, on sentinel duty, an Italian dubat, \Vl10, ,vounded s.lig.l1tly in t11e cl1eek, imn1ediately fell or let l1imself drop do\v11. According to botl1 versions the sl1ot ,vas tl1e signal for firi11g f ro1T1 the same side. 34. T11e Ethiopian version is based: 1



3, 1935


I. On the aggressive intentions of the Italian forces as alleged b,, a nuin­ ber of dubat cl�se�ters �vho c :in:e, befo�e December: 5, to the heaclq�arters of th l\nglo-Eth1op1an Com_m1ss101}, ,vl}1ch took _ their evi1ence later; :.... n th re1Jo t of F1taurar1 Sh1ferra which n1ent1011s the orders ".4. � �, ,? terra an<;I fu<oco • alleged to l1ave been give11 io the ranks of tl1 e dubats, _ eas , the ,vhe! . 111 �v1de11�e given before tl1e Co1nn1 ission of Conciliatiot1 and Arb1trat:1011 ancl 1n part�cular according to Captain Ci1 nn1aruta's staten1ent, sucl1 orclers are never g1ve11 to du bats in Italian• 3. 011 tl1e evic1ence of an Etl1 iopian sick-atte�dant who was not an eve­ �itr�ess of the beginning of the fight, he hi1nself declaring that, ,vhen l),ing 111 his tent, he heard three shots one after the other and seized llis rifle to J)roceed to tl1e lines, during which time tl1ree IJti llets fell on his tent. 35. The Italian version is based on the following: I. The telegraphi� report:',. dated pecember 6 and 7 1 1934, fron1 Con1n1andant Montanari, the 1n1htary chief of the area to the Gover11 111ent of Sornaliland, conveying the evidence of the dulJats �vho were the on! )' eye­ \vitnesses of tl1e first events, and who state in particular that "an attack in force, unexpectedly launched lJy the Etl1iopians under the Fitaurari "fes­ sa111 ma, without any provocation on our part, con1pelled our dubats to fall bacl{ after a strenuous resistance"; 2. 1'he report dated Decen1IJer r4, 1934, from tl1e Governn1ent of Somali­ land to the Colonial l\1inistry at Iiome, giving a su1n1nary of the inforrnation it hacl received by that date, accorcling to ,vhich "an ascari of tl1e Fitaurari Shif erra stoocl t.1p ancl fired a shot i11 the air, wl1ich it seems ,vas Lo ser , e as a sig11al, si11ce it was i1nn1ediately follo,ved by a sharp fusillade on the part of the Ethiopians"; 3. The evidence, tal.:e11 IJy tl1e Co1nn1issio11 of Conciliation ancl 1\rbitra­ tion, i11 the absence of I talia11 officers and non-comn1issioned officerssince tl1ere v.1ere none 011 the spot at the time of the engagement- of four dubats, all of ,vhom are now non-con1missionecl officers but only one of ,vho1n ,vas so at the t.in1e of tl1e incide nt. Tl1ey ,vere at \Val \Val on J)e­ ce1nlJer 5, and st,1t e that they sa,v the first shot fired from the Ethiopian ranks, adcling a ne\V detail, nan1ely, tl1at the shot \Vas firecl at a sentry posLecl in a tree. These witnesses did not give their evidence until near! )' nine n1onths after t.l1e event; tl1ey clid not specify ,.,vhether the shot which they say tl1ey sa,.,v ca1ne from the EthioJ)ian ra11ks was fired intentionally or accidentally at the Italian sentinel or ,vhether the latter's fall was clue to a cleliberate or an involuntary 1noven1ent. 1

36. Consequently tl1e Commission is inclinecl to tl1inl{ that tl1is incident \Vas due to a11 unfortunate chain of circu1nstances; the first shot 1night have been accidental, lil<e the nun1erous a11d frequent shots that precede cl it. It is c1uite con1prel1ensil)le tl1at, in the nervous, excited and suspicious state of mind of the opposing troops, ,vho had for two weel{s been placed dangerously close to one another, this sl1ot led to the regrettable results \vhich ensued. 37. In tl1ese circumsta11ces, the Con1mission, taking into account the lin1 it of its !)O\\'ers under the resolution adopted IJy the Council of the League of Nations on August 3, finds: 1. That neither tl1e Italian Governn1ent nor its agents on the spot can be l1eld responsible in any ,vay for tl1e actual \Val \Val incident; tl1e allegations brought against them !)y the Ethiopian Go,,ernxnent are disJ)roved in particul� r by the _ en { by the m to prevent any incident on the occasion ot the many precautions tal asse111IJling at Wal Wal of Ethiopian regular and irregular troops, and also by the


abse11ce of any interest 011 tl1 eir part i11 JJro,,oking tl1e e11gagement of Dece1nber 5; and 2. That although the Etl1iopia11 Government also l1ad 110 reaso11able interest in provoking that e11gage1nent, its local autl1orities, b:y their attitude and par­ ticularly lJ)' tl1e conce11tration and maintenance, after tl1 e departure of tl1 e l\nglo­ Etl1 iopiar1 Co1nmission, of nun1erot1s troops in the proxi111ity of tl1 e Italian line at Wal \Val, n1ay l1ave given tl1e i1npression that they l1 ad aggressive intentions­ wl1 icl1 ,vould seem to render tl1e Italian version plat1sible but that nevertl1eless it had 11ot been sl1 own tl1 at iliey can be 11eld responsible for tl1e actual incident of Dece1nlJer 5. INCIDENTS SUBSEQUENT TO DECEMBER

6, 1934

38. From December 6, 1934, to IVIay 25, 1935, variot1s incidents occurred be­ twee11 the Italian and Ethiopian forces, some conseqt1ent upon tl1e \\la} Wal incident, and others u11connected with it. A careful exa1nination of tl1e facts alleged 011 botl1 sides sho,vs tl1at, of these incide11ts, tl1e first-narned, wl1ic]1 followed upon the Wal \,\!al i11cident, were of an accidental character, wl1ile tl1e otl1 ers ¥-1ere for the most IJart not serious a11d of very ordinary occurre11ce i11 tl1e region in \vhich they took place. In these circumstances, tl1e Con1111ission is of OJJi11ion tl1at i11 respect of these n1 i11or incide11ts no international respo11sibility need be in\'olved. In faitl1 ,vhereof the present decisio11 has !Jeen do11e in duplicate a11d, after signature by the 111embers of the Com111ission, has been con11nt1nicated to tl1e Agents of the Parties. Done and deliberated at Paris on September 3 1 1935. (Sig-n.ed) POLITIS. ALDROVANDI.

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The Wal Wal Arbitration by Pitman B. Potter (1938)  
The Wal Wal Arbitration by Pitman B. Potter (1938)