The Former European Neutrals, the Ethiopian Crisis and its Aftermath, 1935–1938
On 1 July 1936, a little less than two months after Italian troops had seized Addis Ababa, seven small European powers published a joint declaration regarding their position towards Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The declaration of 1 July 1936 was signed by a group of states generally tagged 'the former European neutrals', since they had managed to avoid direct involvement in the Great War. To the outside world, the former European neutrals seemed a pretty close-knit group. De Graeff feared that the great powers would concoct a solution for the Italo-Ethiopian conflict that would violate the stipulations of the Covenant and therefore shake the League's prestige. Moreover, membership of the League also enhanced the international stature of some of the former neutrals. De Graeff, a League idealist and a stalwart believer in the rule of law in international relations, fervently insisted on complete application of sanctions.