The Council then referred the matter to the Assembly. On October 19, representatives of fifty-three nations with Austria, Hungary, Albania and Paraguay are dissenting and Switzerland holding aloof, passed a resolution condemning Italy as an aggressors and voting economic sanctions against her. A Committee of Co-ordination was appointed to give effect to this sanction. But Pierre Laval of France and sir Samuel Hoare of Great Britain were against applying sanctions and opposed the inclusion of oil in the list of goods on which embargo was placed.
They ruled out the possibility of military sanctions and of closing the Suez Canal to Italy. On December 7-8 Laval and Hoare entered into a pact with Mussolini in which they proposed to hand over to Italy most of Abyssinia. But unfortunately the plan leaked out and Hoare and Laval had to resign. Nevertheless the League sanction was not effective. Litvinov set forth clearly in his funeral oration on Ethiop. The failure of League System of collective security was largely owing to the British and French unwillingness to fight Italy.
France wanted Italys co-operation against Nazi Germany and she had reasons to believe that Franco-Italian conflict would give enormous advantage to Hitler, so long as Italy could be utilized as a check on Germany. When Britain and France voted to grant sanctions they did it, so at least they believed, again their own interest. The half-hearted measure taken by the League drove Mussolini in the arms of Hitler. The Rome-Berlin Axis gradually came into being. The failure of the League became evident. In 1931 a democratic and popular government was established in Spain.
But all the forces of reaction started conspiring to bring about its fall and from 1934 onwards the Nazis encouraged the militarist, clerical and feudalist junta in Spain to overthrow the Popular Front Government. In the year 1936, the Fascist forces in Spain with active encouragement from Germany and Italy organized an uprising against the legally constituted government. Soon General Franco became the leader of the counter-revolution and received the blessings of Hitler and Mussolini. The League did practically nothing to stop the civil war.
Britain and France established a Non-Intervention Committee in which Germany and Italy participated. The Non-Intervention Committee placed an arms embargo for both the parties in the Spanish Civil war. But it virtually stopped the avenue of the Republican Government to purchase arms from abroad. The rebels secured ample aid in war-materials from the Axis powers. Italian volunteers and German plans fought for the victory of Franco. The request of the Spanish Government to end the Non-Intervention was turned down by the League. Thus by 1939 Franco gained a complete success.