Italian claims to Tunisia, Corsica, the area near Nice, and Savoy were first mentioned in a speech by Foreign Minister Ciano in the Chamber of Deputies on November 30, 1938. From that date, Italy sought to verify her claim to the French colonies on an historical basis, and continued to make periodic demands for the control of Tunisia. The French refused to cede the territories and a clash occurred on December 8, 1938 between French forces and Italian-Libyan forces. The following week, Britain requested that Italy refrain from attempting to obtain her goals by force. On the 29th of December, Italy sent France a list of demands to be met if the dispute were to be settled diplomatically. Italy desired independence for Tunisia, and a share of control over the Suez Canal, which was then controlled by the French. Italy also demanded rights in Jibuti -- the capital of French Somaliland, and an important terminus on the Jibuti-Addis Ababa railway.
Negotiations between France and Italy never got underway, and another clash occurred the French and Libyans on February 28, 1939. Although the dispute remained unresolved, no more clashes were reported that year. The conflict was drowned in the onrush of World War II in September.