884.6461 Tsana Dam/29

The Chargé in Great Britain (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

No. 2294

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 2258 of November 8, 1927, and to state that in reply to a question in the House of Commons, asking for further information as to a concession by the Royal Abyssinian Government to an American firm of engineers to construct a barrage on the Blue Nile, Sir Austen Chamberlain replied as follows:

“No, Sir. I have nothing to add to the information which I gave in reply to questions on this subject on Tuesday last, except that I should perhaps have mentioned that, by an exchange of notes between Sir John Harrington and Monsieur Alfred Ilg in 1902, the Emperor Menelik undertook that, other things being equal, preference would be given to the proposals of His Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Government of the Sudan; and affirmed that he had no intention of granting a concession in respect of the Blue Nile and Lake Tsana to anyone other than His Britannic Majesty’s Government, the Government of the Sudan or one of their subjects. The present position is that on the 22nd September the Regent of Abyssinia addressed to His Majesty’s representative at Addis Ababa a reply to the proposal which His Majesty’s Government had made to him last May. I have recently instructed Mr. Bentinck by telegram to address a note to Ras Taffari which will carry these negotiations a step further.”

I have [etc.]

Ray Atherton