884.6461 Tsana Dam/43

The Minister in Ethiopia (Southard) to the Secretary of State

No. 18

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter addressed to the J. G. White Engineering Corporation, which in response to an inquiry from the Corporation, explains briefly the present local status of the Lake Tsana dam matter.

There may be further and more extensive comment within a few days and if such develops I shall prepare a detailed despatch for the Department. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

Addison E. Southard

The Minister in Ethiopia (Southard) to the J. G. White Engineering Corporation2

Sirs: This is to acknowledge the receipt this week of your letter of March 16th, 1928, inquiring whether I have received through the Department of State the literature on the Tsana dam matter which you prepared for my information.

I have received the literature and have studied it with much interest. I much appreciate your courtesy in sending the clippings as they have been very useful in refreshing my back-ground knowledge of the situation.

You inquire also as to the next move expected from you by the Ethiopian Government. I have discussed this at some length with His Imperial Highness, the Prince Regent. He expects within the near future to have something definite to communicate in this connection.

[Page 787]

Within the past few days His Imperial Highness has received a note on the Tsana dam subject from the British Foreign Office. This note, which I have read, states in effect that the British Government is prepared to consent to the building of the dam as an Ethiopian enterprise provided the work is given into the hands of competent engineers and sufficient guarantees are given that the water will be made amply available on appropriate terms to the Sudan and Egypt.

This note also mentions British understanding that the Ethiopian Government proposes giving the concession to the J. G. White Engineering Corporation. To this no objection is intimated, but the note states that the British Government must know the terms of the concession before entering upon the negotiations incident to the formal and final agreement which it contemplates giving.

Although His Imperial Highness did not say so I am of the opinion, and suggested as much to him, that he will soon invite a representative of your company either to Ethiopia or to London to meet with Doctor Martin3 and a British representative for the purpose of speeding up the final negotiations.

The impression I have from reading this latest note from the British Foreign Office, and discussing it with His Imperial Highness, is that the way is rapidly clearing for the final steps leading up to actual construction work on the dam.

I am thoroughly at your service in this or any other matter in which you may be interested in Ethiopia, and hope you will keep me informed of any developments at your end. I would have cabled through the Department of State this latest development in the Tsana dam matter, but my code has not yet arrived.

Ras Tafari has authorized me to write you the information herein contained, but he asks that you hold it in strictest confidence pending its release from other sources.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I am [etc.]

Addison E. Southard
  1. Original forwarded to the president of the J. G. White Engineering Co. by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs under covering letter, June 2, 1928.
  2. Dr. Wargneh C. Martin, adviser to Has Tafari, Prince Regent of Ethiopia.