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

No. 1177

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s No. 1164 of April 1, 1933, enclosing copy of the Ethiopian Foreign Office Note of March 31, 1933, to the local Diplomatic Corps, on the subject of the reform and reorganization of the Special Tribunal (Mixed Court).

The Corps has authorized the French Minister, its Dean, to discuss with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief Judge of the Special Tribunal for purposes of interpretation and clarification the Note of March 31st. On the basis of these discussions the attached Note has now been written and sent by the Dean on behalf of his colleagues.

The Diplomatic Commission for the study of a Code of Procedure is expected soon to be appointed and will probably be headed by Dr. Martino Mario Moreno, Oriental Secretary of the Italian Legation, whose general knowledge of law and experience in Consular or Mixed Court jurisdiction is of high quality. My colleagues have proposed as the two other members a junior officer of the French Legation and a junior officer of the American Legation and Consulate General. Definite naming of the members of the Diplomatic Corps Commission will presumably await the nomination of the Ethiopian Commission which we expect soon.

The Corps understands that the terms of the attached Note have already been orally proposed by the Dean to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief Judge of the Special Tribunal and orally accepted by them. It may, therefore, be assumed that the activities outlined in this Note will proceed without delay. In such event it seems probable that the foreign Consular officers here who have for a long while been on a “strike” against the Court will resume participation in its functions within the next two or three months.

In the fourth paragraph of the attached Note is mentioned the procedure to be followed by the Ethiopian official to be appointed to execute judgments formerly given. It is provided that in judgments against [Page 854] foreigners he must work through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which means, in effect, that he will work through the foreign Legation concerned and will have no direct power over foreign nationals against whom judgments are to be executed. The actual execution will be effected by the Consul of the national concerned. This method will, our French colleague understands from his oral negotiations, be accepted by the Ethiopians. It eliminates for the time being at least the danger which the Corps saw in the setting up of an Ethiopian Bureau of Execution (of judgments), with direct authority over all delayed judgment executions, which the Ethiopian Government has advocated.

On the whole there appears to have been some definite progress made in this difficult question of Special Tribunal reform and reorganization …

Respectfully yours,

Addison E. Southard

The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps at Addis Ababa to the Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs

As Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the French Minister has the honor to acknowledge receipt from His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of his note of March 31, 1933 (Megabit 22, 1925).

The Diplomatic Corps is pleased to observe that, thanks to the spirit of conciliation shown by both parties, the question in point can now be considered as settled.

As regards the six-month period for execution of judgments handed down but not yet executed, it is understood that this period will be observed in principle, but that if certain specific cases are not adjusted within this period, they will require new consideration and the determination of a new period.

The Diplomatic Corps agrees that the Imperial Government appoint a special official to execute the judgments already handed down, instead of placing this execution in the hands of the Commission designated to study a code of procedure. This official will remain in contact with the interested consul. In case of divergence of opinion, recourse will be had through the usual channels, i.e., to the Ministry of Justice, in the case of an Ethiopian debtor, or to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the case of a foreign debtor.

It is understood that the Commission designated to reform the Special Tribunal will be appointed within the month following the termination of study on the code of procedure.

The Diplomatic Corps accepts the suggestions set forth in the March [Page 855] 31st note as far as concerns the procedure to be followed after the reopening of the Special Tribunal, and pending the termination of the work of the Commission studying the law of procedure.

The Diplomatic Corps will appoint its own representatives on this Commission as soon as the Imperial Government has indicated its assent to the present proposals.

  1. File translation revised by the editors.