884.6461 Tsana Dam/102: Telegram

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

24. The King yesterday afternoon discussed Tsana with the British Minister. His Majesty stated that he could proceed no further with the White Company until he knew how much water the British wanted and what they would pay for it. In my opinion the King knows that these two questions can not be answered without a full conference of the parties concerned and has asked them as his own peculiar way of giving the British an opening for proposal of the general conference for which we have been striving. My colleague informs me that he has cabled the questions to London with recommendations for proposal of a conference. He also informs me that if a conference is held the King is now inclined to insist that it be at this capital. In my opinion this is not objectionable as, if the general conference is successful, the White representative may while on the ground proceed at once to negotiate construction contract.