884.6461 Tsana Dam/266

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

No. 681

Sir: I have the honor to report that I had yesterday afternoon an audience with His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor, for the purpose of discussing the present status of the Tsana Dam and highway project.

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I informed His Majesty that the Roberts15 Survey was nearing an end and that the reports should be in shape for discussion by September or October of this year. My suggestion to His Majesty was that a conference be called in September or October between himself and the British and American interests for the purpose of considering the survey report and for deciding upon a final construction contract. He indicated that he would have his Minister of Foreign Affairs promptly ascertain the views of the British interests and if they agreed to a conference he would call one during the months indicated.

His Majesty intimated to me that perhaps the British would not wish to have a conference so soon. He did not elaborate his thoughts in this connection but I suspect that some of the whispers previously reported from the Legation, as to British reluctance to proceed promptly with the project, have reached His Majesty’s ears. The Legation will informally press the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain as soon as possible an indication of British views.

Nothing has lately been heard from the Roberts Survey party, but according to its plans it should now be approaching halfway on the return trip from Lake Tsana to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival of the party here I shall present Major Roberts to the Emperor in order that the latter may ask any questions he has in mind. That should not take long and the Legation assumes that Major Roberts will leave Addis Ababa for New York promptly—probably around May 1st, 1931.

Respectfully yours,

Addison E. Southard
  1. L. B. Roberts, engineer for the J. G. White Corporation.