484.11 Young, Reuben S., No. 2/11

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

No. 1283

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s No. 349 of September 9, 1933,34 File No. 484.11–Young S./, requiring a report on the present status of the claim of Doctor Reuben S. Young, American citizen, against the Ethiopian Government for indemnity and damages on account of his illegal detention by Ethiopian police at Diré-Daoua in August, 1932.

The Ethiopian Foreign Office has passively resisted my various efforts for action in this case. On April 21, 1933, in compliance with the Department’s No. 312 of February 27, 1933, the Legation addressed a Note to the Foreign Office insisting upon payment of indemnity and damages to Doctor Young. No reply was ever made to that Note and on the various subsequent occasions when I orally brought up the matter the Minister of Foreign Affairs replied always evasively with a half promise to give the Legation a written statement of his views. This written statement has never yet materialized. I have again written the Foreign Office as per enclosed copy of Note dated October 28, 1933,34 and will continue oral representations which are usually in the end more effective than writing.

It is evident to me that the Ethiopian Government hopes to evade compliance in this matter unless the Legation is able to use stronger pressure than is now authorized to it. The Ethiopians invariably resist any action, friendly or otherwise, involving the payment of money and are even more obstinate in the few years since they have had foreign advisers to give them support. The incident of the beating of a French citizen and his family in Diré-Daoua (our Nos. 971, 976, etc.35), which occurred some time before the Young incident, was settled by a 25,000 franc indemnity only after the French had in effect [Page 778]exercised coercion by stopping their railway service from the coast to Addis Ababa. We have no railway service to cut off!

The new Ethiopian attitude seems to be never to pay out money in damages to any one, friendly or otherwise, unless brow-beaten into doing so. The Ethiopians have usually been willing to act more promptly in official matters for this Legation than for other local Legations, but our demand in the present instance touches their pock-etbook and that is something different. We shall not relax the diligence of our efforts, and may in time find some more productive argument than has to date been thought of. The Department’s further instructions and suggestions are respectfully requested.

Respectfully yours,

Addison E. Southard
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