765.84/4535: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister Resident in Ethiopia ( Engert )

256. Department’s 254, May 28, 6 p.m. Following is text of telegram 181, May 29, 3 p.m., from Embassy at Rome:

“In so far as I am aware there is no regulation requiring foreigners in Italy to give the Fascist salute and certainly it is not the practice of members of this Embassy or of other Americans to give that salute on any occasion. In accordance with the usual custom, however, civilians both native and foreign uncover when the flag of the country or the colors of military organizations pass or when the national anthems’ are played.

[Page 292]

As regards the official notice issued by the Governor of Addis Ababa, there has been no reference here of any such observance being required of foreigners in Ethiopia. The inclination is to connect this order with the controversy which is said to be in process between the British and Italian Governments over the withdrawal of the British Legation guard at Addis Ababa or it might be regarded as an indication of an intent to render the position of foreign officials in Addis Ababa, and possibly of their nationals untenable in their present status. If such is not the case, however, it would seem that in so far as Americans are concerned an explanation to the Italian officials of the procedure customarily observed by Americans, particularly in Italy, might result in obviating the complications which might follow from the enforcement of the order.”

The Department is inclined to believe that the situation can probably best be met by adopting the suggestion outlined in the final sentence of the above quoted telegram, but before giving you definite instructions it will await the report of the results of your conference with your colleagues.