124.842/130: Telegram

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

304. Your 461, July 8, 5 p.m. The Chargé d’Affaires at Rome has been instructed to bring this whole matter to the attention of the Foreign Office and to urge that orders be sent to the military authorities in East Africa with a view to insuring the immunity of the Legation in practice without discussion of its diplomatic status. The Chargé d’Affaires has also been directed to urge the desirability of permitting two-way communication by code between Legation radio station and Washington, subject if necessary to reasonable restrictions regarding hours of use.

Please consult with your colleagues who have been placed in a similar position and endeavor to arrive at a common understanding respecting approach to the Italian authorities in this matter. It would be desirable if all the Legations affected would do their utmost to induce the Italian authorities to forego their claim to prohibiting the use of the Legation radio stations. If those authorities persist in their view, however, acquiescence will probably be necessary in view of their position of military occupation. If Italian authorities decline to permit reopening of the radio stations at this time it might be possible to induce them to permit them again to function after the end of present 15-day period.

If you are obliged to continue to send messages by commercial radio you should endeavor to obtain full assurance that code communication will be permitted.

If Italian authorities again attempt to invade the Legation by force you should protest vigorously and report fully to the Department.