The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State

No. 189

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 9 of October 23, 1936, with regard to the attitude taken by Italian officials in connection with the importation into Ethiopia of foreign goods other than Italian.

This matter was taken up informally with the Foreign Office which advised the Embassy that no specific cases have been brought to its attention in which the Italian authorities in Ethiopia had refused to issue a permit for importation into Ethiopia of French goods. However, the Foreign Office understands that the Italian authorities are probably following such a policy and there have been specific instances in which they have refused to grant a visa for agents of French commercial firms to enter Ethiopia. Also, the Italian authorities have, in the case of representatives of French commercial firms residing in Ethiopia who desired to leave the country, refused to [Page 319]grant them an aller et retour visa and only granted them one to leave the country. The French Government has made no démarche to the Italian Government on this matter.

The Foreign Office stated that most of the goods at present imported into Ethiopia are for the Italian Army of Occupation and that the facilities of the railway are not great enough to enable them to transport all of the goods necessary for that Army.

The Foreign Office likewise said that when French commercial firms requested information or advice as to the possibility of trade with Ethiopia, they were discouraged from attempting such trade.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Edwin C. Wilson

Counselor of Embassy