124.84/110: Telegram

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

468. I have given very careful consideration to the points raised in your 299, July 7th, and referring to my 463 and 464, July 9th, the following observations are respectfully submitted.

[Page 332]
While I do not consider my continued presence here as “essential” to the protection of American interests I believe it highly desirable that I should remain at least until the fate of our missionaries in the interior has been definitely ascertained and effective steps can be taken for their protection or evacuation.
By departure at this particular moment when, as the Department will have gathered from telegrams 450,88 45589 and 459,90 the situation may again become serious or critical might create an unfortunate impression and have a demoralizing effect on our nationals both in the capital and in the interior. They have all shown great pluck and cheerfulness and I would not want them to feel that the Department and I were now leaving them in the lurch.
I do not think the possibility of unpleasant incidents should influence us unduly (personally I shall as in the past do everything in my power to avoid them although I admit that some may be unavoidable) the showdown regarding radio stations was bound to come and might have been worse.
I have found it extremely difficult to ascertain from my colleagues what the intentions of their respective governments are as no definite plans appear to have been made. All seem to be awaiting developments and will be guided by events as they arise. The general feeling, however, is that the situation cannot be prolonged indefinitely probably not beyond September or October and that even if annexation is not recognized the Legations will by then have died a natural death.
Inasmuch as they already have consular rank it is possible that a purely informal local arrangement could be worked out which would enable me to remain as long as the Department desires even after the Italians have ceased to recognize my diplomatic status which is virtually the case now. I am quite willing to act solely in a consular capacity provided the Department feels that this may offer a temporary solution. Moreover, the fact that I happen to know Italian has already proved very useful.
Should the Department prefer to withdraw me, Cramp, and at least one American clerk, should be kept here for the reasons indicated in paragraph 1 above. However, I am quite sure that the Italian authorities would not recognize him in any diplomatic capacity. Besides, Cramp has had no home leave since 1933 and if the question of a fresh exequatur is to be avoided he might be prevented from leaving for a long time.
  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. July 2, 4 p.m.; not printed.
  3. July 6, 11 p.m., p. 269.
  4. July 8, 11 a.m., p. 269.