Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

The Secretary called me to his office this morning to discuss the question of our representation in Addis Ababa. I explained that we had had in mind keeping Mr. Engert there to assist in the protection of those American missionaries in the unoccupied provinces [Page 334] and that it was the further intention to send a consular officer to Ethiopia who, upon Mr. Engert’s expected departure on leave of absence in the spring, could take charge of the office in a consular capacity. Judge Moore91 inquired as to the necessity of keeping anyone in Ethiopia, and I explained that the only two reasons from a point of view of our interests were to protect our nationals and to furnish us such information as might be available respecting the Italian attitude toward our trade. Judge Moore was inclined to think that it might be possible, in view of the assistance already rendered to our missionaries and the numerous warnings given them and in view of the unimportance of our trade, to withdraw our representation entirely. The Secretary thought there might be some advantage in tapering off our representation gradually by replacing Messrs. Engert and Cramp by a consular officer in the very near future with the idea of having the consular officer remain there until the situation became somewhat more clarified, possibly only a few months. I explained that the British Government had apparently encountered no difficulty in sending two new consular officers to Ethiopia and that in so doing they had not requested exequaturs. I further explained that these British consular officers were not given recognition as such by the Italians any more than the Italians recognized the diplomatic status of the foreign missions still remaining in Ethiopia.

It was finally agreed that it would be desirable for Judge Moore and Mr. Murray to give further consideration to the matter early next week, but the view seemed to prevail that Mr. Engert should be replaced as early as possible by a consular officer. In this connection the Secretary pointed out that if the Italian Government raised any difficulty with respect to the assignment of a new consular officer the obvious action would be for us to withdraw our representation entirely.

Paul H. Alling
  1. R. Walton Moore, Assistant Secretary of State.