Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

Mr. Philip Broadmead of the British Embassy called on me by appointment on December 7 and said he was inquiring on behalf of the Ambassador what, if any, plans this Government has to withdraw its diplomatic representation at Addis Ababa at an early date.

I explained to Mr. Broadmead that Mr. Morris Hughes, lately Secretary of Embassy in Tokyo, had been assigned as American Consul at Addis Ababa to replace Mr. Cramp who is definitely departing from that post, and I made it clear that Mr. Hughes’ assignment was purely a routine administrative matter without any political significance whatsoever. I also pointed out that while it was the present intention of the Department to withdraw Mr. Engert in the not distant future, we did not contemplate instructing him to depart immediately or soon after Mr. Hughes’ arrival.

Mr. Broadmead then informed me that his Government had for some time been desirous of withdrawing its diplomatic representation in Addis Ababa but had delayed doing so owing to objections from the French Government. While he was not entirely clear on the point, he seemed to have the understanding that the withdrawal of the British diplomatic representative would be regarded by his Government as giving at least de facto recognition to the Italian annexation of Ethiopia.1

I then made the observation to Mr. Broadmead that the eventual withdrawal of Mr. Engert would not in the Department’s opinion necessitate any final decision in the matter of recognition; Mr. Broadmead, on the other hand, seemed to find it difficult to understand how the withdrawal of diplomatic representation could occur without political implications but added that he was not fully informed at present as to his Government’s precise intentions in this connection. He agreed with me, however, that if, as is the case, the Italian Government recognizes neither the present diplomatic nor consular officers functioning in Ethiopia it was difficult to understand why the withdrawal of an unrecognized diplomatic officer need necessarily be regarded as an act of recognition.

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In departing Mr. Broadmead promised to keep me informed of any further developments that might come to his Embassy’s attention on this subject.

This information is of interest in connection with Mr. Phillips’ telegram No. 512 of December 7, 7 p.m.2

Wallace Murray
  1. For account of British withdrawal of diplomatic representation from Ethiopia, December 21, 1936, see aide-mémoire from the British Embassy, December 23, p. 252.
  2. Ante, p. 251.