The Minister Resident in Ethiopia (Engert) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 24—9:50 a.m.]
53. My 51. I just happened to be the eye witness of a revolting scene: I was driving in my car when one in front of me suddenly stopped obliging me to stop too. An Italian colonel jumped out and for no apparent reason rushed at an elderly native and two women [apparent omission] had overtaken a moment before. With oaths and shouts of “I’ll make you beasts crawl in the dust before me” he began belaboring the man’s face with his horse whip until he was covered with blood and prostrated himself before him and with outstretched arms begged for mercy. The colonel then turned on the women who were already kneeling and was beginning to strike them with his whip when I blew the horn of my car (as if wishing to pass his) so loudly that he stopped and noticing the two American flags on my car he looked embarrassed and drove off. In his blind fury he had evidently not seen my car and realized too late that I must have witnessed the entire performance.[Page 684]
Scenes such as this and many much worse and typical scenes have been going on for 4 days to impress the natives with the civilizing mission of Fascist Rome.