The Minister Resident in Ethiopia (Engert) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 24—3:05 p.m.]
55. Please see paragraph 5 of my 49, February 21, 9 a.m.
Although the Italian authorities have entirely ignored the presence of the native refugees in our compound, I deemed it best this morning to call on Colonel Mazzi, Chief of Cabinet, who has sufficiently recovered to transact business, to inform him that I had between four and five hundred of them and of course wished to get rid of them as soon as possible. I explained the circumstances which had brought them to the Legation and said that as things had quieted down considerably since yesterday I was prepared to send out all those who still had their own homes or could be taken care of by relatives. But I could do so only on condition that he assured me formally that no harm would be done to them and that if possible food, et cetera, be provided temporarily for those who were destitute. Colonel Mazzi, with whom I have always been on the friendliest terms, said at once he appreciated my coming to him and that he would issue the most emphatic orders that none of the refugees from the American Legation should be touched. He then called in the acting commandant of the carabinieri and instructed him to that effect in my presence, adding that food should be provided and homes found for those needing them and that anybody molesting them should be severely punished.
I expect that by tomorrow night most of the natives will have left our compound.