765.84/5196: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State

79. My 75, February 25, 7 p.m.6 Count Ciano informed me this morning that instructions had been telegraphed immediately to Addis [Page 688] Ababa by the Ministry of the Colonies to give prompt and effective protection to the American personnel and property. I expressed our concern at the reports which we had received indicating that the situation in Addis Ababa had got out of hand; that fires had been set deliberately to property adjoining our buildings which during an entire night had been in constant danger of conflagration from the neighboring fires; that in spite of the appeals to the commandant of the carabinieri and to the Chief of Cabinet there had been no effort whatsoever to come to the assistance of our staff.

Count Ciano assured me that the situation was now absolutely quiet. Even after the bombs had been thrown as a result of which four of the higher Italian officers had been injured, one seriously the others less so, the native population had remained entirely tranquil. On the other hand there had been groups of persons hostile to the Italian administration which had sought to make trouble and it had been found necessary to take police measures in certain sections of the town and he thought that it may have been that these measures had been taken in the neighborhood of the American property. He added that with the capture and execution of Ras Desta reported in my 73, February 25, 5 p.m., absolute quiet prevailed and that there was not the slightest cause for any further concern.

While Count Ciano would not admit the existence of the occurrences as described by Engert in his telegram number 49, February 21, 10 [9] a.m., I felt that it was wise to let him know that we were fully aware of the manner in which the Italians had conducted themselves.

  1. Not printed.