765.84/5211: Telegram

The Chargé in Ethiopia (Hughes) to the Secretary of State

79. Local situation has been superficially quiet for 2 days but there is feeling of pessimism and gloom among Italians and foreigners. [Page 696] Desultory night shooting by sentries persists and daily arrests and some executions of so-called suspects continue. Reliable informants state that nearly all prominent Ethiopians apparently have been executed or taken abroad in groups for internment. According to British and other foreign sources among those secretly executed recently were: two sons of Martin, Ethiopian Minister to London, George Herouy, son former Foreign Minister, the son of late Ras Nassibu and [apparent omission] former Finance Director who was graduate American University. Also informed six other “young Ethiopians” arrested and taken abroad secretly by military plane several nights ago. Apparently reports are well-founded that Italian policy is to eliminate all educated and prominent Ethiopians, considering them potential inciters of rebellion.

Competent foreign observers estimate that from ten to twenty thousand Ethiopians have quietly left the city in spite of authorities stern refusal all exit permits. Semi-deserted streets indicate clearly exodus of thousands. Several Italians have expressed concern over departure natives. It is possible they realize they have gone too far and as danger of rainy season approaches are now faced with problem scanty markets, scarcity native domestics and laborers and menace to outposts and convoys of thousands of homeless urban natives driven to banditry.

It is reported that French troops have now evacuated Diredawa, that action probably of no especial significance. However, frequent clashes reported Djibouti between Italians and Ethiopians assisted by Somalis. Informed curfew law enforced and heavy patrols numerous.