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

In Mr. Phillips’ telegram No. 159 of April 14, 7 p.m., recounting a conversation with Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, regarding the expulsion of American women and missionaries from Ethiopia, Count Ciano told Mr. Phillips that he “could now assure him that the Italian Government had adopted the policy of no discrimination against missions or against religions; that Protestant missions and Protestant missionaries were welcome in Ethiopia provided they refrained from political propaganda or any anti-Italian attitude.”

It is pertinent to recall in this connection Mr. Engert’s strictly confidential telegram of December 23, 10 a.m.,18 informing us that during a conference with Marshal Graziani the day before in connection with the requisition of the Sudan Interior Mission property the Marshal [Page 704] had given him certain papers to peruse among which was inadvertently included a telegram from the Italian Minister of the Colonies, the substance of which was as follows:

“It is becoming increasingly evident that all missionaries in Ethiopia are hostile to Italy. With the progress of our operations in the West you should therefore make every effort to eliminate missionaries, both Europeans and Americans, as quickly as possible. We cannot tolerate hostile elements in the Empire.”

In view of the above it is evident that whatever the policy of the Italian Government may be “now” regarding the presence of Protestant missionaries in Ethiopia, the policy of that Government last December was certainly the reverse. It seems safe to assume, furthermore, that, despite the present assurances of Count Ciano, ways and means will be found to force the Protestant missionaries out of the country in the not very distant future.

Wallace Murray