365D.1163/88

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

No. 433

Sir: In compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 102 of June 14, 1937 relating to the decision of the Italian Government to close all foreign mission schools in Ethiopia and to take over the mission properties, I have the honor to inform the Department that I called upon the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs on June 16th and explained to Count Ciano that I had not failed to report the information he had given me regarding the aforesaid decision to my Government, which had instructed me to inform him that it had taken note of this decision with regret and would lend its full support to claims for adequate compensation including facilities necessary for the transfer of payments, which might be submitted by its nationals in return for properties taken over by the Italian Government. I added that the Secretary of State wished to be assured that the money paid to the missions on account of properties taken over would be transferred to them and left with Count Ciano an aide-mémoire to this effect, a copy of which is enclosed.

Count Ciano read it carefully and said that he would do his utmost to meet the wishes of the American Government in this respect. Ciano felt that, while it was the Duce’s desire that teaching by foreigners in Ethiopia must cease, arrangements might later be made by means of which missions which did not give instruction would be allowed to remain.

In a conversation afterwards with the British Ambassador, he told me that he had not yet discussed with the Foreign Minister the question of compensation for British missions. He had been informed that the Sudan mission had taken up this matter with the Italian authorities at Addis Ababa and had been satisfied with the amount of compensation which the Italians had expressed a willingness to make. [Page 710] In so far as he was aware, the question of the transfer of Italian currency had not, however, been discussed by the Sudan mission. Sir Eric added that he could at a moment’s notice secure from London instructions to present a demand similar to the one which I had presented with regard to compensation but he thought on the whole that it would be wiser for him to refrain from doing so at the present moment in order to avoid giving Count Ciano the impression that the British and American Governments were acting jointly in this matter.

Respectfully yours,

William Phillips
[Enclosure]

The American Embassy to the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Aide-Mémoire

With reference to the decision of the Royal Italian Government that teaching by foreigners in Ethiopia must cease and that in consequence all foreign missions will be closed and the missionaries required to withdraw, the American Government has noted this decision with regret since it cannot fail to create an unfavorable impression among many persons in the United States. The American Government will lend its full support to claims for adequate compensation including facilities necessary for the transfer of payments, which may be submitted by its nationals in return for properties taken over by the Italian Government.