The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Italy ( Reed )

No. 183

Sir: The Department has been informed by the Board of Foreign Missions of the United Presbyterian Church of North America, Schaff Building, 1505 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that its Mission properties at Sayo and Gore, in Western Ethiopia, comprising buildings with hospital equipment and supplies and various furnishings, were occupied by the Italian military authorities in November 1936, shortly after the withdrawal of the missionary staff.

The Board states that no communication has been received from the Italian authorities as to the terms on which these properties are being held and that efforts on the part of the Board’s representative at Addis Ababa, Mr. D. C. Henry, made before the closing of the American Legation at Addis Ababa, to obtain a statement in this regard from the Italian authorities were without results. The Board adds that in June, 1937, the Italian authorities definitely refused permission to two of its missionaries to return to Sayo and Gore.

Under these circumstances, and in view of the assurances given to the Ambassador in writing by Count Ciano on June 18, 1937, which were reported in the Embassy’s telegram No. 291, June 21, 1 p.m., it is desired that the statements of the Board be brought informally to the attention of the appropriate Italian authorities and that inquiry be made as to what steps looking to a settlement of this matter with the Board are contemplated by the Italian Government. It should be explained that this inquiry is being made at Rome in view of the absence of American official representation at Addis Ababa.

As of possible assistance to the Embassy in discussing this matter informally with the appropriate Italian authorities, there are enclosed copies of two letters20 on this subject received by the Department from the Board. Enclosed with the Board’s letter of April 12, 1937, was a list of the properties claimed. A copy of this list is also transmitted herewith.20

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
[File copy not signed]
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