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

No. 253

Sir: The Department refers to instruction No. 183 of September 15, 1937,6 in which the Embassy was requested to bring informally to the attention of the appropriate Italian authorities the desire of the United Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, in Philadelphia, to be informed of the intentions of the Italian Government with regard to the mission properties at Sayo and Gore, in Western Ethiopia, which were occupied by the Italian military authorities in November of 1936.

There is enclosed for your information a copy of a further communication from the Board, dated January 24, 1938,7 expressing its continued anxiety over the status of its properties in Western Ethiopia. All reports reaching the Department indicate that the principal difficulty experienced by the missionaries in Ethiopia has been the expropriation of their properties. You will have noted, however, that the Consul at Aden states in the last paragraph of his despatch of December 13, 1937,8 a copy of which was transmitted to the Embassy, that he is informed that fair prices are being paid by the Italian authorities for mission properties which have been taken over. If the information reported by the Consul at Aden is correct, the Department fails to understand why the United Presbyterian Board is apparently receiving less considerate treatment than the other societies. In the event, therefore, that the Embassy has not received a reply to its earlier inquiry, it is requested to bring the matter once more to the attention of the appropriate Italian authorities, and to ask to be informed of the steps which will be taken toward a settlement with the Board.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
R. Walton Moore