The Secretary of State to the Financial Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Foreign Missions of the United Presbyterian Church of North America (R. W. Caldwell)
My Dear Mr. Caldwell: The Department has received your letter of April 4, 1939 in further reference to the appraisal of your mission properties in Western Ethiopia. You state that it was not your intention to negotiate with the Italian authorities through your representatives at Addis Ababa, who lack adequate information for the purposes of appraisal, and that you would prefer to have the Department conduct such negotiations in your behalf.
While the Department has been glad to use its good offices in obtaining information in regard to the status of your properties and has on several occasions instructed the Embassy at Rome to discuss the matter informally with the Italian authorities, it is not in a position to present [Page 515] a claim for compensation on the basis of the steps so far taken by your board. It is not apparent that the board has taken any action as yet to protect its interests in Western Ethiopia except to communicate with the Department, or that it has been denied a proper hearing by the Italian authorities, or that it has been unable to reach an equitable settlement with the appropriate officials. Since there is no evidence that your organization has suffered a denial of justice, I regret to say that diplomatic intervention would not be warranted.
In view of the circumstances, the Department suggests that you promptly furnish your representatives in Addis Ababa with full information in regard to the value of your properties and that they be empowered to undertake direct negotiations for an appraisal. Such data, it is suggested, might include the complete records of building costs which you state are being kept in the United States rather than in Addis Ababa. Should you desire to inform the Italian Government of any steps which you may propose to take along these lines, the Department will be glad to transmit a message through the Embassy at Rome at your expense.
Chief, Division of Near Eastern Affairs