Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)1

Major Chapman-Andrews, a British officer who accompanied the Emperor Haile Selassie on his return to Ethiopia and who took part in the negotiation of the recent Anglo-Ethiopian agreement,2 has given our Legation at Cairo some interesting background regarding that agreement.

According to Major Chapman-Andrews, there was a very great difference of opinion between the British Foreign Office and War Office with respect to the arrangement which should be made with Ethiopia. The War Office favored a virtual protectorate, arguing that, given the chaotic condition of the country and the incapacity of the population, close British control would be advantageous to both parties. The Foreign Office, however, felt that emphasis should be laid on independence, rather than control, and argued that it would set a bad political precedent to deny independence to the first country to be freed from Axis rule. It was further pointed out that a protectorate would require large expenditures of British funds and the use of a large British administrative personnel together with a considerable number of troops, who could ill be spared. After a hard struggle, the Foreign Office viewpoint was substantially adopted.

Under the new agreement, Major Chapman-Andrews said, the old capitulatory régime is abolished, although British judges will sit on certain Ethiopian courts and foreigners may demand trial before those courts. He admitted that the negotiators had overlooked the question of American capitulatory rights and said that it seemed quite possible that those rights remained legally in force, since the United States has never ceased to recognize the Ethiopian Government. American diplomatic representation at Addis Ababa would [Page 101] be welcomed, he said. Such representation will be restricted for the duration of the war to allied belligerents of the United Nations.

A force of British troops will remain in Ethiopia for the time being, especially in the area adjoining French Somaliland. The British will also continue to administer the Ogaden province, but without prejudice to Ethiopian sovereignty over that area. Eritrea is entirely outside the scope of the agreement, although after the war it is possible that concessions will be made to give Ethiopia an outlet to the sea.

The principal problem confronting Haile Selassie’s government, Major Chapman-Andrews feels, is financial, since the amount of the British subsidy granted by the agreement is very small. Politically, he may also have considerable difficulty with certain disaffected leaders, but it seems probable that he will be able to handle this situation.

Wallace Murray
  1. Addressed to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) and the Under Secretary of State (Welles).
  2. Signed at Addis Ababa, January 31, 1942, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxliv, p. 989.