The Consul at Asmara (Smith) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 24.]
Subject: Comments on the Abyssinian Situation
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 9 dated August 8, 1942, on the above subject, and to report that Captain Morrill now says that according to conversations he has recently had, the dire predictions made in the second paragraph of his report of February 17, 1942, (the enclosure to my despatch) are not coming true. He states that the Emperor has dealt firmly with all attempts to undermine his authority and the central part of the country can now be considered under his control.
The Ethiopian army now consists of ten battalions, three of which are mounted. Their equipment is fair and their training has brought them to a fair standard of efficiency. The British Military Mission is headed by Major General Butler and consists of some eighty British officers and an equal number of N. C. O.’s. These troops have had some experience already in suppressing mutinous tribes and recently two battalions covered the distance from Addis Ababa to the country between Jijiga and Hargeisa in less than two days.
Some improvement has also been made in the upkeep of the roads, and travel, always under convoy, has often been undertaken between Asmara and Addis Ababa. Just at present, however, travel has been suspended, as being temporarily too dangerous.
I am taking the liberty of enclosing copies of the (1) Treaty Between His Majesty’s Government and the Emperor,19 (2) Administration [Page 108]of Justice Proclamation,20 and (3) the Military Convention Between His Majesty’s Government and the Emperor.21
Very respectfully yours,