Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Exports and Requirements (Ravndal)

Major General Maxwell stated in response to inquiry that it would be very advantageous to the United States from the political standpoint to give the Emperor of Ethiopia some of the things he has asked for. The General was of the opinion that the advantages which would accrue to the United States would far out-weigh the cost to us. However, he felt that we should at least consult with the British before providing any equipment to Ethiopia and, if possible, reach an agreement with them regarding the list of goods involved.

The General regarded furnishing a medical officer, say, a Colonel with military background, who would serve as the Emperor’s household physician and perhaps head up a medical mission as probably the most important single contribution which we could make, and he suggested that we consult General McAfee in the Surgeon General’s Office, with whom General Maxwell has excellent relations. He thought it important that the medical officer have a military background so that he would be in a position to serve as adviser to the Emperor, in as much as the latter is not getting much from the British military mission.

He regarded the second most important contribution giving Ethiopia a hook-up with our radio station Asmara.

He added that if we intend to use Ethiopian agricultural production it would be useful to furnish an agricultural adviser.

It was the General’s observation that it would be useful for background purposes to read the treaty which was made about a year ago between the British and the Emperor of Ethiopia.15

  1. Signed at Addis Ababa, January 31, 1942, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxliv, p. 997.