884.796/17

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Charles W. Lewis of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

Mr. Anis42 stated that he had just returned to the United States from Ethiopia, where he has been working during the past four months for the Ethiopian Government in Chargé of Ethiopian airfields. He was formerly in the employ of the Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Eritrea and was released, with the State Department’s approval, to work for the Ethiopian Government.

Mr. Anis said that the Ethiopian Government greatly needed two transport planes in order to maintain communication and transport facilities with the various provinces. He expressed the opinion that Ethiopia has large internal aviation possibilities, and in view of the present very favorable attitude of the Ethiopian Government toward the United States he was confident that it would be an easy matter for American aviation to secure both development rights in the country and landing privileges for international routes. He expressed the hope that we would seize the opportunities now offered. The British, he said, were doing nothing for the moment as regards aviation in Ethiopia other than the operation of the BOAC biweekly service between Asmara and Addis Ababa, with a plane which carries only five passengers. This service, he said, was inadequate for that route, which has a large potential traffic if planes were available to carry it. The remainder of the country has no air services whatever, although the need is considerable and urgent.

Mr. Anis said that he would like to remain in Ethiopia, either in the employ of the Ethiopian Government or of this Government, provided this Government was willing to assist Ethiopia in obtaining some planes. While the Italians had left numerous good fields and Ethiopia greatly needed air transport, nothing could, of course, be done without planes. These, he added, the Ethiopian Government would be willing to pay cash for if they could not be obtained through lend-lease.

I said that we were very much interested in the matter and that I would like for him to talk with certain persons in the Government [Page 115]who might be able to be helpful. I then arranged appointments for him with Mr. Austin of the Lend-Lease Administration, and Mr. Boulton … and I suggested that he also see Mr. Dawson of OEW.44

Mr. Anis will return for further discussions in the Department on the subject in question.

  1. Robert T. Anis.
  2. Office of Economic Warfare.