865.014/8–948: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State

top secret
us urgent

3583. British informed us Bevin insists on his plan for Ethiopian trusteeship of Eritrea being proposed DepItcol because he considers it best solution and because it has been agreed by Cabinet.

US alternative solutions proposed in Deptel 3126, August 6 do not meet with Bevin’s approval because (1) UK does not wish trusteeship of any part of Eritrea and (2) postponement disposition northern and predominantly Moslem portion Eritrea would mean [Page 939] continuation of financial and military burden for British in that territory.

British state they have no objection to our proposing our alternative B. Would appreciate receiving Department’s instructions immediately as to whether we should propose alternative B despite French reaction.

French suggested that all Four Powers might be in agreement that Assab and Danakil coast should be ceded to Ethiopia and therefore it might be possible to cede this area at once, even though disagreement continue on remainder Eritrea. Would Department favor our supporting such proposal? It would have advantage of mitigating effect on Ethiopia of decision on Somaliland favorable to Italy.