350/1–2750: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva ( Troutman ) to the Secretary of State

141. Tcdel 45. Tentative agreement between Ethiopia and Italian representatives reached today on text possible understanding re Eritrea. Text would be in form memoranda from Ethiopia and Italian Governments to US and UK Governments. Both Italy and Ethiopia desire text be kept secret from all other governments since each must obtain views his government before further discussions take place. Text follows:1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Embassy Addis please give above text Aklilou2 and acknowledge delivery this and Spencer’s3 telegram to Geneva.4

Sent Department 141, repeated London 34, Rome 29, Addis Ababa unnumbered.

  1. The draft agreement, not printed, was later known as the “Geneva formula” or “Geneva compromise”, and confirmed for the Governments of the United States and United Kingdom certain positions held by Italy and Ethiopia concerning conditions under which the General Assembly would settle the future of Eritrea through a U.N. investigating commission.
  2. Ato Aklilou, Ethiopian Foreign Minister.
  3. John Spencer, Adviser to the Ethiopian Foreign Minister.
  4. The telegram under reference here has not been identified further. In telegram 547, from London, January 31, not printed, Holmes reported that the Foreign office had reached agreement on the working level on a similar draft understanding between the Italians and the Ethiopians, but stressed that the Foreign Office felt the agreements only papered over the cracks since they did not consider the root of the problem, namely, a formula for the disposition of Eritrea. Embassy London transmitted the text of the draft understanding in telegram 549, January 31, not printed (350/1–3150). The agreement reached at Geneva became known as the “Geneva formula” or “Geneva compromise”.