357.AH/5–2550: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy 1
top secret

1866. During recent mtgs London US and UK FonMins approved 9 point agreement re Eritrea drawn up by US–UK Comite. Text follows:

[Page 1653]
  • a) Subj to the results of (c) below, UK and US govts shld maintain their present position re Eritrea;
  • b) The two govts shld concert their actions in order to secure the adoption of their proposals, both in the Interim Comite and in the GA;
  • c) They shld encourage discussions between the Ital and Ethio govts with a view to an Italo-Ethio agreement on Eritrea. The UK and US govts might have to act, in the earlier stages, as intermediary between the Ital and Ethio govts; but eventually the latter wld probably have to hold conversations directly between themselves;
  • d) If these conversations took place, the UK and US govts shld endeavor to secure agreement by the Ital and Ethio govts on proposals as nearly as possible in line with the present UK and US proposals;
  • e) These conversations shld take place as soon as a firm indication was recd as to the nature of the UN Comm report; this might be some time before it was published;
  • f) The conversations shld take place wherever was most suitable. A decision on this point might depend to some extent on whether the conversations cld begin before pub of the Comm report; if this were not possible, they might have to be held in New York where the Interim Comite wld be discussing the report.
  • g) Lobbying through both dipl and UN channels shld be begun as soon as practicable;
  • h) If the report submitted by the majority of the UN Comm were not in line with the proposals of the UK and US govts, the latter shld consult together. In any case, possible fall-back positions shld be explored immediately, outside the scope of the current UK/US talks. This wld be useful both in connection with the Italo-Ethio talks, and with the possibility that the majority of the UN Comm might produce a report differing from the UK and US position.
  • i) The question of the provision of safeguards for the Ital community in Eritrea shld similarly be explored, outside the scope of the current talks.

Note was taken of His Majesty’s Government’s view that the Western Province of Eritrea shld not be administered by His Majesty’s Govt if this solution cld possibly be avoided.”

  1. Repeated to Paris, Asmara, and Addis Ababa.