777.00/7–750: Telegram

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

144. With conclusion London phase US–UK effort effect Italian-Ethiopian rapprochement, Embassy desires make following comments which may prove useful as indicating atmosphere conversations here:

1.
Both Ethiopians and Italians appear sincerely desirous seeing settlement this question this session GA.
2.
As we see situation, Italians occupy stronger parliamentary position in GA. On other hand, this offset to large degree by local situation in East Africa, where question Ethiopian co-operation in implementing decision gives it strong bargaining point.
3.
We are not sure Ethiopians fully comprehend parliamentary situation in GA. They still appear place too much reliance on righteousness their cause and to be too optimistic re prospects their effecting favorable (to Ethiopia) settlement.
4.
Italians, despite fact they hold many (perhaps most of) trump cards in GA, have shown frank and commendable realism in recognizing that Ethiopian agreement to solution of Eritrea problem is vital to implementation. Also in recognizing agreement on Eritrea key to settlement other outstanding problems between Ethiopia and Italy.
5.
Although both parties have indicated willingness agree on basis federation, it is already apparent they have widely divergent views as to form federation should take. Italians appear have in mind something approximating personal union such as that between Denmark and Iceland prior 1944. Ethiopians, for their part, appear envisage close federation with ties more on Swiss model. These attitudes are logical extensions of independence and annexation respectively and it remains to be seen whether two sides are willing retreat sufficiently from present positions to find common middle ground. US and UK will have play strong catalytic role.
6.
All present indications are that Italians not willing reach agreement with Ethiopia on detailed formula for federation, since, within certain limitations, they appear to desire retain maximum bargaining power and ability adjust any formula to shifting parliamentary situation at GA. We foresee danger Ethiopians may misunderstand Italian position this question and charge Italians with saying one thing and doing another. US and UK assistance will be sorely needed to induce moderation and understanding.
7.
As we see problem, main difference between Italians and Ethiopians revolves around following points: [Page 1657]
a.
closeness of association between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Subsidiary points involved degree of self-government in Eritrea, division of powers between federal and local governments, and presence Ethiopian forces and officials in Eritrea.
b.
Length of any transitional period and extent, if any, of UN participation in administering territory during such period.
c.
Question of who will draft and approve federal constitution.
8.
Point 7 b also raises fundamental questions involving UK.
9.
Assuming Italians and Ethiopians able reach agreement on federation, we foresee following dangers at IC and GA:
a.
Demand that trusteeship (perhaps UN) be set up for any transitional period in order prepare Eritrea for self-government in accordance article 76 (b) of Charter.
b.
Tendency for IC and GA to become immersed in details of drafting federal constitution and to incorporate features which, while laudable in the theory, will have little bearing in reality to present state of Eritrean political development.

Department pass Asmara and USUN; repeated info Paris 47, Rome 10, Addis Ababa 8, Asmara 8, USUN NY 8.

Douglas