320/9–2750: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

Delga 39. In a conversation between the Secretary and Mr. Bevin regarding Eritrea, Bevin said that he had made certain “procedural” suggestions which he had hoped would aid the solution of the problem. He said that the Italians and the Ethiopians did not like the suggestion, the US did not like the suggestion, and he was not wedded to it. He said he was willing to drop the proposals he had made. Bevin went on to say that the Eritrean problem had been going on for many years and that his government did not feel any progress was being made. He said that the British were inclined to want to withdraw from Eritrea.

The Secretary said that he would get in touch with Count Sforza and talk to him forcefully about the problem. He said he would try to get the Italians to acquiesce in the compromise which was presently under consideration. The Secretary said that he would get Count Sforza to tell the South American countries that although the Italians did not like the compromise, they would acquiesce.

The Secretary said that the US was opposed to the British threat to withdraw from Eritrea. He said that such a threat might boomerang and result in the Italians getting together enough votes to put through something which would not achieve useful purposes.

Both Mr. Bevin and the Secretary agreed to cooperate in getting favorable action on the compromise as it exists.1

  1. Secretary Acheson also discussed Eritrea with Sforza on September 27. After outlining the Italian position, Sforza said that they were not really satisfied with the federation proposal, but that they would bow to the decision of the General Assembly. Sforza further stated that he would not attempt to arouse other delegations against the compromise Muniz draft, but, if asked, he would have to say that he opposed it for good reasons, mentioning specifically the problems of police, taxation, and the protection of Italians in Ethiopia. The U.S. Mission at the United Nations reported this conversation in telegram 621, from New York, September 28, not printed (320/9–2850).