711.5875/3–1651

The Secretary of the Army (Pace) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (McGhee)

top secret

Dear Mr. McGhee : In accordance with a request from the Department of State1 the Department of Defense has instructed the Department of the Army to designate a general officer to visit Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition to displaying American interest in Ethiopia, the purpose of this visit is to explain to the Emperor the United States’ concept of Ethiopia’s role in defense of the non-Communist countries and, particularly, to dissuade him from military expenditures beyond the capacity of his country.

As you may know, the Department of the Army has a further interest in Ethiopia inasmuch as we desire to retain the Army radio station in Eritrea which will be federated with Ethiopia by September 1952. Since this will require base rights negotiations with Ethiopia, we propose to have this visit coincide with the opening of negotiations by our Ambassador in order that he may have the necessary technical advice. With this in mind, Brigadier General Rex V. D. Corput, Chief Signal Officer, European Command, has been selected for the purpose of advising the Ambassador as well as for the principal mission as outlined in the opening paragraph.

Mr. J. Rives Childs of your Department, who I understand has been nominated for Ambassador to Ethiopia,2 informally indicated that Brigadier General Richard J. O’Keefe of the Air Force might be of additional assistance in negotiations. Mr. Childs pointed out that General O’Keefe was of great assistance to him in negotiations with [Page 1249]King Ibn Saud when he was Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.3 In this connection, I am requesting the advice of the Secretary of the Air Force as to the availability of General O’Keefe for this mission.

I would appreciate your comments and recommendations on this proposed arrangement.

Sincerely yours,

Frank Pace , Jr.
  1. See the memorandum of January 11, p. 1237.
  2. Childs was Ambassador in Saudi Arabia until July 1950. He was appointed Ambassador to Ethiopia in April and presented his credentials on May 14, 1951.
  3. In 1949 General O’Keefe was the head of the Joint United States Survey Group to Saudi Arabia, which studied that country’s security requirements. For the group’s report, better known as the O’Keefe Report, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. v, p. 1112.