775.5/2–2152: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Ethiopia1


282. Recent Itr from SecState to Secy Defense (copy sent you last week by air)2 recommended that Ethio shld be found eligible for mil aid. This is only first step which must be followed by agreement by Defense3 and approval by Director Mutual Security before Presidential finding of eligibility can be made. Ltr from SecState included para summarized below:

Dept believes Ethio shld be found eligible for grant mil assistance, this finding also to allow reimbursable assistance. Dept Defense is asked join in such recommendation, with understanding total arms assistance wld be related to program for strengthening Ethio internal security forces acceptable to Defense and of value not to exceed, say, $5,000,000; with further understanding Ethio wld be required pay such portion of total it can reasonably afford. Determination of Ethio’s ability to pay wld first be made by State and Defense on basis data to be supplied by Emb Addis Ababa and wld subsequently have to be agreed to by Ethio Govt”.

Urdes 331 Feb 214 recognizes cost mil aid to Ethio may be considerably more than they can afford pay. Approximate cost minimum equipment recommended by MA Addis Ababa is US $2,000,000. With addition necessary spare parts, ammunition and transportation we estimate total aid program about US $5,000,000 over two years.

[Page 420]

After examination Ethio Govt budget, trade position, loans recd and payments made (e.g. Eximbank loan), and other factors such as Eritrean federation and additional Ethio currency issue required there, we estimate Ethio Govt might be able pay between US $1 and $2 million. But it is extremely difficult set any precise figure because of many uncertain and intangible considerations. Dept requests your best estimate on basis available info maximum amount Ethios cld be expected pay in next two years for reimbursable assistance. Do not discuss this matter with Ethios, although you may obtain relevant info from them or their Amer advisors without disclosing objective, for reason authorization of program depends on agreement Defense and approval Director Mutual Security. Tele summary your estimate soonest. Send details by desp.5 Instrs re recommendations urdes 331 and related desps will be sent after receipt info from you and Defense has acted on ltr quoted above.

  1. This telegram was drafted by Wellons (AF) and cleared in the offices of Daspit (NEA), Smith(ED), Bryan (S/MSA); and the offices of Lt. Col. Davis (Army) and Lt. Levy-Hawes (OSD) were notified. Bourgerie (AF) signed for the Secretary.
  2. The letter, dated Mar. 6, is not printed. (775.5 MSP/3–652)
  3. The Department of Defense reply, dated Apr. 22, reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and therefore Defense, concluded that Ethiopia should be made eligible for reimbursable military aid. (775.5 MSP/4–2252) For the reply of the Director of Mutual Security, see telegram 377, May 15, p. 423.
  4. Not printed; it reported the Embassy was expecting to receive a cost estimate of $25 million for military items for Ethiopia. The Ambassador said that when he received the estimate he would verbally suggest to the Foreign Office that the expenditure was beyond the financial means of Ethiopia. (775.5/2–2152)
  5. Addis Ababa telegram 411 and despatch 405, both dated Apr. 4, neither printed, transmitted the information requested. (775.00/4–452)