Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director, Office of African Affairs (Utter)



  • Ethiopian Foreign Minister’s Call on the Secretary.


  • Ato Aklilou Habtewold, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • The Secretary.
  • John E. Utter, AF.

After recalling the pleasant relations he had had with Mr. Dulles during the 1948 United Nations Assembly in Paris, Ato Aklilou referred to the promise he had made to Secretary Marshall at that time that the United States would be allowed to maintain the U.S. Army communications station “Radio Marina” at Asmara in the event Eritrea would be joined with Ethiopia. Ethiopia and Eritrea were federated in September 1952 in accordance with the U.N. resolution.

Aklilou stated that he and General Mulughetta, Commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Body Guard, had come to Washington with instructions from the Emperor to settle three questions—1) an agreement governing the important U.S. Army communications station and other military facilities in Eritrea; 2) details regarding a U.S. military training mission which the U.S. Government is prepared to furnish Ethiopia; and 3) difficulties concerning the reimbursable military aid accorded by the U.S. to Ethiopia. Aklilou described at some length the vicissitudes that had been encountered in previous attempts to settle these questions and specifically referred to the military facilities [Page 438] agreement which had become stalemated during his visit to the Department on December 20–23, 1952. He requested that the Secretary designate suitable high-ranking and responsible officers to discuss the three problems with him and General Mulughetta, in the hope that complete agreement might be reached during his present visit to Washington.

Mr. Dulles replied that proper study would be given to the matter, and assured Ato Aklilou that necessary steps would be taken to facilitate the discussions.

Ato Aklilou said that the Emperor, on being apprised of Mr. Dulles’ intended tour of the Middle East and South Asian countries, had indicated that he would very much like to have the Secretary visit Addis Ababa. Aklilou pointed out that such a visit would not cause too great deviation from the Secretary’s route, and that omission of Ethiopia, which was so strongly linked to the United States, would be interpreted by the Ethiopians as a slight. The Secretary replied that he appreciated the kind invitation of the Emperor, but doubted whether the limited time at his disposal would permit such a detour. On Aklilou’s insistence Mr. Dulles promised to consider the possibility of alterations in his itinerary.

When thanking the Secretary for taking time to receive him, Ato Aklilou mentioned that he had a letter from the Emperor for President Eisenhower which he would like to present while in Washington.1

  1. No copy of this letter has been found in Department of State files.