Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge, North African Affairs ( Wellons )



  • Ethiopian Proposals for Further Discussions with the United States Government


  • Ato Aklilou, Ethiopian Foreign Minister
  • Yilma Deressa, Ethiopian Ambassador
  • John Spencer, Senior Adviser to Ethiopian Foreign Minister
  • Ato Menassie Lemma, Ethiopian Vice Minister of Finance
  • AF—Messrs. Utter, Cyr, Wellons & Longanecker
  • ED—Messrs. E. Ross and C. Thompson
  • FOA—Messrs. N. Paul & W. Moran
  • Army—Colonel Thomas Hannah

Mr. Paul was Chairman of this meeting.

Mr. Paul opened the discussion with the comment that the FOA appropriations bill was now being considered in Congress and for this reason no definite commitments could be made at this time. He was pleased, however, at having this opportunity of discussing such development plans with the Ethiopians. The discussion followed the order of items in the position papers of the U.S. delegation.


Private Investment. It was stated that the policy of the United States was to encourage private investment abroad. This was true in the case of Ethiopia and a list of firms which had expressed an interest in that country had been drawn up. A copy of this list was given to the Foreign Minister and to Ambassador Deressa with the suggestion that the various firms be contacted.2

The planned Ethiopian exhibit in New York would undoubtedly be of great benefit in interesting American businessmen to undertake various enterprises in Ethiopia. Mr. Moran said that George Andrews (FOA technician advising the Ethiopian Ministry of Commerce and Industry) was ready to proceed with the exhibit and that it should begin next week. Aklilou said that he would try to find out if the Emperor would be able to open the exhibit.

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The United States is ready to send a team to Ethiopia to furnish expert advice on investment matters. (This was done in Turkey by Clarence Randall who drafted investment and tax laws to meet Turkish needs.) This matter should be discussed with the FOA Director in Ethiopia, Mr. Gordon, and if the Ethiopian Government should request such assistance FOA would consider it favorably. The Foreign Minister said that Ethiopia was interested in this assistance right now. Mr. Paul then replied that we would tell Mr. Gordon in Ethiopia to work this out as part of the over-all Ethiopian program.

Mr. Paul also stated that if the Ethiopians so desire we are prepared to send a team of management experts to advise on modern methods of production and marketing or a team to assist in the development of administrative skills, both in public and private fields.

With regard to an investment guarantee program, Mr. Paul noted that from experience in other countries the idea of having an intergovernmental guarantee agreement is very useful. American private investors are encouraged if there are such agreements. Mr. Paul urged that some such agreement be considered. This could be in the form of an exchange of notes. He then gave to Ambassador Deressa copies of such agreements between the U.S. and Japan, and the U.S. and Haiti. After these documents are studied Ambassador Deressa will discuss the matter further with FOA.

Mr. Paul mentioned also that a “double taxation” treaty would undoubtedly assist. In response to Deressa’s question as to how this would operate, Mr. Thompson explained the details and gave to the Ambassador copies of such treaties which the U.S. has with the Netherlands and with Norway.

Mr. Spencer requested continued assistance in making contacts with U.S. investors and was told by Mr. Moran that this should be done through Mr. George Andrews. Mr. Utter mentioned that a Commercial Attaché at the Ethiopian Embassy here would be extremely useful in this connection.

Coffee Program. With regard to the coffee development program Mr. Moran said that FY 1955 funds are still being considered in Congress. In any event our aid in this field would be limited to technical assistance, i.e., demonstrating what could be done in special areas, or assistance of the type mentioned previously (production and marketing specialists, etc.).
Fishing Industry. After remarking that the U.S. recognizes the advantages to be gained by the Eritrean and Ethiopian economies through the development of a fishing industry, Mr. Paul stated that it is premature to discuss a long-term loan of $2,500,000 for its development as we would have to know more about the potential of a fishing industry there. Mr. Lemma stated that at present exports from the fisheries amount to about £900,000 annually and that the [Page 460] potential is much greater. The FOA and the British Administration in Eritrea (prior to federation) both prepared promising reports on this industry. It was agreed that these reports would be obtained and studied and that FOA would seek to have representatives of U.S. fisheries visit the Ethiopian exhibit in New York.

Expansion of Education. Mr. Paul stated that the U.S. is interested in assisting Ethiopia expand its educational program through additional technical assistance and that this matter should be pursued through the FOA Director in Ethiopia. Mr. Moran commented that the U.S. desires particularly to help in the development of Ethiopian technical institutions and teacher training colleges and in the training of personnel to staff these institutions. Deressa agreed with this in principle but explained that there was also a great need for on-the-job training in the U.S. for such positions as airplane mechanics, etc., until such time as Ethiopia has facilities for the training of such personnel.

The Foreign Minister then inquired whether it would be possible to train about 100 young people in the United States. He would like to have a summary of just what could be done. This year some 180 Ethiopian students will return with AB degrees—many of whom wish to continue with higher studies. It was agreed that a summary of the possibilities under the Fulbright Program, the exchange of students program and FOA would be prepared. Mr. Lemma said that there remained about $50,000 in the Surplus Property Settlement Account in Ethiopia which could be used for Fulbright scholarships. Mr. Moran mentioned that a check would be made also to ascertain whether scholarships could be obtained through private foundations, such as Ford and Rockefeller.

Mr. Moran noted that the FOA program is made up in Addis and that if the Ethiopian Government wished to put more money into the education program and limit the coffee development program this could be worked out. The Foreign Minister replied that Ethiopia does not wish to change existing programs for coffee or education and inquired whether he could tell His Imperial Majesty whether the U.S. will augment or continue on the same basis. Mr. Paul replied that FOA had requested $2.2 million for use in Ethiopia for FY 1955 but since the matter is still pending in Congress we are unable to say what the final figure will be. In any event this is a planning figure and is not frozen.

Medical Center. Mr. Paul stated the U.S. was interested in assisting Ethiopia in a health program but does not recommend the establishment of a $10 million medical center at this time. (See U.S. Position Paper on this subject for complete details.)3 The Foreign Minister said that it was his Government’s opinion that a national [Page 461] medical center was needed to promote confidence in doctors, etc. The figure of $10 million was not firm—it could be much less in order to get it started. It is possible that $1 million would be sufficient. He likewise noted that they want to increase the number of clinics being established in various parts of the country. Ethiopia needs specialists in all diseases and said that the country could become a center for medical study for East Africa as is done in Beirut for the Near East.

It was recalled that Ambassador Simonson had mentioned the idea of a medical center in Ethiopia to the Rockefeller Foundation which said that it might give the matter some study. Mr. Paul said that we would discuss this matter further but that there were no present prospects of U.S. Government assistance.

Then the meeting was concluded.

  1. This conversation took place at 3 p.m.
  2. No copy of this list has been found in Department of State files.
  3. Not printed.