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
  • John Spencer, Senior Adviser to Ethiopian Foreign Minister
  • Ato Menassie Lemma, Ethiopian Vice Minister of Finance
  • AF—Messrs. Utter, Cyr, Wellons & Longanecker
  • NEA—Mr. Ben Dixon
  • S/AE—Mr. Bruce Hamilton (left after first item discussed)
  • ED—Mr. Ross
  • FOA—Mr. W. Moran
  • Army—Colonel Thomas Hannah

Mr. Utter was Chairman of this meeting.

In going over the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting, Mr. Utter stated that item 3 on arms shipments would have to be postponed. He explained that the Department, and Mr. Byroade in particular, is pursuing this matter with the Department of Defense and therefore the U.S. delegation is not yet in a position to discuss it with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister.

Uranium Prospecting. Mr. Utter introduced Mr. Bruce Hamilton [Page 468] and explained that he had been in contact with the Atomic Energy Commission in regard to the Ethiopian request for uranium prospecting. Mr. Utter said that the Atomic Energy Commission is in a position to assist in this matter and that they can send a uranium geologist to Ethiopia early in the fall, probably by October. Mr. Hamilton explained what we would do at greater length, pointing out that initially one geologist with all the necessary equipment would be sent to Ethiopia. This geologist might need some help locally which it was agreed that U.S. agencies and the Ethiopian Government could provide. This initial reconnaissance by the geologist would take only a few weeks and his report would determine whether further prospecting would be desirable. In response to a question, Mr. Hamilton said that they would appreciate receiving all the information available to the Ethiopian Government on geological formations which might include uranium. Aklilou and Spencer indicated acceptance of the U.S. offer.
U.S. Military Requirements in Ethiopia. Mr. Utter expressed the views in the position paper:2 namely, that the U.S. appreciates the Ethiopian offer; that the U.S. military have noted Ethiopia’s strategic position, and that after recent study the U.S. military authorities have no immediate military requirements for their facilities in Ethiopia. However, Mr. Utter added the U.S. Government will certainly consider their generous offer if such needs should arise in the future. Mr. Spencer asked if this applied specifically to air and naval bases and Mr. Utter assured him that we have no plans in regard to either. The Foreign Minister noted this exchange of views without comment.
Military Aircraft Training Equipment. Mr. Utter explained the U.S. position that no MDAP funds are available which could be used to provide training planes or training for Ethiopian pilots in the United States. He did recall, however, that in response to a request from the Ethiopian Ambassador several months ago the Department had provided information in regard to several types of training planes which the Ethiopians could purchase. He recalled that one plane, the Fletcher, seemed particularly desirable and relatively cheap. Furthermore, if purchased in quantities of 10, the Fletcher Company would provide a technician to service the planes and instruct the Ethiopians on its maintenance.

In reply Aklilou made no particular comment on this last point but did reiterate the Ethiopian desire to have their aircraft training continued with the use of American equipment and in the English language.

Mr. Utter reviewed the total situation and pointed out that no [Page 469] future meetings could be held until Friday.3 In the interval he asked if the Ethiopians would like to arrange to see the Export-Import Bank in regard to a loan for the purchase of aircraft for the Ethiopian Airlines. Aklilou said that the Ethiopian memorandum had been presented to the U.S. Government on instructions of the Emperor. He regarded each of these items as part of a whole program which he would not wish to consider separately until after further discussions with the Emperor. Therefore, he would have to inform the Emperor of the total progress, or lack of progress, being made in the conversations before proceeding on such a matter of detail as having discussions with the Export-Import Bank.

Thereupon Mr. Utter concluded the meeting.

  1. This conversation took place at 3 p.m.
  2. Not printed.
  3. July 2.