775.5 MSP/9–254

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

confidential

Subject:

  • United States Assistance to Ethiopia

Participants:

  • Mr. Deressa, Ethiopian Ambassador
  • NEA—Mr. Jernegan
  • AF—Mr. Wellons

Ambassador Deressa called on Mr. Jernegan this afternoon in order to review the status of the subjects discussed with the Department of State by the Ethiopian Foreign Minister in June and July of this year. In response to the Ambassador’s question, Mr. Jernegan gave him the original of the attached memorandum1 which sets forth the Department’s understanding of the current status of the subjects discussed with the Foreign Minister. Apparently the Ambassador was satisfied to receive this specific memorandum which he could report to his Government.

Ambassador Deressa then inquired about the prospects for extending military assistance to Ethiopia. He referred to the assurances given by Mr. Byroade in July that we expected to be able to provide some miltary assistance for Ethiopia after Congress acted on pending legislation. Mr. Jernegan remarked that one of the last bills enacted by Congress before it adjourned recently involved foreign aid. Since then, he pointed out, the Department of State, the Defense Department, and the Foreign Operations Administration have been trying to decide how best to allocate the limited funds available for foreign military assistance. For example, he cited the pressures in the NEA area for United States assistance to Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran, as well as Greece and Turkey. Mr. Jernegan also mentioned that the overall situation often changed from area to area and from month to month—thus what happened in Southeast Asia or in Western Europe could [Page 481]materially affect the funds available and the programs planned for the countries in the Near East and Africa.

Ambassador Deressa urged that Ethiopia not be forgotten in the process of allocating funds to such countries. He reiterated Ethiopia’s desire to complete the equipping of one division which he said would be available for the “common defense.” Mr. Jernegan assured the Ambassador that Ethiopia would not be forgotten and that we would try to meet Ethiopia’s request within the framework of our overall requirements. While he was hopeful, Mr. Jernegan made it clear that he was not in a position to say when the decisions in regard to Ethiopia would be made. The Ambassador emphasized the need for obtaining this decision quickly so that his government could make its own military and budgetary plans. Mr. Jernegan assured him of a decision as soon as possible and the Ambassador expressed his appreciation for Mr. Byroade’s and Mr. Jernegan’s assistance in this matter.

  1. Not printed. The final paragraph of the memorandum, dated Sept. 2, stated that Congress had reappropriated funds for the fiscal year 1955, and the Department of State was in the process of determining what action could be taken in favor of Ethiopia under the program.