53. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower0


  • Deputy Prime Minister Aklilou
  • Ambassador Mikael Imru
  • Secretary Herter
  • Assistant Secretary Satterthwaite
  • Mr. E.S. Glenn (State Dept.)
  • Colonel Eisenhower

The President opened by congratulating Deputy Prime Minister Aklilou on the conduct of Ethiopian troops in the Congo. He expressed his appreciation for the Ethiopian gesture of sending these troops. Mr. Aklilou [Page 196]thanked the President and remarked that sending troops in defense of collective security is a long-standing policy of Ethiopia. He pointed out the action of Ethiopian troops in Korea, as well as the Congo. He promised to transmit the President’s good wishes, and gave those of Emperor Haile Selassie.

The President said he had tried to make a conciliatory speech to open the UN General Assembly2 in the hope that the cold war might be kept out of Africa. He said he thinks the consortium of African nations, which would permit a lightening of the arms burden on all its member nations and develop a sense of solidarity among those nations, would be extremely beneficial, particularly in preventing domination by big powers. Mr. Aklilou said his government had appreciated the President’s speech in the General Assembly very much. Important business faces this General Assembly. The speech had been cast at a high level, as befits that body. Ethiopia regrets others have not done the same.

[Here follows discussion of an unrelated matter.]

Mr. Aklilou then said he has two or three points of bilateral business which he would like to report and hopes, of course, that we always work together. These are:

He wished to thank the President for the military and economic help which we have given to Ethiopia and also for our provision of emergency grain.
Negotiations for a university to be located in Addis Ababa are going slowly. The estimated cost of the university would be some $10 million. It would be desirable to speed up these negotiations since they have been under way since 1954.
Ethiopia and the U.S. have agreed in principle on the provision of a Fourth Infantry Division for that country. Implementation, however, is a proceeding slowly.
Haile Selassie desires to retire some 8000 soldiers in the Ethiopian army due to age and ill health. He needs funds to establish these people on farms and cooperatives. The cost here would be some 15 million Ethiopian dollars. He hopes this can be provided under the heading of military support in order to put these people on the farm. It is most difficult for Ethiopia to establish a standard military retirement.

The President said that this last point regarding military retirement is a new one to him. He acknowledged knowing of the Fourth Infantry Division, recognizing that some sectors may need additional protection. He reminded Mr. Aklilou of our requirements that any MAP-supported forces be used for nonaggressive purposes. Mr. Aklilou agreed quickly.

[Page 197]

The President expressed great interest in the idea of the university. He feels strongly regarding the need for Africa to develop its own leaders at home. Human understanding is our greatest hope. He reiterated that the idea of a university intrigued him. The President said he is not too much on building of armaments. He feels the U.S. itself has too many although he cannot prove this thesis to his soldiers. The retirement project will pose many difficult problems. The President promised, however, that we will study this proposal.

Mr. Aklilou thanked the President for his sympathetic audience. After further amenities, the meeting adjourned.

John S. D. Eisenhower
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret.
  2. The meeting took place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The President was in New York attending the General Assembly. Another memorandum of the conversation by Satterthwaite is in Department of State, Central Files, 320/9–2760.
  3. For text of the President’s address to the General Assembly on September 22, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, pp. 60–70.