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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa
(1937)

Ethiopia,   pp. 679-717 PDF (13.5 MB)


Page 680


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1937, VOLUME II
765.84/5182: Telegram
The Minister Resident in Ethiopia (Engert) to the Secretary of State
                         ADDIs ABABA, February 20, 1937-11 a. m.
                              [Received February 22-9: 30 a. m.]
  47. My 45 and 46, February 19th. Yesterday afternoon and all last
night the Italians by way of reprisals set fire to hundreds of native
houses including some in the immediate vicinity of this Legation
which necessitated our taking special precautions to prevent our build-
ings from catching too. If there had been a strong wind it would
probably not have been possible and I have this morning pointed out
the danger to the authorities.
  The Italians have, as was to have been expected after their incen-
diaries last July and August, completely lost their heads. Undis-
ciplined bands of Black Shirts and laborers armed with rifles, axes
or clubs have since the incident been roaming the streets killing all
natives in sight even women amidst scenes of revolting savagery.
Many natives whose huts were burning were either shot as they tried
to escape or were forced to perish in the flames. Not since the Arme-
nian massacres have I seen a display of such unbridled brutality and
cowardice. Besides there have been mass executions in batches of
50 or 100 all over town of wretched people who by no stretch of the
imagination could have had anything to do with the incident.
  French Minister informs me a band of Black Shirts rushed into his
compound yesterday afternoon, set fire to three huts in his servants
quarters and chased away four of the native servants. He agrees
with me that for the last 24 hours the Italians have been acting like
raving maniacs which bodes ill for the future.
  Desultory firing continues in the city and on my way back from the
French Legation I saw several fresh corpses strewn along the road
while large trucks were carting away those killed earlier in the
morning.
                                                          ENGERT
365D.1163/51: Telegram
The Minister Resident in Ethiopia (Engert) to the Secretary of State
                         ADDIS ABABA, February 20, 1937-2 p. m.
                               [Received February 23-6: 45 p. m.]
  48. Duncan Henry of the American Presbyterian Mission in Addis
Ababa was brutally assaulted this morning by an Italian carabiniere
who dragged him out of his car in front of a shop and struck him
several times with his rifle on the head, shoulder, and arm, causing a
scalp wound which bled profusely and severe bruises on his body. He
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