Ethiopia Between 1948 and 1959

Ethiopia Between 1948 and 1959

The years from 1948 to 1959 recorded international successes and progress in the domestic one, especially due to the skill of Emperor Häylp̀ Sěllāsi̯è. Completely freed from the protection and presence of British troops, who evacuated the Ogaden and the so-called restricted area in the summer of 1948 and then withdrew in April 1951 the same military mission, which was based in Addis Ababa, the emperor managed to improve relations with Great Britain, which remained very shaken by the attitude of the British commands and troops during the period of the occupation. By agreement of November 29, 1954, England returned to Ethiopia some areas of the border with Somaliland, which still remained under its control, and he obtained grazing rights in these areas for his Somali subjects: however, the agreement was a source of new friction. Similarly, relations with France were not excessively good, especially following the union of Eritrea with Ethiopia, which rekindled the ancient antagonism between the ports of Djibouti and Assab. For Ethiopia 2016, please check

The problem of a revision of the borders between Ethiopia and the French Somali coast has also affected relations between the two countries. It was, however, resolved with the agreement of February 16, 1954.

A new Franco-Ethiopian agreement (1959), also stipulated for the political purpose of strengthening the agreements between the two countries in common opposition to the “Greater Somalia” project (see Somalia, in this App.), Provides, among other things, considerable facilities to Ethiopia in the port of Djibouti (see below). As far as Egypt is concerned, the question was resolved with the Coptic Church (see below), a fact which was regarded as a sign of harmony between the two states concerned. In 1956 the Ethiopia obtained from Sudan, which had become independent, the restitution of the commercial concession of Gambela (granted to Great Britain in 1902).

As for the Italo-Ethiopian relations, in the immediate post-war period the Italian citizens, considered irreplaceable elements to keep alive the technical apparatus organized by the administration and by the Italian community, were detained on Ethiopian soil by the local authorities also circumventing the provisions of the British authorities of occupation. The fate of Eritrea has been decided (see Eritrea, in this App.) – assigned to Ethiopia with a federal bond – and Somalia – granted to Italy in trust, but with Ethiopia voting against, which had asked to annex it – contacts between Italian and Ethiopian diplomats resumed both at the UN and in Geneva, it was possible to normalize relations between the two countries with the exchange of ambassadors (February 1952). Except that the payment of the Italian reparations to Ethiopia, set at 25 million dollars by the peace treaty, and the related evaluations of reciprocal debts and credits for other causes caused strong divergences and the failure of the negotiations started in Rome by a specific Ethiopian delegation (1953). Relations between the two countries worsened significantly. Under the pressure of public opinion and circles interested in resuming economic relations and burying the past, the Italian government ended up showing itself more condescending to Ethiopian requests. This led to the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement of 5 March 1956, which regulated economic and financial issues by establishing the payment to Ethiopia of 16,300,000 US dollars in the form of construction, in Ethiopia, of technical and industrial plants, entrusted to Italian firms (one of these works consists of a hydroelectric reservoir on the Hawp̀š river, the construction of which had already been planned by the Italian administration).

More than with his neighbors or former neighbors, the emperor, despite having already entered the orbit of financial and technical assistance from the USA since 1944, has established and continues to forge relations with the main countries of the two opposing blocs, receiving from one and the other important economic aid. In 1954, he visited the USA and Canada, then various Western European countries and Yugoslavia; in 1959 he went to Russia. Treaties of a political nature, but above all economic, have sealed these visits, of which the ones signed with the USSR and with Czechoslovakia are very important.

In 1951 the Ethiopia he sent a battalion of his soldiers to fight with UN troops in Korea, taking part in international operations for the first time. In May 1958 the UN Assembly designated Addis Ababa as the seat of the Economic Commission for Africa, which held its first meeting there in January 1959. In October-November 1960, during the Congolese crisis, the. supported the work of the United Nations.

In the internal government, the sovereign has maintained the line of conduct followed since his youth, knowing how to balance oppositions and contrasts and managing to preserve his personal and family dominance, according to the tradition of Ethiopian absolutism. However, the westernized young class is pressing in various ways to obtain greater independence of action by the organs of the state. Situation that creates a latent but continuous conflict. There have also been riots in forces, or attempts at conspiracies, but all have been repressed also due to the centralization of military force in the hands of the sovereign. Of greater importance, and such that it will certainly have not negligible effects in the internal affairs of Ethiopian society, was the attempted coup d’état, mainly conducted by the commander of the Sovereign’s Guard, which has relied on the forces under its command. It broke out in Addis Ababa on 14 December 1960, during an official visit of the sovereign to Latin America, after a first surprise success, the revolution was suffocated within a few days by the regular forces of the army; great is the bloodshed it has given rise to; not a few prominent politicians have been killed. In the programmatic proclamation of the revolt, the purpose of this was indicated in the liberation of the country from the feudal regime, in order to move it towards more liberally advanced forms of life. Among others, students of the University College of Addis Ababa also declared themselves in favor of the insurgents.

Ethiopia Between 1948 and 1959