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The Lion of Judah in the New World

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Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/6/2013 11:56:34 PM

CHAPTER 9 1960, The Annus Horribilis of Haile Selassie

At the end of the Eisenhower administration, the United States was caught off guard by the speed of decolonization in Africa. Most of the European colonies received little attention from the United States because they were in the sphere of influence of allies. Suddenly, U.S. policy makers had to pay increased attention to sub-Saharan Africa as 16 new independent nations came into being there between 1958 and 1960, and Africa replaced the Middle East as the primary Cold War arena. The State Department belatedly had created an African Bureau in 1959, finally taking Ethiopia out of a “Middle Eastern” category in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. That year there were more foreign service personnel in West Germany than in all of Africa. In the Horn of Africa, the termination of British and Italian colonial rule over lands neighboring Ethiopia would result in a redrawn political map. The area was inhabited by an almost homogeneous Muslim population, seething with ardor for a new united nation under the banner of Greater Somalia and harboring a long history of antagonism towards its predominantly Christian neighbor. As early as 1957, Emperor Haile Selassie had suffered from Somali angst. As the day of independence in 1960 neared for the possibly threatening Somali people living to the east, HIM’s symptoms grew more pronounced, and building up the IEG military became his obsession. The anachronistic feudal kingdom of Ethiopia continued in its traditional ways—with a veneer of progress. The emperor had proclaimed 106 The Lion of Judah in the New World a new constitution in 1955, emphasizing the religious origins of imperial power and providing for the continuing centralization of government power. The bicameral parliament featured an appointed Senate, but the Chamber of Deputies was elected by popular vote in 1957. In Addis Ababa, James P. Richards, special assistant to President Eisenhower, described this as a “façade of parliamentary government” but with ultimate power resting with the emperor. 1 Richards noted that Haile Selassie “did not exercise authority despotically but by working out compromises among special interest groups: the Coptic Church, nobles, land-owners, tribal elements, and now, a younger group of educated Ethiopians.” Ethiopia took stands on world issues against the Eastern Bloc motivated by friendship with the United States rather than by a fear of communism—as seen by the IEG’s cozier relations with the soviets and their offer of financial aid. More worrisome to the Americans was the “neutralist imperialism” led by Nasser’s Egypt and abetted by Nehru’s India, which were trying to force Ethiopia to join the neutralist camp. An unaligned, neutralist Ethiopia would have been to the soviets’ liking too, rather than continuing the close U.S. ties to the country. The emperor continued to be a leading supporter of United Nations collective security, as demonstrated by his sending Ethiopian troops to help quell the Congo Crisis in 1960. State Department historians called the Congo Crisis “the single most important issue in U.S. policy in the period.” In July 1960, acting under a United Nations Security Council Resolution, the UN dispatched a peacekeeping force to bring order to the Congo (present-day Zaire). From 1960– to 1964, some 3,000 Imperial Bodyguard personnel—about 10 percent of the Ethiopian army’s entire strength at that time—and part of an air force squadron served with the UN peacekeepers in the Congo. Kagnew Station remained the driving force behind U.S. policy towards the IEG. Technological innovations made the listening post ever more important to the Americans—especially after the 1957 soviet launch of Sputnik and the U.S. deployment of Polaris submarines in the Indian Ocean. 2 The U.S. Army’s worldwide communications system used Kagnew as a major link, and Washington’s diplomatic corps in Africa used it extensively to send and receive messages. The National Security Agency—the government’s cryptologic experts—and the CIA used intelligence intercepted there. Eisenhower noted “the importance of maintaining an atmosphere in Ethiopia which would assure continued unimpaired use of the key facilities at Kagnew.” 31960, The Annus Horribilis of Haile Selassie 107 To maintain the proper atmosphere in Ethiopia, in August 1960, a secret executive agreement between the globalist-oriented Eisenhower administration and the IEG was approved. The agreement, still a quid pro quo, laid out an enhanced security framework for cooperation. In exchange for continued access to Ethiopian military facilities, the United States was to train and equip an imperial army of 40,000. U.S. military aid to Ethiopia was to be increased to $10 million annually over the next 15 years (more than double the average per year funding for the previous eight years). Washington reaffirmed its “continued interest in the security of Ethiopia and its opposition to any activities threatening the territorial integrity of Ethiopia.” 4 The agreement ensured continued access to Kagnew without committing the U.S. MAP to a fixed timetable to complete its military mission in Ethiopia. The operation of Kagnew Station had become indispensable to the United States, and by the end of August 1960, Haile Selassie had achieved the three political and military objectives he had sought since the early 1950s: the training and equipping of an Ethiopian Army of four divisions, support for a modern Imperial Air Force, and what he considered to be an explicit U.S. security guarantee. This strengthened Ethiopia at the very time that the independent nation of Somalia came into being, posing what Haile Selassie was sure would be a threat to his country of hostile Muslim encirclement and subversion. GREATER SOMALIA Throughout most of its history, present-day Somalia consisted of Arab and Indian trading ports along the coast while the interior was populated by scores of Somali clans. During the colonial era of the 19th century, Egypt became the dominant foreign power in the region, but in 1886 it was replaced by Britain in northern Somalia and in 1889 by Italy in the south. The French occupied the strategic port of Djibouti and surrounding lands. Ethiopia remained independent and partook in its own scramble for Africa by conquering and annexing neighboring territories. including those abutting lands. Independently minded Somalis have never been welcoming to foreigners attempting to occupy their lands, and this animosity was demonstrated by the war of resistance against colonialists that raged from 1899 to 1920. The scourge of the colonial era to Ethiopian, British, and Italian forces alike was the “Mad Mullah,” Mahammad Abdille Hasan, the religious and military leader of the Somalis who terrorized the region. Hasan lead the dervishes in one of the longest and bloodiest 108 The Lion of Judah in the New World conflicts in the annals of sub-Saharan resistance to alien encroachment. The dervish uprising devastated the Somali Peninsula and resulted in the death of an estimated one-third of northern Somalia’s population and the near destruction of its economy. The struggle was not quelled until 1920 with the death of Hasan, who became a hero of Somali nationalism. 5 During World War II, the British military occupation of Ethiopia and neighboring areas from 1941 to 1952 contributed to the start of major problems in other areas of the Horn. In 1946, the British encouraged the idea of a “Greater Somalia” composed of British and Italian Somaliland and the Ogaden area of Ethiopia inhabited by Somali people—under a British trusteeship (the Somali areas of Northern Kenya were seldom included in such British plans). 6 Eisenhower complained that the British had made “a mess of it” in handling Ethiopia-Somalia situation. 7 To the Americans and soviets, the idea of a Greater Somalia appeared as military expansion of the British Empire. There was no way that the British could convince the world at large, especially the Russians, of the purity of British motives in Somalia. 8 The possibility of oil in Italian Somaliland kept alive British interest in gaining a trusteeship of Greater Somalia, but international circumstances would not permit the establishment of a British regime. 9 Reluctantly, the British supported Italian trusteeship of its former colony—to solidify U.S., French, and Italian backing of British ambitions in Cyrenaica (a ploy muted by Libyan independence in 1948). The Italian trusteeship was a relatively peaceful 10-year period leading to independence for Italian Somaliland in 1960, when it was united with British Somaliland to form the new nation of Somalia. In 1948, the British Military Administration was evacuated from Ethiopian territories in the Ogaden, and the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement of 1954 formally confirmed the return of the Ogaden to Ethiopia. The process of decolonizing Ethiopia, which was considered complete only with the restoration of its internationally recognized pre-1935 frontiers, had taken one and a half decades. Although the outlook for a new Somali nation was not promising because of the people’s lack of experience in governing and inadequacies of the economy, the United States supported the unification of British Somaliland and Italian Somalia after they achieved independence in 1960. This perturbed Haile Selassie, who was extremely sensitive to any derogation of Ethiopian sovereignty. The emperor became paranoid in his fear that the United Kingdom and United States were pushing for a Greater Somalia while neglecting the concerns of their long-time ally. 1960, The Annus Horribilis of Haile Selassie 109 The new Somali Republic fostered a Greater Somalia nationalism based upon reuniting all Somali people. The irredentist policy of the new nation was characterized by the national flag, a white five-pointed star on a blue field that symbolized the five supposed branches of the Somali nation—the peoples of British and Italian Somalilands and the Somalis still living in French Somaliland (Djibouti), Ethiopia, and Kenya. Hopes were high for Somali’s national cohesion. The people shared a common language, a sense of cultural identity, and a dominant religion—Islam. But competing clan and subclan allegiances were always potentially divisive to the society. Traditionally, clans were governed by experienced wise men who would need wisdom to keep national loyalties paramount over blood ties. Somalia’s independence exacerbated tensions with Ethiopia over the status of 350,000 Somali tribesmen living in the Ogaden and nearby areas, and several hundreds of thousands others who regularly sought water and forage in Ethiopia in the course of their seasonal migrations. The constitution of the Somali Republic proclaimed that all ethnic Somalis, no matter where they resided, were citizens of the republic. The new government demanded that Somalis living in adjacent territories be granted the right to self-determination. PanSomali nationalism was encouraged by virulent Egyptian propaganda directed at subverting the Somali people who were subjects of Ethiopia and inciting Somalia against colonial powers and Ethiopia. Recurrent border incidents kept Ethiopian police alert, but there were no major outbreaks of violence in Somali areas of the IEG immediately after the birth of the Somali Republic. THE COUP THAT FAILED While the threat of a Greater Somalia remained Haile Selassie’s idée fixe for the rest of his reign, he felt confident enough about his kingdom’s security to go on another series of state visits in the winter to West Africa and South America. During his absence, there was an attempted coup d’état led by the emperor’s body guard on December 14. Many of the educated elite of the country, returned from study in the United States and Europe, were critical of the lack of progressive reform in Ethiopia and influenced the body guard to attempt a coup. 10 Leading the insurrection were two brothers, Brigadier General Mengistu Neway, commander of the Imperial Guard, and Girmame Neway, a provincial governor and intellectual educated at Columbia University. The effort to depose the emperor was supported by 110 The Lion of Judah in the New World students and the educated classes and seemed to be succeeding early on. The conspirators proclaimed Haile Selassie’s eldest son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, as Emperor. The plotters attempted to win the collaboration of the army, air force, and police, but the outcome was still uncertain at the end of the first day. The coup attempt lacked broad popular support, however, and was denounced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. In Brazil, Haile Selassie had been made aware of the coup by his son, Prince Sahle Selassie’s use of his ham radio. Sahle was loyal to his brother the crown prince and was cognizant of the gap between the haves and the have-nots in Ethiopia, but nevertheless, he was persuaded to send the message by his mother, Empress Menen. His broadcast was picked up in several places around the world and made public in the press. 11 The recently arrived U.S. ambassador, Arthur L. Richards, feigned American neutrality but actually authorized the transmission of a message to Haile Selassie from forces loyal to the emperor. The embassy had concluded that the loyalists would prevail. 12 On the morning of the second day, U.S. military advisors moved to meet their agreement obligations and provide advice to loyalist government forces. 13 With most of the IEG military rallying to support the emperor, the rebels were crushed on the third day—but not before they slaughtered a host of leaders of the IEG in the Green Salon of the Royal Palace. Ambassador Richards jumped out a palace window just before the carnage ensued. The United States facilitated Haile Selassie’s return to Addis Ababa on the evening of December 17. At the Addis Ababa airport, the emperor, with some emotion, expressed his sincere gratitude to Ambassador Richards for the assistance given those who put down the revolt. He asked that his gratitude be conveyed to President Eisenhower. With exceptional security measures in place, HIM’s motorcade then proceeded through streets lined with cheering crowds to Jubilee Palace.14 Eisenhower sent HIM a letter of congratulations upon his safe return. The wily emperor, with some help from the U.S. military, had survived to resume his absolute rule, but there had been a shaking of the foundations. The monarchy had been stripped of its claim to universal acceptance as the coup attempt “for the first time questioned the power of the king to rule without the people’s consent,” 15 The tensions between traditional and modern forces within the country had been exposed, and they would continue to plague the little king. The CIA reported on “Ethiopian Prospects after the Abortive Coup” and concluded that Haile Selassie remained “the dominant force in a 1960, The Annus Horribilis of Haile Selassie 111 far from united Empire,” where “the potentialities for sustained conflict and fragmentation” are flagrant “when the Emperor leaves the scene.”16 The CIA, like most Ethiopians, worried about succession and speculated upon the disastrous outcome of open conflict between the ruling and educated groups if a power struggle ensued in a post–kingof-kings empire. Thus ended 1960, the annus horribilis for Haile Selassie. In carrying out the U.S. foreign policy objectives of keeping the emperor on the throne and his nation secure, the United States had preserved Haile Selassie’s reign—but for how long? Would the Lion of Judah live up to the findings of American President Theodore Roosevelt, who knew quite a bit about lions? Wrote Roosevelt: “The darker the night, the bolder the lion.”

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/6/2013 11:58:49 PM

CHAPTER 10 The Lion of Judah at Camelot: The Second State Visit, 1963

Why wag your head with turban bound, yellow, red and green? Are the things so strange and marvelous you see or have seen? —Walt Whitman, “Ethiopia Saluting the Colors,” 1871 On the first day of October 1963, a Pennsylvania Railroad train pulled out of Philadelphia at 9:35a.m. sharp bound for Washington, DC’s Union Station. Included in the train set was the private railway carriage of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia on his second state visit to the United States. He was the guest of President John F. Kennedy, who had responded positively to the emperor’s lobbying to come to Washington to meet face to face and engage in personal diplomacy. In the emperor’s rail car sat the 10 members of the official party, ministers and family members, 1 who listened to Ambassador Angier Biddle Duke, the U.S. State Department’s chief of protocol, speaking in French and pointing out scenic landmarks along the way. After leaving the suburbs, the train picked up speed and traveled southward at 75 miles per hour. The 72-year-old emperor wore a field marshal’s uniform of tan and red and carried a long swagger stick. His Imperial Majesty sat ramrod straight in his seat, a bit on edge. Official visitors to Washington usually flew from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House lawn by helicopter, but Haile Selassie thought such an entry undignified for a man of his stature and demanded that he arrive by train. The State Department made arrangements for that The Lion of Judah at Camelot 113 to happen, and the entire visit was choreographed with grace and precision. At 11:59 a.m. the train backed into Union Station and docked at the exact location where the emperor could alight on the 140-foot-long red carpet laid out for the occasion. As Haile Selassie stepped out of the car, the herald trumpets of the military band sounded a welcoming fanfare, and President Kennedy shook the emperor’s hand. Mrs. Kennedy, dressed in a black Oleg Cassini suit and wearing a signature pillbox hat, greeted the emperor in flawless French. Haile Selassie bowed to her and then proceeded down a receiving line of Washington’s top brass official welcomers and a host of diplomats, many from African nations, as cannons fired a 21 gun salute at precisely three-second intervals from the bottom of Capitol Hill. Rousing shouts of “Long live the Lion of Judah” in Amharic roared through the vault of Union Station. 2 In ceremonies at the station, President Kennedy said that since Haile Selassie’s earlier visit in 1954 the world had seen “one of the most extraordinary revolutions in history,” the appearance of 29 independent countries.3 “Africa and Asia have been transformed into continents whose people are almost entirely removed from the subjugated status which was the lot of so many of them but a few years ago.” The President paid tribute to the emperor as a man “whose place in history is already assured.” But “perhaps the most celebrated of all, is his leadership in Africa,” said Kennedy, referring to Haile Selassie’s role in the Summit Conference in Addis Ababa a few months earlier that had launched the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The diminutive emperor replied in Amharic that he came to “explore ways and means of strengthening our cooperation; a task especially important when the face of the globe has so vastly changed, and the struggle for liberty for everyone, irrespective of race, continues and must be of concern to all of us.” The president, who suffered from severe back pain, gamely and graciously stood attentively while Haile Selassie made a lengthy response in a language he did not understand. With the preliminary formalities completed, the Kennedys escorted the emperor through an honor cordon comprised of personnel from all the branches of the military to a waiting limousine. The two heads of state rode in an open-topped blue limousine behind marching bands and troops in a motorcade on sun-dappled Pennsylvania Avenue. Thousands of Washingtonians lined the curbs between the station and the White House and cheered and clapped. The emperor waved and saluted the enthusiastic crowds as Mr. Kennedy sat smiling beside 114 The Lion of Judah in the New World him. Mrs. Kennedy followed in the next car, a bubble-top limousine, accompanied by the 33-year-old Princess Ruth Desta, Haile Selassie’s granddaughter, and the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States, Berhanou Dinke. After the parade, the Emperor began a three-day marathon of speaking engagements and banquets. Chief Justice Earl Warren, joined by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and others, entertained Haile Selassie and some members of his royal entourage aboard the secretary of the navy’s white yachtSequoia, the “Rolls Royce of yachts,” for luncheon on the Potomac. The Warrens had been the personal guests of the emperor at Jubilee Palace in Addis Ababa earlier in June and probably knew him better than any other Washington officials. Warren had received head-of-state treatment while in Ethiopia, and some American diplomats thought this a non-too-subtle hint as to how the emperor expected to be royally treated during his state visit to the United States. At 4:30, the emperor attended a tea party, a spur of the moment affair, in the private presidential apartments of the White House just before his conference with President Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy and daughter Caroline, almost six years old, greeted Haile Selassie and enjoyed iced tea with him. The emperor presented gifts: a large golden filigree jewelry case and a full length leopard coat for Mrs. Kennedy; a carved ivory Ethiopian girl figurine and Ethiopian dress and shama made especially for Caroline by the Empress Mennen Handicraft School; and a carved ivory Ethiopian warrior bearing a spear for John Jr., who was almost three. Mrs. Kennedy donned the coat and thanked Haile Selassie in French for the wonderful coat and added, “I am overcome.” She escorted the Emperor down to the Rose Garden where the president greeted them. Said the president, “I wondered why you were wearing a fur coat in the garden,” and then added his thanks. 4 Kennedy and Haile Selassie formally met at the White House for one hour and 25 minutes. The emperor took the opportunity to affirm his favored bond with the United States, discussed African issues including Ethiopia’s border strife with Somalia, Salazar’s Portugal and Angola, apartheid South Africa, the civil war in Yemen with increased arms traffic in the Red Sea area, and the shifting balance of the Cold War. According to the official record, the emperor also requested U.S. economic aid to promote stability in his kingdom and military aid including the training of Ethiopian military personnel in Ethiopia. Kennedy thanked Haile Selassie for the continued use of Kagnew Station. The emperor pointed out that African nations criticized him for allowing the Americans to operate the communications center. Dr. Minase Haile, who was The Lion of Judah at Camelot 115 interpreting for the emperor during the meeting, recalls the president raising the question of constitutional reform for Ethiopia with the need for community development and civic action in the feudal regime. Kennedy also delicately brought up the matter of succession, which was far from clear at the time. HIM was obviously not happy with the introduction of these issues and dismissed them outright. This exchange clouded the atmosphere of the visit up to a point, although it was not recorded in any minutes of the meeting. The two heads of state did agree, however, to maintain a private channel to keep in touch. 5 That evening, the president honored HIM with a white-tie dinner at the White House, the highest social occasion in Washington. While the guests were gathering, Jacqueline Kennedy was flying to New York on the first leg of a two-week, strictly private visit to Greece. In her absence, Rose Kennedy, the president’s mother, who was a year older than the emperor, acted as hostess for the evening. In the high theater of the state dinner, Haile Selassie wore his court uniform: an olive jacket, dark blue trousers, and myriad ribbons, medals, and gold braid. Princess Ruth wore the Order of the Queen of Sheba. Altogether 129 guests, the important people of Washington and other VIPs, dined in formal splendor on green-bordered Truman china with gold tableware at 10 candlelit round tables and were entertained in the East Room by the Robert Joffrey Ballet. The performance resembled a vaudeville or nightclub act, and the president later expressed his displeasure. 6 In an after-dinner toast, Kennedy hailed Haile Selassie as a giant in world affairs for the last three decades. “There is really no comparable figure in the world today who held high responsibilities in the 1930s, who occupied and held the attention and the imagination of really almost all free countries in the mid-1930s, and still could, in the summer of 1963 in his own capital dominate the affairs of his continent. . . . This is an unprecedented experience in the twentieth century, and I know of only a few experiences in recent history which are in any way similar.” 7 The emperor replied to the toast with deep feeling, thanking Kennedy for the aid and friendship given by the United States over the years to Ethiopia. Like other heads of state who visited the Kennedy White House, Haile Selassie had fallen under the spell of the wit and charm of the president and first lady and the uniquely hospitable treatment lavished by both Kennedys. In meetings with HIM, the president spoke simply and directly, as one world leader talking in confidence to another. He set forth American policy without apology, even when he knew it might disturb or displease the emperor—as was the case in discussing Somalia. Kennedy was candid in not promising HIM things he could 116 The Lion of Judah in the New World not deliver. 8 In turn, the Emperor seemed to admire the sensibility of the young president and his respect for the dignity of his guest. Of course, Jackie Kennedy, “ la belle Américaine, ” with her flawless French and dazzling grace captivated the emperor from the moment he stepped off the train. In short, the monarch was privy to the culture, beauty, and sophistication of a short-lived era that upgraded American pageantry and public discourse—Camelot, before it became known as such. Events would soon create the mythology of Kennedy’s Camelot, a gallant place of courageous deeds, glamorous spectacle, and enduring mystique, but the Lion of Judah had drunk deeply from the stream of life-enhancing zest that flowed through that Washington kingdom in the autumn of 1963. Haile Selassie had made a special request to lay a silver wreath at the Lincoln Memorial, and on the next morning, he did that in a stirring and somber ceremony. The emperor ascended the memorial steps between two cordons of American soldiers. He carried a glittering wreath made from 580 Ethiopian coins and weighing almost 50 pounds. The emperor placed the wreath at the foot of the imposing statue of Abraham Lincoln, a man Haile Selassie said had been “a symbol to all men who cherish freedom and equality as the most precious of God’s gifts.” 9 Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall then led the emperor to the side of the memorial where Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (delivered in November 1863) is chiseled in five-inch letters, and where an interpreter read it in Amharic. Next, it was off to Capitol Hill, where the emperor met congressional leaders and addressed the U.S. Senate, expressing the hope of his nation that independence will come soon to those African people “who are still under the bonds of colonialism.” 10 Haile Selassie then gave a state luncheon in honor of President Kennedy at a country club in Rockville, Maryland. The president and his party traveled to and from the event in two helicopters from the South lawn of the White House. At the luncheon, gifts were exchanged. The emperor gave the president a handmade, filigreed silver centerpiece in the shape of a fluted bowl, a silver statue of a striding lion wearing a gold crown, an autographed portrait photograph, and two Bibles— one a priceless, 200-year old relic in Ge’ez, and the other, a beautifully bound and inscribed New Testament. Kennedy gave Haile Selassie a replica of the Washington-Bailey Sword, which General George Washington carried in battle during the Revolution; a Tiffany silver desk set; a 16-milimeter motion picture projector with gold plaque; and an inscribed photograph in a silver frame. The Lion of Judah at Camelot 117 At 3:15 p.m . the emperor was at Georgetown University, where an honorary degree of doctorate of humane letters was conferred upon HIM. At four o’clock, Haile Selassie arrived at the White House, where he had a final 45-minute meeting with the president. The two leaders again discussed current problems of the African continent. Kennedy repeatedly emphasized the warmth of American friendship for Ethiopia and also affirmed U.S. support for Ethiopia in her border dispute with Somalia. Washington’s position was that the United States also needed to supply arms to Somalia to prevent that nation from turning to communist powers for military aid. The Somalia issue was the only matter, officials said, that presented any problem during the conversation that was described as extremely friendly and smooth. The president promised to give careful consideration to Ethiopia’s request for loans and other economic assistance to help finance its five year plan, especially with the developments of the nation’s rivers. In response to an invitation to come to Ethiopia extended by Haile Selassie, the president “expressed his desire to arrange such a visit as soon as his schedule permitted.” 11 The meeting ended with the heads of state issuing a joint communiqué declaring that the still dependent territories of Africa had the right to freedom and independence. The emperor then went to the Shoreham Hotel, where he held a reception for the chiefs of diplomatic missions and friends of Ethiopia in Washington. He and his party stood in a receiving line and shook the hands of 1,126 guests. This was followed immediately by a reception in honor of HIM given officially by the Ethiopian ambassador. The guests were served scrumptious food and drink worthy of royalty. The next morning, readers of the Washington Post were treated to an editorial entitled “Lion of Judah” that praised Haile Selassie but added that “sentiment cannot blind the Emperor’s well-wishers to signs of inefficiency and ruthlessness in the country’s [Ethiopia’s] government. But nevertheless the balance is highly favorable, and few African nations have brighter prospects.” 12 The editorial concluded that HIM’s “gallant resistance (to the Italian Fascists) has earned him his prestige and the right to a respectful audience.” The emperor’s star still was bright, but some of the luster of a previous time had faded. The emperor’s breakneck schedule continued on the third day in Washington. At 10 o’clock in the morning, Acting Secretary of State George Ball met Haile Selassie at his guest house, and by 11:00, HIM was at the State Department’s West Auditorium for a press conference. The hall was largely filled with U.S. government employees, to swell the crowd to a size befitting royalty. The emperor talked about 118 The Lion of Judah in the New World the goals of Ethiopia’s five-year economic plan and his meetings at the White House. He characterized his discussions with the president as very cordial but expressed regret that he was not successful in his efforts to get President Kennedy’s full support in Ethiopia’s dispute with Somalia. Even as Haile Selassie was speaking heavy fighting was reported in the Ogaden. HIM was not satisfied with Kennedy’s explanation of why the United States was giving military aid to Somalia. With Assistant Secretary of State G. Mennen Williams at his side, the emperor said, the “validity” of the explanation “did not impress us very much.”13 Haile Selassie asserted that if Ethiopia did not receive military aid matching what Somalia had obtained, she too would be forced to turn to the East. Kennedy agreed only to take HIM’s request under consideration. The undisclosed U.S. strategy was to partially satisfy the emperor’s request as inexpensively as possible while assuring a stable, cohesive, and friendly government in Ethiopia. The audience applauded when the emperor took leave of the podium for the elevator to the John Quincy Adams Room, where Secretary of State Dean Rusk was the host of a state luncheon for 130 guests. The U.S. Army Band string ensemble serenaded the diners seated at a horseshoe table for another sumptuous meal provided by French caterers. After lunch, Rusk accompanied HIM to the Naval Observatory, where the emperor again received military honors and passed through a final receiving line of ambassadors and officials before boarding a helicopter. The herald trumpets blew a farewell fanfare as Haile Selassie ascended into the clouds on his way to Andrews Air Force Base and an awaiting plane to fly him to New York City, where his state visit continued. PRELUDE TO THE WASHINGTON VISIT While the Byzantine ritual and splendor enthralled the American public and stroked the egos of the Ethiopian visitors, events before and after the emperor’s state visit were to have an impact on American foreign policy. Much had happened since Haile Selassie had brought his brand of personal diplomacy to Washington in 1954. Although Ethiopian government spokesmen frequently complained that the United States was not providing adequate support, there had been a sharp increase in military and economic cooperation during the Eisenhower administration. Eisenhower had approved basically an arms-for-baserights agreement, and Ethiopia received most of the arms the emperor had requested and a military training mission. In addition, Ethiopia sought aid in the development of its economy, and political support The Lion of Judah at Camelot 119 for the incorporation of Eritrea, control over the Ogaden, and backing against any threats to its sovereignty. For its part, the United States had solidified its claim to Kagnew Station and access to a strategic locale on the rim of the Middle East. Other major goals of American foreign policy included keeping soviet and Egyptian influence out of the Horn of Africa and a pro-Western government empowered in Ethiopia. There had been a remarkable gain in goodwill toward Ethiopia by Americans as a result of HIM’s first state visit, and Haile Selassie had become a bona fide international celebrity. 14 At the time of Haile Selassie’s second state visit, what were U.S. attitudes toward Ethiopia, and who were the major actors bringing reality to policies? Ethiopia was still recovering from the unsuccessful coup of December 1960. Assistant Secretary Williams had visited Ethiopia early in 1961 and reported that the country had been deeply affected by the rebellion and would never be the same again. The events of 1960 had brought to the fore as never before challenges to the status quo from Ethiopians and lingering questions about the future of imperial rule. Haile Selassie seemed either unwilling or incapable of taking necessary steps to accelerate programs and make desired changes. 15 The attempted coup was followed by a period of deep personal sorrow— for the disconsolate Haile Selassie. His wife, Empress Menen, died in August 1961, and a little more than a year later, his son, Prince Sahle Selassie, also died. Arthur Richards, the U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia at the time, speculated that these deaths had made Haile Selassie “tired and depressed” and a lonely figure of a man. 16 As more African countries gained independence, the nonaligned movement gathered strength and there was growing anti-Americanism among nonaligned nations. Haile Selassie attended the 1961 nonaligned conference in Belgrade hosted by his friend Marshall Tito. There he took part in proceedings condemning nuclear testing and U.S. policy in Southeast Asia. Although he maintained close ties with America, the Emperor occasionally would publicly criticize the United States to demonstrate to the world his nonaligned bona fides. Haile Selassie remained perturbed by Somalia’s hostile activities on Ethiopia’s eastern borders. The emperor feared that Somalia, armed by the soviets and backed by the United Arab Republic, would follow the Italian example and invade his nation. The election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 brought to the office a president with a unique record on Africa. Kennedy had served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and became chair of the African Subcommittee. Early in his presidency, Kennedy recommended 120 The Lion of Judah in the New World “a strong Africa” as a goal of American policy. He lent rhetorical support to African nations, doubled their foreign aid, and sent Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in many of the sub-Saharan countries. According to Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the president “became, in effect, Secretary of the State for the Third World. Assistant Secretaries of State in charge of developing areas dealt as much with him as with the Secretary of State.” 17 Further, Kennedy “conducted his Third World campaign to an unprecedented degree through talks and correspondence with heads of state”—especially those of African nations (he liked one-on-one meetings). An important milestone in this campaign was the passage early in the Kennedy administration of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 that reconfigured the government’s development assistance activities and created the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the primary vehicle for foreign aid. Kennedy preferred using the term international security instead of international development. 18 Strengthening the security of the Free World was a phrase he liked. Said Kennedy, “We hope we can tie this whole concept of aid to the safety of the United States. This is the reason we give aid. The test is whether it will serve the United States. Aid is not a good word. Perhaps we can describe it better as ‘Mutual Assistance.’” 19 When the newly appointed ambassador of Ethiopia, Berhanu Dinke, presented his credentials to the president in August 1962, Kennedy talked about Ethiopian development and affirmed “our desire to be associated intimately with the peoples of Africa in your quest for those things which you desire for yourselves: peace, your continued development as free and independent nations, the opportunity to develop your institutions in your own way.” 20 To assist Ethiopia in attaining such goals, the first group of 244 Peace Corps Volunteers, the largest contingent sent to any country at that time, arrived in Addis Ababa in September 1962. They were greeted by the emperor, who thanked the volunteers for coming to “help drive out ignorance” from his country. 21 Meanwhile in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea that since the 1950s had been “an autonomous state federated with Ethiopia” was absorbed into Ethiopia as a province in 1962. This action, seen by some as a violation of a UN mandate, provoked strong international opposition—but not from the United States, which viewed Haile Selassie as a preferable landlord of Kagnew Station to other possibilities. 22 While the emperor gained Eritrean ports on the Red Sea, he encountered heavy seas in the U.S. Congress. Members of the House Appropriations subcommittee criticized foreign aid officials for giving Haile Selassie what some of them called a “royal yacht,” complete with air conditioning and The Lion of Judah at Camelot 121 gold-colored wallpaper in his stateroom. The ship, actually a converted U.S. seaplane tender, was to serve as the flagship of the Ethiopian Navy. The storm about the “floating palace” that had been given to Ethiopia as a “political consideration” soon blew over. 23 Two months later, the United States was at sea with weightier matters on its agenda: its naval blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis. At its conclusion, the emperor cabled Kennedy: “We commend the statesmanship and judgment which have averted the catastrophe in Cuba where only a few short days ago the future of humanity appeared to hang in the balance. We urge that the settlement of the Cuba problem be used as a point of departure for the resolution of other pressing problems which threaten the preservation of peace.” 24 In the early 1960s, Haile Selassie played a role in bringing about what many observers thought might brighten prospects for peace in Africa. The emperor enhanced his reputation as an elder statesman of the continent by his astute leadership in the creation of the OAU. He also had continued his role as a Cold War ally of the United States and as a supporter of United Nations collective security by maintaining a force of Ethiopian troops in the still unstable Congo. In October 1961, in Addis Ababa, HIM made a splendid gift of one of his palaces, the Guenete Leul, and its grounds to the people of Ethiopia for a newly founded Haile Selassie I University, the nation’s first university. USAID was to play a prominent role in the early success of the university. Another significant U.S. initiative was agreed to in January 1963: a $10 million, four-year project for the aerial photographing and mapping of the entire country. On the eve of Haile Selassie’s state visit in 1963, the U.S. country team in Addis Ababa analyzed the situation in Ethiopia and recommended possible U.S. actions to speed reforms. The Americans noted that “even without Kagnew, U.S. influence would be of great importance because of heavy public commitment U.S. has already made here.” 25 The size, population, and location give Ethiopia strategic importance. “For better or worse” the United States was “inescapably identified with Haile Selassie and the present regime.” The country team worried about the “repressive nature of present police state alienating increasing numbers of Ethiopians from all classes.” The analysis concluded: “We believe that regime is too aware of the tangible benefits which flow to Ethiopia as a result of Kagnew to attempt to secure its removal. They realize it accounts in large measure for generous military assistance programs and other evidences of U.S. favor, both past and anticipated.” 122 The Lion of Judah in the New World The State Department viewed the emperor’s visit as an opportunity for the United States to do honor to HIM as an important world figure. Indeed, at that time Haile Selassie was a more significant world leader than he had been during the previous decade. In meetings at the White House, Kennedy and the emperor could discuss major issues confronting the world and those of specific pertinence to relations between the two countries. Finally, State hoped that the personal relationship between leaders established during the visit would contribute to the success of whatever negotiations might subsequently ensue. 26 In the spring of 1963, Kennedy’s newly appointed ambassador to Ethiopia, Edward M. Korry, a former journalist and editor for Look magazine, arrived in Addis Ababa and was to be a significant presence in U.S. policy towards Ethiopia and Africa during the next four years. In a letter to the president, Korry described the positive impact Kennedy’s speeches on civil rights and the Cold War had on the emperor, who described them as “masterpieces.” Wrote Korry, “All these recent events made him that much more eager to meet you again (HIM says he met you in your Senatorial capacity in 1954).” 27 Korry was a proactive ambassador, and shortly after his arrival he began to entertain Ethiopians at the embassy in a manner never before seen. As he described it, he “threw ‘an enormous bash’ which produced the highest percentage turnout and the greatest number in absolute terms of invited Ethiopians in the history of our [U.S.] presence here—some 300 of the best minds in the country.” But the new ambassador soon encountered problems in U.S.Ethiopian relations from the perspective of frustrated officials of the Imperial Ethiopian Government. They informed Korry that the emperor was only going through with the state visit to the United States “because it was too late to back out.” 28 The IEG was convinced that “nothing would come out of it.” For Korry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rehearsed the accomplishments of the IEG that had provided the U.S. government with vital military facilities, refrained from recognizing the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), steered clear of any close ties with the soviets, provided troops for the UN’s Korea and Congo operations, been a moderating influence in African affairs, and been responsible for the best possible OAU charter at the summit, “for whose success it also was largely responsible.” By comparison, pointed out the IEG spokesman, Somalia had done none of those sterling deeds, but the United States was granting help to the new nation. By hearing the foreign ministry’s lament, Korry was introduced to the IEG’s now you-see it, now you don’t, one step forward, two steps back rhythm of The Lion of Judah at Camelot 123 policies for getting the maximum amount of dollars from the United States as rent for Kagnew Station. Always implied in these rhetorical exchanges was the subtle threat that if a substantial increase in grants of military assistance was not forthcoming, the Asmara facility would be in jeopardy. Such ploys frequently were used by the IEG to demand U.S. attention to its perceived needs just before an important importunate moment. Public criticism of the United States of this sort played well with some segments of Ethiopian society and also burnished Ethiopia’s nonaligned credentials. There were two essentially unquestioned central goals of Kennedy’s foreign policy: containing communism and preventing world war. 29 Kagnew, as one of four world-wide U.S. bases for future satellite communications in addition to regular military uses, played a role in both of these goals. Ethiopia made full use of this fact in negotiations for economic and military aid—even though the IEG remained solidly in the pro-Western camp. As part of a secret executive agreement in 1960, the U.S. Department of Defense and the IEG carried on negotiations to expand Kagnew by more than 800 acres, build enormous installations including larger antennae, and double the U.S. personnel on the base in anticipation of future space probes. In exchange, the United States was to give the IEG $2 million in military assistance over a five-year period. A new Kagnew Station lease finally was signed on July 29, 1963. Three weeks later in a meeting at the Dire Dawa Palace, the emperor subjected Korry to what the ambassador called the “lengthiest and bitterest criticism of U.S. policies in the Horn.” 30 In a 30-minute “excoriating of Korry,” Haile Selassie, “loaded for bear” but in a tone courteous and dignified, lambasted the United States for every perceived slight, shortcoming, or error committed against Ethiopia. Bewailed the emperor, “What had the Ethiopian people done to deserve such treatment at the hands of the U.S. Government? It fills our hearts with sorrow.” HIM said he intended to make a similar presentation to President Kennedy during his upcoming state visit. This exchange was followed by attempts by well-placed Ethiopians to cancel the emperor’s trip to the United States. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the state visit occurred as scheduled. Haile Selassie was persuaded that U.S. aid was the key to Ethiopia’s development efforts to affect substantial tangible improvement in his people’s well-being and thus bolster his prestige and undercut his critics. On September 29, HIM and his party were flown by presidential jet from Addis Ababa to Geneva. The next day they flew nonstop to 124 The Lion of Judah in the New World Philadelphia, where amid pomp and ceremony, Haile Selassie paid a late afternoon visit to Independence Hall. James H. J. Tate explained to HIM how the Liberty Bell got its crack. At City Hall, the mayor conferred honorary citizenship of the city upon the emperor. After an overnight stay at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in the City of Brotherly Love, the royal party left by train for the U.S. capital. They were escorted on their eight-day trip to the United States by Ambassador Korry. A TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO NEW YORK CITY Having concluded his business with the U.S. government, HIM continued his state visit with the international community and the American public. Accompanied by Secretary of State Rusk, the royal party arrived at New York’s LaGuardia Airport at 4:45 p.m. on October 3. There the emperor was greeted by Mayor Robert Wagner, Adlai Stevenson, the chief U.S. delegate to the UN, and 50 members of foreign delegations to the UN. That evening, Mayor Wagner was the host at a reception in honor of HIM at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. 31 At noon on the next day, Haile Selassie joined a very select group of people—those who have been honored two or more times with New York City’s traditional welcome—a ticker-tape parade up Broadway. An enthusiastic crowd of onlookers, about 10 deep, cheered the short, black-clad figure who got out of his limousine to walk the last five blocks of the hero’s mile from the Battery Park to City Hall. He was greeted in Amharic by some Ethiopians shouting, “May he live long for our glory.” They were rewarded with a wide smile by HIM. The emperor “worked the crowd” and veered to the curb to shake hands and to exchange personal greeting with admiring spectators. He was even accosted by a woman seeking his autograph. U.S. protocol officers and New York police officials described the city’s welcome as the warmest since President Kennedy’s first visit after his inauguration. 32 At the conclusion of the eventful, confetti-strewn procession, Haile Selassie was greeted by Mayor and Mrs. Wagner at City Hall. The emperor, dressed in a dark double-breasted business suit, and the image of royal dignity, recalled his 1954 visit and parade and his receiving the city’s Medal of Honor. He added, “We hope our second visit helps to strengthen the already good relations between Ethiopia and the United States.” 33 Haile Selassie then was driven to the United Nations, where he was guest of honor at a formal luncheon for 60, hosted by Secretary General U Thant. The emperor deposited with the secretary general the charter The Lion of Judah at Camelot 125 of the OAU signed by the heads of 32 African states at the Addis Ababa conference earlier in May. At 3:00, HIM addressed a jam-packed attentive general assembly session. A hushed silence hung on his measured phrases. He recalled a day 27 years earlier when he made a vain appeal to the League of Nations to help his country against aggression. In his remarks, the emperor referred to the League as the UN’s “discredited predecessor.” 34 Haile Selassie said, “History testifies to the accuracy of the warning that I gave in 1936.” He had words of praise for the organization that succeeded the League. The UN’s action in Asia, in the Congo, and in Suez “has thus far proved an effective safeguard against unchecked aggression and unrestricted violation of human rights.” The monarch stated proudly: “The UN is perhaps the last hope for world survival.” Speaking at a time when the Civil Rights Movement was struggling to end de jure segregation in the United States, the emperor said, “There is no one who is not sad about the current racial conflict in the United States.” But he found consolation in the efforts of the Kennedy administration to find a just solution. The emperor concluded, “It is the sacred duty of the UN to win real equality for all men everywhere.” When he finished his 35-minute speech, the audience rose as one and gave HIM a standing ovation. It was the general assembly as theater, and gripping, even if the outcome, like much of theater, was understood all along. It was in its way historic compensation for Haile Selassie, now so widely hailed and so deferentially received. At that moment, his appeal to the League of Nations that had seemed so fruitless was in vain no longer. The emperor’s address to the UN was the highlight of his New York stay. He also enjoyed meeting General Omar Bradley and having power luncheons and dinners with Mayor Wagner and the Sulzbergers of theNew York Times and a mining executive aboard his 190-foot long yacht in New York Harbor. HIM received 100 Ethiopian students in his suite at the Plaza Hotel and later in the day went to the RCA Building to make a videotape for a Sunday broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press radio-television show. He wore a military uniform and spoke in Amharic with a member of his cabinet, Dr. Menassie Haile, translating for him. The emperor forcefully said “the UN should seek to solve the problem of colonialism. If all other methods fail, the African states will have to consider the use of force against the remnants of colonialism on the continent.” 35 He still believed in the efficacy of collective security. The royal party had planned to fly to Florida and tour the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, but a hurricane caused the tour to be cancelled and Haile Selassie to prolong his stay in New York City. 36126 The Lion of Judah in the New World During that interval, HIM spent four hours in a routine checkup at the Harkness Pavilion of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The emperor’s state visit to the United States ended on October 7 with Haile Selassie saying some extremely complimentary things about America at Idlewild Airport. He said his talks with President Kennedy had strengthened the existing cordial relations between Ethiopia and the United States. Then he flew on a Canadian Department of Transport plane to Ottawa, where he began a three day state visit. CANADA REDUX The royal party was met at the Ottawa airport by Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Governor General Vanier, and two 13-year old Ethiopian “Michaels”—Prince Michael Makonnen, the emperor’s grandson and Lij Michael Mengesha, HIM’s great grandson. In a private talk with the prime minister at Government House, the emperor discussed the possibility of Canada providing assistance to Ethiopia in farm and technological matters, especially in livestock production and maintenance. Escorted by the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), HIM was given a special performance of one of Canada’s most celebrated pageants, the RCMP Musical Ride. Afterwards, in brilliant autumn sunshine, he took a tour of the stables of the RCMP Rockcliffe Barracks and talked about one of his favorite subjects, horses, with the ride’s commander. In a field marshal’s uniform, Haile Selassie inspected troops of the Second Battalion of the Canadian Guard, who were dressed in full-dress red uniforms, complete with tall bearskin hats, at the War Memorial, the granite cenotaph in Confederation Square. He laid a wreath in honor of Canada’s war dead at the foot of the memorial. The emperor also visited Ashbury College, where his young relatives were students. 37 On the morning of October 9, Haile Selassie left on a Royal Canadian Air Force plane for Bermuda, where he later continued his world tour that would take him to West Africa. RESULTS OF THE SECOND STATE VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES The emperor’s second state visit to the United States was again a resounding public relations triumph. The monarch’s Q rating—how well people are known—was astronomical. Still a commanding figure, slight of stature, whose beard was flecked with gray, Haile Selassie The Lion of Judah at Camelot 127 won over the American public with just the right combination of exotic royal spectacle and dignity. He was an iconic personality—that is, anybody who is celebrated. And celebrated he was! At a time when there was no Internet, no satellite communications, no CNN, no network television news, much less Twitter or iPods—no way of knowing quickly or reliably what was going on 7,000 miles away, the emperor seemed to stand tall for ideas then deemed virtuous in the United States. His Christian genteelism, reliability as a Cold War ally, service as a moderating voice in the councils of African nations and among the nonaligned countries, and staunch support of the United Nations and the concept of collective security played well in the provinces and on the sidewalks bedecked in fluttering flags and royal crests in America’s political and cultural capitals. Whenever he appeared in public there was still a critical mass of spectators, whose graying heads testified to memories of 1935, to lead successive waves of applause. The emperor basked in the admiration, and having learned from his first state visit, played up every opportunity to enhance his celebrity—especially with the photogenic Kennedys. Upon his return to Ethiopia in October, HIM played a mediating role in settling a dispute between Algeria and Morocco—an action appreciated by the United States that sought order in the Maghreb. More troubling to Americans was the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from the UN force in the Congo on November 20. Haile Selassie ordered two battalions home because the troops were urgently needed in view of Somalia’s decision to accept a soviet offer of $30 million in military assistance. 38 The United States immediately terminated its halfmillion dollar military aid program to Somalia but stayed in that country with limited economic assistance and a Peace Corps program. Three months later, when Somali forces attacked Ethiopia and Kenya to create Greater Somalia, HIM might have said “I told you so” while repulsing the invaders. Although Ambassador Korry had admonished the president that “trying to out-Byzantine” the emperor “would be futile and counterproductive” and that Kennedy therefore should “spell out details of the U.S. program and justification from the start,” 39 Washington tried to outsmart HIM by providing a few of the IEG’s requested items but holding back on others by insisting that first a survey team should be sent to Ethiopia to determine what was really needed. The United States shied away from the emperor’s new military requests, believing that economic and governmental reform and a better-trained military were more pressing needs. 128 The Lion of Judah in the New World After reviewing the survey team’s findings, the United States offered to give the Ethiopian Army additional training but no more equipment. The emperor had requested $20 million in military assistance, but the United States only agreed to give $2 million over a five-year period. More significant in terms of military hardware was the agreement for the Americans to send a squadron of twelve F-5 jet fighters for delivery in 1966. By that action, Ethiopia became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the few third-world countries to receive supersonic jet fighters. For its part, the United States expanded Kagnew with the Stonehouse project, which added in 1964 huge parabolic antennas (12 to 15 stories high) to intercept soviet space transmissions and to aid in development of U.S. ballistic missiles. 40 Did the personal diplomacy between the heads of state of Ethiopia and the United States pay off? If friendship on the international political scene is a pay off, then the answer is yes. The emperor returned to Addis Ababa a closer friend of the president and of the United States than before he arrived. Throughout the rest of his reign, he remained a staunch ally of America, a rarity in sub-Saharan Africa during the Cold War. From another perspective, the end result of the short-lived Haile Selassie–Kennedy diplomacy was that both sides got what they wanted: the Ethiopians the military hardware they desired—although not as costly or as modern as they had sought—and the United States expanded facilities at Kagnew Station and the maintenance of a strong presence in Ethiopia in the face of spreading soviet and Chinese activities in the region. The emperor later confided in Dr. Minassie Haile, chief of the political section of HIM’s private cabinet, who translated for Haile Selassie during the 1963 state visit, that he liked Kennedy the best of the American presidents. 41 JFK treated HIM as a respected elder and courteously introduced him to the White House secretaries and other ladies on the staff. The president also made informal promises to the emperor that he was sure would be kept. As the end of 1963 approached, Ambassador Korry prepared a trenchant policy paper for the State Department reviewing the accomplishments of U.S. programs in Ethiopia. The ambassador found that the United States had an “overwhelmingly predominant presence in military, transportation, communications, public health, and educational fields,” and the new elite of the country owed “their status to education in U.S. institutions.” 42 Where else in Africa, asked Korry, has the United States such an invitation to extend its influence and such a base on which to build its hopes? “Where else do we have opportunity The Lion of Judah at Camelot 129 for influence in all key sectors?” Where else in the underdeveloped world do we find responsiveness to the demand of U.S. foreign policy in the form of actions in Korea and the Congo, in the formulation of all-African institutions and attitudes, and in the commitment to a U.S. military installation? Korry concluded by saying it was essential for the United States to commit additional resources at specific places and times to help induce change and help assure Haile Selassie’s plan for a peaceful transition to a constitutional monarchy. There was New Frontier optimism in the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia at the end of the Kennedy administration, although the State Department never gave answers to Korry’s cogent queries. Who knows what further political outcomes might have resulted from the Haile Selassie-Kennedy friendship and the possible visit of the President to Ethiopia? Would the private communication and candor preferred by Kennedy have paid off to the mutual benefit of both nations in additional ways? The questions remain academic. The personal ties between the leaders were ended by the assassination of the President in Dallas only a few weeks after Haile Selassie’s visit and three days after the Emperor withdrew his troops from the Congo.

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/6/2013 11:59:34 PM

CHAPTER 11 He Shall Have a Noble Memory: The Kennedy Funeral

The two splendidly uniformed heads of state walked out of the White House where they had been conversing in French and took their places in the orderly rows of foreign leaders. The tall, slender President of France, Charles de Gaulle, dwarfed the diminutive but impressive figure of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. They were among a mighty gathering of chiefs of state, heads of government, and other representatives of foreign governments, 220 in all, who had come to Washington, DC, to pay their last respects to the slain American president, John F. Kennedy. They had been invited to join Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and the new U.S. president, Lyndon B. Johnson in the procession of the state funeral on November 25, 1963. At 11:40 a.m., the visiting dignitaries, the choice and master spirits of that age, joined the cortege behind the Kennedy family and the president and began the eight-block walk to Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, where the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cardinal Cushing, would celebrate the pontifical requiem low mass that had been requested by Mrs. Kennedy. There was virtually no conversation among the world’s leaders as they walked in a loose crowd up Connecticut Avenue to the cathedral. The State Department’s protocol office had arranged no special lineup for this walk, leaving it informal, and soon the orderly rows of rulers broke apart into a formless mass. Haile Selassie, dressed in the most colorful, most decorated garb, was easy to spot in his black uniform set off by brilliant green and gold trim, by colorful medals and He Shall Have a Noble Memory 131 by a black and red hat and sword belt. He walked between the militarily attired King Baudouin of Belgium and President Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines. As they moved forward, nine pipers from the Black Watch of the Royal Highlanders Regiment played “The Brown Haired Maiden,” “The Barren Rocks of Aden,” and other slow march elegiac tunes. Approximately one million people lined the route of the funeral procession, which had begun that morning at the Capitol before going to the White House, then to Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, and finally, after the mass, to Arlington National Cemetery. Millions more across America watched the funeral on television. International celebrities such as Haile Selassie and de Gaulle who had drawn huge crowds in their state visits to the United States were now being seen by far more Americans than ever before. For one brief day, they had been a part of the grandest assembly of world statesmen ever gathered in Washington, DC. Their presence added color and splendor to the funeral, but it also created the greatest security and protocol problems ever encountered in the capital. Because the 19 heads of state and government and members of royal families from 92 countries, five international agencies, and the papacy were not official guests, they were responsible for their own lodging and arrangements. Most stayed at their own embassies. Mourners watched as the procession passed: the coffin of the late president, draped with the Stars and Stripes on a gun carriage drawn by six grey horses; a caparisoned horse; the Kennedy family led by Kennedy’s widow and his two brothers, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy; President and Mrs. Johnson; a black limousine carrying the Kennedy children, Caroline, and John Jr.; and finally, the foreign delegations. Former presidents Truman and Eisenhower already were in the church when the cortege arrived. Seated near the emperor at the requiem mass were Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the Duke of Edinburgh representing Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Irish President Éamon de Valera, and Japanese Premier Hayato Ikeda. At the funeral, Rose Kennedy, the president’s mother, turned to Haile Selassie and said: “It’s wrong for parents to bury their children. It should be the other way around.” 1 After the mass, the casket of the late president was borne again by caisson on the final leg of the procession to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Virtually everyone else followed the caisson in a long line of 107 black limousines, passing by the Lincoln Memorial and crossing the Potomac River. Protocol officials had established some 132 The Lion of Judah in the New World formal precedence for the trip, and the visiting dignitaries were assigned places in an alphabetical listing of their nations. Accordingly, the first was Belgium’s King Baudouin, immediately behind President Johnson. Then followed the cars of Haile Selassie, de Gaulle, President Heinrich Lübke of West Germany, and others in alphabetical order. 2 At Arlington, the emperor stood next to de Gaulle at the head of the grave during the ceremony. The two uniformed leaders saluted while a 21-gun salute boomed, followed by the Third Infantry firing party delivering three volleys, and the bugler sounding taps. After the ceremony at Arlington, the foreign visitors went to the White House to pay their respects to Mrs. Kennedy and, later, to the State Department, where President Johnson greeted them individually at a reception. 3 * * * Upon hearing news of Kennedy’s assassination, Haile Selassie had addressed his nation on the radio, saying, “Let each Ethiopian today pause for a moment in his daily tasks and lament the passing of this man, a good friend to Ethiopia, who understood our problems, who sympathized with us in our struggle and who shared our dearest desires and hopes for the future.” 4 All government and private offices were closed, and flags flew at half mast. Memorial services were held in a number of churches in the capital and in the provinces. The largest memorial mass was at Trinity Cathedral and was attended by Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, members of the royal family, ministers of the crown, the diplomatic community, and distinguished Ethiopians. Hundreds of people went to the United States Information Service’s Library to get news reports. Portraits of Kennedy were ubiquitous throughout the country—including many in very humble homes. Long queues waited at the American Embassy to sign a special register. Several men present, including Acting Foreign Minister Ketema Yifru, shed tears, saying in Amharic, “He was a good man.” Similar scenes were played out throughout the continent. Thirty-two independent African states paid last respects to the young president. 5 The U.S. government had not encouraged mass visitation from abroad for the funeral. Foreign governments had been notified that the presence of their regular envoys stationed in Washington would be sufficient. So many world leaders wanted to attend, however, that the State Department relented and sent out formal invitations. Before that decision had been made, Haile Selassie already was flying in a special Ethiopian Airlines plane directly to Washington. The emperor said he He Shall Have a Noble Memory 133 felt honor-bound to attend the funeral of Kennedy because he had had a very pleasant visit with him only weeks before. He was accompanied by Ras Andargatchew Massai, the emperor’s son-in-law; HIM’s grandson Commander Iskander Desta; Teferra-Work Kidane-Wold, scholar and private secretary to the emperor; Lij Kassa Wolde-Mariam, president of Haile Selassie I University; Brigadier General Assefa Demissie, and U.S. Ambassador Korry. Their plane was met at Dulles International Airport by Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Security was tight at Dulles, with newsmen being kept 15 feet away from arriving dignitaries by rope barriers. The memory of Jack Ruby’s killing of Lee Harvey Oswald was still vivid in the minds of U.S. officials. Ruby had been standing in a crowd of newspaper reporters just before he fired. 6 A small contingent of Ethiopians welcomed the emperor at the airport. One of them, Attorney General Teshome Gabre-Mariam Bokan, remembers the emperor ruefully saying, “Only two months ago We were together in this city. Now he is no more. We put all our hopes on him as the guardian of international peace. Now he is fallen. We [the royal “We,” referring to “I,” i.e., HIM] had to attend his funeral.” When the emperor went to the White House on the next day, Monday, to await his participation in the funeral procession, he had a reunion with Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who had been in charge of making arrangements for JFK’s funeral. As director of the Peace Corps, Shriver had visited Haile Selassie at Jubilee Palace in Addis Ababa. Surrounded by many other heads of state, the emperor “remarked to all those within hearing that Ethiopia had no need to build a physical monument to the memory of Kennedy; the American president would always be remembered through the work of the Peace Corps in East Africa. This set off a torrent of praise for the Peace Corps, as each leader of a country hosting Peace Corps Volunteers strove to outdo the last in his effusiveness for the program.” 7 At the requiem mass at the cathedral, Haile Selassie had seen Chief Justice Earl Warren who had been his guest in Addis Ababa earlier in the year. The emperor sponsored a major address, “Equal Justice Under the Law,” by the Chief Justice that Ambassador Korry said was “considered the major intellectual event of the year if not of the decade” in Ethiopia. 8 On the day Haile Selassie had arrived for the funeral, Warren had given a memorable eulogy in the Capitol Rotunda, expressing the feelings of many mourners present: “John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a great and good President, the friend of all people of good will, a believer in the dignity and equality of all human beings, a fighter for justice, an apostle of peace, has been snatched from our midst by 134 The Lion of Judah in the New World the bullet of an assassin. Our Nation is bereaved. The whole world is poorer because of his loss.” 9 During a break in the funeral events, Haile Selassie had met for half an hour with Anastas Mikoyan, soviet ambassador to the United States, about his country’s supplying Somalia with military arms. Mikoyan replied with “honeyed words,” saying that press reports of soviet arms programs were exaggerated. The soviets tried to convince the emperor that the IEG should not take precipitous action vis-à-vis the USSR, such as canceling a planned soviet oil refinery in Ethiopia. 10 * * * Mrs. Kennedy received the foreign dignitaries at White House after the funeral. The somber spirit of the day still held them in silence. Haile Selassie, de Gaulle, and de Valera, Ireland’s president, were the only heads of state who met privately with Mrs. Kennedy in the family quarters in the Yellow Oval Room before she mingled with other foreign guests. 11 That evening at the State Department, President Johnson held a reception for the visiting rulers, an unusual event viewed as an expression of gratitude by the U.S. government for the spontaneous outpouring of sympathy over Mr. Kennedy’s death from all parts of the world.12 The foreign dignitaries had spent a quiet, ceremonious day, but when they arrived at Foggy Bottom, they were again their usual voluble selves. They were once more representatives of a world suddenly looking forward and making a final salute to Kennedy and getting a close look at the new president in his new role. 13 President Johnson stood before a fireplace in the ornate, candlelit reception room of the State Department overlooking the Capitol, the Potomac, and Arlington Cemetery. The president began to practice his own brand of personal diplomacy by standing for more than an hour in the eighth-floor reception hall to greet the visiting personages. He shook the hands of more than 200 members of royal families, presidents, chancellors, premiers, foreign ministers, legislators, and representatives of the UN and other international organizations. In demonstrating the warmth of his personality, Johnson used a firm handclasp held until condolences and wishes had been expressed. For special friends he used the “super sincere handshake—a normal clasp with the right hand, reinforced with a semi-embrace of the subject’s elbow or upper arm with the left hand.” 14 Johnson had met Haile Selassie briefly during HIM’s earlier visits to Washington, and when the emperor came through the receiving line he received not only the He Shall Have a Noble Memory 135 prolonged handshake but also the covering clasp of the left hand, held through longer remarks and usually broader smiles. The Voice of Ethiopia reported that LBJ pumped the emperor’s hand 20 times. 15 The president mingled with his guests after leaving the receiving line and then retired to a side room for brief conversations with the delegations of several countries. By that time, some of the foreign visitors had broken into small groups for the first time to assess the American scene and their new problems. A roaming photographer took a shot of LBJ, de Gaulle, and Haile Selassie sitting with their heads huddled together. What a collection of political acumen was crowded into that photograph. The new president was besieged with requests for formal audiences by visiting heads of state. Only a few were chosen to meet with LBJ in a tightly scheduled day of audiences on the following day, Tuesday. The next morning at nine, Haile Selassie was the first foreign dignitary to confer with the president at the White House. For half an hour the two discussed relations between their nations. 16 Johnson told the emperor that he wanted to look to HIM, as Kennedy had done, for advice and counsel because of the monarch’s many years of experience. Haile Selassie had suggested to Kennedy that they address one another not as an emperor to a president but rather as two friends holding frank and open discussion. According to the emperor, Kennedy had acceded to this request and had always spoken frankly with HIM. Indeed, Haile Selassie signed his later letters to Kennedy as, “Your good friend.” Johnson responded, “We’ll speak to him as frankly as he has to us.” 17 The emperor then asked the president if U.S. policy toward Ethiopia would remain the same. Johnson’s affirmative answer was interpreted by Haile Selassie (unfortunately, according to the State Department) to mean the United States will respond positively at least in part to the IEG’s requests. A short time later, Johnson sent the emperor an autographed photograph of the two of them together with the inscription, “I hope for the benefit of your counsel and for the continued cooperation of our two countries.” 18 Haile Selassie was the only African leader to make the gracious and expensive gesture of flying to Washington for Kennedy’s funeral. By playing an impressive role in the greatest assembly of mourners since the funeral of King Edward VII in London in 1913, the emperor showed the IEG’s appreciation of U.S. policies, programs, and purposes in Ethiopia. The little king who took pride in his friendship with American presidents did his part in assuring that John F. Kennedy would have a noble memory. But would Ethiopia retain its status as “the most favored among African states” under the LBJ administration?

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/7/2013 12:02:20 AM

CHAPTER 12 The Winter of Discontent: The Third State Visit, 1967

And each man shares The strength derived from head held high . . . As holds his head, the King of Kings . . . Our symbol of a dream That will not die. —Emperor Haile Selassie on Liberation Day, May 5, 1966, reading from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes1 A little before eight o’clock, the motorcade of black limousines pulled up to the North Portico entrance of the White House after making the ridiculously short journey from Blair House, the official state guest house of the president, just across Pennsylvania Avenue. On a blustery, cold February evening, the automobiles went through the White House gates, where 12 herald trumpets greeted them with a rousing fanfare. Two Marine musicians played a drum roll as Emperor Haile Selassie, attired in a black, double-breasted tuxedo, stepped out of the lead limousine accompanied by his granddaughter, Princess Ruth Desta. They were warmly greeted by President Lyndon Johnson and Mrs. Johnson, who walked down the front steps through the glaring lights of the photographers and into the icy weather to usher them into the warmth of the mansion. Johnson, standing six-feet, three-inches tall, towered over the little king, although Mrs. Johnson was only two inches taller than HIM. The other limousines carrying the emperor’s official entourage of distinguished Ethiopians followed close behind; among them, Commander Iskender Desta, HIM’s grandson; Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ketema Yifru (one of a very few IEG officials known The Winter of Discontent 137 to talk back to HIM and get away with it); and the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States Tashoma Haile Mariam (described by the State Department as “intelligent, discreet, confident, well-trained”), and their State Department handlers (including Korry and Symington) and security officers. President Johnson was hosting a black-tie dinner in honor of the emperor on his third state visit to the United States. The president and first lady escorted the royal guests upstairs to the Yellow Oval Room for an intimate gathering and presentation of gifts (the part of the evening Mrs. Johnson “liked best”). 2 A small number of guests, among them Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Acting Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach, were already there enjoying cocktails when the heads of state arrived. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who knew the emperor better than any of the other officials present, was the first to greet HIM. The president and the emperor sat on a couch and engaged in lively conversation before making a formal exchange of gifts. To commemorate his visit, Johnson gave Haile Selassie a portable pocket dictating machine, IBM’s latest (to the delight of HIM, who adored electronics and took great interest in things practical); a set of surgical implements, including a bronchoscope, which allowed direct examination of areas of the lungs that are not accessible with stethoscopes or seen on X-rays, in a chest with a gold plaque to be given to Princess Tsehai Hospital in Ethiopia, named after the emperor’s daughter, who died in 1942; a sterling silver tray with edging in vermeil bearing the presidential seal and an engraved inscription from President and Mrs. Johnson (her only gift to HIM); leather-bound books, The Living White House and Washington: Magnificent Capital ; a book box in vermeil with the seals of the emperor and the president engraved on top; and an autographed photograph in a vermeil frame. Mrs. Johnson confessed that she was sometimes “vaguely unhappy that our gifts seem less imaginative and less meaningful than the gifts that foreign monarchs make to us.” 3 This was one of those times, for Haile Selassie presented LBJ with a silver box, a set of cufflinks, and tie pin and gave Lady Bird Johnson and her daughters jewelry boxes, traditional Ethiopian dresses, and sets of gold jewelry. By the time of the emperor’s visit, Lady Bird was accustomed to entertaining royalty in the Executive Mansion and had personally endured alleged faux peerage jibes by the nobility-conscious in Europe who inquired about “Lady who?” 4 She, along with Ethiopian poet laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, who, to the English ear, was “Sir Guy Gabre-Medhin,” were peerless in confusing the class-conscious British 138 The Lion of Judah in the New World wags of their day. Mrs. Johnson had met Haile Selassie at the White House state dinner in 1963, and she would renew the acquaintanceship by sitting next to the emperor at dinner. Following the presentation of gifts came what Lady Bird Johnson described as “the always thrilling removal of the colors, the forming of the line, and the marching downstairs,” “down the rather terrifying staircase,” to the sound of four ruffles and flourishes followed by Hail to the Chief5 echoing throughout the White House. This stately salute accompanied the president and the emperor as they led the procession of dignitaries down the Grand Staircase. The party stopped for photographs at the bottom of the stairs before standing in line in the East Room, where approximately 150 guests, a cascade of Washington society converging on the White House, filed by to shake hands. The president introduced the guests—Supreme Court justices, cabinet members, congressional couples, and big donors to Johnson’s Democratic Party—to Haile Selassie. The emperor with mournful eyes and tremendous dignity grasped the bejeweled and manicured hands of a variety of Americans bearing greetings to emperor and king. The heads of state then walked down the Cross Hall to the State Dining Room, where a Marine string ensemble, wearing red jackets with light blue trousers, awaited them. While the guests were being seated, the 22-piece string ensemble played and the music reverberating in the White House created an irresistible holiday mood. During the banquet of European splendor, the dress-blue-uniformed U.S. Air Force Strolling Strings came with the salad course and played on either side of the head table. In front of a huge fireplace and beneath a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, President Johnson leaned on his right elbow to talk to Vice President Humphrey over Princess Ruth, who was seated between them. The president called over his shoulder to Charles “Steve” Gillispie, a Peace Corps executive on loan as a translator for the evening, who was standing immediately behind him throughout the dinner. Said LBJ, “I want you to translate every word of my speech for the emperor. Every word .” 6 Fortunately for Gillispie, Ambassador Korry heard the president’s command and alerted Dr. Minassie Haile, the emperor’s primary translator for important events, who quietly provided HIM with a running translation during LBJ’s remarks. Johnson toasted the emperor, saying, “With God’s help, we have always stood proud and free upon our native mountains.” 7 LBJ said how pleased he was to “exchange views on international affairs with one whom I consider to be one of the world’s greatest elder statesmen.” The Winter of Discontent 139 The president drew subtle parallels between the fascist aggression that Ethiopia had survived and that faced in the 1960s by South Vietnam. He recited Haile Selassie’s words to the League of Nations and added, “We all know, to our shame, the reply your majesty received.” Johnson concluded, “It is my genuine and most earnest hope that succeeding generations of our peoples will continue to reinforce the solid edifice of American-Ethiopian amity and understanding.” In reply, Haile Selassie said, “We take this opportune moment, Mr. President, to express our deep gratitude for the numerous forms of assistance which Ethiopia has benefited from your Government, be it in the form of technical knowledge or in human resources in all walks of our country’s endeavor for national development.” 8 After coffee and liqueurs, the party went to the East Room, where Lady Bird always introduced the after-dinner program with grace and a touch of humor. 9 Performing for the first time at the White House that night were Metropolitan Opera stars, tenor Richard Tucker and soprano Nedda Casei. They sang songs very appropriate for Ethiopia: “Celeste Aida,” a special salute to one of Haile Selassie’s granddaughters, Princess Aida; “You’ll Never Walk Alone;” and the duet, “Make Believe.” 10 At the conclusion of the program, the president and first lady accompanied their guest of honor to the front porch to say good-bye. Johnson had considered having Haile Selassie at his ranch in Texas (which might have produced some interesting photo opportunities), but his schedule was such that he chose to play host to the emperor in Washington, where the president again performed with meticulous correctness the duties of a head of state within the confines of protocol. Dr. Minassie, who was with the emperor on several of his state visits to the United States, recalls Haile Selassie’s not being beguiled with LBJ.11 Unlike other presidents, Johnson did not signal his recognition of HIM as a world leader—at least in the manner that the monarch thought appropriate. The emperor found LBJ to be absent minded (perhaps he was distracted at the time by the Vietnam War), and he resented the president’s interrupting him when he was speaking. In official correspondence, one would never sense a cacophony in their relationship. Whatever the personal chemistry of the two, Johnson ultimately satisfied Haile Selassie’s rapacity for military aid. * * * President Johnson brought some experience in Africa to bear on his foreign policy toward that continent. As vice president, he had gone 140 The Lion of Judah in the New World twice to Senegal and thought he had some perspective into “what life in an African village was like and what its problems were.” 12 As a senator, he had met leaders of African states and knew of their displeasure at being considered pawns in the Cold War games. He knew there was a need for “a coherent American policy to deal with the African continent, at least that portion south of the Sahara.” Foreign aid had been more plentiful during the Kennedy administration when there were fewer countries, and Johnson faced tighter budgets due to increased U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Thus, the president looked for new ways to be responsive to the challenges of development in Africa and to review aid programs with the aim of improving them. 13 A major problem was what to do with traditional bilateral programs. With 36 independent African states in existence and the number growing, and most of them requesting U.S. aid, how could the Johnson administration best meet its obligations during a time of tight budget restrictions? Advising Johnson in the State Department was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, G. Mennen Williams, a carryover from the Kennedy administration who opposed apartheid in South Africa and the still extant European colonial rule and who supported African unity. Mennen encouraged the president to correspond with African heads of state and to invite them to Washington to share ideas and plans for cooperation. During the LBJ administration, there were some 20 visits by African chiefs of state and heads of government, and the president’s skills at personal diplomacy with them was described as “damned good” by an assistant secretary of state. 14 Johnson set up an active program of taking Ambassadors on the presidential yacht down the Potomac, and the Africans were the first to go. The ambassadors also were invited to informal luncheons in the White House Fish Room hosted by the president’s staff, usually Walt Rostow or Ernie Goldstein, and occasionally Vice President Humphrey. Johnson would drop in during desert and spend 15 to 30 minutes with them. According to a state department observer, the president related quickly and well to the African diplomats. “He did everything he possibly could to give them a feeling that he was concerned.” 15 Ethiopian ambassadors Tashoma Haile-Mariam and his predecessor Berhanou Dinke were recipients of such special treatment. 16 Berhanou, who represented Ethiopia in Washington from 1961 until mid-1965 made headlines when he resigned to protest the oppression of HIM’s absolute monarchy and sought asylum in the United States. A Washington Post editorial on the resignation referred to Ethiopia as one of Africa’s most backward countries and criticized the IEG’s massive military expenditures. 17The Winter of Discontent 141 The president had laid out the principles and plans of his foreign policy in a major address at the Associated Press luncheon in New York City on April 20, 1964. At a time when U.S. involvement in Vietnam was escalating, Johnson cited military might as the bedrock of the administration’s policy. In a prophetic statement about what would be his attitude about Southeast Asia, he proclaimed, “Surrender anywhere would mean defeat everywhere.” 18 Resistance to communist expansion and the strengthening of allies, and encouragement of developing countries, while still pursing lasting peace would continue to be basic. The president mentioned certain areas of concern: (1) to build military strength of unmatched might; (2) to resist efforts by communists to extend their dominion and expand their power; (3) to revive the strength of allies, to oppose communist encroachment, and to protect the American future; (4) to aid the independence and progress of developing nations and to help them resist outside domination; (5) to pursue peace through agreements that would decrease danger without decreasing security. The language and thrust of Johnson’s principles were remarkably similar to those proclaimed by the State Department during the Kennedy administration. Citing a “Great Society” parallel, the president asserted that America could wage war against poverty in the new nations of Asia and Africa—as well as at home. In conclusion, Johnson said the United States could never again retreat from world responsibility and would have to get used to working for liberty abroad as well as at home. U.S. domestic politics during the height of the civil rights movement also were of concern to African leaders. In March 1965, Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress, announcing his signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had disenfranchised African Americans in several states. Johnson said passage of the act spoke “for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.” 19 A few weeks later, the president sent a letter to African heads of state, 39 in all, enclosing what he called “The American Promise,” a copy of the Act that was the “definitive statement of the policy of my Administration.” Johnson wrote that the Act also reflected “the determination of the American people to utilize all the resources at their command to achieve rapidly the goal of full and equal rights for all citizens.” This indeed was “The American Promise,” proclaimed the president. It is not just African Americans, “but it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.” 20 The speech was made on March 15, 1965, a week after deadly racial violence had occurred in Selma, Alabama, as African Americans were preparing to march to Montgomery to protest voting rights discrimination. 142 The Lion of Judah in the New World Likewise, LBJ’s inspiring June 4, 1965, commencement address at Howard University on race relations, “To Fulfill These Rights,” 21 had an impact in Africa because a defamatory book called The Invisible Government had been published a few months earlier and was being used in Africa against the United States. The book that was read by Ethiopian university students sensationalized “America’s intelligence and espionage apparatus with the CIA at its center that conducts the clandestine activities of the Government.” 22 Atlanta Journal editor Ralph McGill reported to the president that “among the questions most frequently asked” about the book by Africans, “are those about American civil rights, the CIA and the young people, American national politics, Vietnam, and foreign aid.” 23 Johnson’s eloquent statements in the Howard address; for example, “We seek . . . equality as a fact and equality as a result,” took some of the steam out of the affect of the supposed exposé. On May 26, 1966, President Johnson gave the first major speech by an American president on Africa since Eisenhower’s address to the UN in 1960. At a White House reception marking the third anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, the president spoke about “U.S. Africa Policy” to the ambassadors of 36 African member states and an audience of 300. The speech was given to demonstrate that the administration was capable of new foreign policy initiatives. Johnson took a firm stand in support of truly representative government and the termination of white racial rule in Africa, believing that such a stance would have a positive impact on African attitudes toward the United States. The president expressed sympathy for African efforts toward economic development and made several specific proposals for channeling aid into more useful fields: first, to strengthen the regional economic activities; second, to increase the number of trained Africans; and third, to develop effective communications systems for Africa. 24 Although Johnson did not offer an increase in aid, he indicated that the United States would increasingly channel assistance into regional and subregional economic groupings. The president expressed aspirational thoughts for the OAU: “Our dreams and our vision are of a time when men of all races will collaborate as members of the same community, working with one another because their security is inseparable, and also because it is right and because it is just . . . It is this deepening appreciation and respect for the diversity of the world— each man and nation in it—that increases the possibilities for peace and order.” 25 With the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 only recently enacted, the president probably had an African American The Winter of Discontent 143 audience in mind during his speech too. Johnson’s civil rights policies and diplomacy in Africa doubtlessly played a role in his reelection by a large margin in November 1966. Johnson also announced that a team of specialists headed by Ambassador Korry would prepare a major comprehensive report on U.S. development policy and programs in Africa. His study would examine needs for economic growth expressed by Africans, prospects of multilateral cooperation, application of regionalism and subregionalism to African development, and ways for the most efficient use of U.S. resources. Korry’s report was completed on August 8, 1966, but Johnson ordered it kept secret. 26 At the heart of the Korry report was the question of regionalism versus bilateral aid. The report contained 42 recommendations spread over 16 categories and included initial proposals in regional activities, communications, education, transport, power, and agriculture, and proposed ways in which policy and programs could be made more effective. Korry recommended that the United States concentrate aid on a few “development-emphasis countries” and lend support to the World Bank for external aid. In 1967–1968, USAID adopted a new policy that reduced its regular bilateral programs from 30 to 10 by phasing out existing programs and not undertaking new ones. 27 The 10 nations to retain bilateral programs were those where development prospects were best or where there was a special U.S. interest or relationship. Ethiopia was one of the 10 “development-emphasis countries” and one of five in the “special relationship” category. As soon as possible, USAID projects in other countries would be limited to support for regional institutions, regional projects, and multidonor projects. Also as soon as possible, the United States should consider transfer of funds to multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank, for their use in providing capital and technical assistance. The Korry report advocated a renewed and expanded emphasis on self-help by African nations. In a short time, Korry had reviewed an extremely complicated subject and had explained it in his usual trenchant and understandable English. Later, Johnson would praise the report as “the most comprehensive study of Africa and our role there ever compiled for a President.” 28 To implement the report, Johnson named a committee of experts in the State Department and USAID to work with White House representatives. A steering committee was formed with members from the United States, the UK, Italy, Belgium, and Canada to consider the plans. Interdepartmental and interagency rivalries and bureaucratic 144 The Lion of Judah in the New World turf battles kept the plan from ever reaching its full potential, but during the Johnson administration, the Korry report was a center of controversy and kept Africa foreign assistance as a focus of attention at a time when Vietnam was of central concern. As Johnson explained, “Economic and social development is a slow business, especially among nations in a very early stage of modernization.” 29 During his term as U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, Korry, a political appointee and outsider to career foreign service officers, received glowing official reviews of his work. National Security Council staff member Edward Hamilton, in a memo to Walt Rostow, said Korry had “thrown great intelligence, energy, and imagination into a job which has probably never before been filled by a man of his ability. He has managed a good relationship with the Emperor without becoming in any sense a captive. In short, he has done quite a job.” 30 Harry C. McPherson Jr., the president’s counsel and top speech writer, informed Johnson about an Inspector General’s report on Ethiopia, in which Korry and his embassy came out very well. Korry was described as “providing the Embassy with dynamic, imaginative, and purposeful leadership.” 31 The ambassador was well-informed and made his presence felt throughout the staff. He had “affected a substantial revaluation of the importance of Ethiopia to the U.S. and this, in turn, under his initiative, has led to a significant shift in U.S. policy toward the country. He has taken advantage of every opportunity to press his view.” The inspectors complained mildly of the embassy’s excessive use of cables. Korry put many ideas on the African desk in the State Department, and State had “its hands full trying to process them.” With the appearance of Korry in Addis Ababa, cable traffic flowing to Washington enjoyed a new birth of literacy and pungency. He was an intrepid watcher and an unsurpassed commentator. His writing was knowledgeable and gracefully expressed, thoroughly researched and full of uncontrolled zest for the subject. This was a welcome relief from lack-luster Foggy Bottom speak that permeated the telegrams from the embassy that preceded and followed Korry’s prodigious tenure in Ethiopia. While still in his first year in Addis Ababa, Korry put Ethiopia in perspective in the State Department in a memo to the secretary of state: “In past 7 years (since 1956) Ethiopia became first nation in modern times which succeeded changing its geography, moving from isolated Middle Eastern country of no particular consequence to committed African nation with considerable role in continental The Winter of Discontent 145 affairs. Ethiopia rapidly attaining aspiration of becoming fulcrum of Africa.”32 By 1964, a series of events had made Ethiopia, if not the fulcrum of Africa, at least more significant to American foreign policy. Ethiopia was increasingly openly nonaligned, and Haile Selassie again was waging a charm offensive on the communists by visiting the USSR and by extending a warm welcome to Premier Chou En-lai of the PRC in Addis Ababa. The soviets offered Haile Selassie anything he wanted if he would break off ties with the United States. While the possibility of defection by the feudal state was not likely, the threat of losing the investment in Kagnew gave the United States impetus to pay the rent in a timely way and more in keeping with the expectations of the landlord. It also inspired the U.S. Department of Defense to give thought to alternatives to the Kagnew technologies. In 1966, the Defense Satellite Communications System was launched and successfully used satellites to transmit reconnaissance photos and other data that held the promise of making land-based communications posts obsolete. Also in 1966, the United States signed a secret agreement with the UK to use the Indian Ocean coral atoll of Diego Garcia, 1,000 miles south of India, for joint defensive needs that might include those of a listening station. Kagnew was still prime real estate, but it was obvious that its valuation might be going down. Continuing disagreements between the United States and Ethiopia over the types of military arms being given and the speed of their delivery exacerbated frustrations on both sides. Squabbling until the heavens fall was the trademark of the Ethiopian-U.S. relationship about military assistance from its origins, and it would continue to plague diplomatic ties between the two nations. Korry was perturbed by an anti-American tone in the government-controlled Ethiopian press. The State Department began to ponder just how long-term American military assistance could be continued. And always in the background was concern about royal succession, should, God forbid, the emperor die. By this time, the Johnson administration’s policy was reminiscent of the Eisenhower-Dulles years. The United States was playing a stricter zero-sum game in assessing political trends and alignments. Washington was choosing sides forcefully in combating communist expansionism and insurgencies in the third world. The Kennedy strategy of preparing for United States disengagement from potential political hot spots came to be viewed as an unacceptable option under 146 The Lion of Judah in the New World LBJ. Threats to U.S. interests should be faced down, and Johnson believed that “U.S. political, economic, and military interests could be safeguarded by a better effort and greater investment of resources.” 33 There was no shortage of threats to American interests in the mid1960s in Africa. Mounting concerns about Africa resulted from the outbreak of the Biafran War in eastern Nigeria, the unilateral declaration of independence by Rhodesia, the growing threat of Eritrean dissidents, and the soviets’ providing sophisticated arms to Somalia, which were used against Ethiopian forces in combat. The two Horn nations fought over the Ogaden region in southeastern Ethiopia, dominated by ethnic Somalis and claimed by Somalia. Since independence in 1960, Somalia had rejected the border demarcation by colonial powers that gave the Ogaden to Ethiopia. In the ensuing struggle, the United States served as the proxy for Ethiopia, and the Soviet Union for Somalia. 34 The Ethiopian military blamed its lack of success against the Somalis on inadequate military aid from the United States, and the soviets, in becoming arms merchants in Somalia, had made their profound entrance into the Horn. In May 1966, the IEG got delivery of four of the muchanticipated F-5 jet fighters, but the number was smaller than foreseen and the schedule of future deliveries was vague. 35 The emperor had won a qualitative battle: Somalia’s Soviet MiG-17 combat fighters were thought to be of lesser quality. Early in 1967, the IEG Defense Ministry submitted a large request to the embassy for arms and training for the next five years. Included was a list of major equipment requirements totaling well over $150 million, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, antitank and anti-aircraft guns, C-130 Hercules aircraft, more F-5 jet fighters, and helicopters. The IEG justified the request on the basis of soviet military aid to Somalia and the Sudan and support from various sources to armed dissidents operating within Ethiopia in Eritrea, the Ogaden, Bale, and Sidamo. Korry tried to dissuade the Ethiopians from making such an impractical proposal while the United States was heavily involved in Vietnam and budgets were tight. The emperor, however, thought it a propitious time for HIM to practice his personal diplomacy in America and to again seek to raise the rent for Kagnew. 36 It was the threat of a saber-rattling Somalia that most influenced Haile Selassie to seek a meeting with President Johnson to request additional military arms. At the time of Haile Selassie’s February 1967 state The Winter of Discontent 147 visit, Johnson was preoccupied with the escalating war in Vietnam, and his administration was more susceptible to the argument that the communist bloc was actively advancing its interests worldwide and campaigning to dislodge the United States from the Horn of Africa. * * * The emperor had been a fair-weather friend of America during his first three visits to the New World, having been there during spring and summer and mild autumns, but he gamely faced Washington’s harsh chill when he arrived for his third state visit. Haile Selassie was in the United States as part of a 21 day tour that included the USSR, Turkey, and the Sudan in the itinerary. He arrived on February 13, 1967, at 4:30 in the afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base, where he was met by Vice President Humphrey and Ambassador Symington. They departed by helicopter for the President’s Park on the Ellipse and continued to the North Portico of the White House where President Johnson welcomed HIM. Full military honors were rendered the visiting head of state by an honor guard from all the armed services. The weather was bitter and windy, and the 74-year-old emperor looked cold even in his heavy double-breasted military overcoat. Welcoming ceremonies quickly were moved inside to the East Room for an exchange of brief remarks by the leaders. Johnson said Haile Selassie “believes men are closer than ever to achieving a better, more peaceful world.” 37 The emperor in response stressed friendship among nations as a worthy goal in Africa and all through the world. He added, “I believe that leaders must from time-to-time come together, face each other, and discuss problems they share in common. It is not enough that we deal through diplomatic channels.” The royal party then went to Blair House for the evening. A Washington Post editorial the next morning welcomed the emperor, because at the age of 74 he had “seen more history and held power longer than any other living Chief of State. Because relations between the United States and Ethiopia throughout his long rule have been both cordial and constructive, and remain so, the Emperor might be said to be this country’s oldest friend.” 38 The Post continued, “For all that may seem antiquated about his ancient monarchy, his rule in recent years has been increasingly progressive. His standing among younger, more volatile African leaders is astonishingly high.” The emperor still was esteemed in Washington as a wise friend on a troubled continent. 148 The Lion of Judah in the New World More cautionary was an editorial published in the Christian Science Monitor two days later. In Ethiopia, there is a risk, warned the Monitor, that the United States should not overlook. So long as Emperor Haile Selassie is on the throne, his peculiar and remarkable qualities will probably guarantee security and stability within his Empire. But it is an empire whose unity might be severely put to the test once Haile Selassie were no longer at the helm. And it would be unfortunate indeed if the United States, through too close a commitment, became involved in civil war in the Horn of Africa. 39 The Monitor concluded, “Such strife is something which Emperor Haile Selassie prays will never come. And so do we.” At 10:30, the hardy emperor walked through the chill with Ambassador Symington and party from Blair House to the White House without a top coat. He met with President Johnson to discuss shared concerns about the United Arab Republic and soviet advances in the Red Sea basin, and the soviet-sponsored Somali threat to Ethiopian security. Haile Selassie’s primary objective was to convince the president of the need for the United States to provide Ethiopia with more arms. 40 They talked for more than 90 minutes on world problems but not about more aid for Ethiopia. The leaders discussed economic development in Ethiopia and the country’s problems in education, health, and agriculture. They touched on Vietnam only in passing, Johnson mentioning it as a problem he faced. 41 The emperor described his talks with LBJ as “completely satisfactory.” 42 Haile Selassie was concerned with the build-up of soviet arms in Somalia and sought accelerated U.S. assistance in modernizing the Ethiopian armed forces. “We achieved a great measure of understanding,” he said. In preparation for the meeting, the State Department had sent the president a packet of information including a secret memorandum for the president from the undersecretary of state summarizing the foreign policy implications of the visit (e.g., the United States could not satisfy the emperor’s demands for more military assistance, but ”on the other hand, friendly relations with Ethiopia” were important to American interests in Africa) and suggesting talking points on questions for discussion with the emperor (e.g., “Topics the Emperor will raise: threats to the Red Sea Area and Ethiopia. I recommend that you say. . . . Topics you might raise: The danger of a continued arms race in the Horn of Africa . . .”); the emperor’s itinerary; “confidential” The Winter of Discontent 149 biographies of the 12-member official party in order of precedence, with personal descriptions in pithy language (e.g., “on occasion he becomes arrogant and ‘uppity’”; “his tastes run to American clothes and whiskey”), their titles and manner of address, and a guide to pronouncing their names; a copy of a confidential country fact sheet including information about governmental structure, natural resources, human resources, economic activity, defense forces, and Americans in Ethiopia; confidential “suggestions on approaching the Ethiopians and topics of conversation” (e.g., “Ethiopian court etiquette makes the Hapsburgs look breezy . . . Ethiopians are generally aware of what is going on in the United States and also follow with some interest developments in Vietnam, China, the Middle East and Europe;” “Subjects to be avoided, if possible . . . Somalia, controversial African issues, such as Rhodesia, South Africa”). After leaving the president, the emperor and the royal entourage drove to the Supreme Court, where the emperor would be the honoree at a rare luncheon for a visiting head of state in that stately temple of justice. His Imperial Majesty was met by Chief Justice Warren and escorted to the East Conference Room, where a reception was held. In hastening the royal party and getting as many as possible into the elevators, uniformed U.S. security guards apparently shoved people so tightly that the emperor’s black-and-red military hat was knocked askew—a misfortune doubtlessly galling to the ever-meticulous ruler. Although the incident was quickly passed over, some of the Ethiopians interpreted the zealous security arrangements and the actions of the guards as showing a lack of respect for the emperor and the royal party. 43 After the 45 guests had arrived, the party moved to the West Conference Room where lunch was served. Many of those invited were attorneys working in a variety of federal government positions and included “at least some of the important persons who [were] not going to the White House dinner” later that evening. 44 Among the eclectic roster of guests were Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; Senator Frank Lausche (D-OH); Congressman Ross Adair (R-IN), who later would serve as Ambassador to Ethiopia in the 1970s; former ambassador to Ethiopia Arthur L. Richards; an admiral and a general; a half dozen State Department officers; representatives of the Peace Corps, USAID, and USIA; and theWashington Post columnist Joseph Kraft. At the head table, Haile Selassie was flanked by the chief justice and Senator Frank Carlson (R-KS), who, on the next morning, hosted a prayer breakfast at the Capitol that the emperor attended. Warren was a charming host who, in his remarks, made 150 The Lion of Judah in the New World several comparisons of California to Ethiopia. He and the emperor competed with bragging rights about their homelands and urged the guests to visit them to see for themselves their natural beauty. In his toast, the chief justice said: When mention is made of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Americans today recall with pride and affection your many courageous and far-sighted actions which have contributed to the freedom of mankind. Yet, on this occasion as we are breaking bread at the Supreme Court of the U.S. where all Americans who come here pursue our national ideal of equal justice under law, I think it is more appropriate to salute Your Majesty for your contribution to Ethiopia’s legal system.” 45 Warren concluded with “a toast to Your Majesty—a great statesman, a valued friend, a wise law-giver.” After the luncheon the emperor attended a reception at Howard University during which he again was awarded an honorary degree by the university. The emperor returned to the White House office for a 4:30 meeting with Katzenbach and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. They talked for one-and-a-half hours about continuing military assistance. Haile Selassie again expressed his concern about soviet arms in Somalia and repeated his oft-repeated mantra that peace can be assured only by collective security measures. He spoke strongly in favor of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty and of the importance of multilateral and regional approaches to development problems. HIM asked the secretaries for a doubling of the Military Assistance Program and a new program of support for the IEG budget. Katzenbach reminded HIM that the United States already was supporting his nation’s budget through revenues from PL 480 shipments of cotton. He asked the emperor to put his requests in writing for reply by Ambassador Korry in Addis Ababa. Taking leave of the cabinet officers, Haile Selassie briefly met astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. and L. Gordon Cooper before receiving the Chiefs of the Diplomatic Missions of African countries in the White House. That evening the Johnsons held the state dinner in honor of HIM. The next morning, after attending a prayer breakfast at the Capitol hosted by Senators Carlson and Mark Hatfield (R-OR), the emperor left by helicopter from the South Lawn of the White House for Andrews Air Force Base, where he departed for New York City. The Ethiopians’ plane landed at JFK International Airport just before noon, and at 12:30 the emperor was at UN Headquarters to meet The Winter of Discontent 151 Secretary General U Thant for a discussion centered on current attempts to bring peace to Vietnam. Haile Selassie was the guest of honor at a state luncheon at the UN, where he exchanged remarks with soviet ambassador Nikolai T. Federenko. Lunch concluded with a toast to HIM and the Ethiopian people by Secretary Thant and a toast by Haile Selassie expressing his hopes for the continued success of the UN and continued good health of Thant. At a press conference that followed, the emperor expressed his willingness to take the initiative in seeking peace in Vietnam if any of the countries concerned requested that he do so. 46 His remarks in Amharic were translated by Ethiopia’s permanent representative to the UN Endalkachew Makonnen, who had performed the same service for HIM during his first state visit to the United States in 1954. In the afternoon, Mayor John V. Lindsay gave a tea for the emperor at his residence at Gracie Mansion. 47 On the porch of Gracie Mansion, Mayor Lindsay’s youngest child, John, was introduced to HIM by Mrs. Lindsay. John bowed from the waist and shook the emperor’s hand, drawing a broad smile from the usually stoical king. At the tea, the mayor presented Haile Selassie with a silver cigarette box adorned with a lion on its cover. The tea was attended by a dozen city officials and their wives and by 10 members of the royal party. After the tea, the emperor met members of the Council on Foreign Relations at their headquarters at Pratt House on East 68th Street. That evening Haile Selassie hosted a reception for the permanent representatives to the UN at the Carlyle Hotel, where he was staying. On the following morning, Haile Selassie gave an interview to New York Times reporter, Sam Pope, in his suite on the 34th floor of the Carlyle. The emperor sat on a large satin sofa, while his pet Chihuahua, Lulu (a male), who would be HIM’s traveling companion throughout the day (except at lunch), romped over HIM, “pawed at his hands and lay down against his thigh and went to sleep.” 48 The emperor spoke to Pope about his personal diplomacy and said it was wise to talk not only with the executive branch but also with senators and representatives “to ask them to help President Johnson to strengthen relations with Ethiopia.” At 11:00 a.m. the emperor was interviewed by a distinguished group of reporters, including Christian Daniels of the New York Times and Pauline Fredrick of NBC News, for “Today,” the NBC television program. Dr. Minase Haile served as interpreter for the program that was tape-recorded for later broadcast. In the afternoon, HIM privately received King Hassan II of Morocco at the Carlyle, and at four o’clock he held a reception for the Ethiopian community at the Bronxville residence of Endalkachew. That evening, 152 The Lion of Judah in the New World the emperor attended a performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. On Saturday morning, New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller called on HIM at the Carlyle for a half-hour conversation. The governor petted the frisky Lulu without untoward results. Haile Selassie addressed a luncheon meeting of the African American Chamber of Commerce, an organization with about 75 large corporations as members, at the Plaza Hotel. The emperor made an appeal to American businessmen to put more private capital into Ethiopia to speed its general development. He said his countrymen already were doing all they could for themselves and getting aid from foreign governments and international organizations but that still more was needed from the private sector. He told his audience of 250 that Ethiopia had enacted liberal legislation to encourage private capital and that his country had “vast untapped natural resources” to be developed by such capital. 49 In the afternoon the emperor called on Jacqueline Kennedy for a brief visit at her home on Fifth Avenue. Before departing from the United States on a private airliner for the USSR in the late afternoon, Haile Selassie thanked President Johnson and the people of the United States “for the spontaneous and warm welcome accorded us during our short stay in your country.” 50 Two weeks later, when HIM was on the Turkey leg of his tour, the U.S. ambassador there reported that the emperor made unsolicited comments about his stay in Washington. Wrote Rostow to LBJ, “Obviously there is a certain amount of diplomatic blarney involved, but he seems to have gone out of his way to let you know he enjoyed himself.” 51 * * * After his 21-day trip to the United States and other ports of call, Haile Selassie was back in Addis Ababa and ready for what Korry called “unwrapping the package” of U.S. aid. The contents had good news/bad news aspects. There would be no increase in funding, and the United States could not make a five-year commitment for military assistance. The United States, however, would provide Ethiopia with seventeen M-41 tanks, four helicopters, and, eventually, eight more F-5 fighters. In addition, augmented MAAG training would continue for another year. 52 A high level of economic assistance would be maintained. The emperor’s personal diplomacy—playing on U.S. vulnerabilities in its costly commitment to the defense of South Vietnam, its acceptance of the domino theory of communist expansion and fear of The Winter of Discontent 153 the Soviet’s displacing the United States from its dominant place in the Horn—paid off. America’s great stall on providing modern weaponry to Ethiopia had come to an end. Johnson’s largesse was influenced by Kagnew’s continuing significance in U.S. research in satellite communications and in the development of ballistic missiles. U.S. policy also sought to assure a stable, cohesive, and friendly government in Ethiopia. The emperor was facing stiffer resistance to his regime at home, and he no longer was the international celebrity he once had been. The White House meetings of the emperor and the president underscored the complexities of Ethiopia’s problems at the time and also the nature of U.S. governmental operations. The State Department reported to the White House that “our limited response to the emperor’s requests for significantly more military equipment during his February visit was a disappointment to him (despite his satisfaction with the personal aspects of the visit). We have been attempting in a number of ways since then to sweeten the pill.” 53 One of the sweetened pills that Haile Selassie seemed to enjoy was being sent high-level officials for visits to the palace. Among the American VIPs received by HIM were Governor Soapy Williams, to discuss the problem of achieving an honorable and peaceful settlement in Vietnam; LBJ’s “trusted colleague,” Governor Averill Harriman, “to obtain your wise counsel and advice;” and Senator Robert Kennedy with wife Ethel, who petted HIM’s cheetah and laid the cornerstone of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at Haile Selassie University. 54 Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach spent two days in Addis Ababa and met with HIM as part of a 17-day, 12-nation tour of Africa in May 1967 to demonstrate that the United States remained interested in its problems and opposed to white rule in South Africa. 55 Former Vice President Richard Nixon came to Ethiopia on a fact-finding tour of Africa, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey and wife Muriel, leading a 10-member party touring nine African nations in January 1968, called on HIM. Humphrey’s trip was remarkable for what he saw and learned in his travels. In a report to the president, Humphrey said, “Among African leaders, I found a fierce self-pride and healthy nationalism, combined with a sense of pragmatic realism.” 56 Traveling in his party were Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Leonard Marks, director of USIA; and Dr. Samuel Proctor, a former Peace Corps executive and future pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. The vice president demonstrated the continued concern of the United States and the American people with the African continent. He spoke to the OAU at its headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 6, 1968. 154 The Lion of Judah in the New World The vice president “found emperor Haile Selassie vigorous, alert and clearly feeling in charge of his country’s affairs.” The emperor “warmly reminisced with enthusiasm about his visit” with the president in 1967. “If Ethiopia continues to play its role as balance wheel in the changes of the Red Sea Basin and Horn of Africa, and as moderator in the broader spectrum of Africa’s problems, it then rests with us to respond affirmatively, as best we can, to meet the legitimate needs of this country,” wrote Hubert Humphrey. Haile Selassie specifically asked that the United States “maintain the tempo” of its delivery of military equipment and provide special training in counterinsurgency. “I think we should respond affirmatively to both requests,” Humphrey concluded. 57 The vice president also was favorably impressed with the situation in Somalia, where there was a thaw in relations with Ethiopia. Somalia had been the first country in Africa to peacefully replace a government in power through the vote. Praising President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke and Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, Humphrey asserted that Somalia may well deserve the label of “the most democratic country in Africa.” As one of the fathers of the idea of the Peace Corps, Humphrey spoke most favorably of that organization’s work throughout the continent and especially in Ethiopia and Somalia. 58 Haile Selassie also enjoyed playing royal host to a stream of admiring American celebrities. Most noteworthy was the visit of the African American poet Langston Hughes, who visited Addis Ababa in 1966 as part of a State Department–sponsored tour of Africa. Hughes participated in the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar and, after spending a month in Senegal, continued on to Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. While in the Ethiopian capital, he wrote a stirring poem, “Emperor Haile Selassie on Liberation Day, May 5, 1966,” that he personally presented to the emperor at Jubilee Palace. 59 * * * Haile Selassie maintained his own busy schedule of international travel and state visits during the 1960s. One visit to the New World was especially noteworthy. On April 21, 1966, HIM made a historical call on Jamaica and was greeted upon his arrival at the then Palisadoes Airport in Kingston by an estimated 100,000 Rastafarians from across the country. A haze of holy smoke generated by the faithful engulfed the landing site. The crush of the boisterous crowd prevented Haile Selassie from coming down the mobile steps of the airplane. He The Winter of Discontent 155 returned into the plane, disappearing for several minutes, but eventually order was restored to the island universe, and the Rastas met the man they considered to be God. The visit became part of their mythology and is commemorated by Rastafarians as Grounation Day, the second holiest holiday after November 2 , the emperor’s coronation day. A few weeks after the emperor’s return from his three-week tour of the United States, the USSR, Turkey, and the Sudan, he took off again for North America on what he described as a private trip. On April 23, 1967, after a brief layover in Bermuda, Haile Selassie and a party of 24 flew on LBJ’s Air Force One, the president’s private jet, directly to Los Angeles. Upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, he was given the key to the city by Mayor Sam Yorty. During a three-day visit in California, Haile Selassie sailed around Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors on the luxury corporate yachtArgo, inspected offshore drilling operations in Long Beach, and enjoyed the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland, where he shook hands with Mickey Mouse. He was Charter Day speaker at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, where Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree upon HIM. The motion picture-loving emperor was pleased that one of the other five honorary degree recipients was film director George Cukor, who had won an Academy Award in 1964 for his work on My Fair Lady. The emperor’s praise of the California system of higher education brought his audience of 4,000 to its feet for four standing ovations. UCLA was an appropriate place to honor Haile Selassie. Almost 1,000 Peace Corps Volunteers had trained there for service in Ethiopia and other countries, and its law school had a cooperative program with Haile Selassie I University. 60 Haile Selassie presented the UCLA library with antique illuminated manuscripts written in Ge’ez on parchment during the visit. 61 The university’s professor of Semitic languages, Dr. Wolf Leslau, would have been one of the few people in the country who could have read the manuscripts. On his last day in the Golden State, the emperor flew by military jet to Palm Springs to visit briefly with President Eisenhower at the airport. He then departed by plane to Vancouver, British Columbia, on April 26, 1967, to start a state visit to Canada, the first such visit arising from Canada’s celebration of its centennial year. 62 The royal party made its way across Canada from west to east in three Canadian Northern Railroad business cars, passing through British Columbia’s scenic Canadian Rockies and the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba on the way to Ontario and Quebec. The emperor entered Canada in Vancouver and flew on to 156 The Lion of Judah in the New World Victoria, British Columbia. His arrival was upstaged by his pet dog Lulu, who turned out to be the media star of the royal Ethiopian entourage during its stay in Canada. Lulu charged off the plane ahead of Haile Selassie when they landed in Victoria and played “ring-aroundthe-legs” of U.S. Secret Service agents and Canadian police. By law, any dog from Africa arriving in Canada is required to be quarantined for three months. Canadian officials apparently gave Lulu diplomatic immunity, or at least looked the other way while HIM’s canine slipped through customs and frolicked across the country. Lulu, a brown dog identified in the press as a Chihuahua, although the emperor said he wasn’t, was HIM’s constant companion. He was to receive a bad rap from Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski who, in his fantasy biographyThe Emperor, made the undocumented claim that Lulu was trained to irrigate the shoes of Jubilee Palace visitors that HIM did not like. 63 Lulu did travel to Iran’s 2,500-year celebration of the Persian Empire at Persepolis in 1971, however, where he again would be the center of attention because of a diamond-studded collar he sported in the midst of the rich and famous. Haile Selassie was the first of some 60 heads of state to visit Canada’s centennial celebration. His eight-day sojourn was marked by controversy. En route to Ontario, he issued an announcement that all questions for his press conferences had to be in writing and submitted in advance. This edict apparently was made in response to what the emperor thought had been rude treatment on the west coast by Canadian reporters who peppered HIM with embarrassing questions about what was happening in Ethiopia. His pronouncement was anathema to the proud Canadian press. At the same time, 14 Ethiopian students were demonstrating in front of the Ethiopian mission to the UN in New York City, protesting the IEG’s treatment of fellow students at Haile Selassie I University. The protestors were carrying signs saying “Down with Haile Selassie and his Clique.” Although there had been antiemperor Somali protestors at the UN earlier in the year, this was the first time Americans saw Ethiopians demonstrating against HIM. Times were changing in Ethiopia. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson greeted the emperor and accompanied HIM to a guard of honor ceremony at Canada’s 100th birthday flame in front of the gothic parliament buildings. Haile Selassie received assurances from Pearson that Ethiopia would receive more foreign aid from Canada. The emperor announced that he soon would appoint an Ethiopian ambassador to Canada. In Addis Ababa, there was already a Canadian ambassador at work. 64 That evening at a state dinner, Lulu stood quietly by his master in the receiving line. The Winter of Discontent 157 As the receiving line followed guests down long corridor to the dining room, Lulu let out a series of high-pitched barks preceding the party down the hall. 65 If the press was skimping on coverage of HIM, it was making up for it with canine scoops. The emperor took a train to Quebec City’s Central Station, where he arrived during a light spring shower. HIM was welcomed by Daniel Johnson, premier of Quebec, and informed that he was the guest of Quebec and no longer of Canada. Haile Selassie, on a state visit, should have been greeted by the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, but that gentleman was ill and recuperating in Florida and was unable to perform his duty. The protocol-conscious emperor made his way to City Hall, where Quebec, rather than Canada, gave HIM a most regal reception. The royal party flew from Quebec to Montreal on an RCAF Cosmopolitan, the Canadian standard VIP aircraft. Upon arrival, Lulu sprinted out of the aircraft and down the red carpet toward the official greeting party. The dog responded to the call of nature at a huge white concrete flower pot and proudly sprinted back to the airplane and his imperial owner. 66 The royals proceeded to the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where, according to Paulos Milkias, waiters at the hotel competed to clean up any carpets that Lulu spoiled, “as they got $200 tips for their services.”67 During his two-day visit in Montreal, the emperor was among the first dignitaries to attend Expo 67, the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, ultimately considered to be the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century. 68 HIM presided over his country’s national day and passed by a heraldic lion in front of the red and gold Ethiopian pavilion, where he saw replicas of the imperial throne and St. George’s church in Lalibela, as well as works of artists and artisans. Accompanied by an honor guard of RCMP, he was the recipient of the first state dinner at the Pavillon d’Honneur on Île Sainte-Hélène. Lulu wandered around the restaurant, and a disgruntled reporter, who could not get close to the royals, groused, “The dog, in fact, had a good deal more freedom granted members of the press.” 69 HIM also attended the first performance in the new Théâtre Port-Royal, featuring the Haile Selassie I Ethiopian Theatre Folkloric Ensemble, composed of 10 musicians and 24 dancers from Addis Ababa. 70 In Quebec City, the African monarch ended his state visit with a 10-minute meeting with Pearson and a brief public address praising cultural diversity as enriching nations. At City Hall, the little king thanked Canadians for “a warm welcome.” 71 When Haile Selassie stepped out of the elevator at Chaâteau Frontenac for the trip to the 158 The Lion of Judah in the New World airport, a crowd of about 200 at the main entrance broke into applauses. Lulu, seizing the moment, sprinted out down the red carpet, an imperial charge beating HIM to his black limousine. The emperor left Canada from Montreal on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 721 jetliner for Geneva, concluding another public relations triumph. The emperor’s burnish, however, was not what it once had been in North America.72 Only a few days later in May, Haile Selassie, spending little time in his homeland, continued his international travels by going to Cambodia for a four-day state visit. Was the king of kings aware of what was happening in his ancient kingdom? * * * Haile Selassie’s third state visit to the United States, the winter visit, was highlighted by discontent. President Johnson was focused on deepening crises in Vietnam, and although he still was willing to pay the rent for Kagnew, he also had begun investigating alternatives to the listening post on the roof of Africa. The war in Southeast Asia, with all its costs, had torn apart traditional American cohesiveness, and a dispiriting malaise hung over the land. All the hard knocks were taking their toll on the president. The emperor remained depressed about Somalia getting more and better military assistance from the soviets than he, the long-time friend and supporter of the United States, was receiving from his Eritrean real estate lessee. Payment was never enough, nor was it delivered fast enough. The monarch’s travels in North America were receiving far less notice in the media, and the aging king was showing a crotchety side in some of his dealings with the press. Open demonstrations against his government were being held at home and, what was even more disgruntling, in the foreign countries where he traveled. The Lion in winter was enmeshed in malcontent. In April 1968, the U.S. government postulated optimistically about “the Outlook for Internal Security in Ethiopia.” The emperor’s foreign neighbors had backed down from aggressive behaviors. Ethiopia’s military countermeasures had been successful. Somalia under Egal sought détente with the IEG and was reducing aid and encouragement to ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden. Even Eritrea was quieter than it had been a year before. Nevertheless, Haile Selassie was much more concerned with building his country’s military strength to meet possible external aggression than with nation building through economic and social reform. When the United States did not meet urgent requests for increased military aid, Ethiopia bought Canberra bombers from the UK The Winter of Discontent 159 and other war materials from France and Italy. The emperor’s army of nearly 40,000 and well-equipped air force gave Ethiopia by far the strongest military capability in the region. Both had been trained by U.S. MAAG units for more than a decade. HIM continued to harbor a nightmare scenario of his isolated Christian empire being under siege from hostile Muslim neighbors backed by the soviets. The IEG spent about a quarter of the national budget on military expenditures. The nation’s fundamental problem was the remarkably low level of government revenues from domestic sources. The people were poor and lacked education; the few gentry and the Ethiopian Church were unwilling to pay taxes on their substantial land holdings, and the IEG had little interest in national development. Dissatisfaction with the emperor’s arbitrary rule and the slow progress of modernization was muted but growing. The feudal regime still basically ruled by court intrigue that undermined the efficiency of the civilian and military ministries and cooperation among their leaders. The emperor was receiving his Kagnew rent, but despite spiffy U.S. military aid, HIM was chronically dissatisfied with the level of deliveries. To complicate matters, the United States was considering reducing yearly deliveries as part of a general cutback in foreign aid. Because of his perceived internal and external threats, Haile Selassie would almost certainly continue to seek increased deliveries. 73 What the U.S. Embassy and the IEG were missing was that the Ethiopian student movement, bolstered by Western education, had become very antiemperor and anti-United States, and the influence of the young radicals was being widely dispersed. Young intellectuals were beguiled by the soviets’ glib and appealing quick fix for Ethiopia’s chronic problems of poverty, ignorance, and disease through Marxist-Leninism. The Americans’ slow but steady development strategy of demonstrating the virtues of freedom of choice and self-determination and explaining the accomplishments of democracy and capitalism lacked immediacy. Besides, the United States was propping up the repressive IEG and wallowing in the slough of despondency with the hapless old guard. In metropolitan areas the soviet-financed Crocodile Societies were winning the hearts and minds of the students who lacked the maturity to appreciate the meaning of Jefferson, Madison, Mill, and Lincoln. Many Ethiopians in the universities distrusted U.S. motives in Vietnam, foreign aid, student exchanges, and military assistance. They also feared that continuing racial strife in America revealed a state of mind which precluded meaningful understanding of the African commitment to independence and self-sufficiency. 74 U.S. government informants, secret 160 The Lion of Judah in the New World police, and CIA agents did not realize the significance of the battles in and around the classrooms then underway. But in the greater scheme of foreign policy, the United States paid little attention to Africa and its affairs during the last years of the Johnson administration. Leading African leftist leaders, such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Algeria’s Ben Bella, and Mali’s Modibo Keita, had fallen, and anticolonialist guerrilla movements in Angola, Mozambique, and Rhodesia seemed on the wane. In 1968, LBJ, having boldly attempted to build a Great Society at home, was hoist with his Southeast Asia petard abroad. There simply wasn’t enough in the U.S. larder to pay for a domestic war on poverty and a war on communism overseas. Despite the deployment of more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, U.S. forces achieved only a costly stalemate. Under attack at home by opponents of the war, Johnson saw his plans for reelection in the 1968 presidential election collapse in the face of turmoil within his Democratic Party. On March 31, the president announced that he would not run. There would be change in the chief executive’s office. Change was afoot too in the embassies in Washington and Addis Ababa. Menassie Haile, the emperor’s trusted translator during his most recent U.S. state visits, was appointed Ambassador to the United States. In Addis Ababa, Ed Korry had been appointed Ambassador to Chile by LBJ, and he departed leaving behind a nonpareil legacy of accomplishment. “More than any other American chief of mission in Addis Ababa either before or since, he had the greatest impact on U.S. policy towards Ethiopia,” wrote an ambassadorial successor David Shinn. 75 “He was not only a highly capable ambassador but served there during the highwater mark in relations and at a time when there was frequent tension in the relationship.” Korry was replaced by a Career Foreign Service Officer William O. Hall, who had been assistant administrator of administration for USAID and who relaxed by jogging in the rarified heights of Addis Ababa. Would Hall run into difficulties as the Horn entered into a season of volatility? Would his more traditional leadership make a difference in U.S. programs and actions in Ethiopia? A larger question was whether change would come to feudal Ethiopia at a fast enough pace to ease the pressure mounting for a drastic reordering of the entire system. Robert Kaplan observed that “pushing [Haile Selassie] for reform would have been like tinkering with the divine order.” 76 The enigmatic emperor seemed confident that governing would continue as it had for almost 40 years under his enlightened rule. He would adhere to the lesson of the old Ethiopian folk saying: “Slowly, very slowly, the egg walks upon its own two feet.” Would a glorious summer follow the winter of discontent for HIM?

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/7/2013 12:04:04 AM

CHAPTER 13 Götterdämmerung: The Nixon State Visits, 1969, 1970, and 1973

The hope and expectation of thy time Is ruined, and the soul of every man Prophetically do forethink thy fall . . . For thou hast lost thy princely privilege With vile participation. Not an eye But is a-weary of thy common sight. — Henry IV, Part 1 The group of young people was neatly dressed for a muggy July afternoon in Washington. Thirty-five youthful Ethiopians had assembled around their country’s chancery on Kalorama Road, NW, two miles from the White House, to demonstrate against the expected arrival of the Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, who was coming on a state visit at the invitation of President Richard Nixon. As they marched peacefully in front of the two-story brick building, they shouted, “Down with Haile Selassie!” “Down with the Tyrant!” Two police guards had been assigned to keep an eye on the chancery in light of increasing violence against embassies and their staffs in the nation’s capital. Already in the first six months of 1969 there had been 261 such incidents, up from only 34 in 1965, according to the State Department. Embassybashing had become a blue-chip protest during the years of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Earlier in the year, a small group of Ethiopian students had occupied the IEG’s embassy in Washington for a short time in protest of the emperor’s closing down some Ethiopian high schools and curtailing operations at Haile Selassie I University, but in that era of lock-ins on U.S. college campuses, the episode received little notice. 1162 The Lion of Judah in the New World One of the guards glanced at his watch. The demonstrators had been at it for about five minutes. Maybe they would grow tired of their unobserved marching and disperse. Suddenly, one of the taller men in the group yelled “Jan Hoy!” a name of the emperor in Amharic, and the students ran by the startled guards to the chancery door. It was locked, but the tall leader of the group soon kicked it in. The youngsters knew the layout well and scrambled to their wreaking places. Some of the men carried rocks under their shirts and used them to smash windows on both floors. Kitchen crockery went flying, photographs of the emperor were yanked off the walls, and furniture was overturned. The guards charged in and flayed away at the demonstrators. Some were injured. Some had cut themselves on broken glass from the smashed windows. Fourteen were arrested inside the building. 2 The others made their way out and disappeared. Bloodstains were still on the sidewalks when reporters showed up half an hour later. The arrested, who claimed to be students, were disappointed to learn that the emperor’s arrival had been delayed by bad weather and that Ethiopian Ambassador Minasse Haile was not in the building when they had made their grand entrance. 3 But they had made their point. There was opposition to the rule of the 76-year-old emperor and his policies, even in the United States—and the story of the Washington protest would be widely disseminated by the media. The United States vowed to pay for the heavy damage at the ransacked chancery, as was customary under international law. 4 At the same time, 3:30 in the afternoon, 50 Ethiopians demonstrated peacefully on Pennsylvania Avenue across the street from the White House. Under a rule invoked by metropolitan and U.S. park police, they could not march within 500 feet of Blair House, where the emperor again was staying. They were permitted, however, to march in a circle on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue, where they carried signs and handed out pamphlets. The protestors were members of the Ethiopian Student Association from several American universities, who claimed to represent 300 Ethiopians studying in the United States. They accused Haile Selassie of repression, extravagance, and exploitation. Their pamphlets reflected student unrest in Ethiopia and accused the regime “of imprisoning students in labor camps, torturing political prisoners, massacring peasants, breaking strikes, and arbitrarily raising taxes.” 5 The demonstrators claimed that the United States was “fulfilling its bargain to suppress all opposition to Haile Selassie’s reactionary regime in return for maintaining its most important military base in Africa on Ethiopian soil.” They shouted “Down with the Götterdämmerung 163 Tyrant!” and “Haile Selassie must go!” among other epithets. Their signs in Amharic and English proclaimed, “Feudalism no; People’s democracy, yes!” and “The Lion to the Zoo!” After the emperor arrived at Blair House at 6:10, they left peacefully but vowed to return. The presence of Ethiopian protesters was not the only change that had occurred since Haile Selassie’s visit in 1967. American small-town newspapers had begun to write editorials questioning the emperor’s being “in a good light or bad light.” Some opined that he had “outlived his friends and his enemies.” 6 Syndicated columnist Andrew Tully, in his feature “Capital Fare,” which appeared in 150 papers throughout the country, wrote derogatorily: “In Selassie’s country, there is approximately the same amount of human liberty as there is in the calaboose in Hattiesburg. Mississippi.” 7 National newspapers reporting on Haile Selassie’s state visits during the Nixon administration decreased their coverage of the events. They simply were not as newsworthy as they had been in the past. TheChristian Science Monitor set the new tone by burying a brief three sentence article on page 8 in “Inside the News— Briefly” with a subheadline “Haile Selassie Visits Washington Again.” 8 Familiarity was breeding diminished column inches of coverage. * * * The careers of Haile Selassie and Richard Nixon had continued on uneven trajectories following their inauspicious initial meeting in 1954, when President Eisenhower had not welcomed the emperor at the airport upon his arrival in Washington for his first state visit to the United States. The emperor had returned to Ethiopia after his public relations triumphs in North America and proceeded to garner vast sums of military and economic aid for his country. Having tasted the elixir of international celebrity, HIM began a recurrent ritual of international travel justified as exercises in personal diplomacy. He encountered rough spots in surviving an attempted coup, provincial rebellions, and armed conflict with Somalia. More positively, he garnered accolades for his leadership in the founding of the OAU, in championing African independence, and mediating African disputes. He endeavored to maintain a moderate voice in African affairs but found it increasingly tricky to navigate around the shoals of neutralism and U.S. clientelism. Perceptions of his being in the American camp resulted in Arab hostility and, as the Cold War escalated, gave the soviets a bridgehead in Somalia. Nixon, during his tenure as vice president, became the most significant holder of that position in American history up until that time. He 164 The Lion of Judah in the New World had little formal power, but he caught the attention of the media and the Republican Party. Like the emperor, he frequently traveled abroad on missions of diplomacy and goodwill, although he suffered much more indignity at the hands of angry crowds abroad, especially in Venezuela. 9 When Eisenhower sent him to Moscow for the opening of the American National Exhibition, Nixon staged his famous “Kitchen Debate” with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and emerged as a respected champion of capitalism and democracy. The vice president conducted National Security Council meetings in the president’s absence and gained broad experience in international affairs. In 1957 he went on an extended tour of Africa, visiting eight nations accompanied by a press corps of 30, more than half of whom were African Americans. In Ethiopia, he renewed his acquaintance with Haile Selassie, who received him in the throne room and held a state dinner in his honor at Guenete Leul Palace. The vice president asked HIM for more acreage at Kagnew and for the emperor’s support of the Eisenhower doctrine of direct American intervention in the Middle East to safeguard Western interests. Nixon’s visit formerly activated the U.S. MAAG mission. 10 The vice president, after observing the especially large U.S. presence in Ethiopia, returned from Africa convinced that there were too many American overseas. 11 In his report on the trip, Nixon predicted that Africa “could well prove to be the decisive” factor in the determination of the struggle between the West and communism. The vice president’s rhetoric had little effect, however, because Eisenhower did not have much interest in Africa. 12 For Nixon, as well as for Haile Selassie, 1960 was a year of disaster. He lost a close presidential election to John Kennedy and returned to his home state, California, where he practiced law and wrote a bestselling book,Six Crises, that kept his name in the national limelight. In 1962, Nixon ran for the governorship of California but lost by a substantial margin to the Democratic incumbent Pat Brown. The loss was thought to be the end of Nixon’s political career. He moved to New York City and joined a leading law firm that he used as a base to maintain ties with mainstream republicans and to advise them on politics and international affairs. In the 1966 midterm elections, he campaigned for republican candidates and traveled to South America, parts of the Middle East, and Africa in 1967. He visited the pope, part of every presidential aspirant’s ethnic stations of the cross. 13 In Addis Ababa, as part of a private fact-finding tour, Nixon had a four-hour audience with the emperor and also called on Telli Diallo of Guinea, Secretary Götterdämmerung 165 General of the OAU. 14 The African trip left Nixon discouraged about the continent’s future. He wrote Eisenhower that it would be “at least two generations before . . . anything [Americans] would recognize as freedom” would take hold in Africa. 15 At the end of 1967, Nixon was ambivalent about running for president the following year. After some soul searching and encouragement from Republican Party leaders, he formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States on February 1, 1968. From what politicos called “the wilderness years,” the Nixon phoenix emerged ready for political battle. Two months after his candidacy announcement, President Johnson withdrew from the race. In late April, Vice President Humphrey announced his candidacy and eventually was nominated by the Democratic Party at its troubled Chicago convention. In a twist of fate, Nixon again was in an extremely close presidential election, but this time he won—with less than one percent of the popular vote. As president, he reveled in foreign policy. As he told his aides, “I didn’t come here to build outhouses in Peoria.” 16 NIXON VISIT I, 1969 Continuing his personal diplomacy with U.S. presidents that had produced increased military and economic aid for Ethiopia from 1954 to 1968, Emperor Haile Selassie sought and received an invitation for a state visit, his fourth, to the United States from the newly elected Richard Nixon in July 1969. The emperor was the first African leader invited to visit the White House by Nixon after his election in 1968, and the President wanted to show HIM that the new administration would continue to hold Ethiopia as its closest friend in Africa. By that time, the monarch was well acquainted with the protocol of White House arrival ceremonies and even with weather-inspired changes in plans. His endless paranoid importunities were familiar. He contrived an epochal whine. The emperor was the hero victim leading an Ethiopia surrounded by hostile Muslim and communist foes intent on intruding on the sovereignty of the land of the Elect of God. Aggressive minatory neighbors in Somalia and the Sudan, armed with superior weapons provided by the soviets, threatened war and aided rebels in Eritrea and the Ogaden. The only salvation would come from increased U.S. military aid with state-of-the-art armaments and equipment. And if the United States did not deliver the necessary hardware with celerity, Ethiopia would be forced to turn to the Eastern Bloc and become even more neutralist and unaligned. Worse yet, the landlord might evict 166 The Lion of Judah in the New World the tenant in Kagnew Station. The emperor, with his kingly granite profile, was inscribing the palimpsest of his personal diplomacy—a parchment that has been used two or three times, the earlier writing having been erased. How many more times would he write the same mendicant homily? And how many more times would his U.S. auditors be willing to patiently listen? Thunderstorms with winds up to 35-miles-per-hour were forecast for July 7, 1969 at the 4:30p.m. landing time of the emperor’s plane at Andrews Air Force Base. Thirty minutes later, Haile Selassie and his 11-member official party were at the White House, where Mr. and Mrs. Nixon greeted them. The herald trumpets sounded Sir Arthur Bliss’s “Fanfare” followed by “Hail to the Chief.” The Marine Band played the two nations’ national anthems while a 21-gun salute was fired simultaneously with the music. The president and the emperor reviewed the troops at a quick march, and then moved into the mansion’s North Portico. 17 The emperor’s official party again included his grandson, then commodore Iskinder Desta, and Ketema Yifru, minister of foreign affairs. Ambassador Minassie Haile repeated in his role as HIM’s principle translator. In the East Room with an audience of 150, the president welcomed Haile Selassie, saying, “No visit to this house has greater historical significance.” Indeed, the gray-bearded emperor epitomized a sense of history. When he came to power in 1916, there was still a czar ruling Russia and the United States was opposed to any war on foreign soil. During the half century he had held power, he had seen 10 U.S. presidents pass in and out of power, scores of European dictators rise and fall, and most colonial rule give way to independent nationhood. Criticized by some of his subjects as “an autocrat whose reign is as anachronistic as the two chained lions that stalk outside his office in his capital, Addis Ababa, as symbols of his power,” his admirers credited HIM with trying to bring his country “from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century in 30 years.” 18 Nixon apologized to HIM for having to move the ceremonies inside and saw the royals off to their residence at Blair House. Early the next afternoon, the stately ruler and the president spent an hour and 45 minutes in “a general exchange of views” at the White House. They agreed that a stable, secure, and prosperous Ethiopia was an objective shared by both countries. The leaders focused on continuing crises in Nigeria and the Middle East and expressed mutual concerns about soviet influence in Somalia, Sudan, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Enjoying détente with Egal of Somalia, the Götterdämmerung 167 emperor felt the soviets were the greatest danger to his country. Working through the UAR as a client state, their vessels had penetrated the Red Sea and were attempting to make it into a soviet-UAR lake. The president sought HIM’s advice on Biafra and the Middle East, and on how to work with Nasser of the UAR and Israel’s Abba Eban. The emperor noted that many young Ethiopians were opposed to the policy of friendship with America and were worried that Kagnew endangered the nation’s security. Therefore, Haile Selassie concluded, his country needed U.S. military assistance to demonstrate to the people that Ethiopia’s pro-U.S. policy did meet the nation’s security needs. He added that U.S. military assistance, once judged to be adequate, no longer met the country’s needs because of the deteriorating security situation. The emperor, operating from what NSC director Henry Kissinger, called a siege mentality, was displaying his appetite for U.S. arms that the administration could neither satisfy under congressionally mandated military arms limitations or justify in terms of U.S. estimates of his position. He hoped to interest Nixon in making Ethiopia a bulwark against a Communist-Muslim thrust into the Horn. 19 More realistically, Haile Selassie sought economic aid for his country’s third five-year plan. The president noted that Ethiopia received 60 percent of U.S. military funds available for Africa, a level that would be difficult to sustain. The United States, however, recognized Ethiopia’s problems and what it stood for and would continue to assist its development as a strong and independent nation. 20 In the evening, Haile Selassie was honored at a White House state dinner given by the president, who basked in his role as host. Protestors continued their vigil in Lafayette Park across the street as the 102 guests arrived. At a predinner exchange of gifts, the emperor gave Nixon a magnificent gold and silver bowl and Mrs. Nixon and the daughters beautiful gold jewelry. Haile Selassie received from the president a vermeil and leather engagement book engraved with the president’s seal and the emperor’s crest with an inscription for presentation. Nixon was more formal at state dinners than had been Johnson. Richard Nixon came down the stairs alone, in contrast to LBJ, who was followed by his entourage. The receiving line was in the Blue Room. Nixon disliked this part of state dinners, because he hated small talk. Protocol for the order of being served food was changed in the Nixon White House, with the president being served first. If Pat Nixon were present, the president wanted her served first, even before the ranking guest. Nixon also banned the soup course from state dinners after he spilled a savory liquid down his vest while entertaining Prime Minister 168 The Lion of Judah in the New World Pierre Trudeau of Canada. Nixon rationalized his antiepicurean edict to aide Robert Haldeman by saying “Men don’t really like soup.” 21 At a little after 10 o’clock, the president toasted the emperor with eloquent words reflecting Nixon’s long continual friendship with Haile Selassie: He has wisdom. He has had a long life, and, I know from personalexperience, an understanding heart . . . I had the great privilege, which some in this room have enjoyed, of visiting his country in 1957. My wife and I were received as royal guests at that time and treated royally. I returned again to his country in 1967, holding no office, having no portfolio whatever. I was received again as a royal guest and treated royally. This is a man with an understanding heart. [Laughter] 22 Haile Selassie’s toast to Nixon stressed Ethiopia’s determination to safeguard its “territorial integrity” and to continue “without despair” efforts to find a peaceful solution to the war in Nigeria. He noted that a strong defense of his country could be realized only through the accelerated development of his nation. The evening’s entertainment was provided by pianist Eugene List playing the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Alexander Reinagle, American composers who played for presidents Lincoln and Washington, respectively. 23 While performing an encore, “Creole Eyes,” List inserted eight bars of the Whittier College “Alma Mater,” to the delight of alumnus Nixon. Two years earlier, List had played a recital in Addis Ababa for the benefit of Saint Paul’s Hospital under the sponsorship of Emperor Haile Selassie I Foundation. In April the piano playing president had honored another American pianist, Duke Ellington, with a reception at the White House. The event marked the first time that African Americans were predominant on a White House guest list. Most of America’s greatest popular musicians attended, and the party went on until after 2:00a.m.24 In 1973, Ellington was to perform in Addis Ababa and receive a medal of honor from the emperor. At the conclusion of the List program there was dancing and champagne in the Grand Hall for the guests. Gentlemen were invited to enjoy coffee, liqueurs, and cigars. At the evening’s end, the emperor’s motorcade departed from the North Portico rather than the Diplomatic Entrance to avoid the Ethiopian protestors. The next morning, the emperor held talks with Robert McNamara, president of the World Bank, at Blair House, and later, Melvin Laird, Götterdämmerung 169 secretary of defense. At 11:45, Haile Selassie returned to the White House to meet again with the president. They discussed the “agony of Nigeria and Biafra.” 25 The emperor wanted counterinsurgency weapons, helicopters, and transport aircraft. Of even greater importance, he said, was his country’s need for economic assistance. Nixon confided that a primary tenet of his philosophy regarding foreign affairs was that “one doesn’t take one’s friends for granted.” There was no better friend in Africa than Ethiopia, and this should be taken into account in setting up African priorities. The president asked where his leadership “could usefully be used.” 26 In reply, the emperor said he wanted the United States to associate itself with Africa in the realizations of the goals set forth in the charter of the OAU. “Strengthening the relationships between the United State and nations of Africa was a matter of utmost import if Africa was to be protected from the ambitions of communist states to subvert Africa’s freedom and independence.” In a brief speech on the White House lawn, Nixon described his talks with HIM as “very worthwhile discussions” on bilateral questions and worldwide problems. “We had an opportunity to discuss on the highest level” all outstanding problems of the world but especially the questions affecting Africa and the Middle East. Haile Selassie extended an invitation to the president to visit Ethiopia again and assured him he would be an honored guest. “The discussions have been most rewarding to me,” said the emperor. “May God bless you, your family, and the American people.” 27 In the afternoon, the monarch met with executives of USAID and the Peace Corps, and at 6:30 he gave a reception for the African diplomatic corps in the Regency Ballroom of the Shoreham Hotel. On Thursday morning, the emperor attended a prayer breakfast hosted by U.S. congressmen at the Capitol, repeating an early ritual that he had enjoyed during his 1967 visit. From the Washington Monument, he traveled by U.S. Marine helicopter to the Agricultural Experiment Station at Beltsville, Maryland, where he inspected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s programs in cattle nutrition, sheep feeding, and poultry and egg production. The royal party then helicoptered to Andrews Air Force base, where they departed for Atlanta on a presidential jet. The emperor was met at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia, by Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen and Morehouse College President Dr. Hugh Gloster. They went to the grave of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in South View Cemetery, where Haile Selassie laid a wreath of red and yellow carnations on the tomb. The emperor paid tribute to the slain civil rights leader as “an example from which all men stand 170 The Lion of Judah in the New World to gain and profit.” 28 He met King’s father, Reverend Martin Luther King Sr., and his wife, at the cemetery. The emperor told the elder King, “This is one of the greatest honors of my life.” King told the emperor it was a great honor to have HIM in Atlanta. “I found it quite necessary to lay a wreath on Dr. King’s grave so that we may remember his deeds and contributions to history, and his triumphs—and to honor his father and his wife,” the emperor replied. At a special convocation at King’s alma mater, Morehouse College, Haile Selassie was given a standing ovation by the crowd that filled the college gym. The monarch gave a 10-minute speech praising King and the college. “I’m proud that I have the privilege of laying a wreath on the tomb of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who believed in justice and equality for all men,” Haile Selassie said. 29 “He was not solely a citizen of these great United States. We prefer to regard him as a citizen of the world.” The honorary doctor of laws degree then was conferred upon HIM by President Gloster. Having concluded its business in Atlanta in three hours, the royal party left for Cape Kennedy, for a tour of the space center there. At the Kennedy Space Center, the emperor, who had been unable to visit Florida because of inclement weather during his 1963 state visit, fulfilled his dream of touring the center and meeting his heroes, the astronauts. 30 He observed preparations for the launch of Apollo 11 that would result in the first manned spacecraft landing on the moon. Using a telephone hookup from the launch control center, HIM spoke to the Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins, who were aboard the lunar module landing craft sitting atop the Saturn Rocket. The monarch extended best wishes to the astronauts as they worked on minor problems in preparation for blasting into space on July 16 (coincidentally, the emperor’s birthday). The emperor, who was a keen fan of the space program, encountered astronaut Gordon Cooper, whom he had met at the White House in 1967. A broad smile formed on his resolute mouth, and the sovereign used both hands in shaking the hand of Cooper, who had made two orbital trips into space. President Nixon later was to send the emperor a rock from the moon. In the afternoon, the royals departed from Patrick Air Force Base near Cocoa Beach, Florida, for a return flight to Andrews to return the president’s plane before leaving the United States on a special Ethiopian Airlines flight. En route home, Haile Selassie stopped in Lausanne, Switzerland, to visit a granddaughter, who was convalescing there. * * * Götterdämmerung 171 The Ethiopia that Haile Selassie returned to for his 77th birthday in 1969 was a troubled land. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), after a lull in action caused by dwindling fortunes of its patron Arab nations, was active again. Closer to home, or rather palace, the genie of student unrest had been loosed, and protests by university and occasionally high school demonstrators were now a potential threat to the ruling elite’s tranquility. Even the popular and apolitical Peace Corps was targeted for being a part of U.S. support for the reactionary regime. Vehemently anti-American political pamphlets were circulated, and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Ethiopian headquarters of the Peace Corps. Some Peace Corp Volunteer teachers were beaten, and in the winter of 1969–1970, twenty Peace Corp Volunteers had to abandon their posts, threatened by attack from their own students. On September 9, the American Consul General Murray Jackson was kidnapped by the ELF while driving near his home in Asmara and held for two hours before being released unharmed. These actions started rumor mills grinding away and sparked fears that dissidents might even attack Kagnew. The number of personnel at the listening post was being reduced, and the IEG was concerned that this might be interpreted as abandonment by the United States. Next door, a military coup d’état, the bane of modern African history, brought an end to the Republic of Somalia in October. Major General Siad Barre took control of the nation, terminated the democratic efforts of Egal, who had enjoyed détente with Ethiopia, and pursued a policy of “scientific socialism,” an oxymoronic combination of Somali nationalism, Islam, and Marxist/Leninism. The newly renamed Somali Democratic Republic adopted an anti–United States foreign policy and accused Washington of imperialism. Once again, tensions on the Ethiopian-Somalia border were exacerbated by soviet-supplied arms in Somalia. 31 The emperor thought the obvious solution to these mounting problems was more arms from the United States, so he requested another meeting with Nixon on October 25, 1970. Four months after the emperor’s 1969 state visit, Nixon’s secretary of state William Rogers gave HIM good news, from the American perspective, about his requests for additional military aid. Ethiopia was to receive more in FY 1970 than the average of the prior years, somewhat less than FY 1969 and less than anticipated because of severe congressional cuts in the USAID appropriation. U.S. military aid to Ethiopia averaged $12 million to $13 million per year, which was over half of American military assistance for all of Africa. Cutting through the stilted bureaucratese of the State Department, this meant the IEG 172 The Lion of Judah in the New World was getting four UH-1 Iroquois helicopters, C-119K Flying Boxcar transport planes, and arms for the Territorial Army. In addition, there would be increased ammunition and aircraft ordinance and petroleum products for counterinsurgency operations in Eritrea. NIXON II, 1970 In October 1970, the emperor paid his second state visit to Nixon, attending a White House dinner marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations. Even in the august company of a host of other heads of state, Haile Selassie continued seeking more U.S. military aid. The emperor saw the growth of soviet and Cuban military activities in Somalia combined with a growing insurgency in Eritrea as posing real threats to his country’s security. Nixon reassured Haile Selassie that he would study the military situation, giving full weight to the emperor’s proposals. By this time, however, the facilities at Kagnew were being made obsolete by satellite technology, and the Nixon administration was reviewing the value of the listening post in a more technically sophisticated military establishment. At 78 years of age, Haile Selassie was beginning to lose control over the country, and he was no longer the international center of attention he once had been. Early in the new year, the president gave his “First Annual Report to the Congress on Foreign Policy for 1970.” His presentation was a significant statement about future U.S. policies on the world scene. He outlined a foreign policy based on three principles: partnership with allies who had the capacity to deal with local disputes which once might have required U.S. intervention; the preservation of a defensive capability sufficient to deter would-be aggressors; and a readiness to negotiate with friend or foe to resolve conflicts or reduce arms. The president said a lasting peace would require “a more responsible participation by our foreign friends in their own defense and progress.” 32 In cases of lesser aggression, the United States expected a threatened nation to provide the military power for its defense. The United States would not hesitate to furnish assistance “where it makes a real difference and is considered in our interests.” The goal of the new policy was to encourage the self-reliance of all nations. The president “established procedures for the intensive scrutiny of defense issues in the light of overall national priorities.” Speaking specifically about Africa, Nixon “pledged nonintervention except to relieve human suffering and promised limited help both for development and for efforts to resist subversion.” “It’s my best view of where we’ve been and where Götterdämmerung 173 we’re going,” Nixon said. The president had given the emperor and the IEG much to ponder in the new decade. At the advent of the 1970s the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia was in decline. Even with all the warning signs around him, the captious emperor failed to see the need for significant reform and expected greater American assistance as the quid pro quo for the continued use of Kagnew. Cold war pressures and the emboldening of young intellectuals imbued with antiregime and anti-American ideas exacerbated tensions between the two countries. The predominance of the old aristocracy and the emperor’s handpicked intellectual elite was passing to other ranks of the community. University students were talking openly of the need for change and were clamoring for the end of the U.S. military presence at Kagnew. In Febrary1970, Secretary of State William P. Rogers embarked on the first ever diplomatic tour of the African continent by a secretary of state. He visited 10 African countries, including Ethiopia, on what he thought would be a 15-day goodwill tour. His purpose was to “show a new interest in Africa on the part of the United States.” 33 The African leaders he met, however, were less interested in philosophical goals of the Nixon administration than in getting answers to hard questions about U.S. financial assistance to their countries. In Addis Ababa, the emperor and Foreign Minister Ketema pressed Rogers hard for more military aid, and Haile Selassie’s two Chihuahuas even barked at him from the foot of the throne. 34 Rogers, reflecting the administration’s thinking, said more arms would not solve Ethiopia’s problems. What was needed was faster paced change and reform. The aging emperor, appearing frail and thought-burdened, was slowing down and his grip on the country was far less firm than it had been only a few years before. He had survived by ignoring problems or suppressing them and as a result Ethiopia was becoming a cauldron prepared to boil. His declining years became a protracted, distended humiliation of celebrity-seeking and gross neglect of domestic matters. Increasingly, those who worked closely with HIM noticedcoup de vieux, or senior moments, interfering with his daily activities. He had become a relic of a previous age, and his way of life had fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf. Yet Haile Selassie still reveled in his role as senior statesman and leader of African unity. At the Third Nonaligned Conference in Lusaka, Zambia, the emperor, a founder of the movement and still a major voice, presented a five-point proposal for specific measures against Portugal, South Africa, and Rhodesia if they did not conform to UN resolutions on decolonization and racial discrimination. Superpowers 174 The Lion of Judah in the New World are “no longer overwhelming,” proclaimed the Ethiopian leader, and the third world had changed from a position of “fear of involvement” to one of taking an “independent approach” on important issues. 35 Observers noticed that Africans were more forceful and dominant in this conference than in previous ones. In October, after attending Nasser’s tumultuous funeral in Cairo, the emperor returned to the United States for his fifth state visit to meet with President Nixon and to take part in the 25th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly. In New York, he sounded familiar themes at a celebration sponsored by the United Nations Association and Rotary International at the ballroom of the Commodore Hotel. The bearded monarch told an audience of 800 that the UN must be strengthened if it is to avoid the fate of League of Nations. He said the League had succumbed because it became impossible to arrest evil forces by appeasement. In his 30-minute address, the emperor urged the UN to strive harder to surmount world economic problems and to find ways that “oppressed peoples” could “exercise their legitimate rights.” 36 Later, he renewed his acquaintance with Mayor John Lindsay in Gracie Mansion. On the following day, Haile Selassie was one of a legion of heads of state who spoke at the historic 25th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly. The emperor, President Nixon, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and British Prime Minister Edward Heath took the rostrum in the great blue and gold assembly hall within hours of each other. Haile Selassie gave such a lengthy address that President Nixon’s speech before that group was 20 minutes late. The emperor, referring to his bitter experience at the League, said the UN was a vital organization, adequate to its task if the members so willed it. Applause was noticeably shorter and less enthusiastic for Nixon than for the royal speaker preceding him. Nixon urged the soviets to join with the United States in keeping the competition between the two countries peaceful despite “very profound and fundamental differences.” 37 Haile Selassie, along with 17 presidents and 28 prime ministers, attended the next day’s closing session that condemned colonialism and racism in southern Africa and adopted a 10-year program for the development of poorer nations. He enthusiastically joined in the General Assembly’s unanimous declaration rededicating UN members to the charter and calling for peace, freedom and an end to the arms race.38 The emperor heard the closing statement by Secretary General U Thant, who greenly prophesized, As we watch the sun go down evening after evening through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask Götterdämmerung 175 ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say, “With all their genius and their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas”; or “They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them”; or “When they looked up, it was already too late.” If the United Nations does nothing else, it can at least serve a vital purpose in sounding the alarm. 39 That evening, the Nixons gave a White House dinner, the UN’s silver anniversary party, for 100 friends including 31 chiefs of state and heads of government. Such a distinguished guest list was unprecedented and marked the first time so many world leaders had dined together in the Executive Mansion. Impressive regal figures were received by the Nixons in the Blue Room before the guests sat down at an E-shaped table in the state dining room. Almost the entire Cabinet was present along with Vice President Spiro Agnew; Mamie Eisenhower; Julie Nixon Eisenhower; and her sister, Patricia Nixon. The evening had been planned with the most meticulous detail from security to protocol. The timing, however, was thrown off by security precautions around the White House. Arriving guests faced delays at barricades, where Secret Service agents and metropolitan police checked credentials. The foreign leaders had been given exact times for arrival, spaced one minute apart, coming in the reverse order of their rank and precedence. By that ranking, Haile Selassie, the longest reigning ruler present, would be the last to arrive. But there were gaps and waits in what had been planned as a steady parade of leaders moving through the Blue Room to shake hands with President and Mrs. Nixon. From time to time, Nixon was kept waiting in the receiving line with no hands to shake. As he waited, Nixon kept looking at his wrist watch. The delay between the next to last leader and Haile Selassie was so great that Nixon finally stepped into the adjoining Red Room to wait for HIM (and probably to get away from the press). When the emperor entered 18 minutes late, the Nixons rushed back to their places in the Blue Room, greeted him effusively, and ushered him into the East Room where the others were waiting to go to dinner. 40 As the ranking guest, Haile Selassie sat between the President and Mrs. Nixon. The guests feasted on salmon, squid with rice and peas, and a lemon soufflé for dessert while the U.S. Army Strolling Strings wandered among diners playing light melodies. The president expressed friendship on behalf of United States for the peoples whose representatives were gathered and called on his guests to work together for peace. Nixon called for a response from the emperor, who 176 The Lion of Judah in the New World spoke in French and urged the world leaders to support the aims of the UN even though it had not fully lived up to its earlier expectations.41 After dinner entertainment in the East Room was a 30-minute program of songs performed by Metropolitan Opera tenor James McCracken and his wife Sandra Warfield, mezzo-soprano. They sang French, Italian, and German songs, and one Irish tune especially for Prime Minister John Lynch of Ireland. 42 The tradition-shattering state dinner was only part of an extraordinary period of personal diplomacy by President Nixon. Starting at 10:00a.m. on the next day, the President Nixon met with six heads of state at 40-minute intervals until 4:40p.m. The statesmen swept up to the White House in police-escorted limousines and were ushered into the Oval Office. In order, Nixon met with the president of Cyprus, the president of Pakistan, the president and prime minister of the Republic of China, the emperor of Ethiopia, the chief of state of Cambodia, and the president of Panama. After the last meeting, Nixon helicoptered to Camp David, probably thankful for the quiet of his sylvan retreat. 43 In his 53-minute meeting with Nixon, Haile Selassie again had pleaded his mendicant case. The little king needed moneypassim ad infinitum. The president reassured HIM that the United States understood who its friends were and promised to study the military situation, giving full weight to the emperor’s statements. Nixon noted that Haile Selassie had been an international symbol of the values of freedom and independence long before most of the chiefs of state at dinner on the previous evening had even entered public life. The leaders also discussed soviet expansion of its naval force in the Indian Ocean, the overall situation in East Africa, the crisis in the Middle East, the work of the OAU, and U.S. private investments in Ethiopia. 44 Despite the pleas and pressure for increased U.S. military assistance, the FY 1971 funds for the IEG were reduced from $12 million to $10.8 million. The Ethiopian military would have to establish priorities for its expenditures. As if to mute U.S. criticism of the slow pace of reform in Ethiopia, the emperor in 1970 had put a good face on modernization by empowering younger men who were rationalizing economic planning and management. He also recruited foreign advisors from Harvard and the World Bank. To attract foreign investment, the IEG updated the investment law and planned to establish an investment center in Addis Ababa. The new cosmetic initiatives could not cover up the country’s basic problem. Ethiopia still did not have enough funds from its own taxes to do what needed to be done. The clock was ticking and each minute spent moved the ancien régime nearer to disaster. Götterdämmerung 177 In November, Haile Selassie and Nixon were together again in Paris, among 80 world leaders attending the state funeral of Charles de Gaulle at Notre Dame. By that time, the United States had all but completed its 1960 pledge to equip a 40,000-man Ethiopian army. Nevertheless, the emperor was still seeking an agreement to ensure a continued program of assistance to fully maintain the army and leave several million dollars for additional requirements. Around $13 million per year should cover the cost. The emperor’s request was triggered by increased aid going to the Eritrean Liberation Front from militant Arab states whose activities had increased drastically. The activities of the recharged ELF caused the IEG to declare martial law throughout Eritrea. At the same time, communist influence was markedly on the rise among Ethiopia’s immediate and unfriendly neighbors. Despite the relative increase in strength of its neighbors, Kissinger believed that Ethiopia had by far the strongest and most effective military establishment in the area. Even though the United States had restored $1 million to the Ethiopian MAP program for 1972, which had earlier been cut by the Office of Management and Budget, the emperor feared that the United States intended to terminate its military assistance program for his country. That fear had strongly motivated his request for the 1970 meeting with Nixon. 45 In 1970, some 3,000 Americans with their dependents were serving at Kagnew. The station published a monthly letterpress newspaper, and ran the first army-operated television station in the world. The emperor was receiving a hefty rent for the station, and the landlord had a long history of inspecting his real estate. A retired U.S. Army NCO remembered Haile Selassie calling on the post almost every time he traveled to Asmara. The emperor and his entourage would enter Kagnew with great pomp and circumstance at which point the Post Exchange would be closed to all except the visitors. HIM always had a fascination with electrical and mechanical instruments and took delight in perusing electronic devises, radios, and cameras. He would select a few items that the State Department would duly pay for, and then the royal party would depart. 46 On some occasions the monarch would be presented with gifts such as photographs taken during the Apollo 8 flight or a model of the Apollo 8 capsule. During one royal visit, the base square dance club put on a demonstration for the emperor. The U.S. military observed that relations with the local population were good. A noteworthy ambassador of goodwill was 23-year-old Specialist 5 Hugh Downey, who in his spare time while stationed at Kagnew built five schools, two roads, medical and health services, two farm experimental plots, a library, and recreational facility for children, 178 The Lion of Judah in the New World as well as other projects in the Asmara area. This he was able to accomplish with his own money and contributions from Kagnew friends and relatives. When Downey completed his tour of duty, Haile Selassie summoned him to the palace to thank him personally. Meanwhile military personnel continued what was considered vital communications work at the station in the early 1970s. The Peace Corps in 1970, with 310 PCVs in Ethiopia, was about half the size it had been four years before. Even though the volunteers had a remarkable and enviable record of good works in their communities in addition to their regular duties, continuing anti-American student demonstrations and unhappiness with the situation in Ethiopia led some PCV teachers to leave before their two year assignments were completed. The Director of Peace Corps/Ethiopia Joseph S. Murphy resigned in February 1970 to protest the emperor’s brutal suppression of protests against the murder of a student leader at the university. The once-proud organization of “Kennedy’s Children,” the pride of the New Frontier, was being forced into decline by circumstances beyond its control. There were changes in the ambassadorships of Ethiopia and the United States in 1971. Former Indiana Congressman E. Ross Adair, who had been a Capitol Prayer Breakfast host for the emperor during his 1967 state visit to the United States, replaced William Hall, a career Foreign Service Officer, as U.S. ambassador. Nixon met with Adair before he departed for Addis Ababa and told him that the emperor “must be brought to recognize the absolute responsibility for providing an orderly and desirable succession.” 47 Nixon maintained that Haile Selassie had done “too much good work to permit it all to collapse because of a failure to face up to the necessity of providing for his succession.” For the IEG, Ambassador Minassie Haile left Washington to become minister of foreign affairs in Addis Ababa. Late in the year, Kifle Wodajo became the new Ethiopian ambassador. The emperor’s role in international politics was still so esteemed by Nixon that he kept HIM informed about significant changes in U.S. policy. Vice President Spiro Agnew visited Addis Ababa in July 1971 to inform Haile Selassie in advance that the United States was going to recognize the Peoples Republic of China. 48 Morocco was the only other African country to be so informed. Nixon sought better relations with his Cold War adversaries, the PRC and USSR. He visited China in February 1972 and went to Moscow in May to sign agreements with the soviets to reduce the risk of military confrontations and to promote cooperation in science, technology, Götterdämmerung 179 health, environmental matters, and space exploration. Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, SALT I, and “Basic Principles of US-Soviet Relations.” The president’s trip to China in 1972 signaled a change in America’s Asian strategy. Marking an end of the goal of isolating China in the hope of undermining Beijing’s communist government, Nixon’s visit signaled America’s desire for access to new markets to help a sagging U.S. economy. The president also sought Mao Tse-Tung’s help in negotiating an end to the Vietnam War. The United States reached an agreement with North Vietnam in January 1973 on the withdrawal of all U.S. combat personnel, but the fighting did not end until Vietnam’s unification under communist control in April 1975. Also in 1972 the Ethiopian-Somali border again became a concern. The soviets continued arming the military forces of dictator Siad Barre with modern equipment, and the Somalis were spoiling for a fight. This set off the emperor’s alarm bells, and he wrote Nixon: “At a time when We were expecting an increase in the U.S. military aid to Ethiopia because of our geographical location and the continued critical condition in our part of the world, it is with dismay and deep concern that We have learnt of the envisioned cut in the U.S. military aid program to Our country.” 49 Haile Selassie informed Nixon that he had called Ambassador Adair to explain his “preoccupation in this regard.” HIM concluded his letter with the hope that “Our observations will reach Your Excellency in time for your reconsideration of this important matter.” The emperor’s once strong signature had become shaky. The growth of soviet and Cuban military activities in Somalia combined with a growing insurgency in Eritrea posed real threats to Ethiopia’s security. 50 The emperor had repeatedly used a personal visit to Washington as a device by which to increase or maintain military assistance to Ethiopia, so he again sought a meeting with his old friend Nixon. In April 1973, he received a formal invitation for another state visit in May. More significant than the arms race for Haile Selassie was a disaster under way to the north of his capital. In Wollo Province the scourge of famine, which periodically wasted Ethiopia throughout its history, had spread from the African Sahel region, where it had begun in 1969. Soon it would bring disaster to other northern provinces, but the IEG seemed unconcerned about it. In fact, the emperor journeyed to Iran with Lulu to help the Shah celebrate the 2,500 anniversary of the Persian Empire. Haile Selassie and his retainers failed to see just how strong and widespread opposition to the old order had grown. 180 The Lion of Judah in the New World Richard Nixon also would be affected by events that seemed of little consequence to him in 1972. In the midst of the president’s lively reelection campaign, an office in Washington’s Watergate complex was broken into. NIXON III, 1973 In preparation for Haile Selassie’s visit, Kissinger briefed the president about the latest U.S. activities in Ethiopia and the emperor’s probable response to them. HIM’s main concern was about “the increased soviet presence in and aid to irredentist Somalia, a concern intensified by falling U.S. military assistance levels and reductions in our presence at Kagnew Station.” 51 The U.S. navy no longer relied heavily on Kagnew for its Polaris submarine programs and had submitted plans that would have withdrawn most U.S. personnel from the base by June 1974. The president should acknowledge that a continued U.S. presence at Kagnew was under review, an action that the emperor will view “with concern as a break in Ethiopia’s strongest link to the United States.” Kissinger called the state visit “a fairly critical moment in U.S.-Ethiopian relations.” The U.S. aim was to safeguard its use of Ethiopian facilities for as long as they were needed and to guard “access to potentially important petroleum supplies.” This aim should be accomplished without destabilizing the region. In this setting, Haile Selassie met President Nixon on his final state visit to the United States in 1973. When the emperor made his ceremonial entrance to the White House, he established a record for the most state visits by a foreign head of state—six, a record that would last until it was tied in the next century when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was honored by President George W. Bush during her sixth state visit. The emperor’s 80 years were evident when the Nixons bade him an informal welcome in the portico of the West Wing. The little king’s beard was more grizzled and his once spry movements had slowed. The president ushered HIM into the Oval Office for a picture-taking session and reminded the emperor, “You have been in this room more than any other head of state. You were here in 1954.” 52 Then he told assembled reporters, “The emperor had probably made more visits to Washington than any other head of government.” In the ensuing talks, Nixon and Haile Selassie discussed the threat posed to Ethiopia by the growth of soviet and Cuban military activities in Somalia combined, with a growing insurgency in Eritrea. The emperor presented Nixon with a $450 million shopping list that Götterdämmerung 181 included F-4 Phantoms, M-60 tanks, surface-to air missiles, and airto-ground missiles. His timing was abysmal because of U.S. plans to withdraw from Kagnew, although this was not discussed in the Oval Office meeting. In nonmilitary assistance, Nixon announced the approval by USAID of a new U.S. loan of $4.8 million to combat malaria. The president noted that Haile Selassie was accompanied by his foreign affairs minister, Dr. Menassie Haile. “He was the highest-paid interpreter we’ve ever had in this room,” Nixon told HIM and added, “Your Majesty speaks very good English.” 53 Considering how much time the two leaders had spent together over the years, the president’s evaluation of the emperor’s spoken English ability was an informed one. Haile Selassie subsequently told Dr. Minassie that he highly respected Nixon who always was properly correct in their meetings and correspondence. 54 At the conclusion of his meeting with the president, the emperor was the luncheon guest of Vice President Agnew at the State Department. At 3:30 in the afternoon at Blair House, Acting Secretary of State Kenneth Rush informed the emperor that the future of Kagnew Station was under review, although this reflected no change in U.S. relations with Ethiopia. 55 Haile Selassie had later afternoon meetings with Secretary of Defense William Clements and Dr. John Hannah, administrator of USAID. At 6:30, the State Department held a reception in honor of HIM prior to a black-tie state dinner at the White House. Rose Mary Woods, the president’s secretary, had prepared two lists of guests: the eight o’clock diners, about 100, and the 10 o’clock audience of 135 for the entertainment in the East Room. Reflecting Nixon’s interest in sports, among the guests were Gordie Howe, of the Detroit Redwings; Don Newcombe, pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers; Richie Petitbon, of the Washington Redskins; and Bob Richards; Olympic pole-vaulter. At the White House, Haile Selassie found Nixon “vigorous as always and friendly.” 56 The emperor’s grandson, then rear admiral Eskinder Desta, had again accompanied HIM to America as a member of the official party. In a gift exchange, the president gave Haile Selassie a Bulova Accutron gilt-bronze clock mounted in a piece of lava stone from America Samoa with the presidential seal and a silver-framed photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Nixon. Pat Nixon was a warm, gracious first lady who loved people, and this hid her uneasiness in the role of hostess. 57 She had worked to make the White House accessible to as many visitors as possible by arranging special tours for disabled and blind persons, preparing a booklet 182 The Lion of Judah in the New World on the gardens, adding exterior lighting, and changing the guards’ uniforms to less imposing blazers. 58 Pat restored authentic antiques to the state rooms (many of Mrs. Kennedy’s acquisitions had been copies) and arranged for gifts or loans of several important paintings of presidents and first ladies. During her second year, the number of visitors to the Executive Mansion broke all records. She also practiced her own style of personal diplomacy, being the most traveled first lady and visiting 83 nations. 59 Pat was the first First Lady to travel to Africa, where she spent eight days and traveled 10,000 miles on the west coast. She met privately with the leaders of Liberia, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. A tribal chief in Ghana said her trip bonded U.S.-Ghana relations in a way “not even a lion could destroy.” 60 Presidential Assistant H. R. Haldeman praised Mrs. Nixon’s trip as the single event of the administration to receive “universal approval.” The White House dinner guests sought Haile Selassie’s autograph. Slowly and patiently, he signed dinner cards in the Blue Room, including that of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Asked if he often gets requests for his autograph, the emperor replied, “Yes. It’s always a pleasure. I sign as many as I can.” 61 During dinner, the Army Strolling Strings played. The monarch toasted Nixon as a statesman who had launched an era of negotiations that brought “a fresh breeze in the relations of big powers.” Nixon in turn toasted HIM, who had ruled for 57 years, as the “senior statesman of the world.” The evening’s entertainment was Metropolitan Opera coloratura soprano Gina La Bianca, wearing a fiery chiffon red dress, singing after-dinner songs in five languages. The U.S. Marine Corps Dance Combo then played for those wishing to dance. The emperor, his limbs with travel tired, did not tarry. He departed at 11:30 p.m. from Andrews Air Force Base on an Ethiopian Airlines special charter for Addis Ababa. It was his last hurrah in America. In Addis Ababa, two days later, Haile Selassie began the 10thanniversary celebration of the OAU by declaring that all of Africa would be liberated from foreign domination in the next 10 years. 62 Later, he spoke to 23 African heads of state or their deputies at the 10th anniversary meeting at Africa Hall. The emperor advocated a system for the mutual defense of the 41-member nations and the creation of a permanent Africa peacekeeping force. 63 In a subsequent session, there were heated verbal clashes between the Ethiopian delegation and representatives of Libya and Somali. The Libyan spokesman accused the IEG leadership of supporting Zionists and colonialists. Major General Siad Barre accused Ethiopia of preparing for war against Somalia.64 The latter accusation caused such rancor that the OAU set up a Götterdämmerung 183 commission to mediate the dispute. The 10th anniversary found the OAU strained, but not torn, by bitter disputes. Much more worrisome, or it should have been to the emperor, was the spreading famine in Ethiopia’s northern provinces. At the very time Haile Selassie’s attention appeared riveted on international affairs, his domestic scene, a cauldron of cooling melt, was deteriorating badly. By the spring of 1973, the famine was claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of peasants of Tigray and Wollo, and thousands more had sought relief in Ethiopian towns and villages. This was reported by university faculty and students, and a British filmmaker made a video program of the suffering that was shown in the UK. Yet, the IEG refused to act and engaged in a cover-up operation and a conspiracy of silence that would not be forgotten by the Ethiopian masses when the truth was revealed. Meanwhile in the United States, in August 1973, it was announced that most U.S. operations at Kagnew Station would cease by the end of FY 1974. Nixon was demonstrating his belief that the way to govern was by surprise. 65 The emperor no longer held the trump card, and a new era of U.S.-Ethiopian relations would begin. Foreign Minister Menassie made a face-saving request that the press release about the Kagnew withdrawal be simultaneously released in Washington and Addis Ababa and that it treat the decision as a joint one arrived at by mutual agreement. Neither country wanted to give the impression that the United States was abandoning Ethiopia. 66 Menassie then led a strong lobbying effort to increase what the IEG considered far too small a military assistance program. Kissinger was aware of the consequences of the U.S. action. Ethiopia would be free to seek alternate sources to supplement what the United States could do within the clear limitations on U.S. military aid. The only realistic choices, according to Kissinger, were the USSR or PRC. Questions about the extent of U.S. strategic requirements and future interests, as well as the degree to which the United States should put major resources into a vulnerable regime ruled by an aging emperor vis-à-vis the loss of Ethiopia to radical influences, would affect the total American position in the Red Sea area and be one more case of a U.S.-backed country, Ethiopia, appearing to lose out to a soviet-backed country, Somalia. 67 Nixon-Kissinger foreign policy involved geopolitical considerations largely unrelated to economic realities or the interests of the peoples involved. The Nixon administration was more concerned with Vietnam and Watergate than the plight of the ancient emperor and gave 184 The Lion of Judah in the New World a basically unfavorable response to the IEG’s requests for arms. The United States did agree to continue to grant military aid and training at agreed-upon levels and to supplement the program with credits for military sales, but this was far less than what had been requested. The rebuff by the United States made Haile Selassie’s last attempt at personal diplomacy at the White House “an unqualified disaster.” 68 The field marshal uniform had become too heavy. Minutes of the secretary of state’s staff meetings under newly designated Secretary Kissinger shed light on American thinking about Ethiopia during this time. Starting in October 1973, the Horn of Africa came up more frequently on the secretary’s agenda, but it was still only a small piece of the worldwide puzzle that State struggled to understand. Ethiopia’s reaction to the closing of Kagnew and the reduction of U.S. military assistance sparked a discussion in an October 25 meeting. The emperor scheduled an official visit to Moscow at the end of the month, probably with the intention, in part, to press the United States to increase its MAP. Kissinger’s advisors noted that the IEG usually wanted more military assistance because of Kagnew, and now that there was no Kagnew, “they want more military assistance because they no longer had it.” 69 Verbatim reactions of the State Department leaders to Haile Selassie’s again playing his Cold War card are revealing: MR. PORTER: Will he do another hundred million dollar stunt this time in Moscow? You remember that famous credit? That scared everybody to death here. And not a damned thing happened. MR. NEWSOM: They still haven’t drawn down about $11 million of that $100 million. MR. PORTER: He is a great old boy for just that kind of thing. SECRETARY KISSINGER: He is the world’s greatest. 70 On another occasion, Kissinger said, “My experience is that Haile Selassie does nothing unless it is that he makes the most boring toasts of anybody I have ever heard.” 71 A scathing comment, but not as cutting as Korry’s 1964 jibe that “veracity is not one of his [HIM’s] stronger attributes.” 72 Official esteem for the Emperor was not what it had been a few years before. By January 1974, State was paying more attention to the Ethiopian famine and the way the IEG was handling it. Concerns about the stability of the emperor’s government precluded any increase in MAP or beginning an escalation in weapons systems. Götterdämmerung 185 While reviewing the confused state of affairs in Ethiopia, Kissinger admitted that “I was never in favor of giving up Kagnew. I always thought it would have serious political consequences.” 73 Three months later, Kissinger had forgotten the name of the listening post and had to be reminded that it was Kagnew, not “Catina,” as he called it. So much for Kagnew being the center of the American universe that Ethiopians ascribed to it during the 1960s and 1970s. 74 Still worrying about a prospective invasion of Ethiopia by Somali, in April 1974, the IEG made another appeal for $150 million in military assistance. Kissinger was willing to give them $25 million to demonstrate U.S. support of the government, but the social and political situation in Ethiopia was so confusing by that time that top American officials, lacking meaningful intelligence reports, were reluctant to act until they could be sure the emperor would survive the turmoil that was developing.75 The days of monarchical supremacy were numbered. Haile Selassie’s return home from America with little to show for the effort and the shutdown of Kagnew were contributing factors to the emperor’s removal in the creeping coup or revolution that was underway by the end of 1973. Ethiopia’s frustrated intellectuals, armed forces, farmers, and emerging business sector were all alienated and objected to the government’s botched handling of the famine, a stagnant economy, and the lack of reform in Ethiopia. The gathered strands of the spiders’ web could tie up a lion—even the Lion of Judah. The sins of the nation’s defender of the faith combined, as all the best of scandals do, allegations of graft, egregious grandiosity, and the seasoning salt of greed—all grist for the revolutionaries’ mill. The emperor’s achievements were buried under the avalanche of tragic flaws that brought him down. And the accomplishments were many but irrelevant to the mob. University students eventually articulated their demands and “radicalized” the military, whose leadership became anti-American. This led to the September 1974 revolution that overthrew the emperor and brought the autocratic military Derg to power. The United States underscored its rejection of HIM by not having an ambassador at the court of a rapidly failing sovereign after Ross Adair retired from the post in 1974. At the time Haile Selassie was overthrown, the Nixon administration was mired in its own political scandal and was not in a position to pay much attention to Ethiopia. The emperor was forced out of the palace only a month after Nixon was forced out of the White House and resigned from the presidency in light of the Watergate debacle. It was a Götterdämmerung, the twilight of the Gods who had reigned so powerfully only months before.

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/7/2013 12:05:19 AM


Now my charms are all o’erthrown, And what strength I have’s mine own, Which is most faint; now, ’tis true, I must be here confin’d by you. — The Tempest The revolution ended the feudal system of Ethiopia headed by its long-lived monarch. The new rulers, the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, known as the Derg, detained government officials and the emperor. The Derg government focused on internal issues and declared it would follow a nonaligned foreign policy. U.S. officials looked to moderate military officers, many of whom had trained in the United States, to counter the MarxistLeninist ideology espoused by extremists of the revolution, but the Derg evolved into an anti-United States, communist dictatorship headed by Mengistu Haile Mariam. His regime unleashed a Red Terror that slaughtered thousands of Ethiopians, including Haile Selassie and many of the nation’s leaders. The emperor in his smashed grandeur, rejected even by his most loyal supporters and officially referred to as the ex-king, was unceremoniously driven in a Volkswagen from his palace to his place of imprisonment. Haile Selassie died in detention 11 months later, probably murdered on August 27, 1975. The emperor’s death brought an end to the longevity of an autocratic feudal state, a whole mythology of social cohesion around anointed authority and mystery. That such an imperium had survived far after Epilogue 187 similar systems of rule had disappeared can be attributed to Haile Selassie’s petulant refusal to relinquish the leadership (which was the despair of his dedicated, educated courtiers). HIM’s death also concluded a remarkable record of an African nation’s obtaining inordinate financial aid from the United States. Dating back to the early agreements between the two nations in the 1950s, Ethiopia had received about 80 percent of all U.S. military aid for Africa and one-fifth of American economic assistance. As impressive as those figures appear, they were but a small portion of the total U.S. assistance worldwide. In the perspective of the global picture, Ethiopia’s share of U.S. military assistance under HIM was only about one-half of one percent. 1 Mengistu went about ridding his country of the American presence. On short notice, Kagnew was ordered closed, as were MAAG, all USIS offices and libraries in the country, the consulate in Asmara, and several other American programs. The 1953 military assistance agreement was unilaterally abrogated, and even the U.S. embassy staff was ordered cut in half. The United States immediately suspended military assistance and stopped delivery of arms previously promised. The Peace Corps endured under trying conditions until its last program was terminated in 1977, accused by the Derg of acting as an agent of cultural imperialism. Two years later, USAID closed its operations. The Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc nations, and Cuba became the dominant backers of the new regime. Armed by the Soviet Union, Somalia went to war with Ethiopia in the Ogaden in 1977 at a time when Ethiopia’s military dictatorship was in disarray, seeking to consolidate its power and struggling with a rebellion in Eritrea. The Somali army was repulsed by Ethiopian forces supported by military assistance from the soviets and their client states, and Cuban and Yemeni troops. 2 This melee of communist cronies induced an unlikely Cold War switch of principal supporters of Horn of Africa nations, with the United States becoming the ally of Somalia and Ethiopia becoming a client state of the Soviet Union. During its 17-year reign, the Derg was a ruthless ally of the Soviet Bloc in the Cold War and was notorious for its abuse of human rights and its problems in dealing with a major famine in 1984. When the Derg was overthrown in 1991, there was hope that democracy might take root in Ethiopia, but a new cast of Marxist rulers who mastered “capitalist-speak,” the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) have maintained “the snares of watchful tyranny” in the troubled land. Today, in comparison with what followed, the reign of Haile Selassie appears far better than it did at the time of his fall. 188 The Lion of Judah in the New World The decline in the fortunes of the Horn nations might have been foreseen by Henry Kissinger, who in 1972, as head of the National Security Council, known under his direction as the “committee in charge of running the world,” wrote a confidential report on the future of Ethiopia. He purportedly recommended that U.S. policy should be to keep that nation in perennial internal conflict, using such vulnerabilities as ethnic, religious, and other divisions to destabilize the country. Kissinger’s recommendation appears to have been followed successfully, for not only Ethiopia but the Horn of Africa have been in turmoil ever since. * * * The state visits of Haile Selassie to the United States strongly influenced the views of Americans about Africa and Africans during the latter half of the 20th century. But who was the real Haile Selassie, and why were the American people so enamored of him? The image of the emperor was in the eye of the beholder. The image of the international celebrity is projected through our own political, cultural, intellectual, professional, and psychological lenses. Such images reflect substance. “The way we respond to public figures, the feelings they invoke, the interpretations they invite, the meanings they embody”—all are part and parcel of our political experience, the way we understand reality. 3 Multiple perspectives on HIM have existed ever since he came to power and have depended upon the person or group viewing him and when. Revered by some, reviled by others, Haile Selassie’s accomplishments were meaningful and exciting in their time and place. They had great significance then, but they tend to lose their context now, especially in Ethiopia, where his name and character have been vituperated for over 30 years. To the Derg that helped overthrow him and to the present EPRDF rulers, the emperor was a demagogue intent on preserving his power at all costs, a perpetuator of a corrupt arcane system of rule that had evolved under his autocratic direction from feudal fragments that had endured into the second half of the 20th century. While the rest of the world passed it by, the ancient kingdom, adamant for drift, remained mired in debilitating poverty, ignorance, and disease. A national elite, fostered at HIM’s court, contributed to the entropy of life. Liege lords, the king’s men, were due servility from loyal subjects. If any star among the new rulers began to shine brightly, however, he was shum-shered, promoted-demoted to dullness (and probably to ungentle rustication) by the ever watchful emperor. A historical Epilogue 189 age and one generation with a distinct political and cultural character gave way to another age, another generation, yet the features of the government had frozen into a rictus of stasis. The old order failed to work, and the need for some new machinery was painfully obvious. The young revolutionaries challenged the emperor and the IEG with new difficulties of adjustment. To opponents of the regime, Haile Selassie was viewed as a tyrant over conquered peoples, a heavy-handed crusher of dissent, and a moss-backed opponent of modernity. To the nations, nationalities, and peoples in the hinterlands, he was a conqueror who divided up their lands as payment to soldier-settlers, the hated nefteganas from faraway places, who prospered at the expense of indigenous vassals. With a face as hard and unyielding as quarried stone, the emperor dominated politics, the press, the military and police, and the flow of cash. He indulged sycophants, rewarded cronies, and punished rebels. The Haile Selassie style was one of drama, flattery, purposeful contradiction, and mystery. In the 1960s and 1970s, young radicals interpreted HIM as a dark conspirator who could not tolerate even the slightest challenges, because his existence depended for its survival on unanimity. The emperor endured “by a combination of skillful diplomacy abroad, ruthless political repression at home, and good luck in terms of a passive population” who venerated the throne. 4 To critics, he was a flawed and guilty man who had chances for redemption but passed them by. 5 Yet, earlier generations admired Haile Selassie for the social and economic advances that he brought his backward country, before Mussolini’s fascists interrupted the process, and for his leadership that expelled the conquerors and started anew programs for its development. His governing methods worked brilliantly in the 1930s and 1940s and extended into the 1950s. To many Ethiopians, he was indeed the king of kings and the sacred connection to the people’s Old Testament past. He was the stern paterfamilias who respected the faith while seeking to have Ethiopia play an important role in the modern world. It was the emperor who unified its disparate ethnic groups, and then, through terror, diplomacy, theatrics, and his own charismatic persona, kept the cause before the world’s wandering attention. Outside Ethiopia, the marmoreal-featured king was a storied figure, with a reputation for courage that he earned in a dramatic appeal for help. Friends abroad saw him as a moderate reformer of an anachronistic feudal system and an astute user of political power. In his travels, Haile Selassie was bathed in an aura of aloof dignity that came to be regarded as characteristic. He personified a bewitching blend of the 190 The Lion of Judah in the New World ancient and modern. In public, Haile Selassie was never off. He was obsessed with maintaining a correct public image, and his sepulchral face was stubbornly affectless. Always well-dressed and insouciant, the monarch handled himself calmly in the presence of his foreign audiences. Because his authority was absolute, he could speak softly. In the company of inveterate and literate talkers (and some politicians who were not all that literate), he didn’t need to raise his voice. Preferring to speak through an interpreter, he replied to questions in short, crisp terms and seemed forceful. He held all the cards. He would move slowly to imprint on his watcher’s memory the moment at hand. In a cordon de célébrité he received an avalanche of adoration from the public. To American diplomats he was a venerated Cold War ally who was a friend of the West and Israel and appropriately wary, most of the time, of the influence in Africa of the soviets, Egypt, the Arab League, and, later, the PRC. Which perspective is correct? They both are. By many he was loved. By many he was hated. Haile Selassie emerged as a perplexing figure, a chameleon of an actor playing many roles in different settings. His protean, volatile character had allowed him to escape one unaddressed domestic crisis after another. His contemporaries expressed mixed feelings about the emperor—including his personality, his accomplishments, and his talent—while they acknowledged his power. Even those enthralled by him were often repelled by his autocratic style and by the content of his messages. Haile Selassie’s character is elusive. The inner man is almost totally inaccessible. One of the best efforts to find out about “the private universe of Haile Selassie” was the 1973 interview of HIM in French by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. The emperor revealed himself to be locked in another time. When Fallaci asked him if he felt lonely in a world so different from the one he grew up in, he replied, “It is our opinion that the world hasn’t changed at all. We believe that such changes have modified nothing. We don’t even notice any difference between monarchies and republics.” Asked if he ever regretted his kingly fate, HIM said, “We were born of royal blood, authority is Ours by right. Since it is Ours by right and since our Lord the Creator has deemed We might serve Our people as a father serves his son, being a monarch is a great joy to Us. It’s what We were born for and what We have always lived for.” 6 It was as though an Old Testament prophet had spoken—an anomaly at a time when astronauts were walking on the moon. Haile Selassie was eminently and emphatically of his age and his country, and therein lies the secret of much of his success—and ultimately his fall. Epilogue 191 The emperor was not lacking in self-esteem. Having ruled for over half a century, he saw himself as a towering figure of modern history. After he helped in the creation of the OAU, foreign policy hands promoted his image as Africa’s elder statesman. He assumed also a stature and wisdom in world affairs that was politely condoned by many world leaders. His attitudes were shaped by the lessons of the invasions of Ethiopia. The Italians twice came out of Eritrea and in 1935 from the Somalilands too; and Gran, the 16th century Muslim invader, from what is now Somalia. Haile Selassie saw himself like the fabled Prester John, holding a Christian island in the midst of a Muslim sea. He sought to control Eritrea, and was paranoid about Somalia, which he anathematized. He also worried about Djibouti as the only port connected by rail to Ethiopia. The world still awaits a psychobiography of Haile Selassie written by an Ethiopian, preferably a psychiatrist whose first tongue is Amharic and who has a sharp appreciation of the wax and gold inherent in the Semitic languages of Ethiopia. It will be challenging to apply psychological theory and research to the life of the emperor in the tradition of Eric Erikson and Jerrold M. Post, among others, who have combined psychoanalysis and social theory in controversial but engrossing studies of charismatic world leaders. 7 Critics of these studies, such as Richard Nixon, “think that most of the so-called new ‘science’ of psychobiography is pure baloney.” 8 Nevertheless, attempts at analyzing the psychological makeup, character, or motivations of Haile Selassie lack clarity and validity when compared to analyses of other significant historical figures. Many theorize that the emperor possessed a narcissistic and paranoid personality. His grandiose majesty convinced HIM of his moral and sovereign superiority, which entitled him to use ruthless power at any costs. His esurient self trapped HIM in a paranoid distrust of others and finally rendered him incapable of adapting himself to changing circumstances. His reconciling self attempted to integrate his grandiose majesty with his esurient self, bringing about mediation among feuding African nations, Cold War rivals, and unaligned and neutral camp followers. He even offered to moderate a settlement of the Vietnam conflict. His driving force, his idée fixe, was collective security, especially if it could be managed by the UN. He was also obsessivecompulsive in repeatedly seeking military aid from America to alleviate his persistent fears of Muslim or communist-allied invaders. These foibles of the king only touch the surface of the inner makeup of the complicated, mesmeric ruler of the Habesha . More and deeper studies 192 The Lion of Judah in the New World of Haile Selassie’s psychology of political behavior are needed to enhance our understanding of this puzzling potentate. * * * Each of the emperor’s state visits to the United States, each a great drama and great history, served as a trail mark along Americans’ way of knowing more about the former dark continent and its peoples. This ranged from little acquaintance with Africa at the time of the emperor’s first state visit in 1954 to an explosion of media coverage and knowledge about the continent during the Decade of Africa in the 1960s with its end of colonialism and the creation of the Organization of African Unity to the realpolitik of the Cold War and public indifference to the general abandonment of African nations that did not offer some immediate advantage to the United States in its struggle against communism in the early 1970s. Throughout this period of 20 years, as technology facilitated communication and made knowledge of other lands and peoples easier to come by, Haile Selassie was the one constant figure representing sub-Saharan Africa in the minds of most Americans. He established his status as a celebrity by simple familiarity, induced and reinforced by carefully planned and well-executed public performances.9 His celebrity grew over generations as more people found new virtues in HIM. He possessed considerable personal charm that only increased with age and experience. He radiated success and authority, and many Americans were eager to be impressed. At the time of the emperor’s first state visits, the nation was gripped by a kind of patriotic emotion seldom evoked in the doubting cynical midcentury. In those years, appreciation of a cultivated African somehow raised the stature of Americans, and Haile Selassie was a person known for some serious achievements. As his valor during World War II receded into the misty past, Haile Selassie became more, and not less, heroic. He had stood at or near center stage for 50 years from the time of World War I, to the Great Depression, to World War II, and through the era of the Cold War. He had stood the test of time. If Ethiopian critics of the emperor at home or abroad complained bitterly about governance of the kingdom or about the mendacity of the monarch, most Americans paid little heed to their jeremiads. There were no truth in advertising laws in the celebrity industry, and iconoclasts were not welcome. A celebrity need not be admirable, merely spectacular. 10 The image of the nattily uniformed emperor was a positive one, even as his exotic veneer eroded and he came to represent just one of Epilogue 193 many (probably too many for an individual’s attention span) African nations. Through his periodic appearances in the United States, the emperor, “the mirror of all courtesy,” remained an international celebrity in the eyes of the public long after he no longer beguiled the State Department. His grave persona, conveyed in his adroit use of public relations, had a long-lasting benign impact on Americans’ view of Africa. Without him, the collective “picture in the head” of Africans might have been far different in light of the distressing conditions and perplexing leaders that emerged during the postcolonial era. Renowned rulers such as Nasser, the “leader of the Arabs”; Nkrumah, the “Osagyefo”; Nyerere, the “Mwalimu;” and Kenyatta, “the flaming spear” all flashed on the consciousness of Americans and had their admirers and detractors, but only the Ethiopian king of kings provided permanence in a continuously changing mise-en-scène of the dark continent. While other African leaders disappointed us, we could count on HIM to be steady, consistent, and unshakable—a pillar of rectitude. The beneficent feelings created by Haile Selassie during his journeys to the United States influenced America’s thinking about Africa and its people, an influence that continues today. The State Department, entrusted with the task of making the powerful and famous look good, filled official events with spectacular moments.11 In the well-scripted visits of Haile Selassie, State choreographed the ceremonial magnificence of the United States and the renown of its president while it also helped shape how the emperor was perceived and understood. History is not only what important people did and said but also what they symbolized. For most of his admirers, Haile Selassie was the embodiment of the idea of the underdog, the little guy who stood up to the bully, but the world didn’t have the gumption to come to his help. This image of the worthy hero/victim emerged from a dialectical or collaborative process between the celebrity emperor and his audience that grew with time. The emotions generated by this worthy and controversial figure were run through cultural filters that gave meaning to what he represented. The emperor and his handsome entourage of Ethiopians, free of group static, speaking Oxbridge English and interacting with an adoring public embossed a more meaningful imprimatur on the visits than that of official agreements and joint statements. While the poignancy of Haile Selassie’s speaking at the United Nations, being the first African leader to spend the night in the White House, and traveling in a still racially segregated South is historic, many Americans will remember instead the ticker-tape parades honoring the emperor in New York 194 The Lion of Judah in the New World City, his attending a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, and his gifts to Jacqueline Kennedy and her children at Camelot. The pomp and circumstance enhanced the public image of the Ethiopian ruler: He was honored at elaborate White House dinners, staged spectacular arrivals by ocean liner in New York and by train in Washington’s Union Station, and laid wreaths before the honored memorials in stirring and somber ceremonies throughout the continent. On another grave occasion, Haile Selassie was the most colorful figure in the largest gathering of heads of state in the 20th century who attended President Kennedy’s funeral. In addition to ruffles and flourishes in the nation’s governmental and financial capitals, the formally august emperor was an unprecedented center of attention in enthusiastic provincial venues. People from all walks of life were captivated by the little king, magnetized by his quiet Olympian personality while he constantly performed rituals that are remembered to this day. The presence of royalty, about which most Americans knew but little, inspired exquisitist urges in welcoming officials as well as the general public. Everyone seemed to go all out to honor the emperor and to show their communities at their best. Those who took part in ceremonies involving the emperor rhapsodized about the events. Association with an emperor—even the idea of an emperor— guided one’s behavior. It was not just what Haile Selassie did but what he meant that imprinted Haile Selassie on Americans’ emotional memory. Grande dames of the hinterlands who attended the dinner or the reception in honor of HIM were written up in the local press and the glow of their proximity to celebrity radiated into their communities. Likewise, the men who were ceremoniously inducted into the Order of the Star of Ethiopia felt singularly honored, even though the order’s membership was far from exclusive and swelled almost anywhere Haile Selassie received a public encomium. Even the often-decorated Richard Nixon bragged about receiving “a high honor” from HIM during his first state visit. At every stop on the emperor’s itinerary, the media expressed admiration for the little king and what he stood for. In other parts of the Americas, Haile Selassie was deified by the Ras Tefarians in Jamaica, cheered as he drove down boulevards lined with 10,000 troops in Mexico City, and given the royal treatment by the Canadians who were quite proficient at it. There also were gripping behind-the-scenes tales, the compost of secret treacheries that are an integral part of diplomatic relations, stories of state secrets and contradictions—stories that reveal the human complexities behind the mythic African character and his influence on America. Epilogue 195 Although the emperor primarily sought military assistance from the United States, he was adept in acquiring economic and educational aid from Point Four, USAID, and the Peace Corps, and even from the American private sector. He also was valued as a moderate influence in postcolonial Africa, where the actions of a new generation of rulers frequently diverged from American interests. At the same time Haile Selassie was criticized for being a wily rug merchant who could not be “out-Byzantined”12 and a blackmailer in demanding exorbitant rent for Kagnew. His furnishing troops for UN operations in Korea and the Congo demonstrated his staunch support for the collective security of that international body, where he was a long-time friend of the United States. To many observers, the little king was like an actor who played so many roles that his fans wondered if he existed when he was not acting. To them, Haile Selassie seemed to lack substance when he was not on stage. He was the sum of his parts, but who among his critics and admirers could make a meaningful addition of all the segments? In a simpler time, a less-sophisticated yesteryear, when there were only four independent nations in Africa, when the United States was still finding its way in a post–World War II era, and when right and wrong perhaps were more easily discernable, millions of Americans identified deeply with Haile Selassie. They couldn’t get enough of him because they so desperately needed to be reminded of the noble effort of World War II. The petite ruler was a larger-than-life projection of everything Americans wanted to believe about themselves. Then, the United States was on the side of right, and the emperor was there with us. For the generation that remembered the war, Haile Selassie, the small, picturesque figure with his famous cape and beard addressing the League of Nations, as seen repeatedly in newsreels and Allied propaganda films, was a living icon, a hero of the United Nations’ success in crushing fascism and Nazism. American hearts were full of sympathy as the emperor courageously exposed Mussolini’s evil, shedding the light of truth on the enveloping darkness. He made people feel good about themselves in having been a part of the great crusade. In the less certain times that followed, of police actions and undeclared wars in Korea and Vietnam, Americans so desperately needed to be reminded of the noble effort of World War II. For African Americans in their struggle for civil rights, Haile Selassie led a nation that was a beacon of hope for oppressed people everywhere. For a younger generation of Americans, he personified the optimism of a new era of progress for independent nations freed from the shackles of colonialism. And he was a Christian ruler—a denominational affiliation admired by many in the Americas. 196 The Lion of Judah in the New World For better or for worse, most Americans tended to like the emperor because of his past accomplishments. Perhaps Haile Selassie’s greatest achievement was reigning so long. His longevity and prominence in postwar life underscored his valuable contributions to the 20th century. His image remained indelible and ubiquitous in American culture, and he was superb at maintaining being well-known. By just being periodically, joyfully received in the United States—a great talent in itself—he continued his charismatic appeal and ability to inspire. Few were aware of the emperor’s problems back home or of his nation’s significance in U.S. communications technology and in its geopolitical importance, especially in the Middle East. For most Americans, fascinated by royalty, there was magic in his majesty—to the point that Haile Selassie was part of popular culture. The emperor seemed to hold many Americans in an inexplicable fascination, what psychiatrists call a “psychic thrall.” This gave HIM an aura of awesome authority and celebrity. The image that the American people developed during Haile Selassie’s prominence played a significant role in the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008. The election was a noteworthy milestone for race relations in the nation. With a few exceptions, conscious or explicit racism was not part of the campaign. 13 Social psychologists argue, however, that unconscious or implicit biases have a powerful effect on how people evaluate candidates. As a result, Obama’s party spent much money and time creating positive images of the presidential candidate to combat negative racial associations that carry over from an earlier era. The Democrats ran a campaign well suited to combating such unconscious bias. The nature of the campaign demonstrated that race continues to play a complex and profound role in how Americans judge each other politically. In addition to negative factors, there also can be positive images in unconscious biases. When many Americans saw the son of a Kenyan seeking higher office, the remembrance of Emperor Haile Selassie was a part of the subconscious, influencing their affirmative thinking about Africans and people of African descent. In North America, the Lion of Judah was considered great, and his visits to the New World created a positive image of the best from Africa—an image that is still evolving in the United States today.

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/7/2013 12:05:48 AM

About the Author THEODORE M. VESTAL (PhD, Stanford University) is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Oklahoma State University. Professor Vestal went to Ethiopia as a Peace Corps executive in 1964 and has maintained a scholarly interest in that fascinating country and its people ever since. He served as a consultant to the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and as an international election observer in 1992. Among Professor Vestal’s earlier publications are International Education (Praeger, 1994) and Ethiopia: A Post-Cold War African State (Praeger, 1999).

Messenger: Eleazar Sent: 3/10/2013 10:58:48 PM

This book is not written from the perspective of RasTafarI and contains some inaccuracies, but it has some interesting accounts of HIM's visits to the USA and Canada.

I didn't know that Selassie visited the White House six times and met with Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon.

Messenger: Ark I Sent: 3/10/2013 11:10:45 PM

Give thanks for posting the information.

Messenger: Matthew Sent: 3/15/2013 3:27:31 PM

Yes I
Give Thanks Eleazar,
I have just finished the first couple of chapters and looking forward to reading the rest

Blessed Love

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