An episode, from Eritrean History.
On Nov 14, 1962, Imperial Ethiopia dissolved the Federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia. Members of the Eritrean Assembly were ordered by force to attend a session to address a “special matter
The Last session of the Eritrean Assembly
Many of the Assembly members believed that they were summoned to debate a budget. The V. Pres., Melake Selam Dimetros G/mariam
, who took the chair in the absence of the President, announced that the Chief Executive would come to the Assembly to submit an important motion.
After a few min, the Chief Executive, Bitweded Asfaha Weldemikael
, came with his 6 Secretaries, the Eritrean Police Commissioner & other dignitaries. He said
The statement that I am going to read to you is final issue of the Eritrean case and there is nothing you can do other than accepting it as it is. We have rendered the Federation null and void…Eritrea was united to its motherland in 1952.
Sh. Hamid Ferej Pres. Nat Asmb 1955-62
the Federation was an imposed foreign instrument undermining the unity of the two countries.
Within hours of the "decision
" of Eritrean Assembly, Ethiopian radio announced the end of the Federation. On the same day, both the Ethiopian Senate & Chamber of Deputies were hastily convened to approve the Eritrean Asemb's 'decision
The next day, on Nov 15, 1962 Imperial Ethiopia enacted Order No. 27 of 1962
An Order to provide for the Termination of the Federal Status of Eritrea and Application to Eritrea of the System of Unitary Administration of the Empire of Ethiopia.
Terminating the Federal Act created by UNGA Resolution, 390 A (V)
of Dec 2, 1950 by a mere Order was a legal, political & diplomatic blunder. It’s to be recalled that Imperial Ethiopia declared the Treaties of 1900, 1902 and 1908 null and void by Order No 6, 1952
2 days before the dissolution of the Federation, on Nov 13, Ethiopian troops stationed in Eritrea were ordered to take positions at the main points of Asmara & other towns. The soldiers in Asmara were chanting 'EMBI YALE SEW TIYIT AGURSEW
'. They'd shoot anyone, who'd defy the annexation.
After Imperial Ethiopia dismantled the Federation, there was no reaction from UN, the USA, the UK, Italy, France, the Soviet Union. Recently declassified CIA documents written in 1967 stated that Emp Haileselassie
put enormous pressure in the Eritrean Assembly into uttering its “unanimous
” vote of acquiescence.
Describing how Eritreans felt about integration with Ethiopia, US Consul Johnson
's sent the following cable:
On Nov 21 1962, Dean Rusk
US Sec of State (1961-69) instructed the US Amb to inform H.Selassie
US found it inappropriate to officially “commend" Ethiopia on the dissolution of the Federation or participate in formal observances of the event, in view of the history of the Federation & the general interest of the international community.
(U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1952)
From the point of view of justice, the opinion of the Eritrean people must receive consideration. Nevertheless, the strategic interests of the United States in the Red Sea Basin and world peace make it necessary that the country be linked with our ally Ethiopia.