Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Millennial Challenges: Lessons of misquided revolutions- Comparing 1960-1974-2005

Dear patriotic citizines of the Globe and Friends of Ethiopia:

Here is a very interesting lessons from Violence of the Failed Coup by Palace Guards in the 1960s- What the General Mengistu could not achieve a Major Mengistu completed it just after 14 years of dormant revolution among the army.

Millennial Challenes: Good Governance in the Military!

Lessons of a misguided military and students taking up arms!

Harold G. Marcus
Michigan State University

In December 1960, 1 while the emperor was making his way home from
Brazil to save Ethiopia from an attempted coup, as he saw it, the
students of Addis Abeba made their first move to save Ethiopia from
autocracy and feudalism, as they saw it. The opening gambit of their
strategy, which ended with the emperor's deposition in September 1974,
can fairly be stated to have begun on the afternoon of 14 December
1960, when University College of Addis Abeba leaders met General
Mengistu Neway, commander of the bodyguard and leader of the
dissidents, at Bodyguard Headquarters.

They liked his description of
high-ranking government officials and members of the royal family,
imprisoned as hostages the previous night, as "lice sucking the [blood
of] Ethiopian society . . . A burden to the country," and grew
enthusiastic as he discussed correcting deteriorating economic
conditions and social injustice. When several students commented that
intellectuals must be heard, Mengistu let them believe that "somehow,
distantly, we would be able to participate, " and urged the students to
act on behalf of the new government. 2

At a meeting that night in the cafeteria of University College,
students revealed more confusion than conviction about the crisis.
They neither knew what a coup d'etat was nor how to mount a
demonstration. Spokesmen for the bodyguard lied in saying that the
military was united against a corrupt central government, pandering to
their idealistic audience with attractive notions of justice for the
peasant and the worker. "They. . . spoke about our own ideas, however
unexpressed these had been. It was like Jesus healing the cripple. We
had the same feelings of joy the cripple must have had.

The incredible, a miracle had happened." Based on such wishful thinking,
the students came to believe that the coup would succeed and voted to
demonstrate on its behalf. [End Page 11] They worked during the night
composing slogans and songs, making banners out of bed sheets and
writing a manifesto. 3

The document was naive, pretentious, and patronizing, though an augury
nonetheless of the more sophisticated and ideological statements of
the self-conscious, activist student movement of later years. The
novices explained Ethiopia's backwardness as stemming from the
government's unwillingness to permit the newly educated to modernize
the country. The ignorant and traditional bureaucrats in charge of the
ministries denied the students their "due rights . . . to develop our
dear country, to civilize our country, and to lead our dear country
towards a prosperous future." The new government, on the other hand,
would allow students to assist in development, and they were "ready to
render . . . advice and service" based on their "extensive study of
history and extensive research into the world of today." Ethiopia's
aristocrats controlled land and exploited the urban and rural poor
through high rent and taxes, but the new government would remove the
inequity, "opening a . . . door to a progressive and prosperous future
for Ethiopia and its people." 4

The manifesto placed the students and their successors at the
epicenter of Ethiopian politics, as they left the relative safety of
the enclosed campus for the rough-and-tumble of the capital. Singing,
waving placards, and yelling slogans, the young people marched from
the upper town toward army headquarters. Their main message was simple
and to the point:

Wake up, compatriots! Do not ignore history. Break the bonds of your
slavery and renew your freedom today. Wake up! Wake up! Do not ignore
history. Safeguard your dignity, and you will be rewarded with eternal
happiness. Wake up! Wake up! Do not ignore history. 5

Their unfurled banners proclaimed: "For everyone—a bloodless
revolution; Let us stand peacefully with the new government of the
people; Our goal is Equality, Brotherhood and Freedom." Bystanders did
not know what to make of the marchers and their messages, but there
was "confused curiosity," a better response than the platoon of
loyalist soldiers who, weapons ready, refused to permit the students
to advance beyond the railway station. Advised by accompanying faculty
to stand down, the students wheeled around, leaving the coup, now in
its penultimate stage, to miscarry on its own. 6 [End Page 12]

At the palace, the rebels were becoming increasingly frustrated as
nothing went as they had anticipated. Neither the intelligentsia nor
the educated elite in the military had poured into the streets in
support. The United States and other liberal democracies had not
embraced them or their ideas for reform. The patriarch of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church not only refused his support but instead
issued a broadside contrasting the bodyguard's treason with the army's
"abiding faith" in the emperor and urging the people to rally to the
crown and ignore "the traitors." 7 Worst of all, the army had rebuffed
efforts at reconciliation with the bodyguard, so upsetting Mengistu
that he ordered an attack to draw their attention. 8 At around 2:50
P.M., rifle fire commenced, quickly joined by mortars, spreading
rapidly from east to west. Serious fighting went on only at the
airport, which the loyalists needed to secure for the emperor's return.

The skirmish there sparked a spontaneous and joyful royalist
demonstration near the palace, doubtless driving Mengistu's morale to
an all-time low. His fitful sleep that night would have become
insomnia had he known that the emperor was now in charge of the
mutiny's suppression, thanks to the technical help of the U.S. Air
Force and its international communications network.

During an early evening stopover in Liberia, Haile Sellassie used the American
facilities at Robertsfield Airport to contact Asmera. General Abiye
Abebe urged his quick return, pointing out that the army and air force
remained loyal as did Ethiopia's provincial heartland. 9 The emperor
thus was able to claim in a statement the next day that, "Since this
confusion is confined only within Addis Abeba, we are confident that
peace and security reign in the rest of the country." 10

That night, while the emperor was en route to Khartoum, his loyalists
had occupied key positions around Addis Abeba, prefatory to an early
morning attack on the rebels. American advisers were everywhere, and
the air force attaché was at the airport helping to establish radio
contact with the imperial plane, in the air again after stopping in
Fort Lamy. At 8:00 A.M., General Merid Mengesha advised Haile
Sellassie that there was no doubt about the outcome. 11 By then, the
rebels were under heavy military pressure and sought American
mediation. Ambassador Arthur L. Richards agreed, since "for
humanitarian reasons we could not have decided otherwise." 12

Later, at the U.S. Embassy, Germame Neway, Mengistu's U.S. educated
brother and the coup's intellectual leader, listened to Major Assefa
Lemma [End Page 13] rebut his charges that the regime was corrupt,
dishonest, and repressive. Assefa denied that the emperor had retarded
the country's development, reminding Germame that capital availability
and the international market were more important factors. Slyly he
asked Germame how he explained Haile Sellassie's devotion to the
education of a whole new class of bureaucrats and civil officials, a
gentle reminder of Germame's personal debt to the emperor's largesse.
In the ensuing silence, Assefa charged that it was wrong to foment
civil war to right poorly perceived wrongs. From the inquisition,
Germame emerged "ashen grey," but remarked to an acquaintance that
even if the coup did not succeed, he and collaborators had shown the
hollowness of Haile Sellassie's state. 13

Lt. Col. W. H. Crosson Jr., the U.S. Army attaché, accompanied Assefa
Lemma back to the army command post, where the American obtained an
official letter from General Merid addressed to Ras Imru, the
emperor's first cousin and long-time associate, warning that the
loyalists would continue to fight "unless the rebel forces immediately
laid down their arms." 14 After a hurried return to the embassy to
pick up Richards and William McGhee, a political officer, Crosson made
his way to the palace, hoping that U.S. intervention would safeguard
the lives of the government and royal hostages. Arriving at the
palace's gates at 12:40 P.M., the trio thought little about the heavy
firing resonating from down the road as they made their way to the
main building. In a small office to the left of the portico, they
found the coup's main figures, who listened with increasing dismay as
Ras Imru read out the army's demand for unconditional surrender.

15 At this point, Lt. Colonel Workneh Gebeyehu, the director of security in
the Ministry of the Interior, ordered McGhee to leave with the
ambassador, since "There is going to be trouble." His advice was
punctuated by "a burst of submachine gun fire . . . let off by one of
the guards at the front entrance." 15 The people in the room froze in
a tableau, especially when bullets hit the office's outside wall.

It was now 1:00 P.M., and with advance units of the army at the gates,
Crosson concluded that it was time to "make ourselves scarce. Three
dead Americans—one of them an ambassador—in rebel headquarters would
certainly make lurid headlines as well as having the disadvantage of
[our] being dead in a quarrel not our own." 16 Reading his attaché's
mind, Richards calmly announced that he and his delegation were
leaving and then made for the portico, [End Page 14] only to find that
the embassy car had been moved elsewhere for protection.

Back inside, no one knew the whereabouts of the vehicle, and they were
busy anyway, loading rifles and submachine guns. When firing erupted,
the Americans jumped out the closest window, placing them in the
western lee of the palace, protected from an army frontal attack. The
trio ran toward the rear of the building, where Workneh and several
other officers were commandeering vehicles. Richards drove a Pontiac
station wagon through the palace's rear gate and took a nearby road to
the embassy, while the fugitives took to the hills. 17

Ras Imru left the palace's ground floor for the relative safety of the
second floor, where he found the crown prince and other hostages
huddled under the heavy mahogany table in the cabinet room. Imru
recollected that "the fighting continued with great fierceness. . . .
Smoke was everywhere, both inside and out the palace, to such an
extent that I thought the building was on fire." At around 5:00 P.M.,
one of Crown Prince Asfa Wossen's servants found them and reported
that the palace had been evacuated. Shortly thereafter, Senator
Dejazmach Bezabe Selleshi arrived, to be welcomed by the crown prince
with a laconic, "So you have survived," 18 as if the prince had known
that some detainees would be executed if the coup had failed.

At 4:00 P.M., as Mengistu put it, "Ethiopia should never be the same
again," 19 the brothers Neway and Germame Wondefresh, the latter an
awraja governor and a member of the Council of Revolution, shot and
killed 15 of the hostages, wounded three, and left two others unhurt
but feigning death. 20 The assassins thereupon abandoned their coup
and Addis Abeba, desperately hoping to find security in the
countryside. Meanwhile, Haile Sellassie had arrived in Khartoum at
12:30 P.M. and was met with full honors by the Sudanese Government. An
hour later, the emperor left for Asmara, which he reached at 4:20 P.M. 21

The monarch emerged from the plane "looking somewhat tired [but]
relaxed and self-assured, " visibly moved by the "wildly enthusiastic
ovation of the crowds." While he was reviewing troops, greeting
officials, and receiving members of the consular corps, a horde of
onlookers pushed forward, "and the emperor was soon surrounded by
innumerable screaming people.

Had anyone wished to assassinate him, it would have been very easy." 22 His subjects chased [End Page 15] after him as he drove into Asmera to pray in the city's two leading Orthodox churches. That evening, from the imperial palace, the emperor made a radio address to the nation specifically absolving the mediator Ras
Imru and the ex-hostage crown prince from any guilt in the revolution.
By the time Haile Sellassie retired for the night, fighting had ended
in Addis Abeba and crowds of cheering people roamed the city in
anticipation of their monarch's return the following day.

After successive telephone conversations with members of his family,
courtiers, loyalist leaders, and diplomats, the emperor judged the
capital safe and arrived there at 4:15 P.M. From the airport and
spreading throughout the town was an increasingly loud and collective
sigh of relief. "Everywhere, on all sides, came cries and shouts from
the huts and the houses. The men's voices united in a hollow roar,
interspersed by women's high-pitched yodeling." The coup attempt had
brought warfare and death. With Haile Sellassie back, they hoped to be
able to return to their more or less placid existence. 23

Those who gathered at the airport to greet the emperor primarily were
those who saved his throne, including Colonel Crosson and Ambassador
Richards, the last ranking member of the diplomatic corps admitted to
the field. Already stunned by the news that his protégés, General
Mengistu and Colonel Workneh, were implicated in the coup, Haile
Sellassie was disconsolate to learn about the deaths of 15 of his most
trusted and experienced officials, along with hundreds of soldiers,
bodyguards, and civilians who also perished in the fighting.

He was quoted as saying to the crown prince, who appeared before him bowing
obsequiously with a rock of submission on the right shoulder, "It
would have been much better for me to salute you in a cemetery than to
see you standing here" 24 ; or "And you didn't know that your last
hour had come? You have not learned how to die like an Emperor." 25

To nobody in particular, the monarch commented, "If this is the result
of all that I have tried to do for my country, then I shall rule as
long as I am alive. After that I am not responsible. " 26 Pulling
himself together, Haile Sellassie appeared "alert and energetic . . .
calm and collected, his usual air." He called over Arthur Richards and
his two military attachés "and expressed sincere gratitude" to the
people of the United States and its president. 27 Then the emperor
made for his car, to show himself to the cheering multitudes who lined
his route [End Page 16] into the city. He went to the Jubilee Palace
to begin the process of learning the truth about the events of the
previous few days.

In a country as complex as Ethiopia, facts are difficult to ascertain;
reality often depends on point of view. Most observers agreed that the
revolt would force the emperor from his effort to rule the country
through confidants, cronies, and courtesans. They believed that the
government sorely needed institutions that transcended politics and
social class, in which educated personnel could obtain authority in a
systematic and regulated fashion.

28 At the same time, the crisis had revealed that the lower urban class and the peasantry revered Haile Sellassie and did not regard him as reactionary or old-fashioned. The emperor had a Solomonic task: to create new institutions in order to
satisfy the desires of the newly educated and to politicize the broad
masses as his supporters. In short, Haile Sellassie had to work
against his nature to democratize his government. It was much easier
to use the word than to implement a plan of action that would give it
substance and definition in the context of Ethiopia. 29

In fact, shortly after his return, the emperor told a select group of
foreign journalists that there would not be "the slightest deviation
from the path of progress [he had] worked out for Ethiopia." He
asserted with uncharacteristic feistiness that "there will be no
change in the system of Government or in the Government's programs."
30 "Why," he asked, "should Addis Abeba be troubled, when the whole
empire is peaceful?" The provinces had profited from the progress his
policies had promoted.

He had fostered education and favored those who used their modern
skills to benefit the nation. They worked within a constitutional
system that "We conferred upon Our people" to implement "some of the
many plans We have formulated for the advancement [of] Our Nation." 31
Once again, the emperor charged that the coup was the work of a "very
small group [of] bodyguard officers and minor civil servants . . . all
closely associated, either by family ties or by background."
Notwithstanding their "high sounding phrases," they were motivated by
"personal ambition and lust for power." He ridiculed their
prescription for change as "only a copy of existing programs" and once
again asserted that recent events

. . . would not cause the slightest deviation from [the] path of
progress he [had] initiated for his country. [He was] convinced [that
the] programs [End Page 17] he [had] initiated [were] best calculated
[to] secure achievement and progress . . . and [he] was determined
[to] pursue them with all the vigor and energy at his disposal. There
[would] be no change in the system of government or [in the]
government's programs.

The emperor regretted the bloodletting associated with the coup but
clarified that he would prosecute those who had massacred his faithful
colleagues. He exonerated the crown prince and Ras as being forced to
act on behalf of the rebels. Some others had been duped into
participation, believing they were fighting for the crown. He offered
them amnesty and an opportunity to prove their innocence.

On 22 December, Gaitachew Bekele, a long-serving civil servant and
critic of the crown, surrendered at the Jubilee Palace. Seen around
bodyguard headquarters on the morning of the coup, rumors abounded
that he was one of its ringleaders. In fact, he did collaborate with
the rebels until he realized that their disorganization and lack of
planning had doomed the effort. On the advice of his family, he made
for Akaki, some 25 kilometers south, where he took on the guise of a
tenant farmer on his mother's property. When he learned from the radio
of the emperor's proposed amnesty, he decided to return "to give
myself up and dissociate myself from the embarrassing affair." He sent
a message to his father-in-law to open pour-parlers on his behalf and
set out for the capital on 21 December, a ranking loyalist having
advised that if he could prove his innocence, "I should not fear to
give myself up to the emperor in person." 33

While waiting in the palace foyer to be called before the emperor, he
was ostracized by old friends and acquaintances, who directed "evil
looks" at him. When ushered into the imperial presence, Haile
Sellassie was standing in front of a large desk, looking "exhausted
and colorless, with his hair reddish." The emperor listened patiently
to Gaitachew's explanation, was unconvinced, and directed that
Gaitachew be detained at First Division Headquarters.

After three months of intensive investigation, prosecutors found that Gaitachew
had committed no crime, though his behavior was disrespectful to the
crown. He was therefore sent into internal exile, first to Wolliso, a
two-hour drive south of Addis Abeba, and then to Jima, two hours
farther down the same road. A few months later, he was appointed
governor of Bahir Dar and completely reintegrated into society. 34
Except for General Mengistu and a few others whose executions [End
Page 18] were necessary as examples, 35 the emperor decided to be
lenient toward Ethiopia's newly educated elite, whom he needed in the
continued construction of his modern state.

According to the Voice of Ethiopia, the emperor's Christmas address
was "a clarion call to the youth of the land to dedicate themselves to
the colossal task of advancing Ethiopia along the road to education
and technical development, and to leave aside impatience and
immaturity." In fact, the speech was a clear reiteration of past
achievements and already established priorities and goals and
delivered as if the attempted coup had not occurred.

Haile Sellassie credited himself for working ceaselessly "for the
welfare and prosperity of Our beloved and loyal people and for the
growth of Our country." He reminded his subjects that development
required time as well as educated and capable people. He claimed the
prize for "ensuring that Ethiopian boys and girls grow in education"
and for investing annually at least 20 percent of the post-war budget
for schools.

He cited the record on the number of hospital and clinics he had
opened, the health research organizations he had established to
control epidemics and chronic illness, and the industry and factories
his policies had facilitated. He especially had enjoyed building roads
and better air and radio communications to connect the people to the
modern world, he said. He also had ensured that Ethiopia was a global
citizen, a member of the United Nations and other worldwide
organizations, and a participant in important international meetings
in Asia and Africa. His own travels to Europe, the Americas, and on
his natal continent had introduced foreigners to Ethiopia's culture
and civilization, strengthened the country's sovereignty and
independence, and helped to win back Eritrea and its ports.

His accomplishments had come with "age and experience." In Haile
Sellassie's opinion, haste led only to confusion and demoralization
among traditional people who needed to be nurtured slowly into change,
and to disloyalty because officials did not know whether to be true to
their leaders or their projects. The recent coup was a case in point
because its leadership wished to speed up the process of development
without preparing the people for its consequences. They were willing
to abandon their king for short-term gains likely to pull the country
apart. Haile Sellassie swore never to act without proper consideration
for culture, tradition, [End Page 19] and religion. He wanted only "to
serve Our people. . . . To free them from subjection, and . . . [to
secure them as] the owners of their possessions and properties." He
closed this important speech by proclaiming his devotion to policies
designed to build a basic national infrastructure and a government
strong enough to implement development, 36 the same message he had
been delivering since the 1930s.

On 6 February 1961, the emperor named a new government completely
reminiscent of the pre-coup political order. He made 58 appointments,
transfers, and promotions, including those of seven new cabinet
ministers and four high military leaders. Although a number of able
younger officials received recognition, one observer reported that the
top positions went to aristocrats or plebeian sycophants. As more of
the same, "they will do little to quell the discontent among the young
educated class . . . whose frustrations at the inefficiency of
government continues to grow." The emperor appeared to take no notice
of the forces that had shaped and inspired the recent crisis, and
maintained his control over government.

By mid-March, Haile Sellassie had not named a prime minister, which
seemed to underscore the notion that the ministers were his personal
appointees and "quite obviously directly responsible to him."
Moreover, the monarch was apparently unwilling to permit ministers the
authority to implement programs without reference to him. As they were
constantly waiting on him at the palace, government was mostly
lethargic, moving in fits and starts related to successful audiences
with the emperor. It was clear to one and all that, like the Bourbon
kings, Haile Sellassie had neither forgotten anything nor learned
anything new. 37

The emperor's appointments and changes clarify this point very well.
He first honored the leading loyalists. General Merid Mengesha,
related by marriage to the imperial family, was promoted to lieutenant
general and named minister of defense, replacing Ras Abebe Aregai.
Also raised to lieutenant general was Kebede Gebre, who became chief
of staff in Merid's stead. Ras Mesfin Selleshi, who had held on to
Shewa tightly, was promoted to lieutenant general.

Dejazmach Asrate Kassa (later ras), who played such an important role in rallying the
government, became president of the senate. Dejazmach Asfaha Mikail,
the chief executive of Eritrea, was elevated to the rank of bitwodded,
or [End Page 20] beloved brigadier general. Issayas Gebre Sellassie,
head of the emperor's private cabinet, became major general and
commander of the ground forces, Kebede's old post. Finally, Brigadier
General Assefa Ayene was promoted to major general and commander of
the air force. Colonel Debebe Haile Mariam, former senior aide-de-camp
to the emperor, was nominated brigadier general and commander of the

Other military men were prominent cabinet appointees. Brigadier
General Abiye Abebe was elevated two ranks to lieutenant general and
nominated minister of the interior, while retaining for the time being
his post as the emperor's personal representative in Eritrea. Colonel
Tamrat Yigezu, Haile Sellassie's long-standing henchman who chaired
the committee investigating complicity in the abortive coup, was
appointed minister of community development. The severely wounded
Brigadier General Makonnen Deneke became minister of state for
security in the Ministry of the Interior, and Brigadier General
Diressie Dubale was made commissioner of police.

Other establishment appointees were Balambaras Mahteme-Sellassie Wolde
Maskal, a bookish man, to the ministry of public works; Lij Mikail
Imru, son of the ras, to foreign affairs; Dejazmach Zewdie Gebre
Sellassie, a great-great grandson of Yohannes IV (r. 1872-1889) and
the crown prince's stepson, to justice. Other nominees were just as
safe: Haddis Alemayehu, lately minister of state for foreign affairs,
to education, where he acted for the emperor, who retained the
portfolio; and Emmanuel Abraham, Haile Sellassie's durable and
trustworthy subordinate, to posts, telegraph, and telephones. Ras
Andargatchew Massai, the emperor's son-in-law, was posted as governor
of Sidamo; Dejazmach Mengesha Seyoum, formerly minister of public
works, to replace his father, a palace casualty, in Tigray; Dejazmach
Amha Aberra, to Begemdir and Semien; and Dejazmach Kifle Dadi, to Kafa.

The emperor made a number of subsidiary appointments for
directors-general, assistant ministers, and vice ministers, among them
some educated and capable younger people. Yodit Imru, daughter of the
ras, became assistant minister of foreign affairs; Salah Hirut,
assistant minister of public works and communications; Assefa
Demissie, assistant minister of the interior; Seyoum Bekele, director
in the ministry of public health; Kifle Wadajo, assistant to the
resident representative to the United Nations; and Admassu Mehret,
director [End Page 21] general in the ministry of agriculture. 38 The
overall message was retention of the status quo.

Haile Sellassie had named aristocrats, proven partisans, and political
hacks to positions of power. Political reliability was his most
important consideration, and the pattern of appointment was
reminiscent of the way he had ordered government in prewar Ethiopia,
when educated individuals had returned from schools abroad ready to
work for the nation. He had placed them in subordinate positions, as
if their modern notions were subversive, while consistently selecting
safe or old-fashioned men for policy execution. The London government
advised the emperor to make use of the young, educated elite even if,
by the emperor's standards, they lacked experience. Lost in his own
thoughts, Haile Sellassie admitted that John F. Kennedy's election
showed "that young men of this age could be given responsible jobs." 39

For the monarch, his own history notwithstanding, individuals had to
be at least 40 before maturity and experience would transform them
into responsible and sensible civil servants. Only then would they be
able understand that change among traditional people not only required
time but also clarity of purpose and explanation of goals: "It is
necessary to accustom [the people], through education, to abandon
habits by which they have been living, to make them accept new
ways—yet not by hasty and cruel methods, but by patience and study,
gradually and over a prolonged period." 40

The emperor believed that development required time, patience, and
experience, qualities that youth lacked. For the young, imperial
caution was reactionary, fulfilling political but not material needs.
Most observers believed that if progress lagged, the rising generation
would grow restive and drive the emperor from the throne. If he
ignored the "genuine and by no means unfounded discontent about . . .
the denial to men of talent the opportunity to contribute to
Ethiopia's welfare, the consequences for the future may be serious." 41

But not for the United States, which had no real political interest in
Ethiopia. Its strategic needs could be fulfilled by a dictator, and
Washington therefore did not pressure Haile Sellassie to transform his
authority into a constitutional monarchy. The State Department sought
to keep Ethiopia in the western camp and to foster an "orderly
political, economic, and social evolution" that would contain
revolutionary pressures in the Horn of Africa." 42 But [End Page 22]
that was the sum of its involvement, and Washington looked to Ethiopia
to solve its own internal social and political problems. Haile
Sellassie continued to believe, however, that American assistance
would enable him to work out his empire's chronic difficulties. In
fact, the State Department and others only intervened on the crown's
behalf in December 1960, when it became clear that the ineptitude of
the coup leadership guaranteed the emperor's continued role as
dictator of Ethiopia.


1. Delivered at the First International Littman Conference,
Staatliches Museum für Volkerkunde, Munich, May 2002. The resultant
article was edited posthumously, and slight revisions made by Tim

2. Randi Rønning Balsvik, Haile Sellassie's Students: The Intellectual
and Social Background to Revolution, 1952-1977 (East Lansing: Michigan
State University African Studies Center, 1985), 94-95.

3. Ibid., 95-96.

4. Manifesto in Wagner to Secretary of State, Addis Abeba, 22 December
1960, SD 775.00/12-2260.

5. Balsvik, Haile Sellassie's Students, 95-96.

6. A number of faculty have claimed their presence, but I have been
able to confirm only two: Richard Greenfield and Mesfin Wolde Mariam.
The latter recalled the incident clearly and certainly was more
influential with the students than Greenfield, then UCAA's dean of
students. Conversations with both men, various venues, 1968, 1979,
1985, 1990, 2001.

7. The Patriarch's Leaflet, Greenfield Collection, Oxford, England.

8. Written deposition of Ras Imru, n.d., given to the Commission of
Inquiry headed by Col. Tamrat Yigezu, Greenfield Collection.

9. Ambassador to Secretary of State, Monrovia, 15 December 1960, SD
775.11/12-1560, in Looram Report.

10. Liberian Age, 16 December 1960.

11. Richards to Secretary of State, Addis Abeba, 16 December 1960, SD

12. "Report on Attempted Coup d'Etat," Richards to Secretary of State,
Addis Abeba, 29 December 1960, SD 775.00/12-2960 (hereafter: Richards

13. Interview with Professor Donald Levine, Chicago, 7 October 1978.

14. Richards Report.

15. Gontran de Juniac, Le Dernier Roi des Rois: l'Ethiopie de Haïlé
Séllassié (Paris, 1979), 265.

16. Crosson report of "Events of 13-17 December 1960," in Richards to
Secretary of State, Addis Abeba, 13 January 1961, SD 775.00/1360
(hereafter: Crosson Report). [End Page 23]

17. Ibid.

18. Ras Imru deposition.

19. Richard Greenfield, Ethiopia: A New Political History (New York:
F. A. Praeger, 1965), 430.

20. Crosson Report.

21. Dorsey to Department, Khartoum, 16 December 1960, SD 775.11/12-1660.

22. Looram Report; Richards to Secretary of State, Addis Abeba, 16
December 1960, SD 775.00/12-1660.

23. Hans Wilhelm Lockot, The Mission: The Life, Reign, and Character
of Haile Sellassie I (London: Hurst, 1989), 83.

24. Elizabeth Germany, Ethiopia My Home: The Story of John Moraitis
(Addis Abeba, 2001), 96.

25. Lockot, The Mission, 83.

26. Albert E. Brant, In the Wake of Martyrs (Langley, B.C.: Omega,
1992), 252.

27. Richards to Secretary of State, Addis Abeba, 17 December 1960, SD

28. Annual Report for 1960, Wright to Home, Addis Abeba, 9 January
1961, FO 371/154836.

29. Wright to Home, Addis Abeba, 27 December 1960, FO 371/146574.

30. "Selassie Pledges Unchanged Rule," New York Times, 21 December 1960.

31. "His Imperial Majesty Pays Tribute to Heroic Ground and Air
Forces, Police and People," Ethiopian Herald, 19 December 1960.

32. Jay Walz, "The 'Conquering Lion' Still Reigns," New York Times
[Sunday] Magazine, 15 January 1961, 9.

33. Gaitachew Bekele, The Emperor's Clothes: A Personal Viewpoint on
Politics and Administration in the Imperial Ethiopian Government,
1941-1974 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1993), 108-10.

34. Ibid., 111-24.

35. Observer, "The Rebellion Trials in Ethiopia," Bulletin of the
International Commission of Jurists, April 1962.

36. "A Clarion Call," Voice of Ethiopia, 9 January 1961.

37. Holmes memo on changes in the Ethiopian Government, Addis Abeba,
14 March 1961, SD 775.02/3-1461.

38. Enclosures 1-5 in Holmes memo, n. 35.

39. Wright to FO, Addis Abeba, 21 December 1960, FO 371/146574.

40. Haile Sellassie I, My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, 1892-1937: The
Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I, trans. and annotated
Edward Ullendorff (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), 5. [End
Page 24]

41. FO to Embassies in Addis Abeba, Paris, Washington, Rome, London,
16 December 1960, FO 371/146574. The British ambassador in Addis Abeba
responded that the abortive coup represented the end of an era and
that "somehow or other the emperor will have to move swiftly with the
times if the embers of discontent are not to burst swiftly into flames
once again. Next time the army may well be on the other side." Wright
to Home, Addis Abeba, 27 December 1960, ibid.

42. National Security Council, "U.S. Policy in the Horn of Africa,"
NSC 6028 (30 December 1960), approved without change, 18 January 1961.


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