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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • December 23, 1965

    Telegram from John F. Root, Office of Northern African Affairs, 'Subject: Bulgarian Fronting For Russian Interests in Ethiopia'

    Observations by Israeli and US diplomats of the Soviet Union's attempt at indirect economic penetration of Ethiopia during the mid-1960s. The Ethiopian regime was suspicious of Soviet intervention, thus they had to resort to the help of the East European states, in this case Bulgaria.

  • September 19, 1975

    Message from Yugoslav Embassy in Mogadishu, 'The Soviet Ambassador Told Ours in Addis'

    The importance of avoiding conflict in the Horn of Africa as outlined by Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko.

  • December 23, 1976

    Message from Yugoslav Embassy in Beijing, 'From Our People in Addis Ababa – For Your Information'

    A Yugoslav diplomat offers a detailed view of the increasing level of formal contact between the Soviet Bloc and Ethiopia in mid-1976, also witnessing the local competition between the Chinese and the Soviet Bloc and comparing their modes of conduct.

  • January 29, 1977

    Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Urgent note on Aid to Ethiopia from the Countries of the Socialist Community, Including Poland’s'

    Discusses the state of affairs in Soviet Bloc-Ethiopian relations, briefly charting other socialist states’ involvement with Addis Ababa during that period. It also draws suggestions for the possible path of relationship expansion between Poland and Ethiopia, including small military deliveries, as suggested by the Soviets.

  • May 10, 1977

    Letter from Roger Barltrop of British Embassy in Addis Ababa, 'The Derg'

    Information obtained by the British from an Ethiopian officer who defected to West Germany. His report shows the strong influence of the Soviet Union in the Derg at the time.

  • July 13, 1977

    Conversation with Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC) Chairman Mengistu Haile Mariam

    Demonstrates Soviet willingness to provide good offices to Somalia and Ethiopia in normalizing their relationships in July 1977. Even as late as July, Moscow believed the conflict between the two states could be solved through peaceful means.

  • September 02, 1977

    Message from Yugolav Embassy Addis Ababa, 'The Soviet Ambassador on the Ethiopian-Soviet Relations'

    A detailed view of Soviet reactions toward the Ethiopian-Somali conflict as of early September 1977, showing Moscow’s envoy to Addis Ababa’s conviction that Ethiopia would emerge victorious from the war. However, this document also gives a somewhat critical view on the part of Yugoslav’s diplomat regarding the Soviets’ unofficial and unsuccessful attempt to persuade Ethiopia to surrender part of Ogaden in order to appease the Somalis.

  • 1978

    Information from D. Stoyanov to T. Zhivkov on the Internal Situation and Foreign Policy of Ethiopia

    The Minister of Internal Affairs, Dimitar Stoyanov reports on the political situation in Ethiopia during the late 1970s. The economic hardship is pushing Mengistu’s government to accept Western aid, in addition to the support it is getting from the Soviet bloc. Mengistu also seems to be critical of the anti-Soviet policy of China.

  • January 16, 1978

    British Foreign Office, 'Soviet Role in the Horn of Africa'

    Drawing upon British concerns with respect to their possible reaction to Moscow’s support for Ethiopia against Somalia’s aggression, the Foreign Office Planning Staff looks into the wider international implications of the conflict in the Horn.

  • February 10, 1978

    Memorandum of Conversation between East German official Paul Markovski and CPSU CC International Department head Boris N. Ponomarev in Moscow

    The two men discussed the current situation in Ethiopia and focused on the assistance the Soviet Union and Cuba was providing to the Ethiopians. They also talked about the role the United States was playing in the Horn of Africa

  • April 03, 1978

    Soviet Foreign Ministry Background Report on Soviet-Ethiopian Relations

    The report covers all aspect of relations between Ethiopia and the Soviet Union from 1974 onwards. It focuses on forms of cooperation and support for the country during its war with Somalia

  • July 14, 1978

    Minutes of Meeting of CPSU CC Politburo (excerpt)

    A general conversation amongst Politburo members regarding the current state of relations with the Ethiopian regime and how it could be improved. (excerpt)

  • July 20, 1978

    Report on Mengistu's Visit to the Soviet Union to discuss Soviet-Ethiopian Relations

    While in the Soviet Union, Haile Mariam Mengistu spoke with Leonid Brezhnev about the current revolutionary and economic situation in Ethiopia. The report addresses the Ethiopian desire to create a revolutionary party, as well as the conflict in Eritrea and relations with Somalia and Djibouti.

  • September, 1978

    Report on the Visit to Ethiopia by the Soviet Party-Government Delegation

    The Soviet Union along with other socialist countries were invited to Ethiopia to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Ethiopian revolution. The report discusses Soviet-Ethiopian relations, improvement of the Ethiopian political situation, the arms race, and foreign policy.

  • September, 1979

    Report on A. N. Kosygin’s Official Visit to Ethiopia

    Meeting and negotiations between A. N. Kosygin and Haile Mariam Mengistu. The report discusses Ethiopian use of force to solve internal conflict, concern over neighboring countries, agricultural initiatives, and Mengistu's plan to create a new political party in Ethiopia. The meeting concludes with an agreement that the Soviet Union will provide assistance to Ethiopia in exploration of oil, education, and machinery.

  • May 14, 1981

    Memorandum of Conversation between Senén Casas and Dmitri Ustinov

    General Senén Casas was Cuba’s first deputy minister of defense; Marshal Dmitri Ustinov was the Soviet minister of defense.

  • May 17, 1981

    Memorandum of Conversation between Senén Casas and Nikolai Ogarkov

    General Senén Casas was Cuba’s first deputy minister of defense; Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov was the chief of the Soviet General Staff.

  • August 18, 1981

    Telegram from Czechoslovak Embassy in Addis Ababa

    Prague’s representation to Addis Ababa offers an insight into the Soviet Union’s economic assistance toward Ethiopia in the early 1980s, while voicing, at the same time, the Soviet economic delegation’s nuanced and candid impression of Mengistu’s abilities to control the course of the revolutionary transformations.

  • November 02, 1983

    Hungarian Embassy in Ethiopia, Ciphered Telegram, 2 November 1983. Subject: Mengistu’s visit in the DPRK.

    The diplomatic relations between North Korea and Ethiopia is the subject of this telegram. The quick responsive stance of both Koreas to Ethiopia's needs is noted.

  • April, 1984

    Defense Intelligence Agency Report, 'Soviet Military and Other Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa'

    An overview of Soviet political, economic and military involvement in Africa. The document asserts that although Moscow continues its policy of taking an active and aggressive role in the affairs of Sub-Saharan Africa, much of the momentum it initially possessed has been lost. Moscow now finds itself holding onto the influence it maintains most notably in Mozambique, Angola and Ethiopia.