Our thanks to Jerry Pry for providing this document.
|Dec. 1, 1951
Yakima Sunday Herald
African Colony Taking Survey To Establish New Government
Eritrea, Dec. 1 --
Senor Eduardo Anze Matienzo, United Nations commissioner in Eritrea, is in the midst of a grass roots survey to determine how Eritrea will be governed.
The United Nations voted last December that this former Italian colony in Africa be federated with Ethiopia, as an autonomous state under the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie, not later than September 15, 1952.
Anze Matienzo, 49, Bolivia's permanent delegate to the U.N., was chosen to supervise the changeover. Eritrea is now under temporary British administration. The British took the country from the Italians early in World War II.
Observers here recognize that Anze Matienzo has many problems in this backward nation--part Christian, part Moslem. They hope that his optimism, patience, tactfulness, and ability to gain the confidence of the different groups involved will help solve the problem.
Besides the difficulties of reconciling various viewpoints on the mechanics of the new government, the U.N. commissioner has bumped into political jealousies and suspicion.
Ethiopians and Eritreans who want complete union between the two countries feel the U.N. resolution falls short of their desires.
Moslems--noting that Ethiopia is a Christian Coptic country--are not
sure their equality of rights will be respected.
Some residents doubt whether the British will really leave this strategic area flanking the Red Sea waterway.
Anze Matienzo has twice gone to Addis Ababa for consultations with Haile Selassie. He has sought the views of opposed political groups. He has toured the semi-wild back country areas and talked to chieftains in scores of villages.
His work now is centered in a draft constitution. He wants it to fit the desires of the people as closely as possible
Among questions he's asking are:
Should the legislature consist of one or two houses? How should it be elected and for how long?
What shall the executive branch of the government consist of? How should it be chosen? What shall be its relations with the parliament?
Should there be universal suffrage or indirect representation? How will the nomadic tribes vote?
There are some tricky and some simple questions:
A tricky one is whether Haile Selassie should be represented in either the legislative or executive branch. Some argue that the U.N. resolution makes no provision for a representative of Ethiopia to participate in the Eritrean assembly.
| Simpler ones
include such issues as whether Tigre, Amharic or Arabic shall be the
official language of Eritrea, and whether Eritrea will have its own flag
or fly the emblem of Ethiopia.
The commissioner sounded out political parties in major centers before beginning his tour of the interior villages.
A typical village gathering was held in Adi Ugri some 30 miles from Asmara. White bearded and bent elders--a number wearing the characteristic blue cloaks of the region--sat solemnly around a table as Anze Matienzo conducted his questioning through interpreters.
There was little agreement, even on a flag and official language despite long interchanges of opinion. The idea of self government is a new one here.
The majority at Adi Ugri seemed to favor Haile Selassie having a man in the new parliament, but only in an advisory capacity.