The United States, confronted by deteriorating relations with Ethiopia, has recalled its ambassador to that African state at the request of the government in Addis Ababa, the State Department announced yesterday.
Department spokesman John Trattner said Ambassador Frederick L. Chapin's recall has been prompted by growing friction between Washington and Ethiopia's radical revolutionary government over a number of issues.
Trattner added that the disagreements involved Ehiopia's general anti-American attitudes, its practice of what the State Department has called "gross violations of human rights" and its failure to pay compensation for nationalized property that belonged to U.S. citizens. t
"The United States government believes that Ambassador Chapin has done a thoroughly professional job since 1978," the spokesman said. But, department sources added, the Ethiopian government had made Chapin the focus of its anti-American attitudes and had signaled Washington that it wanted him out of Addis Ababa.
Relations between the two countries have been at a low ebb for several years because of the military government's repressive policies and its heavy reliance on Soviet military advisers and thousands of Cuban troops to help it fight a war with neighboring Somalia.
Ethiopia has not had an ambassador here for the past few years, and Trattner said the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, which has a staff of 22, will continue to operate under a charge d'affaires. The sources said Washington had decided on that course because it does not want an outright break in relations.
The Carter administration currently is negotiating with Somalia for the right to use bases there to strengthen the U.S. military presence in the Indian Ocean and Southwest Asia. However, Trattner said the United States has made clear that its negotiations with Somalia do not represent any threat to Ehtiopia, and he said he did not believe there was a connection between these negotiations and the latest downturn in U.S. Ethiopian relations.
He noted that, despite a compensation agreement dating from the 1950., Ethiopia thus far has failed to compensate U.S. citizens for approximately $30 million worth of nationalized property and has not paid $4.5 million it owes to the U.S. government for purchase of American military equipment.