File No. 763.72/5074a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page )

[Telegram]

4909. Italian commissioners represent that the situation of their Government as to the supply of coal is most critical and they earnestly solicit the aid of this Government in obtaining immediate relief by shipment of supply. They assert that the means of transportation must be furnished by us, and that unless we can arrange to do this without delay it will be practically impossible for Italy to continue military operations.

Commissioners claim that the monthly requirements are 800,000 tons, that at present Italy is receiving from Great Britain about 400,000 tons, and that the amount on hand is only 450,000 tons.

Please take up this matter immediately with Foreign Office and telegraph their opinion as to the course of action which we should take. I have conceived that the decrease in the amount of coal shipped from Great Britain may not be due entirely to the intensified submarine warfare. If this supposition is correct I would like to know confidentially what the real reason for the decrease is. It is essential that we should be fully advised of the attitude of Great Britain and France in regard to this matter and of their purposes in case the decrease of coal shipments was caused intentionally.

A similar telegram is being sent to Ambassador Sharp.1

Lansing
  1. No. 2309, same date.