File No. 763.72/9394
The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 4, 5.09 a.m.]
1497. Baker’s visit to Italy though so hurried has been highly appreciated and will certainly have good effect. When he was first expected at the front the Minister of War accompanied me to meet him and would have done so when he actually came, but he was ill The King being in Rome, as well as all the Ministers, it was necessary for the Secretary to come here. To leave Italy without doing so would have caused great offense. He was met at the station by the Minister of War and Minister of Treasury, besides certain functionaries. The King, the Premier and Minister Nitti all dwelt upon the great moral effect it would have in Italy to send American flag here with small contingent of men. I, myself, believe it to be of the utmost importance to do so, not as a question of increasing the fighting forces here, but because of the moral effect. Italy is looking to America as never before in her history. The Prime Minister [Page 196] said that the plain countrymen of Italy, especially in the south, know little of other countries, but all know of America, and would feel the presence of the flag to be the token that she is fighting for Italy as she is fighting for England and France.