File No. 763.72/10507

The Ambassador in Italy ( Page) to the Secretary of State


1764. Your 1476. Took up matter with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He said that he supposed the suggestion of the telegram came from Council at Versailles which I imagine is the fact. He then said he desires to have Italy act in harmony with the other Allies. He does not believe an Allied naval council [desirable?] but has nothing against the idea of a single commander of all the Allied naval forces, provided that a regard be had to a certain rapidity and liberty of action to be left to commander of the Italian Navy touching operations in the Adriatic. This he considers necessary because of the following conditions: first, the geographical relation of the two sides of the Adriatic, the western side being low, flat, sandy, without harbors, while the eastern side, which is mountainous and full of harbors and inlets, is adapted for war and this is particularly the case touching modern submarine warfare. Rapidity of action he declared necessary in the Adriatic where warfare is a matter of surprise and marked [by] surprises, as shown by the recent Italian actions at Pola and off Palmeda. From this he drew conclusion that a certain autonomy of the Italian Command is necessary, said this would also have an important political bearing [Page 265] on the spirit of the people. I jotted down his points as he advanced them.

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Nelson Page