File No. 763.72119/1276
The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 5.30 a.m.]
1415. President’s address published this morning. Rome papers received so far most favorably as important contribution to Allied cause. The Messaggero, independent interventist, says: President proclaims more strongly than ever sanctity of the rights of the people to justice and freedom; that message if disseminated in Germany would have greater effect upon people than a military defeat; that Italy now feels her aspirations will be fairly considered by the most solid mind among the idealists in political life. The Giornale d’Italia, afternoon semiofficial, while commending generally says the message not an adequate reply to Czernin’s speech which it thinks the President has been deceived into considering different in intention from Hertling’s, whereas only the tone was different, the two [Page 114] being fundamentally in agreement. With this exception it praises warmly the President’s address.
Premier Orlando spoke for Government yesterday on reopening of Chamber declaring plainly the question of peace or war no longer one of choice but of necessity, a question of life or death based on instincts of self-preservation. Having referred to lesson from German-Russian peace negotiations as tending to dishonor, he said Italy’s war aims are the same now as when she entered upon struggle and added that now as then, Italy does not want more and will not accept less than the completion of her national unity and the security of her boundaries on land and sea. He then argued that Italy has no imperialistic claims and proclaimed that no doubt could exist between Italy’s aspirations and the rights of other oppressed peoples. The military situation he declared good with every prospect of improving.
Italians apprehend great German-Austrian push on Italian front very soon. British, however, think chances of this are decreasing.