File No. 763.72119/1097

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


1346. Discussing informally with Baron Sonnino President’s message which he had evidently studied and is studying carefully, he expressed conviction that Germany will use situation to try to disintegrate forces against her. He believes she will play the game played for a year past and will probably indicate sufficient breaking down in program to force to apparent discussion of terms, temporizing and trusting to undermining war spirit of Italy and also in France beyond power of renewal. He feels that whatever the Central Empires may say the Allies must not relax for a moment their military efforts or they will find themselves betrayed.

Germany will yield only before menace of future defeat. He expects Germany and Austria to answer through the Pope; he evidently has information on this point.

Adverting to certain points, he says that Italy’s future as an independent power is irrevocably bound up with her being secured against Austrian overmastery from the eastern shore of the Adriatic to which Italy’s western [eastern] shore is exposed.

He fears that President’s hopes of possibility in Russia under present regime will not be realized. Europe he states will hardly be brought to think it possible.

Evening papers here, generally more important than morning, have not yet appeared. Latter however give importance to message which they publish fully and appear to approve but state with reserve that in hurried editorials they have not had time enough to arrive at a mature opinion of it.

They endeavor to interpret President’s references to Italy’s aspirations as being as definite as those regarding Alsace-Lorraine. They also state that they assume that not only Italy’s preponderance in Adriatic, which they hold necessary for Italy’s future safety, but other interests claimed by Italy to be essential and which they assert to be guaranteed by Pact of London, are provided for in President’s program. Il Tempo, considered as veiled Giolitti organ, suggests [Page 19]that American political solidarity with Russia is probably most important future move in North American political game.

The Russian Ambassador of old Government and the Swedish Minister have spoken in highest terms of the message.

Accept my own profound appreciation of what this message means for mankind.

Nelson Page