365.1121 Slavich, Nickola/15: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Garrett) to the Acting Secretary of State

138. Department’s telegram No. 118, July 25, 3 p.m. Owing to the fact that Grandi has not returned to the Foreign Office since his departure for London and that he is expected to be absent from Rome for several days more, it has been and still is impossible for me to talk matter over with him.

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As stated in my telegram 125 [131], July 18, 11 a.m.,18 however, I wrote a personal letter to Grandi on July 17th calling to his attention several cases of American citizens imprisoned in Italy to whom American Consular Officers have been allowed access only after long delays and with whom consular officers have not been permitted to converse without the presence of an interpreter, and pointing out to him the gravity of such a state of affairs. This communication, I am told, has been brought to the attention of the Chief of the Government. Upon the receipt of the Department’s telegram No. 116, July 18, 6 p.m.,18 as both Grandi and the Under Secretary were still absent, I called in person on the Chief of the American section of the Foreign Office and reviewed with him the entire matter in the light of the objectives which had been repeatedly made to him by the Embassy since the cases arose. I told him that the American Government viewed with the greatest seriousness the arrest and imprisonment of American citizens on such charges as those brought against Slavich and Tancredi, and I repeated the protests against the delays experienced by consular officers in getting in touch with the prisoners. I was assured that Embassy would be notified of the dates of the trial of the cases under discussion in order that an American diplomatic or consular officer might attend, and that the permits to visit the prisoners would be expedited. These representations have been repeatedly pressed even since the release of Tancredi on July 22nd (see my telegram 133. July 22, 10 a.m.)18 and I am now addressing a communication to Grandi in the sense of the Department’s telegram 118 of July 25, 3 p.m. [Paraphrase.] While I was given no definite assurance, today at the Foreign Office I was given to understand that there was a chance that the proceedings against Slavich would be dropped and that he would not be tried. I did receive assurance that the police authorities had been given instructions to report all cases of arrest and imprisonment of aliens to the appropriate consular officers or to the Foreign Office. I was told, however, that broad discretion had to be left in the hands of the police because of the number of cases in which there was suspicion of activities against the head of the Government.

On July 22 I asked the Consul General at Naples to instruct our consulates in Italy that the Embassy should be advised in all cases of the arrest and imprisonment of United States citizens within their respective jurisdictions. [End paraphrase.]

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