865.002 Mussolini/2

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy (Adams)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With reference to the speech of General Smedley Butler, which has been given such unfortunate publicity, I am quoting for your information the text of a telegram which the Italian Ambassador in this capital received yesterday from Prime Minister Mussolini.

“The story told by General Butler is an abominable outrage. I have never driven around Italy with an American and I challenge General Butler to prove the contrary. I have never run over any child, or man, or woman. If such a misfortune had happened, it is useless to say that I should have done all one must do, that is I would have stopped and [Page 641] brought help. It is indeed unworthy of a General to spread such an ignoble lie. I have no doubt that the American Government will see to it that I obtain a formal solemn explicit public reparation.”

Very sincerely yours,

H. L. Stimson