500.A15A3/1705: Telegram

The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

431. From Davis. In a recent conversation with Grandi in London he admitted this to be the most opportune time to effect a naval agreement between France and Italy. He said however that England [Page 546]could not successfully act as broker between them as she was too much an interested party but that agreement would be greatly facilitated through our good offices. I told him we were ready to be helpful in any way agreeable to France and Italy and Grandi remarked that it would advance matters if I could go to Rome. I told him I did not know whether I would be able to do so as it would depend on developments but that I would consider it further later on.

In my talk with Herriot last Saturday29 he indicated a desire now to reach an agreement with Italy. I told him of my talk with Grandi to which he reacted favorably and said he would welcome our cooperation which would be most helpful.

Rosso has just informed me that he has received a message from Rome referring to Grandi’s conversation with me and asking him to inform me that Mussolini would be very glad if I would come to Rome and they would like to know if I could possibly meet Mussolini there between the 7th and 10th of this month or on the 13th.

I am somewhat reluctant to go now because I have been having too much publicity and my visit there would undoubtedly cause considerable speculation, and also because I would prefer to wait until our negotiations with the British are more crystallized. On the other hand there is a certain advantage in going now before the Franco-German conversations begin and before the Council meeting on Manchuria as it may help to increase Italy’s incentive to cooperate in the Manchurian question as well as get France and Italy into the naval treaty.

I would be pleased to have as soon as possible your judgment and advice. [Davis.]

  1. October 29; see telegram No. 631, October 29, 8 p.m., from the Chargé in France, p. 348.