640.0031 Danube/67

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Castle) of a Conversation With the Italian Ambassador (De Martino)

The Italian Ambassador said that one of the matters which the Secretary would probably discuss in Europe was the Danubian Confederation. I said this was not a matter in which this Government could take any strong stand, that we looked, of course, very benevolently on the plan because an attempt by five small nations to improve their own condition, when it did not mean special concessions to any one powerful nation, would be to the advantage of that part of Europe and, therefore, through increased prosperity, to the rest of the world. The Ambassador said that Italy had certain fears in [Page 853]connection with such a confederation, but that it was open to talk on the subject, that what Italy was really afraid of was that it would mean a French financial domination of the entire region, a financial domination which would inevitably lead to economic concessions to the disadvantage of all the rest. I told him that, so far as we knew, there was no danger of anything of this sort and that I felt it would be very unfortunate if Italy refrained from taking a helpful part as a result of such a rumor.

W. R. Castle, Jr.