765.84/859: Telegram

The Chargé in Italy ( Kirk ) to the Secretary of State

493. Marriner has repeated to me his telegram to the Department, number 697, August 17, 9 a.m., and 699, August 17, noon.

Although it is impossible to surmise the effect which a message along the lines suggested in the second paragraph of the abovementioned telegram would have on the psychology of Mussolini at this moment, judging from the past there will be an inclination to regard any such gesture as unwelcome interference. Furthermore, when the message would be published in Italy it would be presented to the public only in such a way as would, according to the views of the Government, best serve its interests in furthering its present policy.

The situation, however, is critical and any means calculated to strengthen the possibility of a peaceful solution is justified. If, therefore, it is decided that a message along the lines indicated be delivered, I venture to suggest that the susceptibilities of the Italians would less likely be adversely affected and the possibility of the Italian Government turning the message to their own purposes would be reduced if the message could be withheld from publication. Whether this could be done or agreed to by Rosso, the Department only is in a position to judge. I further venture to suggest that the reference to “moral isolation”, as mentioned by Campbell, might well have an effect on the Italian mind which would detract from the effectiveness of the message.