The Department of State to the Italian Embassy18a


In a recent exchange of aides-mémoire between the Royal Italian Embassy and the Department of State, agreement was reached with regard to undertaking negotiations for a trade agreement between the United States and Italy. At the time of the exchange of these aides-mémoire the Government of the United States made clear that it understood the difficulties which the Italian Government was then and is now experiencing, and pointed out that it would be hoped that as a result of these negotiations the agreement to be reached would serve to assist in the alleviation of those difficulties. The restrictive measures which had been taken by the Italian Government up to that time were understood to have been of an emergency and limited character. Since that time, however, the Italian Government has announced and is making effective drastic quantitative and other restrictions severely affecting a large and important percentage of American exports to Italy.

In view of this fact the question arises whether any useful purpose would be served by proceeding at this time with the negotiation of a trade agreement designed to reduce trade barriers and to obtain for the commerce of each country fair and equal treatment. Before making a decision in the matter the Government of the United States would [Page 527] appreciate receiving an expression of the views of the Italian Government with regard to its intentions in respect of the treatment to be accorded by Italy to American commerce, with particular reference to the allocation of quotas and exchange.

  1. Handed to the Italian Ambassador by the Chief of the Trade Agreements Section, March 16.