800.51W89 Italy/289: Telegram

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

185. Ambassador’s 107, April 20, 7 p.m., and previous. The Minister of Finance48 asked me to call on him this afternoon and I have just returned from his office. After referring to Ambassador Long’s conversation with Mussolini and Suvich on the question of Italy’s debt to the United States, the Minister said that Suvich had sent him the notification which the Italian Embassy had received from the Department as to the June payments and that in view of the impossibility through lack of time to discuss the matter before June 15th, he considered that it would be necessary to send the usual negative reply. However, the Minister stated, the Italian Government wishes to enter into discussion with the United States Government with a view to ascertaining if some settlement could be reached and asked if it would be possible to let him know the views of the United States Government as to how these conversations might be initiated and where they might be held. I told him that I would communicate to [Page 595] you this inquiry and would acquaint him with the reply as soon as it was received.

My conversation with the Minister was brief and no matters were discussed in any detail. He said that there were two main groups of questions to be considered, namely, those relating to the payments in default and those relating to the entire indebtedness of Italy to the United States. He emphasized the fact that due consideration would have to be given to Italy’s ability to pay and he referred to the matter of the refunding at a lower rate of interest of Italian commercial debts owed in the United States as a factor in the consideration of the entire question. In conclusion I might add that from this conversation with the Minister it appears that it is not his present intention to put forward in the reply to the Department’s above mentioned notification any proposals in regard to the payment of Italy’s indebtedness, but that he wishes you to be informed of the willingness on the part of his Government to discuss the matter.

  1. Count Paolo Thaon de Revel.