740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Mediterranean)/52: Telegram (part air)

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

230. Consulate’s 197, May 28, 2 p.m. Balkan representatives here who continue to evidence extreme anxiety for the consummation of a Mediterranean pact reflect with pessimism the situation described in the final sentence of Rome’s 177, June 4, [May 23] 11 a.m.73 They state that London appears to be disappointingly reluctant to take the initiative which they attribute to a desire to employ sanctions as a bargaining point. Rome is reassuring them that with or without a pact Italy has no aggressive designs on them. Rome at the same time intimates that not only will she not negotiate in any way under pressure of sanctions but will even avoid the aspect of so doing and is in no hurry whatsoever to proceed in the matter. The Balkan Ministers interpret the attitudes of the two governments as productive of long delays and are fearful that some development may intervene to prevent the pact’s achievement. They credit Mussolini’s assurances of having no aggressive intentions particularly because they believe that they are borne out by the limitations of Italy’s immediate material situation. From a long range view, however, they ardently desire a definitive Mediterranean settlement guaranteed by Great Britain and France.

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