The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 22—12:25 p.m.]
484. The announced intention of the American and British Governments to negotiate a trade agreement35 has apparently created some concern in the German press which has been echoed by Italian newspapers to the effect that the announcement was made for political purposes and to give the impression of solidarity as a counterbalance to the so-called bloc of authoritarian states. For this reason I should like, in communicating the information contained in Department’s telegram No. 176, November 20, 2 p.m., to the Italian authorities, to be able to give more assurances that we will be prepared to bridge the [Page 464] interval before the coming into force of the new treaty by extending the generalization of trade agreement rates to Italian products. Should it only be possible at this stage of the negotiations to state that “we hope” to bridge this interval by working out some arrangement and considering there has already been so much delay on our part I am doubtful of the result of any such communication.
In the circumstances may I not give a more definite commitment?