Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Tittman)

In a conversation today Signor Cosmelli, Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy, told me that it was his understanding that Ambassador Suvich would, soon after his arrival in Washington sometime toward the end of this month, be leaving again to take up his new position as head of one of the larger insurance companies in Trieste. It was probable, therefore, that the question of the appointment of a new Italian Ambassador to the United States would shortly arise.

Cosmelli said that in looking through his files he found that Signor Suvich’s credentials in the name of the King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia had been accepted by the President with a reservation to the effect that such acceptance should not be construed by the Italian Government as recognition by us of the Empire.18 Although Cosmelli said he realized that matters of such high policy would have to be discussed by the Ambassador with the Secretary, nevertheless he believed [Page 724]that it might be useful to point out to me informally well ahead of time so that we could be thinking about it that it was his opinion that his Government would not be prepared to send a new Ambassador to Washington if the above-mentioned reservations were again insisted upon by us. He asked me if I could in turn tell him informally what the general feeling was today in the Department in regard to the matter. Cosmelli added that it looked as though the Empire would be recognized before long by both Great Britain and France and that he had already suggested to his Government that it might be well to postpone the naming of a new Ambassador to the United States until this had been accomplished. Apparently Cosmelli felt in making this recommendation that it would be easier for us to recognize the Empire after England and France had done so. In fact, he stated in so many words that action on the part of Great Britain or France might present a good opportunity for us to take a similar step in connection with the appointment of a new Italian Ambassador.

I told Cosmelli that I was not competent to pronounce upon a subject of such high policy, but that it was my personal impression that as far as I could see there had been no change in our attitude. Cosmelli said that he thought that this was probably the case as he recognized that the principles determining this attitude were deeply imbedded in the foundations of our foreign policy.

  1. See telegram No. 69, June 17, 1936, 2 p.m. to the Chargé in Italy, ibid., 1936, vol. iii, p. 244.