765.75/462: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Kennedy ) to the Secretary of State

458. My telegram No. 455, April 8, 5 p.m. Following information communicated by the Foreign Office in strict confidence.

Lord Halifax yesterday told the Italian Chargé d’Affaires36 in plain terms of the seriousness with which the Italian invasion of Albania by Italy is viewed by the British Government and people. In discussing the disquieting rumors which have reached London of a possible Italian attack on Corfu and other Greek territory, the Foreign Secretary indicated the extreme seriousness with which any further extension of Italian military activities would be regarded and the determination of Great Britain to defend her vital interests in the Mediterranean. The Chargé d’Affaires, without instructions, replied that in his personal opinion there was no question of Italian attack on Greece. The Foreign Secretary said that such an assurance in unequivocal terms should be communicated at once by the Italian Government to the Government of Greece, and asked the Chargé to convey that view to Rome. Signor Grolla saw Lord Halifax again last evening and gave him a message from Signor Mussolini to the effect that Italy was contemplating no attack whatever against Greece and giving the most unreserved assurances that Italy would respect the independence of Greece and her entire territorial integrity both continental and insular. Signor Mussolini likewise said that these assurances were being given direct to the Greek Government.

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The full Cabinet had a long session this morning and there is a meeting of Ministers this afternoon. I expect to send a further message this evening as soon as we can get authentic information as to the decisions and results of these meetings. Parliament has been called for Thursday.

Repeated to Rome and Athens.

  1. G. Grolla.