The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 10—3:45 p.m.]
84. My 76, March 7, 6 p.m.19 I mentioned to Ciano this afternoon the reports current in Rome with regard to an Italian, German and Japanese meeting in Berlin with a view to elaborating and signing a three cornered alliance. I said that there was a further report that the Italians had decided not to participate and that the conversations therefore would be bilateral in character.
Ciano denied categorically that there was any plan on foot between the three powers to bring the alliance into effect. The Italians were not planning to engage in any such conversations and he seemed vague as to the nature of the reported discussions between the Germans and the Japanese. He thought that if these were to take place they might well have reference to an exchange of anti-Comintern information. He explained as he has done before that he could not give me any definite assurance that in the future the three powers might not decide to extend the pact into an alliance but he convinced me that the Italians at least were not taking any active steps in this [Page 17]direction at the present time. He said that the three Governments were in the closest touch and were constantly exchanging information. General Goering20 he added would come to Rome shortly for this purpose and other exchanges would in the normal course take place.