740.0011 European War 1939/33034/5

The British Ambassador (Lothian) to President Roosevelt

Dear Mr. President: I enclose two copies of the proposal for a communication by yourself to Mussolini which I discussed with you last night. I am also sending one to Mr. Hull, though I am not certain it will reach him before he sees you. The text has been agreed with the French Ambassador.

Believe me [etc.]


P. S. I presume that the U. S. A. would participate in this discussion to the extent that its own interests were engaged.



The Allied Governments suggest that the President on his own initiative should ask Signor Mussolini for the reasons which apparently induce him to contemplate an immediate entry into the war against the Allies and that he should further state that if Signor Mussolini will inform him of his grievances or claims against the Allies he will [Page 710] immediately communicate them to the Allied Governments in order to leave nothing undone to prevent an extension of the war.

They suggest that the President should inform Signor Mussolini that he had reason to believe that the attitude of the Allies towards the Italian Government can be defined as follows:

The Allied Governments are aware that the Italian Government entertains certain grievances in regard to Italian position in the Mediterranean
That the Allied Governments are prepared to take into consideration all reasonable Italian claims and to attempt to reach an agreement with Italy at once for a settlement which would come into force as soon as the war was ended.
The Allied Governments would welcome Italian participation at the peace conference with a status equal to that of the belligerents.

Signor Mussolini would thus be invited by the President to notify him for transmission to the Allies of the claims of Italy the fulfilment of which would in his view ensure the establishment in the Mediterranean of a new order guaranteeing to Italy the satisfaction of her legitimate aspirations in that sea. If the negotiations succeeded the President would then formally record:

The agreement thus arrived at
The undertaking of the Allies to execute the agreement at the end of the war
The assurance of Signor Mussolini that the claims of Italy would be satisfied by the execution of this agreement. The agreement thus arrived at to be dependent of course on Italy not entering the war against the Allies.