The Italian Ambassador (Colonna) to the Secretary of State
The Italian Ambassador presents his compliments to the Honorable Secretary of State and has the honor to refer to the Department’s note of July 19, 1941 (No. 865.85/565), concerning the taking of possession and control of twenty-eight Italian merchant vessels in [Page 482] ports of the United States and the detention of their officers and crews.
In this regard the Ambassador has the honor to state that the Italian Government is entirely unable to agree, not even in part, with the point of view expressed by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury in connection therewith, and he must, therefore, reject the contents of said communication and confirm his note of May 16, 1941 (No. 2619 ) as well as his previous communications on the subject.
Moreover, with the occasion the Italian Ambassador has the honor to state that, aside from any other consideration of a legal nature, the fact that the action taken by the United States is ultimately directed to benefit Great Britain, with whom Italy is at war, fully justifies also on a moral ground the acts wherefore the officers and crews of the Italian merchant vessels have been incriminated by the United States Government.