702.6511/1337a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Phillips)

132. Your 244, February 20.3 Unless you perceive a compelling reason to the contrary you are requested immediately to convey orally [Page 794] to the appropriate Italian authorities the desire of the United States Government that the Italian consular offices at Newark, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, and Seattle, Washington, should be closed and that the Italian personnel be withdrawn from these places. Please telegraph action taken.

Upon receipt of your telegram the Italian Ambassador will be informed that you have made this request and also of the desire of this Government that the officials of the Italian Government within the territory of the United States confine their movements to areas in which they exercise the recognized duties of their respective offices. This request does not include the personnel of the Italian Embassy in Washington whose names appear on the Diplomatic List. The Ambassador will also be asked to keep the Department of State currently informed of the movements outside of Washington of the military and naval personnel attached to the Italian Embassy.

It is not believed that any explanation is required but, for your own information, this decision has been taken because it seemed clear that the Italian Government in its recent restrictive regulations is concerned lest the presence of American consular officers in certain areas would mean they are able to obtain information concerning local conditions which the Italian Government is desirous of preventing. In as much as the presence of Italian officials at some ports in the United States and on the Canadian Border where supplies are being shipped to Great Britain may also permit them to obtain information which this Government might in turn wish to prevent, the aforesaid restrictive measures are being taken.

  1. Not printed.