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 March 5, 1941, concerning the request of the Honorable Secretary of State that all officials of the Italian Government in the United States (with the only exception of the personnel of the Italian Embassy in Washington whose names appear in the Diplomatic List) confine their movements to those areas in which they exercise their recognized duties of their respective offices, and that the Italian consular offices at Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan, be closed.

In this connection the Italian Ambassador, following instructions received from his Government, has the honor to call the attention of the United States Government to the following points:

Movements of foreign diplomatic and consular officials stationed in Italy have been restrained on account of unavoidable necessities of military nature but only in those areas interesting war operations and where consequently such conditions require special precautions. Outside said areas foreign officials are free to travel as they wish and the suggestion that the Italian Foreign Office be kept informed of their movements was made only with the purpose to avoid possible inconveniences to said foreign officers in connection with examinations and controls that, owing to the state of war, have been enforced throughout the country for everybody, Italian citizens included.
The request of the Department of State that officials of the Italian Government confine their movements to limited areas could not, therefore, be compared in any way with the measures adopted by the Italian Government and the request of the Honorable Secretary of State, which applies only to officials of the Italian Government, does not appear to be inspired and justified by the same considerations and necessities which prompted the Italian Government.
The request to close the Italian Consular offices in Newark and Detroit could be interpreted only as a measure of groundless retaliation owing to the fact that—as it has already been made clear by the [Page 798] Italian Foreign Office to the United States Embassy in Rome—the measure of transfer solicited by the Italian Government applies to all foreign consulates in the largest centers of southern Italy. Said transfer is already taking place, besides the consular offices of the United States, for the consular offices of Argentina, Yugoslavia, Switzerland and Turkey, while similar arrangements have been made for the same purpose in regard to the few foreign consular officers of the remaining countries.

The Italian Government wishes, therefore, to express its confidence that the United States Government will reconsider its requests in the light of the situation of fact and the circumstances set forth in the present communication.