740.0011 PW/7–645

No. 249
The Italian Ambassador (Tarchiani) to President Truman 1

Memorandum for Mr. Truman President of the U. S. A. on the Position, Wishes and Hopes of Italy

4. a) Italy has willingly abandoned the Fascist dream of the recent colonial empire in East Africa, where, however, she has spent more than 36 billion lire at the pre-war value to establish and develop modern civilized systems.

b) Libya—as Algeria for France—is part of the national territory with the same administration of the Italian metropolitan provinces.

c) Eritrea and Somaliland are the two oldest Italian colonies— established in the second half of the Nineteenth Century—in which Italian capital and work have created, with long meritorious efforts, means and methods of civilization to the great advantage of the natives, whose feelings are wholeheartedly in favor of the continuance of Italian administration. Italy trusts that in giving all the cooperation and the guarantees which may be requested, her well-established rights will be recognized under such a form that may not injure her modest African patrimony and her national dignity at this moment of distress.

In examining the Italian colonial questions from a general point of view, the following considerations ought to be kept in mind.

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Italy, whose population reaches nearly 46 million inhabitants (representing about one third of the entire population of continental United States) has a metropolitan territory, for a considerable extent mountainous and barren, of nearly 120,000 square miles (that is, less than l/25th of the continental area of the United States). The yearly increase in population is about 400,000. Italy is a poor country, lacking all essential raw materials. Her population is very thrifty. These factors have induced tens of thousands of Italian pioneers to settle in Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Eritrea and Somaliland, where, in spite of the desert region and difficult local conditions, they have already carried out an extensive land rehabilitation through the constant effort of their hard work.

It is because of the above-mentioned factors that these colonies are considered by the Italian people as an essential part of their national territory.

. . . . . . .

  1. Handed to Grew on July 6 for transmittal to Truman. See document No. 468.
  2. For the other paragraphs of this memorandum, see the subattachment to document No. 468.