740.00119 Potsdam/7–1845

No. 1090
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State

Memorandum for the Secretary of State

The Italian Ambassador1 called on me this morning and left with me the appended papers which he asked be sent to you for the President’s and your consideration during the present meeting at Potsdam. The Ambassador said that his Government is seriously worried about indications that a peace treaty for Italy might be drawn and that the British and Soviet Governments are inclined to make the terms as harsh as possible. He said that if this were done it would destroy Italian morale and make it impossible for Italy to recover its position in the world, which he believed was not in the best interests of the European nations. The Ambassador feared that the general lines for such a treaty would be laid down at the present meeting and would be accepted. He asks on behalf of his Government that the United States Government take a position at Potsdam which would avoid laying down harsh terms for Italy.

Joseph C. Grew
[Page 1082]
[Enclosure 12]
The Italian Ambassador (Tarchiani) to the Acting Secretary of State
N. 5760

My Dear Mr. Grew: I have just received from Rome instructions to officially thank the Department of State in the name of the Italian Government for the so encouraging assurances recently given to me and indicating the intention of the United States not to proceed to the signature of a treaty deemed inequitable or oppressive for Italy and to do their utmost, from the Potsdam Conference on, to avoid that such a tendency should prevail.

My Government have also deeply appreciated the verbal communication according to which it was the expectation of the United States Government, that before any Italian peace treaty be put in final form, a full opportunity be offered to the Italian Government to discuss it and present their views.

In consideration of the friendly spirit of such assurances, I want to convey to you personally the heartfelt and profound gratitude of my Government who have highly appreciated this new evidence of the purposes of equity and generous comprehension inspiring the United States toward the Italian nation, in the difficult international situation confronting it at the present time.

Please accept [etc.]

[Enclosure 2]
The Italian Ambassador (Tarchiani) to the Acting Secretary of State
N. 5759

My Dear Mr. Grew: My Minister of Foreign Affairs3 has directed me to convey to the Department of State our deepest gratitude for the action taken with regard to our declaration of war against Japan and for the very valuable advice given us.4

Mr. De Gasperi has instructed me to tell the Department of State that the Italian Government is placing its highest hopes in the action that the President of the United States of America may deem it fitting to take at Potsdam for the purpose of alleviating the terms of a peace treaty for Italy. The Foreign Minister has also asked me to inform you of the following views the Italian Government has on the matter.

[Page 1083]

It is certain that, should particularly harsh peace terms be imposed upon Italy, even though not in the form of a veritable “Diktat”, thereby humiliating and thwarting the Italian nation, the orderly development of a working democracy in Italy would be seriously endangered.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The basic necessity for Italy—as the Department of State fully realizes—is, at the present time, to be released from the Armistice terms, and to be internationally rehabilitated, so as to allow her to take part in the negotiations for the peace treaty in which she is concerned.

If, therefore, the action of the President of the United States and of the American Delegation at the Potsdam Conference should encounter obstacles and difficulties …, the Italian Government would deem it more preferable if provisional solutions could be adopted which, although settling the fundamental problem of the moral and juridical status of Italy, would leave open the more controversial questions, such as those of Venezia Giulia, of the final settlement of the Italian colonies, and of the fleet (the latter being bound to constitute, in the firm intention of the Italian Government, an important part of the Italian contribution to the war against Japan).

The Italian Government shall be extremely grateful to the United States if, were such a necessity to arise, they would consider it possible to withhold final decisions which would allow Italy to make some headway against opposing international currents, after having, of course, succeeded in attaining on a general basis her international rehabilitation. This would leave to time and to the evolution of the European events in general and of the Balkan situation in particular the possibility of working out with more chances of equitable solutions, a far-reaching and constructive European settlement.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In bringing to your knowledge, according to instructions received, the above-mentioned viewpoints of the Italian Government, I shall be very grateful to you, Mr. Grew, if you will kindly communicate the foregoing to the President of the United States or to the American Delegation at Potsdam.

I avail myself [etc.]

  1. Alberto Tarchiani.
  2. The enclosures are printed from the signed originals in the files of the Department of State (file No. 740.00119 EW/7–1845).
  3. Alcide De Gasperi.
  4. See vol. i, documents Nos. 236 (footnote 4) and 237.