800.85/7–1845: Telegram

No. 1110
The Acting Secretary of State to the Assistant Secretary of State (Clayton)1

secret

57. For Clayton.

Following is for your information in event Admiral Land’s attendance at conference leads to discussion of question of inviting Italy to join United Maritime Authority. Italy has intimated its desire to be invited to join UMA and British Foreign Office has inquired as to Department’s views. Foreign Office suggests awaiting conclusion peace treaty with Italy. We have been discussing subject informally with WSA. Opinion within Department leans toward extending invitation now, in line with broad general policy of promoting resumption of responsible Italian participation in international affairs and strengthening Italian political and economic status. WSA considers invitation inopportune at this time for fear of jeopardizing smooth operations UMA. Its opposition is based on (1) apprehension of French, Greek and Yugoslav resentment, (2) belief that Italian political status first be clarified as by admission Italy to United Nations and (3) doubts as to competence Italian authorities and shipping operators to function in accordance with UMA requirements. We are not fully in concurrence these objections insofar as they touch on political relations and contemplate requesting more detail as to question of competence, particularly as to steps Italy would have to take to remove this objection. However at WSA request we intend to leave issue in statu quo until Admiral Land’s return particularly as WSA state they are taking steps meanwhile to improve Italian position by substituting specific charter arrangements in place of Admiral Cunningham Agreement2 as basis for control of Italian ships, by considering possibility of including provisions in charters to compensate Italy for shipping services, and by formulating with Ministry of War Transport arrangements for greater Italian participation in UMA operations in Zone III Mediterranean area.3

[Grew]
  1. Sent to the Secretary of State at Babelsberg.
  2. i. e., the Memorandum of Agreement on the Employment and Disposition of the Italian Fleet and Mercantile Marine of September 23, 1943. Text in United States and Italy, 1936–1946: Documentary Record (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1946; Department of State publication No. 2669), p. 53.
  3. Concerning the discussion of this subject at the Berlin Conference, see ante, pp. 163, 299.