The Italian Ambassador (Tarchiani) to Mr. William Phillips, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have read in the press the letter that President Truman has written to Mr. Crowley,81 following Judge [Page 1257] Rosenman’s report82 on the situation of the countries of northwestern Europe, which was released from the White House on May 21st.

I have noted from such letter that, realizing the dangers of the economic conditions of such countries and being fully aware that a “chaotic and hungry Europe is not fertile ground” for stable and democratic governments, President Truman has stated that it is the established policy of the United States Government to accept the responsibility of being the principal source of civilian supplies for those countries and that instructions have accordingly been given to the agencies concerned.

You know too well, my dear Mr. Ambassador, with what concern I view the economic situation, especially from the supply standpoint, of my country, and in particular how I do fear the political consequences that may arise also in Italy out of the present disruptive economic conditions. We have millions of people without shelter and clothing; entire towns destroyed; the greater part of our industries paralyzed by the lack of raw materials and fuel; the transportation facilities completely disorganized; the food situation very serious especially in the big centers which are, as you know, the cradle of social unrest, and our monetary circulation endangered by a serious inflationary process, with no backing whatsoever for our currency. It is therefore easy to foresee what will be the conditions of the Italian population in the years to come. That is why, dear Mr. Ambassador, I was very sorry that the survey made by Judge Rosenman in some European states was not extended to Italy, which, being one of the countries with the thickest population in Europe, might have provided, in my opinion, some useful ground for meditation, precisely in connection with the considerations so thoughtfully outlined by President Truman in his letter. I know that the various departments here are fully aware of the present difficulties of the Italian Government in the economic field, but I think that a similar survey made also in Italy could have served very usefully to enlighten the various agencies concerned on the situation there.

May I add that, now that the end of the military responsibilities in Italy is approaching, she might encounter the greatest difficulties in providing the necessary funds in order to finance her essential import program, especially if she will have to rely on her, very meager foreign exchange credits and if the military program should fail to support her requirements.

This is the reason why I was, I must confess, rather distressed in reading that in the provisions so speedily taken by President Truman [Page 1258] in favor of some European nations the situation of my country was not taken into consideration. More so when I think that, after the courageous achievements and the concrete contributions of the partisan forces in Northern Italy, some prompt support from the United States would be interpreted in my country and especially in the recently liberated part, as a consistent acknowledgement of the efforts made by the new democratic Italy in participating in the common struggle. Such efforts, as you are aware and as my Government has already clearly stated, Italy is also very eager to pursue beyond the end of hostilities in Europe, wherever the battle for democracy is now being fought.

I have attempted to sketch in the memorandum here attached83 the present situation from the economical and technical standpoint, and I do trust, dear Mr. Ambassador, that you will give favorable consideration to the problems outlined therein.

I thank you wholeheartedly in advance, Mr. Ambassador, for what you might decide to do in this matter and I remain

Sincerely yours,

  1. For text of President Truman’s letter to Leo T. Crowley, Foreign Economic Administrator, see Leland M. Goodrich and Marie J. Carroll (eds.), Documents on American Foreign Relations, vol. vii, p. 922.
  2. For summary of report of Samuel I. Rosenman, Special Counsel to President Truman, released to the press May 1, 1945, see Documents on American Foreign Relations, vol. vii, p. 918, or Department of State Bulletin, May 6, 1945, p. 860.
  3. Infra.