The Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy in Italy 62

Note Verbale

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States of America and, with reference to the note verbale of the American Embassy No. 248 of September 28 ult.63 and the note verbale of the British Embassy No. 206 of September 18 ult., submitting proposals to the Italian Government for the future regulation of petroleum supplies for Italy, has the honor to call attention to the following:

The Italian Government is aware that during the present period it is still necessary to maintain a single routine covering supplies of [Page 1320] petroleum products, however it considers that such routine should cover a relatively short period of time, as there are good grounds to suppose that, as far as available quantities of petroleum products and transportation are concerned, we are tending towards a more normal state of affairs. For such transitory period, which we hope will not be protracted to any great length, on the Italian side the routine for the supplying of petroleum products as proposed by the British and American Governments is accepted.

With particular regard to the different types of petroleum products to be assigned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to draw the attention of the British and American Governments to the necessity of Italy being able to obtain suitable quantities of crude oil, for the purpose of maintaining refineries in operating condition and to avoid deterioration of the plants already existing in the country, and which are at present inactive, as well as to give employment to considerable masses of workmen thereby contributing to the alleviation of increasing unemployment in this sector.

With reference to the suggested method of payment, it is considered superfluous to mention that, as is well known to the Allied Authorities, the present Italian resources do not allow us to meet payments in cash, and we therefore trust that supplies of petroleum products may be financed by UNRRA, or through some other financing system.

When considering the question of the distribution in Italy of the quantities of petroleum products assigned, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs considers it advisable that steps be taken immediately tending towards a normal state of operation and in this connection feels it advisable to re-examine the structure and functioning of the C.I.P., which structure and functioning, if justified in the past by necessities of war, do no longer appear consistent with the new situation brought about by the cessation of hostilities and by the progressive normalisation of the markets. From the point of view of the new routine, this body could be limited to undertake the function of supervising, on the basis of an equitable formula to be established by the Italian Government in agreement with the interested parties, the division of quantities assigned between the various companies operating in Italian territory. The subsequent steps connected with placing products into consumption directly as regards products which may be sold without any further processing and through refining and processing in case of others should be taken care of by the individual Italian and foreign companies as soon as the latter have regained possession of their plants.

[Page 1321]

In this connection it is pointed out that, as already known, effective the first February last a Lieut. Decree64 was issued covering the return of said plants to their lawful owners, and the publication of the relative executive regulations can take place at any moment, as soon as we are advised that the American and British Governments are in agreement regarding the regulations themselves, which agreement has been solicited a number of times. The Italian Government, as already advised with Note Verbale No. 41/10142 of 18 June last,65 confirms its ardent desire to see American and British companies promptly regaining possession of their properties and trusts that the Embassy of the United States of America on its part will kindly help in order that the return (of the properties) may take place without delay.

With regard, furthermore, to the assurances asked for in connection with points mentioned in paragraph 2, b) and c) of the Note Verbale to which we are herein replying, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, referring also to Note Verbale No. 41/10142 of 18 June last and Memorandum No. 41/19785 of 18 September last66 on this subject, wishes to confirm that it is not the intention of the Italian Government to adopt measures of a preferential nature in favor of AGIP and other Italian companies vis-à-vis foreign companies.

On the Italian side it is agreed furthermore that, as regards the routine foreseen for the petroleum market, a just quota of the total market be assigned to American and British interests, so that when the “pool” controls will have been removed, the various petroleum companies may again operate in Italy on bases not less favorable than those on which they were respectively situated before the beginning of hostilities.

The Italian Government on its part is also favorable to the suggestion that, as soon as the present restrictions on petroleum products have been removed, the supply of petroleum products to the Italian market, covering purchases from source as well as refining and resale within the country, may take place under a regime of healthy and real competition and cooperation between foreign interests and Italian companies to the maximum good of all concerned.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs trusts that the American and British Governments will agree with the above observations in connection with the proposal covering the supply and distribution of petroleum products submitted to the Italian Government, and thanks [Page 1322] the Embassy of the United States for any communications which it may wish to make on the subject.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 2592, November 5, 1945, from Rome; received November 19.
  2. See footnote 58, p. 1317.
  3. Decree issued in the name of the Lieutenant of the Realm.
  4. Not printed, but for summary, see telegram 1729, June 24, from Rome, p. 1311.
  5. Not printed, but for summary, see telegram 2868, September 27, from Rome, p. 1318.