The Ambassador in Italy ( Kirk ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 19—4:30 p.m.]
1353. I should be glad to be informed of the status of the present consideration of the proposal of the Italian Govt to negotiate an air convention with the US as mentioned in my 987, April 18, 1 p.m.
The Civil Aeronautics Board route map includes a stop at Rome and it is my opinion that everything that is possible should be attempted at this time vis-à-vis the Italian Govt with a view to obtaining all the facilities that may be required in order to implement the plan for United States international civil air transport services, as far as Italy is concerned. From what I can ascertain the present airport at Rome which is now under the jurisdiction of the Air Transport Command and which has been rehabilitated for temporary use with American money and manpower from a state of complete destruction is entirely inadequate not only for present all-weather operations but also from the point of view of long-range planning and consequently other facilities must be provided. I am sufficiently cognizant of the [Page 1325] present state of Italian efforts in this field to form the opinion that it is only through American enterprise that any facilities can be developed which will meet eventual needs.
It is my opinion that the ATC will be required to operate into Home for an extended period to meet military and redeployment requirements. Owing to its accomplishments to date, the ATC is the indicated factor in providing these facilities at some new location. Conditions here are such that I consider it timely to endeavor to obtain long-term operating rights for American civil carriers to use such an airport and I urge that the Dept take the initiative in coordinating policy in Washington on this matter and that the Embassy be kept informed of developments in order that it may be in a position to lend such advice and assistance as may be considered appropriate.