Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Dunn)


Mr. Alberto Tarchiani, the Appointed Ambassador of Italy to the United States, made an informal call on me today. He said that he was not taking any matters up officially with this Government as yet, but he did wish to express himself on certain matters which gave him concern and which he felt would be of interest to this Government in its consideration of its relations with Italy and in the consideration of the general situation in the world.

. . . . . . .

The Ambassador then said that he would like to bring up a point very confidentially with the Department in order to obtain the attitude of this Government toward the question. He said that the Italian Government was desirous of declaring war against Japan but that of course under the regime of the surrender terms1 it was not possible to do so without the approval of the British and American Governments. He asked if he could be informed as to the attitude of this Government towards such a step by the Italian Government, expressing the hope that the United States would favor such a move by the Italians. He said that there were many reasons why the Italian Government wished to declare war against Japan, one was to give living proof of the fact that the Italian Government and people were entirely against the association which Mussolini2 had bound them to with the Axis,3 and furthermore they wished to demonstrate in the strongest manner their desire to fight through to the end of this war with the Allies and destroy the last vestige of Fascism, as expressed [Page 956] in the tripartite Axis arrangement.4 He said furthermore that Italy felt strongly that she could make decided contribution to the war against Japan, if not through the sending of troops certainly through her navy and air force, if the Allies are ready to employ those forces.

I told the Ambassador that as far as my personal opinion was concerned I could see no objection from a political viewpoint to a declaration of war against Japan, but that I was not in a position to express the view of this Government without consultation among the other officials of the Government, including the military. I said that I would endeavor to find out what the attitude of the United States Government would be toward such a move on the part of Italy and would take steps to inform him later what that attitude would be.

The Ambassador concluded with remarks to the effect that he wished to strengthen in every way the relations between the two countries and hoped that we could have many talks in the future on the problems confronting his country at this time. I assured him that this Government was most anxious to be of every assistance we could to Italy in her present difficulties, and we would be very glad to be of any help we could whenever he wished to call upon us.

James Clement Dunn
  1. For text of Instrument of Surrender of Italy, signed September 29, 1943, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1604, or 61 Stat. (pt. 3) 2742.
  2. Benito Mussolini, Premier of Italy from 1922 to July 25, 1943.
  3. For protocol indicating adherence of Italy to the German-Japanese Alliance, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 159.
  4. For text of Three Power Pact of Assistance between Germany, Italy, and Japan signed September 27, 1940, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cciv, p. 387, or Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. xi, p. 204.