740.00119 EW/8–2045

The President of the Italian Council of Ministers (Parri) to President Truman 22

Mr. President: A short stay in Rome of Ambassador Tarchiani and his return to Washington afford me the opportunity of addressing you [Page 1023] this letter and of placing myself in direct contact with you, an earnest wish of mine for a long time.

Ambassador Tarchiani has expounded to me verbally and at length the friendly attitude shown towards Italy by the Government of the United States of America and has stressed the constant, cordial and personal support which the Italian cause has always found in their President.

I therefore wish to express to you, in the very first place, the deepest gratitude of the Italian Government and people for the generous assistance afforded us on every occasion and for the cordial support which, in the extremely difficult times we have undergone and we are still undergoing, touches us more than I can say.

It is an established fact that a deep feeling of confidence, of respect and friendship has arisen in Italy towards the United States, shared alike by all social classes; I consider this feeling as one of the most promising and positive results of the tormented period we have lived in, inasmuch as it re-establishes between our two countries, better than any diplomatic agreement, a really sound basis on which it is possible and necessary to build a close, confident and friendly collaboration.

This hour in which I write to you is decisive for us. In a few days our fate will be sealed in London.23 You may easily realize, Mr. President, our anxiety and our concern.

It would be needless for me to recall the circumstances with which you are so well acquainted and which, on your initiative, have been clearly set forth in the Potsdam declaration, considered by us as the ideal premise of the future settlement of our problems. In other words I do not wish to emphasize again our bitter sacrifices, our devastated cities, our ruined economy, the destructions brought about by the war, the sufferings of our people, the good will with which we have fought on your side for nearly two years, our firm determination to rebuild a democratic, honest and pacified Italy.

I feel bound however to underline with the absolute frankness which the gravity of the times fully justifies that the drawbacks of an unjust peace would by far offset the questionable gains deriving to some Countries from the acquisition of strips of Italian or colonial territory which might be taken away from us.

An unjust peace would exert, in fact, the most unfavourable influence on that healthy and ordered democratic development of 45 million Italians which we have laboriously undertaken and are firmly resolved to achieve despite all difficulties: it would hinder the task of our and indeed of any Government; it would sow new seeds of mistrust and depression in the soul of our people; it would give rise to a feeling [Page 1024] of diffidence towards the Western Powers, in whose declared ideals of equity and justice we Italians of the resistance movement have always believed and in the name of which we have fought and suffered with unshakable faith.

It is for this, Mr. President, that I turn to you in this decisive hour.

We do not ask for anything which is not just or equitable nor want anything which cannot be legitimately given us or that has been illegitimately taken from others.

Ambassador Tarchiani will summarily advise you, in the course of the interview which you have been so kind as to grant him, and will advise more in detail your Secretary of State of what in our opinion we believe to be a just peace, a peace which does not humiliate us, a peace which would allow a Country of ancient civilisation to take up again with human dignity her place in a pacified world.

I only wish to express to you, Mr. President, my firm belief that in this grave hour you will not fail to assist us with the full weight of your authority.

Believe me [etc.]

Ferruccio Parri
  1. Referred by the White House to the Department of State for appropriate handling.
  2. For documentation pertaining to the London Council of Foreign Ministers, September 11–October 2, 1945, see vol. ii, pp. 99 ff.