740.00119 Council/6–746: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers, at Paris

top secret

2732. Secdel 245. A. Brit Emb here received request from Bevin that following questions respecting reparations be taken up with Secretary:36

Has offer of Vulcania and Saturnia as reparations been reconsidered? If not how will US deal with claims for Ital ships from other countries and does this mean that US has abandoned previous understanding that no part of Italy’s remaining merchant fleet should be taken from her?
Is any further concession to Soviet viewpoint on reparations contemplated by US?
Will Soviets and French demands for reparations from current output be restricted?
Will insertion in treaty of global reparations figure for all claimants or Soviets alone be resisted by US?
Is US prepared to have Deputies request for submission to Ministers at next meeting early reports from economic experts on commercial relations, restitution, and United Nations property?

B. Dept is submitting memo to Brit Emb substantially as follows:37

Dept does not believe it will be practicable to withdraw offer of Vulcania and Saturnia to USSR as reparations but is convinced that claims for Italy’s merchant vessels from other countries can and should be resisted. Dept feels that no more concessions to Soviet viewpoint on reparations should be made and that demands from Soviets and French for reparations from current output should be resisted. Dept is in agreement with Brit feeling that it would be preferable to avoid inserting in treaty global figure for reparations to be paid by Italy, however, Dept points out that US indicated to Soviets at Paris willingness to consider 100 million dollar figure on condition that Soviets agree to restricting reparations to sources mentioned by Secretary at Paris and agreed to valuation of reparations from these sources. Dept. concurs that it will be desirable to request early reports from economic experts on commercial relations, restitution, and United Nations property and will request US Deputy to call for such reports.

C. When Bevin’s questions were submitted to Secretary it was suggested to him that Brit be informed Dept is concerned over problem of satisfying Greek claims for reparations and in this connection is considering possibility of turning over to Greece limited number of [Page 479] small Italian coasting and fishing vessels and that views of Brit Govt on problem of Greek claims be solicited. In conversation with Clayton on this subject Secretary indicated disapproval of proposed statement to Brit respecting Greek reparation problem saying that he had in mind giving Greeks Italian cruiser and Dodecanese Islands.

D. Kindly note Secretary’s statement that US Deputy would be requested to call for reports from economic experts on subjects mentioned para B.

  1. Foreign Secretary Bevin’s questions were contained in a telegram from Bevin to the British Embassy in Washington, a copy of which was made available to the Department (740.00119 EW/6–346).
  2. The Department’s memorandum under reference was dated June 5, 1946.