Lot 60–D 136: Box 6
The Italian Embassy to the Export-Import Bank of Washington51
Washington, May 18, 1946.
Indispensable and Urgent Financing Program for Italy
- Last February there was presented to the Export-Import Bank and the other interested branches of the U. S. Government on behalf of the Italian Government a request for a line of credit of $940,000,000 based on the requirements needed by Italy during 1946 in order to insure the life of the population and to assure the restoration of the industries and national economy of Italy.
- At the beginning of March, although in an unofficial way, the representatives of the Italian Government were made to understand that the authorities were resolved to supply, within the lapse of a few weeks, a substantial financial help. This contemplated help was made of two parts: One part being the countervalue in dollars currency of the so-called “suspense account”; and the other as a long term credit, from the Export–Import Bank.
- Trusting that the above said help could be quickly concluded in figures and exact crediting, the Italian Government made ready and sent to Washington two notes of the first and highest priority for purchasing of materials most vital for the Italian economy. The purchase of these materials has to be made very urgently, outside and in addition to those contained in UNRRA’s program.
- The total of these two notes, constituting the highest priorities out of the total requested credit, amounts to about $400 million. It is well to note that the estimates and the valuations made by UNRRA agreed practically with the Italian figures.
- During the past months, the Italian Government being uncertain about the amount of the financing that would be given, found itself in the most complete uncertainty about the supplies which could be purchased. Therefore, the Italian industrial factories are lacking—and they will be more so in the near future—in essential materials which they need, while the unemployment will mark a sorrowful and inevitable increase.
- The export trade of Italy—which started with a satisfactory volume and rhythm—will consequently decrease.
- The very grave political and social repercussions that are resulting from this situation are manifest.
- During this grave period, there was a founded reason to believe that the disposal of the suspense funds was nearing, waiting until the value and terms of the loan from the Export-Import Bank could be completed.
- We are informed now, that the crediting of the suspense funds has not, until now, received the approval of the Appropriations Committee. This approval was requested by the Administration for the use of the suspense account.
- The matter being in such situation, the Italian Government can now rely only on a quick decision regarding the Export-Import Bank credit. It is, therefore, hoped that the loan will be adequate enough to permit, at least, the purchase of the materials listed in the first priority notes as above said.
- This indispensable financing, if granted in due time for adequate gearing with UNRRA’s help, can be allotted in an efficient manner to reactivate the Italian economy. On the other hand, if this indispensable financing is deferred to a later time—when the UNRRA’s supply will be at an end—the reactivation of the industrial process will be so delayed that the Italian Government will not have its own sources of currency for the purchasing of food. Therefore, it is of prime importance that a line of credit adequate for the highest priority industrial needs be granted as soon as possible, rather than to wait until a time when the UNRRA relief program is diminished and the credit may have to be used for absolutely essential foods.
- A handwritten marginal notation reads: “Handed to Mr. Martin, Eximbank, personally by Italian Ambassador May 20, 1946. Copy to Spiegel FN from Ortona, Italian Embassy.” Harold R. Spiegel was Acting Chief of the Division of Financial Affairs, Department of State.↩