711.65/12–1746: Telegram

The Chargé in Italy ( Key ) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

4406. We have received the following reply through Prime Minister’s private secretary1 (see my 4369 Dec 122):

Begin translation.

De Gasperi agrees to leave January 3. He considers it best to defer any public announcement until the last possible moment. Text and date communication will be previously agreed upon and publication will be simultaneous. Better to avoid premature leaks. He will make every effort to keep his appointment but given the upset condition (stato febbrile) of country it is not to be excluded that at last moment some postponement or modification departure date may be imposed. (End of translation)

Prime Minister hopes begin discussions with Secretary Monday, January 6. He will remain in US for forum of Council of World Affairs at Cleveland (see Dowling’s letter to me of November I3) returning Italy immediately thereafter.

We said we would transmit communication to Department as received but asked Canali to convey to De Gasperi our feeling that public announcement of visit should be made as soon as possible; that such news was bound to leak if postponed any length of time. We also asked that we be given as much time as possible regarding announcement for coordination Rome Washington. Foreign Minister has already been informed of visit of Prime Minister by Tarchiani (see Deptel 2141 Dec 11 [12]4).

If Department approves our view regarding publicity we should appreciate being authorized to point out to De Gasperi need for urgency in making early announcement to ensure that first news of visit is not presented in unfavorable light by unfriendly elements.

Prime Minister has been upset according to Canali by press despatches from Washington regarding postponement Export Import Bank of consideration Italian application for loan and new unfavorable development in payment $50,000,000 non-troop pay account (see my 4394 Dec 153). We said that so far as we knew application for loan was still before Bank and that we had had no indication that it was receiving any more or less favorable consideration than formerly. Regarding troop pay we expressed view that it could only be technicalities [Page 837] between War and Treasury Department holding up final transfer of $50,000,000 to Italian account assuring Canali that there could be no doubt that Secretary’s assurance to De Gasperi of October 12 would be honored.

  1. Paolo Canali.
  2. See footnote 3, p. 835.
  3. Not printed.
  4. See footnote 2, p. 835.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1937, vol. ii, pp. 435 ff. and 1938, vol. ii, pp. 557 ff.