FW 865.61311/1–1447

The Prime Minister of Italy ( De Gasperi ) to President Truman

Mr. President: I was deeply gratified and much comforted by the assurances you kindly gave me in our interview of yesterday regarding the increase of shipments of wheat to Italy.

[Page 851]

Unfortunately, this morning an appeal which reached me from my departments in Rome shows that by the 15th of January five or six regions in Italy with dense urban population will be left without stocks.

The inquiries that my officials here have made all day long on the question have brought out so far the following information:

no diversion of ships is so far being contemplated in order to satisfy the needs of those areas;
while the domestic availability of wheat in the United States would allow the execution of the agreed upon schedule of shipments, in fact:

—out of the 200,000 tons to be loaded in January ships have been named only for about 50–60% of that quantity;

—there exists considerable uncertainty concerning the execution of the planned shipments for February and March in the amount of 230,000 tons and 250,000 tons, respectively, as it has just been outlined to my mission.

I am confident, Mr. President, that you will fully realize the extreme anxiety with which I view these disquieting developments and the keen anticipation with which I am looking forward to receiving the firmest assurances which your departments will be able to give me.

While thanking you wholeheartedly for whatever action you will deem suitable to take in the matter, I wish to renew to you, Mr. President, the expressions of my highest esteem and consideration.

[Alcide] De Gasperi