Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. George C. McGhee, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Clayton)

Subject: Third Meeting Between Mr. Clayton and the Italian Prime Minister, Alcide de Gasperi

Participants: Alcide de Gasperi, Italian Prime Minister
Pietro Campilli, Minister of Foreign Trade
Donato Menichella, Director General, Bank of Italy
Alberto Tarchiani, Ambassador of Italy
Egidio Ortona, First Secretary, Italian Embassy
UE–Mr. Clayton
UE–Mr. McGhee
SE–Mr. Dowling

The Italian representatives proposed certain changes in the draft communiqué covering agreements reached during their present visit.1 Mr. Clayton suggested they bring these suggestions up in their meeting with the Export-Import Bank later in the day.

Mr. Clayton advised that action on the 50 additional ships requested by the Italians would probably be favorable, although formal approval had not been given either by the NAC or the Maritime Commission.2 He pointed out that it might not be possible in all cases to obtain the precise type of ships requested, since a few types might not be available.

Mr. Clayton reported that January wheat sailings now appear more unfavorable than had hitherto been expected, and that Italian sailings would probably not exceed 100,000 tons. In view of the difficult Italian supply position, the War Department had, however, diverted to Italy six vessels destined to Germany which carried an aggregate of 50,000 [Page 861] tons of wheat. These ships would arrive as follows: Palermo on the 17th of January; Naples on the 19th; Bari on the 27th; Genoa on the 28th; Naples on the 29th; Genoa on the 1st of February. Mr. Clayton pointed out that the War Department had consented to this diversion only on the assurance that it would be made up from other wheat earmarked for Italy. Although there would result no increase in total supplies going to Italy, there would be an increase in January and early February arrivals. Mr. Clayton promised that we would ship to Italy in February all the wheat we had previously agreed to, and that we would make every effort to pay the Italian diversion back to the War Department in January.

The Italian representatives asked for United States support in the ECO for an increase in their coal allocations to 900,000 tons per month, in the expectation that they would be able to receive 200,000 to 300,000 tons a month from Germany and other sources in addition to the 600,000 tons a month from the United States. Mr. Clayton stated that the Italian request would be given careful consideration and would be taken up with the United States representative on the ECO.

  1. The communiqué, released to the press on January 15, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, January 26, 1947, p. 165.
  2. On January 14 the Maritime Commission formally approved the sale of 50 additional ships to Italy (Memorandum by A. J. Williams to James L. Pimper, Acting Director, Large Vessel Sales Division, Maritime Commission, January 15, not printed; File “Application No. 2155: Italian Government,” U.S. Maritime Administration Records).