740.00119 Council/3–1248

The British Embassy to the Department of State


Ref: G66/—/48


association of italy in three-power talks on germany

The United States Government have recently urged on the British Government the desirability of associating Italy in the Three-Power talks on the future of Germany.1

2. Mr. Bevin has had the question of the association of Italy in these talks and in German policy generally under close consideration for some time. He is of the opinion that the best course would be for the [Page 147] British Government (and for the United States and French Governments to act similarly if they agree to do so) to send for the Italian Ambassador in London and give him an oral summary of the results of the talks recently concluded in London, adding that any views which the Italian Government might wish to express would, be welcomed. Mr. Bevin considers that the same procedure should be adopted with the Ambassadors of Norway, Denmark and Greece in London.

3. Mr. Bevin has been considering as an alternative the possibility of drawing up a memorandum setting out the general conclusions reached at the recent talks and formally presenting it to the Italian (and the other three) Governments. He has, however, rejected this, since the German talks were informal and the results provisional. Furthermore, the task of drafting such a memorandum and agreeing it with the United States and French Governments would undoubtedly be a lengthy affair. In Mr. Bevin’s view a comprehensive but informal discussion with the Italian Ambassadors in the three capitals would be likely to give a more complete picture and to make it easier for the Italian Government to make any comments which they wish. Mr. Bevin is most anxious to make clear to the State Department that he fully agrees with their desire to do everything possible to support the Italian Government at the present time. He doubts, however, whether the question of allowing the Italian Government to express views on Western Germany is one which is likely to have great interest for the Italian voter, and any gesture made to this end must be more dramatic if it is to have a substantial effect on the elections.

4. Mr. Bevin would be grateful to know whether the State Department would be prepared to follow a similar course to that suggested in paragraph 2 above. He is also asking the British Ambassador in Paris to speak to M. Bidault on the same lines.

  1. In a memorandum to the Department of State dated February 12, 1948, not printed, the Italian Embassy expressed the feeling of the Italian Government that the Italian position with respect to European economic questions not be overlooked or jeopardized by the policies to be adopted with regard to German economic problems (740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1248). In a note of February 25, 1948 to Assistant Secretary of State Thorp, not printed, Italian Ambassador Alberto Tarchiani conveyed the interest of the Italian Government in attending any conferences, such as those then taking place in London, regarding the economic situation in Western Germany (740.00119 Council/2–2548).