840.00/3–1148: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy

top secret

660. For the Ambassador’s eyes only. We are actively studying what US Govt might do to assist in checking further Communist expansion in Europe through steps designed to strengthen confidence of non-Communist elements and deter Soviets from further fifth-column action along Czech model. We believe US public opinion now prepared support strong measures. At present we naturally have Italy foremost in mind. British, French and Benelux are currently elaborating regional security arrangements at Brussels. Those arrangements will have US support although form and extent of our relationship to them cannot be determined until we can study final product Brussels talks.

Please give us urgently your own estimate whether prompt Italian inclusion in our association with such a regional security arrangement would be helpful in Italy. We do not know what position Western [Page 46] Union powers might take re immediate inclusion Italy. Bevin and Bidault share our desire to give maximum encouragement to Italians before elections but all five Govts may well hesitate at taking on such a heavy immediate liability.

Any suggestions you may have re security arrangements or consultations which might be beneficial in Italy would be appreciated.