865.24/2–448: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Dunn) to the Secretary of State

top secret

473. There have been no significant developments tending to make any less urgent the provision of those arms and equipment for the Italian armed forces which were set forth in Military Attaché cables MAR–3451 and 3572 of 6 and 15 December respectively. While there has been some amplification of desiderata, after considered study by the Italian Minister of Defense, the Category One requirements enumerated in the foregoing cables remain basic and imperative if the security forces are to be adequately prepared to maintain order in the face of impending trouble. Essential therefore, that Embtel 261, January 203 be answered without delay.

Even assuming that a satisfactory solution is reached by way of fulfilling the sixteen million dollar program set forth in Deptel 63, January [Page 765] 12, it is apparent that the arms and equipment which might be acquired will fall considerably short of requirements set forth in MAR–345 and 357. Consequently, we have explored (Embtel 321, January 234 and Deptel 238, January 28) the possibility of utilizing other sources of supply. Excess stocks in Germany loom all the more important as the immediate pre-election period draws near. Admitting the general condition of EuCom excess stocks as reported in WAREX 59006, January 315 and the administrative difficulties attendant upon the preparation of such excess stocks for shipment, every combat item which can be made available from US Army stocks in Germany will represent a significant contribution to the overall efficiency of Italian armed forces.

There is no other area on the periphery of the Russian orbit, with the possible exception of Greece, where internal strife is as imminent or the force of insurrection as well organized and equipped. I endorse the view of the Italian Government that the readying of the security forces is the highest priority task for the coming weeks. I therefore urge the Department to take all possible action to insure prompt and favorable action on the part of the JCS with a view to declaring surplus and earmarking for purchase by the Italian Government, such excess combat stocks in EuCom as may be found fit for use by the Italian armed forces.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. See footnote 4, p. 757.
  4. In this telegram, not printed, Ambassador Dunn reminded the Department that “Without lists of equipment included in 16 million dollar program I am, of course, not in a position to discuss it further with the Prime Minister.” (865.24/1–2348)
  5. Not found in Department of State files.