865.24/2–1948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy

top secret

Niact 461. State Army Navy Air Forces Coordinating Committee (SANACC) has approved paper (SANACC 390/1)1 on Provision of [Page 772]US Equipment to Ital Armed Forces (copy to you by air pouch) and President, on recommendation NSC, has directed transfer to Italy (by US Armed forces), subject to reimbursement to forces concerned, of equipment and supplies Deptel 63 Jan 12. In separate tels Army and Navy advising MA and NA items, cost and estimated time delivery.

Dept must stress transfer dependent reimbursement and that no action involving expenditure funds can be initiated until payment received. Although we cannot emphasize too strongly great impetus to most efficient and expeditious delivery which payment full charges in advance would have, deliveries could be begun various items as and when funds become available to cover costs and charges items involved.

In event you consider probable delay acceptance entire program, suggest you urge PriMin immediately accept and arrange payment charges for items Deptel 2638 Dec. 172 or other items most urgently required which would prove effective in early reinforcement security forces. In this way at least some action could be initiated immediately.

Cost entire program reduced from approx sixteen million to approx ten million by means application “Greek-Turkish” pricing formula. In your conversations PriMin you may desire stress extremely favorable pricing which makes possible transfer non-surplus items on most favorable possible terms and transfer surplus items without cost except actual charges incurred in handling. For your info every consideration has been given declaration additional items as surplus, however, shortages our own essential forces and extremely difficult budgetary position armed forces absolutely precludes declaration as surplus items requiring immediate replacement through new procurement at prices inordinately higher than during wartime production.

Dept responsible arrangement necessary reimbursement to forces concerned before further progress can be made here. As you will see from Army and Navy tels, delivery schedules, which must be coordinated with top priority Greek-Turkish programs, leave dangerously small margin of time to effect deliveries prior anticipated critical period. Every day delay Ital agreement and actual transfer necessary funds, further postpones initiation delivery preparations here.

It is therefore of utmost importance Itals expedite agreement and completion necessary financial arrangements.

Surplus items indicated in Army’s tel to MA 3 can be transferred under existing Bonner–Corbino Agreement.4

  1. Ante, p. 757.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In telegram 791 of February 24, 1948, not printed, Dunn reported that he had transmitted the substance of niact 461 to De Gasperi (865.24/2–2448).

    In MAR 53 of the same date, not printed, the Military Attaché, Colonel Willems, reported that the message had been delivered but there was no indication of the nature of the reply except that the Italians indicated willingness to accept matériel at the German border on an “as is” basis (865.24/2–2448).

  4. See Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. v, p. 932, bracketed note.