865.014/2–2548: Telegram

The United States Deputy for the Former Italian Colonies of the Council of Foreign Ministers ( Gallman ) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

717. Itcol 110. Soviet insistence on procedural requirement that other interested governments must present preliminary views may prevent any schedule hearings being adopted or letters to those governments agreed to. In view of this, Massigli1 sent Leroy,2 Minister-Counselor French Embassy, this morning to see Saksin, Counselor Soviet Embassy. Leroy reports there is practically no chance of agreement between Russian and other three deputies on this point and that the most Soviets are willing to concede is that dominions could present views about end of March. Soviet intention to force dominions to make statements before Italian elections is what we understand Department wants to prevent (Colit 58).3 Soviet deputy apparently has strict orders from Moscow and is unwilling to ask for new instructions. Consequently, serious split between Soviet and other three deputies may disrupt meeting DepItcol on Friday, 27th.

In such situation, Massigli may state French Government would want to hear all other interested governments whenever they want to present their views, even if Soviet deputy should veto hearings for certain governments on basis procedural requirement. Noel Charles would support such position. If US also supports Massigli, it could lead to situation where the three powers would hold hearings of governments concerned outside framework of CFM and DepItcol. In such situation, as we see it, blame would fall on Soviets, while other three powers would be upholding rights of small powers to express their views on future of colonies. It occurs to us that this might redound [Page 901] favorably for US if question Italian colonies should be referred to GA. We say this while fully appreciating that if developments take the turn where the future of the colonies is left to the GA, a certain measure of control over this issue now in our hands would be lost to us. This is only one of a number of factors that must now be carefully considered.

Please instruct urgently what position US deputy is to take at Friday morning meeting.

  1. René Massigli, French Ambassador in the United Kingdom.
  2. Jean Leroy, Second Counselor at the French Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  3. Dated February 20, p. 898.