Editorial Note

Work of the Four-Power Naval Commission in 1947

On February 11, the day after signature of the Protocol, the Four-Power Naval Commission was constituted and held its first meeting. USN Captain Roland F. Pryce, representative of the United States, RN Captain William Yorke LaRoche Beverley, representative of the United Kingdom, and Rear Admiral Gabriel Rebuffel, representative of France, served for the whole period of the Commission, which was dissolved in May 1949. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the Paris meetings was represented by Rear Admiral V. P. Karpunin, but when the Commission moved to Rome in September, his place was taken, until May 1948, by Commodore (Senior Captain) Semen V. Slavin.

At the initial meeting the Commission decided to deliver the Protocol, but without the Annex, to Italy and to Greece, Yugoslavia, and Albania. During the spring the Italian Government named as its representative Naval Captain Ernesto Giurati who explained Italy’s interpretation of the terms used in Article 57 of the Treaty but without gaining a clear acceptance by the Commission so that he resigned at the end of May.

Because ratification of the Treaty was still pending, little progress was made at Paris. Reports from the Paris Embassy regarding the meetings held there are found in the Central Files of the Department of State under the number 865.30 but these do not include copies of the minutes (Record of Decisions) for the Paris session, February 11–May [Page 972] 16, or the documents, 1–43, for the period February 11–May 19. For the Rome period the Department’s records are full. Complete records of the Commission are filed in the Classified Operational Archives, Naval History Division, Department of the Navy.

After the transfer to Rome the Department of State, in order to insure coordination of its policies in implementing the Treaty, directed that all communications of the Commission be transmitted to it through the Ambassador and with his comments. United States policy aimed to reduce to a minimum the political reactions unfavorable to the Italian Government and to keep as low as possible the Italian obligation for refitting and repairing the vessels to be transferred. Naval Captain Alessandro Michelagnoli was named Italian representative with the Commission. The United States declined to accept any of the vessels allotted to it and proposed that they be converted into scrap in order to aid Italy’s economic recovery. Ambassador Dunn urged that the manner and date of revealing the allocations of the ships should be left to Italy, but that the United States be given prior notice in order to be able to issue a press release of its intention to relinquish claim to its allotted share. The Soviet Government at first opposed the proposal for the conversion of the renounced submarines into scrap, but reversed this stand toward the end of the year.