865.30/1–2448: Telegram

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


337. Refer to Four-Power Naval Commission document 29/J1 and minutes of 17 meeting record dated 10 November.2 In giving agreement to pass the top secret annex Four-Power protocol of 10 February 1947 to Italian Government on 14 November, British made stipulation that due to British Foreign Office commitments to Parliament they reserve right to publish annex unilaterally if information leaks to public (Department’s 141, January 19).3

Italian Government has not seen fit to publish annex officially and [Page 973] Captain Pryce has been privately informed they do not intend to do so until after all ships have been turned over to civilian yards for transfer to recipient governments. This will not occur for many weeks. In December one Colonna, writing for Rome daily Il Nuovo published complete allocations with few discrepancies in minor ships and Colonna’s list, which received no denials, has been published in many world papers since including New York Times.

British Government, through their representative on Naval Commission, today asked that other three governments agree on a date for simultaneous release by four governments as they would “prefer” not to act unilaterally.

Since the information has already enjoyed undenied publication for over a month main objection to agreeing to British request would be that Italy is still responsible for security of ships under Article 1 of the protocol until transfer is effected.

It would also seem preferable to inform British we have no objection to publication by them, but do not see need for similar action by US. This would avoid Four-Power announcement possibly not desirable at this time.

Please pass to Navy and advise me.4

Sent Department as 337, repeated Paris 51, Moscow as 12, London for Embassy and Admiral Conolly as 33.

  1. This document, not printed, was a letter addressed on December 9, 1947, by Captain Pryce as Chairman (for that week) of the Four-Power Naval Commission to the Italian Foreign Minister, Count Sforza, informing him “that there will be no objection on the part of the Four Governments to publication in the Press by the Italian Government, at its discretion, of the Annex to the Four-Power Protocol signed in Paris on 10th February, 1947.” (865.30/12–1847.)
  2. “Record of Decisions taken at the 17th Meeting held at the French Embassy, Rome, on Monday at 10 a. m. and again at 4 p. m.” (November 10, 1947) not printed. (865.30/10–1648.)
  3. In this telegram, not printed, the Department of State asked if the Italian Government had as yet published the Annex to the Naval Protocol. (865.30/1–1948)
  4. In telegram 255 of January 29, 1948, not printed, the Department stated it would prefer no publication of the list of ships until such action were agreeable to the Italians in view of their responsibility for security of the ships until transfer. It suggested that the Ambassador urge the British to defer publication, but that if they felt such action were required because of commitments to Parliament, the United States would not join in such action. (865.30/1–2448)