865.30/5–1448: Telegram

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


2207. As previously reported, Soviets have consistently refused to discuss return of warships on loan to Russia until “there shall have been full clarity in regard to transfer of excess Italian ships to Russia.”

[Page 977]

In interest of other powers US and UK members of naval committee continued to discuss all problems connected with Article 57 until agreement was reached on text of a document titled “General Methods of Transfer”. This paper when transmitted to Italian Government will provide for general procedures in connection with transfers such as: (a) Provision that ships to be prepared by civilian yards and turned over in agreed ports outside Italy by civilian crews. (b) Number of recipient power specialists to be permitted in Italy for purpose of inspection and to accompany ships to ports of transfer. (c) Extent of inspections and trials, (d) Ports of transfer, (e) Responsibility for supply of fuel and stores, repatriation of crews, etc. Document was considered by me to embody sufficient detail regarding transfer of ships to supply “full clarity” in connection with transfers to Russia. I therefore instructed Pryce three weeks ago not to agree to its transmittal to Italians until Soviets were willing to enter into discussions on return of loaned ships under Paragraph Nine of naval protocol.

French are very anxious to have document transmitted as Italians will then have no excuses. Yugo and Greek interests are also involved.

Russians have now been instructed that they may enter into discussions on return of loaned ships but have asked that document under discussion be passed to Italians without waiting for agreement on details of returning loaned ships.

Inasmuch as we still hold veto on naming dates for transfer of any ship to USSR and unless otherwise instructed by Tuesday next, we will agree to pass document to Italians if first exchange of views on Part II of protocol indicates good faith.

I propose to have Captain Pryce ask that Milwaukee proceed to a port in US on same date Russian assigned cruiser Duca D’Aosta leaves Italy for Odessa. Also that we be given option of placing a few observers aboard for voyage if we wish.

Captain Pryce asks pass to Navy and ascertain port of delivery desired by CNO for Milwaukee.

Sent Department 2207, repeated London for Embassy and Admiral Conolly 198, Paris as 279 and Moscow as 59.