865.30/7–2848: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy


2381. Ur 3203 July 28 re replacement lost vessels Annex XII B Naval Protocol,1 in view questionable legal validity Ital contention para three Art 57 not applicable vessels lost period bet signature and coining into force Treaty, and fact we have already associated ourselves Commission’s rejection Ital position, you slid take no action Deptel 1979 July 27.2

When Itals or member Comm again bring up matter we consider Pryce shd make plain to Comm we believe Ital position morally justified despite probable legal obligation replace lost vessels regardless cause. He shd state view vessels not lost due sabotage or negligence but in course entirely legitimate and proper operation and that it difficult justify what would amount punitive action against Itals shd Comm persist in demanding replacement from vessels Annex XII A lie shd further urge Comm agree not press Itals this point.

  1. In this telegram, not printed, Byington stated that article 57 had been inserted in the treaty to discourage sabotage; that the Embassy had considered that on September 16, 1947 Italy’s obligation became effective to replace any craft lost after February 10, 1917. He stated also that the Embassy joined in naval commission’s unanimous rejection of the Italian position, but it would reverse its position on instruction from the Department. (865.30/7–2848)
  2. In this telegram, not printed, the Department stated its initial opinion that the Italian position was legally valid, that is that Italy was not obligated to replace vessels nonexistent at the time the treaty came into force (865.30/7–748).