765.5 MAP/1–450: Telegram

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

top secret

36. Eyes only Secretary, Under Secretary, and Perkins.2 I fully realize relatively minor role of Italy in MAP.3 NAT developments, “however, have immediate political bearing on Italian internal situation out of all proportion to significance of supplies to be furnished Italy.4 Prime Minister5 and his collaborators, who have wholeheartedly adopted a full western orientation of which AP6 is significant symbol, are now facing reorganization of Italian Government with risk of losing working class support hitherto represented in the coalition with moderate Socialists. It behooves us therefore to avoid public acts which would increase the difficulties and embarrassment of Prime Minister at this particularly delicate moment. I am afraid that in our public handling of MDAP we have tended to discount these considerations in favor of carrying out a preconceived general plan aimed at Europe as a whole.

Among moderate Socialists, Saragat7 and Lombardo8 have espoused pact against opposition of so-called neutrals who are in majority in that grouping. If these Socialists have to face the issue of participation in new government, are caused further difficulties in connection with MDAP, they may be forced by developments within their group [Page 1483] to make conditions inconsistent with the present government’s unequivocal stand on Atlantic defense. This would not only narrow the base of future coalition but would push it at unpropitious time toward right, by depriving the government of the support of even the Saragat wing of the moderate Socialist group and probably also the Republican group under Pacciardi.9 As these two groups are among the best of the political elements having real support among the working classes, an opportunity to wean more of those classes from Communism would be lost. Also the successful campaign of the independent labor movements against Communist control now going forward would suffer a severe setback.

In view of foregoing and in light of US MDAP procedures announced in radio bulletin 303, December 27,10 it would be most helpful if you would authorize me to discuss each MDAP development with Italian Government prior to initiating action involving Italy.

  1. George W. Perkins, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.
  2. Military Assistance Program. For documentation on the overall aspects of the MAP, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. i, pp. 249 ff.
  3. For documentation concerning NATO, see pp. 1 ff.
  4. Alcide De Gasperi.
  5. Assistance Program (Military Assistance Program).
  6. Guiseppe Saragat, Secretary of the Socialist Party of Italian Workers, a moderate socialist party and one of several Italian political parties in the coalition Government.
  7. Ivan Lombardo, head of the Union of Socialists Party, a moderate socialist party. The Union of Socialists Party joined with the Socialist Party of Italian Workers in 1948 to form the so-called Socialist Unity Group.
  8. Randolfo Pacciardi, leader of the Italian Republican Party, a small moderate leftist non-Marxian political party.
  9. Not printed.