765.5/10–2350: Telegram

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

top secret

1787. Signor Pacciardi, Minister of Defense, asked me to come to see him this morning. He had three matters he wished to take up with our government.

First: He said he was bringing along with him to the meeting of the Ministers of Defense General Trezzani1 at present Chief of Staff of Defense. He wished now to inform me that it was definitely decided that General Trezzani upon his return from Washington would resign as Chief of Staff and that General Marras2 would most probably be appointed in his place. As General Trezzani was thoroughly familiar with all matters having to do with defense, he wished to have him with him in Washington at this meeting but General Trezzani had signified his intention of resigning immediately afterward and this arrangement had been accepted by the government.

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Second: Italian Government has been considerably embarrassed by direct approach made by British and particularly the French Government to Washington with a view to obtaining dollar assistance in aid of their rearmament programs. He said he realized that the treaty limited force would not justify an approach to Washington on the basis of a large number of divisions or any extensive force. He said he knew they could not publicly state a case for a large number of divisions as a basis for obtaining more armament aid, although at the same time he knew that the planning for the future required Italy to provide more forces than the treaty at present permitted. He said Italian Government had no intention of giving any publicity to an approach to American Government for additional assistance for rearmament but that he would like to present the case of Italy as far as concerned facilities and manpower for European rearmament and to attempt to find out whether there were not some fields of production which these facilities could be used over and above production needed for Italian requirements. He said entire Italian Cabinet was determined to spend up to the maximum capacity of the Italian fiscal and economic situation for rearmament and that it would be well now to find out what production here could be devoted to armament for other members of the North Atlantic Pact.

He said Prime Minister had agreed to ask Ivan Matteo Lombardo, Minister of Foreign Commerce, who is now in US to assist Pacciardi in taking this matter up first with Secretary of Defense and then with Secretary of State. He said he hoped this approach would not receive any publicity as they wished to talk over the situation very quietly with our government officials. He said at Prime Minister’s insistence and with consent of Minister of Foreign Affairs he hoped that I would notify my government that he and Minister Lombardo will be authorized to discuss Italian AMP and Mutual Assistance Programs while they are in Washington.

The third point was with regard to the proposed change from regional groups under NATO to unified commands. He said he was not clear on what would happen to Italy under this proposed new arrangement. He said as far as the Southern Europe and Mediterranean region was concerned there seemed to be only a naval command set up and that Italian land forces did not seem to come clearly under any of the new commands. I told Minister I thought this was a matter which would be clarified when he arrived in Washington as the new plan no doubt contemplated a definite place for Italy.

  1. Claudio Trezzani.
  2. Efisio Marras.