357.AG/4–1550: Telegram

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

1556. Lidel 16. [From Clark.] Ambassador Dunn took me1 call on Sforza2 and on Count Zoppi, Secretary General Foreign Office. As indicating appreciation and importance Italians attach my visit Borne was fact that initiative interview Sforza came from Foreign Office and fact of interview was immediately given press.

Summing up in nutshell Italian position re Libya, Sforza said UK and Italians must learn to cooperate. He had stressed this to Bevin,3 he said, who had agreed but had bemoaned fact that while he and Sforza looked forward, their respective functionaries insisted on looking backward. Sforza felt if all could look toward future, trying forget past, there might be hope in Libya. The Italians are there, he said, and must be allowed to stay and play their role in community or there will be disintegration authority and chaos providing fertile soil Soviet activity. Italy had lost her North African colonies, he said, and had no intention endeavor regain them. Italy hopes, however, to establish mutually profitable trade former colonies. Giving real evidence suspicion UK reluctant decrease its influence Libya but basing his reasoning on rather untenable ground, Sforza said he felt UK Government gave undue weight to opinions UK officials Libya who, accustomed austerity at home, were luxuriating in well-staffed, well-lardered palaces in Libya which they were reluctant to leave. Sforza obviously sought convince us Italians sole desire, at moment at least, is to trade with Libya and provide for existence and gradual normal increase in influence of Italian colony there. There was obvious, however, his fear that bureaucratic UK officialdom would prevent the cooperation between UK and Italy essential to that end.

Zoppi, whom we saw later, covered much same ground but added that Balay, French representative Libya Council, expressed to him on recent visit Borne, French perturbation that we were proceeding too rapidly in Libya with effects on French North Africa which might prove disastrous.

Repeated London 223, Paris 180, pouched Cairo, Karachi. [Clark.]

  1. Ambassador Lewis Clark.
  2. Carlo Sforza, Italian Foreign Minister.
  3. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.