No. 265

765.5 MAP/3–2151: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy 1


4212. Tomap. Fol is joint State–ECA–Defense message dealing with further negots with Itals re mil effort and US aid to be read in conjunction with reply to Toeca 2452 being sent today via ECA channels,3 concerning basis being used for Congressional presentation.

Our objectives are to bring current negots to a stage which provides (a) best atmosphere and assurance rapid and effective implementation current Ital plans for mil effort and related econ measures; (b) maximum obtainable commitment from Itals regarding mil effort during remainder FY 51 and FY 52; (c) most favorable situation for exertion continuous pressure to obtain more nearly adequate effort from Itals.
We recognize delays in reaching agreement on aid figures disappointing to Itals and to extent this is barrier achieving objectives set forth para 5 wld like achieve mutually satisfactory solution as [Page 588] soon as possible. Recent Ital shift to position that 250 billion program not to be accomplished until June 30, 1952 rather than by end calendar 1951, which contradicts previous Ital assurances is serious impediment to such solution.
As indicated in concurrent ECA message US Govt in seeking appropriations for aid to Eur def effort must proceed on assumptions that such effort adequate. Presentation which reflected assumption and acceptance by US of Ital effort of 250 billion additional by end June 30, 1952 wld in our view seriously jeopardize chances favorable Congressional action. Furthermore, we do not regard effort so spread as satisfactory or consistent with Ital capabilities and previous statements.
Clearly also awkward envisage reaching agreement with Itals now or prior Congressional action which accepted lower figure for Ital effort than that hypothesized in Congressional presentation and consequently lower aid requirement particularly in view characteristic publicity which seems attend all US-Ital discussions this subject.
First objective present discussions shld be, in our view, to get Itals back to previous basis of negots (250 billion program to be completed by end calendar 1951) since change to longer period is one US considers most unsatisfactory. Vacillation between 12 (3 of which already gone) and 18 month period does not provide stable basis which is essential to any calculations of aid. If Ital effort is of the smaller magnitude (implicit in 18 month assumption) US aid wld necessarily have to be sharply curtailed. More important, reduction of Ital effort in this way delays attainment NATO MTDP goals and is not compatible Ital responsibilities as member NATO. Believe US position in negots must be that we can not accept 18 month phasing as basis for proceeding.
Assuming Itals can stabilize on execution 250 billion program by end calendar 1951 we wld be prepared commit additional aid for FY 1951 of $80 million bringing total US aid for FY 1951 to $235 million. With respect to FY 1952 we cld then be confronted with Ital effort period Jan–June 1952 of unknown dimensions. Obviously we wld not be willing commit (in so far as we cld commit in view no funds yet appropriated) ourselves to an aid figure for FY 1952 against an indeterminate level of Ital effort. Any expression of intent on our part to seek funds of a particular amount in order to provide them to Ital must be based upon an equally valid commitment by the Ital Govt to a level of effort which wld justify that amount. Our decision to proceed in Congressional presentation as indicated in concurrent ECA message presumes that Ital effort will reach proportions indicated. In event subsequently determine lower Ital effort is maximum Ital can do any difference between amount [Page 589] obtained in appropriation and lower amount which wld be justified for Ital wld be applied to other aid programs. Itals shld clearly understand that presentation to Congress not commitment and based on hypothesis and conditions herein outlined.
At such point in time (bearing in mind considerations set forth para 4 above) as we can obtain commitment from Itals which covers Ital effort for entire FY 52 and thus wld be complementary, we wld be prepared make commitment regarding US aid for FY 52, subject of course to continuing US review of actual Ital performance. Recognize difficulties faced by Ital Govt in present polit atmosphere in making such commitment and wld be willing consider some form of commitment other than Parliamentary action provided it offers adequate and binding assurances effective and timely action. Obviously commitment which corresponded hypothesis used in Congressional presentation most desirable from our point of view. This level of effort seems to us obtainable, not exceeding greatly the so-called “same rate” concept, and we wld hope you cld succeed in getting commitment to it.
If, as negotiations progress, you are convinced that a commitment less than our Congressional hypothesis is the maximum that can be obtained and that further negots will worsen the situation, desire ur recommendations as to size and form of that commitment and as to the level of US aid commitment for 1952 which you consider we wld need to make in order attain objectives. With respect level of US aid pls bear in mind Wash thinking as indicated in concurrent ECA message.
Any comment or suggestions you may have re foregoing or as to alternative approaches will be welcomed.
Assume you will provide ECA sufficient copies this message.
  1. Drafted by Bell of S/ISA and cleared with Paul of ECA, Petersen and Wolff of EUR, Van Syckle of Defense, Brown of Treasury, and Schelling of the Executive Office. Sent by pouch to London for USDep, Paris, and Heidelberg.
  2. Telegram Toeca 245 from Rome, March 8, is identical to telegram 3920 from Rome of the same date. For a summary of this telegram, see footnote 3, Document 255.
  3. The reply to telegram Toeca 245 was transmitted in telegram Ecato 317 to Rome, March 21, which summarized the data on Italy’s military effort and aid level used for Congressional presentation. (ECA message files, FRC 53A278, Rome)