Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, Telephone Conversations

No. 100
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State1

The President called and said he was disturbed about the call from Clare Luce,2 he didn’t understand why she should call him direct and pour a tale of woe, without any background on his part. The Secretary said he had just talked with her,3 she is much worried about the Italian situation. He explained he had just seen the Chargé,4 their parliamentary situation is very bad, they moved troops on the basis of newspaper reports in a Yugoslav paper, which set off a general reaction, we are trying to hold it down because Tito is threatening to move troops into the area too. The situation is jittery and the Italians are threatening to pull out of NATO. The Secretary doesn’t think it as serious as it seems on the surface but it is bad because of the weak parliamentary situation. They have almost no effective government since de Gasperi and the only way to relieve public apathy is to stir up feeling about Trieste and put pressure on us. The Pentagon has been having military talks with the Jugs and the Italians are worried about that.

The President said if that is their worry you had better stop them.

The Secretary said the Italians think the Jugs feel they can get help without making any effort to settle Trieste. Luciolli said that we are leading the Jugs to feel that our relations with them are detached from solution of Trieste.

The President said the Italians have been our friends for a long time and the Jugs are Johnny-come-latelies. He talked to Dunn about this. Dunn said Sforza was the smartest one to deal with the problem; he realized it could not be done directly, and spent time [Page 259] building up the economies with Yugoslavia because they were complimentary and left political problem in the background. As long as he was in charge the problem was gradually retreating. He doesn’t think a direct solution is possible, we should encourage economic relations between the two and not try to tell them what to do. Ignore the political angle and tell them they must make a living in the meantime. Is there any thought that they might have another election?

The Secretary said he had not heard of it recently but would look into it.5

The President thought we might arrange through Len Hall6 to have Italians here write letters home to restore relations, the Immigration bill was too late, but something that they wanted.

The Secretary mentioned the Yugo wheat project—both agreed it would be more trouble but we couldn’t let them starve.

  1. Prepared by Burnita O’Day. Another, but substantively similar, record of this conversation, is in the White House telephone call files in the Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file.
  2. According to the White House telephone call files for Sept. 5, Ambassador Luce called the President the previous evening, but the President asked her to call the Secretary of State instead. (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file)
  3. According to a memorandum of the telephone conversation between Ambassador Luce and Secretary Dulles at 10 a.m., Sept. 5, Luce described the situation in Rome as “not good” and one which involved “dangers for the things in which the Secretary is interested there.” She emphasized that the danger there was not exaggerated and expressed the wish that Dulles “would have a good look at it himself.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, telephone conversations)
  4. For a description of the Secretary’s conversation with Chargé Luciolli the morning of Sept. 5, see telegram 838 to Rome, Sept. 5, infra.
  5. In a telephone conversation with Ridgway B. Knight at 1:12 p.m. Sept. 5, Secretary Dulles inquired about the possibility of new elections in Italy. Knight replied that they were not to be ruled out. Although the next regularly scheduled elections were almost 5 years away, according to Knight, the first possibility for new elections would be next spring if Pella were unable to consolidate his position. (Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, telephone conversations)
  6. Leonard W. Hall, Chairman, Republican National Committee.