Secretary’s Letters, lot 56 D 459, “S

No. 182
The Secretary of State to Prime Minister Scelba 1

Dear Prime Minister: It was with great appreciation that I received your letter dated March 27, 1954,2 confirming the intention [Page 404] of your Government to present the EDC treaty to Parliament for ratification and confiding in me your Government’s views on the relationship of the Trieste question to the ratification process. The frankness of your comments encourages me to be equally frank in response, and I welcome the opportunity for establishing clear understanding of our respective view points.

I should like first to confirm to you the assurances given your Ambassador, that my Government views the resolution of the Trieste question not only as of fundamental importance to Italy and Yugoslavia, but as of high concern to itself. Because of both the importance it attaches to the security of Southern Europe and the special responsibilities it bears in the free world, my Government has every interest in the earliest possible development of an agreement satisfactory to Italy and Yugoslavia. The earnest efforts to find the basis for a solution, which have been proceeding in London for two months represent evidence in this regard. The next step in the efforts of the U.S. and U.K. Governments, i.e., the initiation of discussions with representatives of your Government, will, I hope, take place in the near future. I also hope you will agree that the chances of success for the negotiations will be enhanced by continued secrecy.

Your letter demonstrates that your Government believes in the necessity of ratification of the EDC treaty for the long term security and stability of the members of the Community and of Western Europe as a whole. That being the case, we are dealing with two separate problems, each of great importance to Italy, as well as to many of its friends. The conclusion seems inescapable that we are well advised to gain success on each of these problems as quickly as our most determined efforts will permit.

I quite appreciate that the circumstances under which the debate on EDC ratification will occur would be improved if a solution to the Trieste problem had already been reached. However, serious parliamentary difficulties had also to be overcome in Germany and exist in France, where it is our hope and expectation that the EDC debate will be inaugurated in May. As regards Trieste, you may depend on the continuation of the most determined efforts of the United States and, I am sure, the United Kingdom through the medium of the present discussions on those to follow with your representatives, to assist in reaching an acceptable solution. Given the desire of the two Governments principally involved also to reach a solution, I am confident that a just one will be found.

In any event, it seems clear from the Berlin conference and ensuing events that, more than ever, the creation of the European Defense Community marks the critical turning point in the long and arduous battle by the North Atlantic Community lastingly to halt [Page 405] the advance of Soviet imperialism and to promote the cause of European unity. That deep conviction prompts me to urge that nothing deter you from use of the majority, however slim, which supports your Government to cement Italy’s place in the Community of Six. Permit me to stress the view of the U.S. Government that necessity for speed is paramount.

Trusting in the mutuality of interests of our Governments and peoples, and appreciating the frankness with which you have written to me, my confidence in the success of our joint endeavors is increased.


John Foster Dulles
  1. Drafted by Freund and cleared with Fessenden (RA), Barbour, Jones, and Hooker. The letter was transmitted to Ambassador Luce as an enclosure to instruction A–755, Apr. 10, with a request that Luce deliver the letter to Scelba. (740.5/4–1054) Luce delivered the letter to Scelba on Apr. 16. In doing so, she expressed the hope that the Italian Government would do all in its power to maintain calm and avoid unnecessary speculation in the press close to the government on the future London negotiations. Scelba replied that he would do whatever was necessary to keep the press in line. This conversation was briefly described in telegram 3267 from Rome, Apr. 16. (740.5/4–1654)
  2. Document 178.