The Ambassador in Italy
(Luce) to the Department of State
3514. Limit distribution. While Italians advised previously in firmest manner Secretary would not bring up Trieste question and wished to talk on broader aspects of international problems, particularly EDC, Scelba spent most of his time discussing Trieste. Following is summary of frank 2½–hour Milan discussion May 3:2
Scelba in first hour brought out following points:
- He stated wished to speak in the most friendly but frank manner on mutual problems. He pointed out absolute necessity all democratic nations stick together to fight Communist menace, that what was needed was actions not words. Stated while he had only parliamentary majority of 8, he would continue De Gasperi’s firm policy for NATO and EDC. Added Italy has done much in military field as proof of her adherence to Atlantic Community.
Trieste: Although Italy’s particular problems are basically small compared to others, solution of these problems would greatly help her progress toward EDC and European Community. However, stated unequivocally and confidentially that unless Trieste solved satisfactorily for Italian public and Parliament, would be impossible pass EDC despite government and democratic parties full realization EDC essential to Italy. Added while he had tried to divorce EDC and Trieste, this proved impossible because of internal political factors. Stated while he obliged make categoric statement re impossibility EDC without Trieste, he would not state so publicly. Scelba then said urgency re Trieste due to lack of implementation October 8, adding Italian public believed we could now implement October 8 and could not understand delay. Pointed up urgency Trieste solution since knew it imperative for Italy pass EDC soonest.
Added since October 8 (a) Tito had closed Zone A–B, (b) 4,000 Italians compelled leave Zone B, (c) economic situation for Zone A greatly aggravated. Scelba confident US-UK cognizant Italian desires re Trieste. Then added (ominously) (a) not possible Italy accept temporary solution other than October 8 which US-UK could grant today if they desired (b) not accept a final solution limited [Page 420] to Zone A. Pointed out his government could not accept solution less acceptable than October 8 offered Pella. Assured, however, that whatever solution, Italy would not resort to force to obtain Zone B concessions. Requested pending solution closed zonal frontiers should be opened and consideration given to Italian émigrés.
Scelba stated Trieste’s international problem; therefore Western Powers should take positive action to reach solution, not defensive attitude. Pointed out in general West defective in actions vis-à-vis East basically being on defensive versus USSR. He made it clear that while Yugoslavs not satellites, he considered them as Communist regime to be basically “on Eastern side”.
- Economic problems: Scelba stated economic situation not good with 2 million unemployed, 1.5 million under-employed and 1 million new job seekers coming into labor market next few years which made necessary Italy receive additional aid fiscal 1955. This necessary because Communists using large numbers seeking employment as their best anti-democratic weapons. After thanking Secretary for his excellent Geneva speech on immigration, Scelba stated difficult to understand, as he had learned from press and other sources, why Italy not slated for economic aid fiscal 1955, while Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey to get aid. He pled for special consideration re aid because of size of Italy, unemployment and unstable economic situation. Stated frankly many Italians had impression we had little confidence in Italy while seemed to show more confidence in Yugoslav Communists and others. He then brought forth following idea, apparently based upon misinterpretation of statement in Secretary’s letter of January 143 regarding OSP, etc., which indicated we prepared give more aid to Italy next year on quid pro quo basis. Ignoring quid pro quo emphasis of letter Scelba asked that as part of 1955 aid we send highly qualified technicians to Italy to study entire economy with purpose of transforming it into more viable entity. Pointed out government has now launched plans to do what it can to remedy unemployment situation, but indicated source of funds not yet clear. He requested Secretary to give most serious and careful consideration to granting additional aid and sending technicians.
- Hydrogen bomb: Scelba assured Secretary Italian Government will take a most firm position in favor of possible use of H–bomb, which he hopes will never have to be used since it is the best guarantee of peace and the only way West can match large Soviet military strength.
- Balkan pact: Re Balkan pact Scelba stated Piccioni had made Italian attitude this subject quite clear in Paris.4
Secretary in frank reply brought out following points:
- He and US public opinion had received good impression of vigorous and realistic policies being followed by Scelba’s Government and his anti-Communist moves.
- Secretary was pleased to learn views of both governments re Communist peril were similar. Threat can only be met by vigorous methods. Secretary pointed out Kremlin had formed monolithic, highly-disciplined groupings of some 800 million persons, and was trying now to expand its control, particularly in Southeast Asia. The Soviet type of enforced unity calls for vigorous efforts, for voluntary unity by others which entails voluntary sacrifices, many of which US has already made in trying to assist its friends financially and militarily since war. Unless Europe voluntarily is united, it might well be united in the Communist fashion. This, of course, would also include Italy.
- Lack of European unity: Secretary stated he would be lacking in candor if did not state there is rising discouragement in US at lack of European unity. Our economic aid since the beginning had as its objective the unification of Europe, but many Americans now feel this aid may have been used merely subsidize old systems and maintain disunity of Europe. There are some in US who feel might bring about greater unity by stopping US aid so that force of reality and consequences would cause Europeans on their own to unity. There is great disappointment in US over slow progress EDC ratification by Italy and France. Europe facing critical situation; unless they should immediately take vigorous steps to unify, time might well pass when unification would be possible. Some countries seemed believe only reason for unity was to please US, but there are many more fundamental reasons for unity than this.
Trieste: Secretary made it quite clear he could not discuss any way urgent Trieste soundings in London. Added while he fully understands importance of Trieste to Italy, would be quite wrong for any one believe that holding up ratification of EDC could be used bring about more favorable solution Trieste. If European unity should not come about, Trieste question would not be very important in face of possible serious developments which might take place. When Piccioni pointed out consideration must be given to individual sentiments of countries for problems such as Trieste, Secretary replied that if matters like this permitted to perpetuate disunity it could only lead to eventual war or Kremlin unification of Europe.
Secretary pointed out US-UK doing all that they can to try to work out an equitable, acceptable Trieste solution. He realized fully the importance of Trieste to Italy, as did the President, both of whom fully cognizant of many problems involved. Secretary added were using all our resources to get a solution along lines October 8th, which was itself just a mere skeleton first step proposal. While he did not believe any solution arrived at would be fully welcomed by all, the other stakes were so large that Italy and Yugoslavia should be prepared to make sacrifices for the bigger issues. When Scelba pleaded for implementation of October 8 now or a “temporary” solution, Secretary pointed out while Italy might believe she able wait in hopes of getting better solution, he assumed any solution now would be final as far as humanly possible. We added that if Italians believed that any solution that might be worked out now would be temporary and thus perpetuate hatreds and tensions between Italians and Yugoslavs, we perhaps are wasting [Page 422] our time trying find solution. Secretary then reverted to EDC, pointing out Italy had excellent opportunity to enhance its international position by passing EDC regardless of Trieste. Scelba unrealistically interpolated that if we should now implement October 8th, this would help Yugoslavia and Italy to get together and lead to a final solution. Both Piccioni and Scelba endeavored make comparison between Saar and Trieste, with which comparison Secretary did not concur.
- Economic aid: Secretary stated not in position discuss aid since he did not know plans. Added in continuing help build up the NATO forces we are not favoring the Yugoslavs, Greeks or others more than Italy, with whom we have, and wish to maintain, best of relations. Our aid depends on the relative military and economic situation of each country. Secretary promised, however, to give consideration to Scelba’s request for aid and the despatch of high-level technicians.5
- Facilities: Secretary inquired when Scelba thought he could sign facilities agreement which has been in negotiation for 15 months, adding that while this was not the most important matter, the signing of the agreement would give considerable financial aid to Italy. Scelba was unable to give definitive answer on date stating two or three “juridical” points still to be solved since, because of Communist Parliamentary strength, wished to make sure that could sign an executive agreement and not have to pass through Parliament. Scelba promised deal personally with matter and expressed hope difficulties would be ironed out in near future.
- At end of discussion Scelba pled for more coordination in anti-Communist propaganda by democratic countries, pointing out Moscow has central control of all its propaganda which unfortunately sometimes was effective, such as peace partisans campaign against H–bomb and EDC. Scelba expressed desire for a centralized control of democratic propaganda where ideas would be pooled and offensive democratic propaganda developed.
In closing the Secretary stated he could not give definite indication when it might be possible discuss Trieste with Brosio but hoped that it might take place in next two weeks. Secretary pointed out that it was essential, in order not to jeopardize the strenuous efforts US-UK have made in reaching Trieste solution, that nothing be done in Italy through the press or otherwise which might have an adverse effect in Yugoslavia.
Both expressed appreciation opportunity have frank friendly talk.
Department pass Paris and Trieste if deemed advisable.
- Repeated for information to London and Belgrade.↩
- Dulles routed his return trip from Geneva to Washington through Milan where he met with Scelba at a villa near the Milan Malpensa Airport. Others present at the meeting were Luce, Merchant, Durbrow, and Engle for the United States, and Piccioni, Zoppi, and Canali for Italy.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Regarding the conversation between Piccioni and Dulles in Paris, Apr. 24, see Document 187.↩
- Regarding the consideration within the U.S. Government of Scelba’s request, see the Secretary’s letter to Stassen, May 14, and Stassen’s reply, May 18, in vol. vi, Part 2, pp. 1681 and 1684.↩