No. 196
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Chief United States Negotiator in London (Thompson)
top secret

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: Now that the soundings with the Yugoslavs have come to a successful close, I am writing you to express my admiration for the manner in which you have so brilliantly conducted the negotiations, steadily hammering back the Yugoslav demands until you have gotten them to positions which, I believe, can be presented to the Italians with hope of acceptance.

I do not envy you the forthcoming talks with the Italians which in some ways may be even more trying than the soundings with the Yugoslavs. I know it must have been very discouraging for you personally to hear Ambassador Brosio’s comment about August,1 as these Italian conversations will keep you away from your [Page 433] family, whom I know you miss a very great deal, and may force you to revise your plans for your home leave.

One of the difficulties which I foresee is that the Italians, who in this connection have an ability amounting almost to genius, will try to probe in Washington and here for weak spots in the United States governmental position which you will be presenting to them in London. I want you to know that you can count upon my firm, steadfast support. I assume you have already taken precautions to ensure that there will be no weaknesses shown in Washington. Jim O’Sullivan has told me of the great importance which you attach to concealing from the Italians the amount of aid which they might expect in the event of a settlement. As he explained it, you now have available $20,000,000 in aid for Italy in the event a satisfactory solution is reached. You hope to be able to get the Italians to accommodate the Yugoslav figure on a financial and reparation settlement with a promise from you to them of less than the full sum; say $10 to $15 million. This will leave you with a kitty of $5 to $10 million which you will then have available to clinch Italian acceptance by being in a position to offer them something toward settlement of Italian claims. Only three of my officers have a detailed knowledge of the London negotiations and you can be confident that there will be no revelations made here.

I want you to feel free to come to Rome to talk with me at any time that you consider that a personal visit would be useful. On the other hand, as you may consider that a visit from you during the course of the negotiations would attract publicity and might give rise to unwarranted speculation in the press, I would be glad at any time to send Francis or Jim2 to London or to receive Leonard Unger here.

I understand that you and your family may be coming through Rome on your way home some time during the summer. I look forward very much to seeing you and Mrs. Thompson at that time. I myself am planning to return to the United States for a few weeks possibly in July3 although my plans are, of course, contingent upon development of the Italian soundings.

Sincerely yours,

Clare Luce
  1. Reference is to the remark Brosio made to Thompson on May 26 and which Thompson reported in telegram 5387, supra.
  2. Francis Williamson or James O’Sullivan.
  3. Luce returned to the United States on July 1 and remained until late August. For documentation concerning her talks in Washington with various U.S. Government officials early in July, see vol. vi, Part 2, pp. 1686 ff.