No. 209
The Chief United States Negotiator in London (Thompson) to the Ambassador in Italy (Luce)
top secret

Dear Madam Ambassador: Many thanks for your letter of May 28,1 which, together with your telegram,2 has given me both encouragement and great personal pleasure. It is wonderful to have such solid support, which is certainly the key to the success we have had so far.

As I see it now, our chances of ultimate success are considerably better than even, although there are of course many pitfalls. I assume the Italian emphasis upon the difference of opinion between Scelba and Piccioni on the one hand and the Foreign Office on the other is genuine and not merely a negotiating trick. Such contact as I had with Scelba in Rome indicated that he was splendid on internal matters, but had little real appreciation of the facts of international life. I am particularly worried that the Italians and Yugoslavs may dig in their heels at the last moment on some minor point or that some incident might occur in Trieste which would ruin the atmosphere.

There is nothing I should like better than a trip to Rome and I am most grateful for your suggestion. The issues appear to be clear at the moment, however, and the only justification I can now foresee is that it might help satisfy the Italian wish to build up their role in the negotiations if Harrison and I came to Rome to conclude whatever separate agreement we may arrive at with the Italians concerning the takeover. Brosio seems particularly concerned to avoid the impression that Italy is merely accepting an arrangement worked out between us and the Yugoslavs.

[Page 459]

I do not, however, think at the moment that this would be wise as it would probably annoy the Yugoslavs and might be taken to reflect upon Brosio. My hope is that the Italians will realize that it is to their interest to reach a speedy conclusion, if possible, so that it would coincide with the conclusion of the Balkan Alliance.

With best regards to the boys and yourself, I am


Llewellyn E. Thompson
  1. Document 196.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.