750G.00/6–1854: Telegram

No. 211
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State 1
top secret

4164. Limit distribution. Reference Deptel 4240.2 Despite delicate parliamentary situation which he continues to face, soundings of past twenty-four hours indicate that Scelba, although original reaction was unfavorable, is reconsidering his position and may have decided to accept Trieste solution provided accommodation made on following four points (Embtel 41473): (a) Settlement must be of provisional nature (Borba statement and Bebler conversation Belgrade’s 13194 seem to cover this); (b) Territorial rectifications must be almost equal; (c) Both concessions and rights must be reciprocal; (d) That final agreement show, at least for the record, that Italians were able to obtain some favorable concessions from original proposals in order to “prove” that settlement was not a US/UK or Yugo diktat.

We believe that letter from US President, timed in connection with progress London soundings, would be helpful. We recommend that letter be addressed to Einaudi as President Italian Republic in order to remove from Scelba’s shoulders some of responsibility for accepting solution which will not of course fully meet Italian public aspirations. Letter in similar vein might also be sent to Tito as chief of Yugo state.

We have considered several steps which might be taken to overcome Italian feeling of isolation and to counteract statements that they are being treated as second-rate power. Consideration should be given to usefulness extending invitation to Scelba or Piccioni to visit US, but Department may wish to take into account effect on Tito unless similar invitation is extended to him. If invitation to Scelba or Piccioni is not feasible, Department may wish to consider [Page 461] advisability of having Admiral Radford visit Italy to discuss military questions of mutual concern. While any such trip presumably could not be confined to Italy because of reactions of other NATO countries, it might be arranged in such manner as to indicate particular US support of and belief in Italy, possibly by having Radford visit there first.

We do not believe it advisable to renew promise to inform Italians results military talks with Yugoslavs last summer (paragraph 4a, Deptel 4240). We fully endorse any discussion in Paris with Italian NAC representative concerning NATO interest in Balkan military alliance. Such discussion would help in dispelling idea in Italian Government circles that our policy has favored Balkans at expense of Italy.

In this regard we should, in order bolster Italian self-respect, do everything possible to associate Italians with our international efforts and keep them informed of developments which affect their interests, as suggested paragraph 1 Deptel 4240.

I plan to see De Gasperi in near future to follow up discussion reported Embassy despatch 2365, June 75 and will, of course, be guided by general line proposed paragraph II of reference telegram.

  1. Repeated for information to London (for Butterworth), Belgrade, and Trieste.
  2. Printed as telegram 6791 to London, Document 207.
  3. In telegram 4147, June 16, Luce reported that Scelba’s problem was largely one of judging what solution Parliamentary and public opinion would support and that he might surmount this difficulty if he could demonstrate that Italy had obtained something from the negotiations and had freely accepted a provisional settlement rather than one imposed by Yugoslavia and/or the United Kingdom and the United States. (750G.00/6–1654)
  4. In telegram 1319, June 16, Riddleberger reported the substance of a conversation between Ambassador Mallet and Bebler the previous day, during which Mallet urged the Yugoslav Government to reopen the interzonal boundary which had been closed after the Oct. 8, 1953, announcement by the United States and the United Kingdom. Bebler demurred, primarily on the ground that such action would emphasize the provisional character of the proposed settlement. (750G.00/6–1654)
  5. See footnote 3, Document 203.