750G.00/6–2654: Telegram

No. 213
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State1
top secret

4308. Limit distribution. My telegrams 4306 and 4307, June 26.2 Suspension of facilities negotiations and general indications of our dissatisfaction with lack of progress on EDC, facilities, SOF and other questions coupled with Scelba’s success in Senate confidence vote June 23 have served to clear air here and to give Italians reason to take long hard look at their international position. There is little doubt that Scelba feels he is now in a much stronger parliamentary situation. Therefore, he may have decided that Italy cannot afford to let this last chance of obtaining a Trieste settlement slip through its fingers. His constant reference to necessity for reaching accord by July 15 suggests he is optimistic on eventual agreement. Nevertheless it is difficult to see how, from practical point of view, accord could be reached by July 15, unless Italians are willing to accept present solution and this seems almost too good to be true. Therefore, we should be unwise to exclude possibility that in fixing the date of accord as July 15, Scelba is building [Page 464] an alibi for failure to follow Trieste with EDC and facilities immediately, and putting Italians in position now to hold us responsible later because we had not pressed Yugoslavs sufficiently on points considered essential by Italians and thus in consequence for not making it possible for Italians to deliver on EDC, facilities and SOF. Since this possibility does exist, I would recommend that you make clear to Tarchiani soonest that responsibility for success Trieste negotiations by July 15 (date which they, not we, have set) is largely now in Italian hands. We shall of course do everything we possibly can to assist toward successful conclusion of settlement by July 15, but overwhelming importance of reaching settlement should outweigh lesser considerations which Italians may have in mind to put forward in London.

  1. Repeated for information to London, Belgrade, and Trieste.
  2. In telegram 4306, Luce summarized the substance of her conversation with Scelba that day as it related to the military facilities negotiations. Scelba’s main point was that with a Trieste agreement in hand, he would have no difficulty in securing approval of the facilities agreement. (765.5 MSP/6–2654) In telegram 4307, Luce summarized their discussion of other subjects, including Trieste. Scelba urged that a settlement be reached by July 15 and had emphasized that an immediate decision by Yugoslavia to reopen the frontier between Zones A and B would make conclusion of an agreement much easier. He also asked Luce to assure President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles that Italy’s foreign policy would continue to be firmly anti-Communist and pro-Atlantic. (611.65/6–2654)