Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 220
Memorandum by the President

Notes to discuss with Foster Dulles 7/10/541

Mrs. Luce tells me that in her negotiations for bases in Italy, her understanding is that at all cost she must secure permission from the Italian Government. This she thinks puts America at a very great disadvantage in that the Italians practically feel that they held a blackmailing position against us. Personally, I do not feel that bases in Italy are vital at all, and I think the importance of having them there diminishes every day. If she were able to give the Italians the intimation and information that we were losing interest in the thing, the situation might change.

Anyway, that applies to all our foreign relations. In selling the United States the idea that “we cannot live alone” we have also sold the Europeans the idea that we are completely dependent upon their cooperative attitude.

In a sense this is, of course, true, but if there is not full recognition of a common need and because of this the cooperative effort breaks down, it is equally true that they will feel the pinch long before we will.

As a consequence, I wonder whether we should not—by clandestine methods if necessary—let it be known that we are considering alternatives to all plans that are not progressing favorably and in support of which enthusiastic cooperation has not been given.

I want to get the latest information on Trieste.

  1. The President apparently used this memorandum to prepare for a discussion with Dulles on July 10. According to the President’s “Note After Conversation With Foster Dulles,” dated July 10, he remarked, with respect to “yesterday’s note after talking to Clare Booth Luce regarding bases in Italy,” that he had “a long conversation with Foster Dulles, who agrees in principle and is going to see how we can implement the idea.” (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file) The President also quoted most of this memorandum in his memoirs, Mandate for Change, pp. 416–417.