750G.00/10–654: Telegram

No. 296
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State1

1376. Department pass Defense. At 11:30 this morning I presented text President’s letter (Department telegram 11522) to President Einaudi. He expressed personal gratitude and appreciation and asked me to convey to the President Italy’s thanks for US efforts in helping resolve Trieste question. He said solution was compromise but nevertheless he was happy Italian statesmanship had courage to make this necessary compromise. He felt solution was being well received by Italian public opinion. Foreign Minister Martino, who was also present, said people of Trieste had given every evidence of satisfaction yesterday and today and fact that Zone A was finally under Italian control had offset other unfavorable considerations.

After extending US appreciation for wise counsel we know President Einaudi had given in the matter I went on to say that we hoped it would open the door to fuller collaboration in US–Italian relations. I added in this respect that I found myself momentarily in an embarrassing situation concerning the facilities negotiations. I said that we had received messages at the Embassy indicating that the Secretary and other American officials had taken Prime Minister Scelba’s statement regarding signing the facilities agreement within twenty-four hours after signing of the Trieste agreement quite literally, that we here in Rome appreciated the fact that the Italian Government was still deeply involved in the Trieste debate in the Senate and in the Parliament and in the passage of the foreign affairs budget. I added that I did not know how Scelba felt about the matter although I expected him to let me know tomorrow when we have an appointment. Martino answered that Scelba had already spoken to him about the question indicating that he was prepared to honor his word at once if the US insisted but that there was danger of leaks during the debate on Trieste and on the foreign affairs budget which might seriously embarrass the Government. Notwithstanding he was prepared to sign the facilities agreement immediately if that was what Secretary Dulles expected.

I suggested that the best way for all concerned now that the documents were entirely in order was for Scelba himself to fix a convenient date in the near future for the signing. Martino then volunteered [Page 578] that an agreeable date would be October 18, 19 or 20, after the debate was over and I said that I could see no reason at this moment why this would not be agreeable.

Overlapping and subsequent to my meeting with Einaudi and Martino, members Embassy negotiating team met with Foreign Office representatives for purpose finalizing all documents. During this session Magistrati received instructions direct from Scelba to complete and “freeze” all documents immediately, have them all printed up in final form without further delay and be prepared for signing on shortest notice. Magistrati informed Scelba that administrative problems would delay final preparation of all documents until afternoon October 8, but that signing could take place any time thereafter. Embassy representatives also learned that Scelba intended call meeting Council of Ministers on October 11 to discuss schedule for concluding facilities agreement and that possibility existed that Scelba might set signing date for October 12—i.e., after Senate debate on Trieste and foreign affairs budget but prior to Chamber debate. This info may well have postdated Martino’s suggestion of October 18–20, but point not altogether clear.

It is my belief that the Italian fears of possible leaks during forthcoming parliamentary debate are extremely well-grounded and that it would therefore be unwise for us to insist on immediate fulfillment of Scelba’s prior assurances. Must be borne in mind that leak during debate suggesting possible deal of Trieste for facilities might be very damaging.

Since I am seeing Scelba at 11:00 GMT tomorrow (October 7), I shall proceed upon assumption any of aforementioned dates will be agreeable to US if Scelba makes it firm.3

  1. Repeated for information to Paris for CINCEUR and Satterthwaite.
  2. Dated Oct. 5, not printed. (750G.00/10–554)
  3. In telegram EC 9–4232 from USCINCEUR to the Department of State, Oct. 8, it was stated that each day of delay in concluding the facilities agreement beyond the promised 24-hour period after the Trieste settlement could endanger the ultimate signature. The Department was asked to discuss with Luce USCINCEUR’s belief that it might be better to sign the facilities agreement immediately rather than wait until after the parliamentary debate. (750G.00/10–854)