11. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Wilcox) to the Secretary of State 1

SUBJECT

  • Italy’s Security Council Candidacy

Discussion

As you know, Italy has been pressing us for a public commitment before the Italian elections on May 25 to support Italy’s SC candidacy (Tab B).2 Such a commitment would, it is generally agreed, have little if any effect on the elections themselves but would serve as a mark of friendship and confidence in the Italian Government.3 It would, however, be impossible to acquiesce in the Italian wish without at the same time giving a similar commitment to the Lebanese in support of Dr. Charles Malik’s candidacy for GA President, and the situation in Lebanon clearly precludes a commitment to Dr. Malik at this time. Moreover, any commitments so far in advance of the GA elections would be a departure from our normal practice and would seriously jeopardize [Page 18] our ability to maintain this practice with respect to other candidates both now and in the future. The Italian Government plans to announce before May 21 the names of those governments (11 European and 9 Latin American) from which it has received commitments. It is thought that in this connection Italian wishes could in part be met through a statement by you in response to a press inquiry, expressing our esteem for Italy but explaining that as a matter of general practice we do not give commitments so far in advance of the GA elections.

Recommendations

That you authorize me to inform the Italian Ambassador 1) that we cannot make an exception for Italy in our general practice, particularly as the current situation in Lebanon does not permit of a similar exception in the case of Dr. Malik and 2) that you, however, would be prepared, in response to a press inquiry, to explain our general practice and to express our high esteem for Italy. A suggested draft of the proposed statement is attached (Tab A).4

  1. Source: Department of State, IO Files: Lot 60 D 216, Security Council, 1958. Confidential. Drafted by Hartley on May 16 and sent to Dulles through S/S and Herter.
  2. Tab A is not printed. Tab B was not found attached to the source text, but a copy is ibid. Italian Minister Ortona also mentioned Italy’s candidacy during a May 16 meeting with Jandrey and Officer in Charge of Italian and Austrian Affairs Harvey. A memorandum of that meeting is ibid., Central Files, 330/5–1658.
  3. Jandrey informed Wilcox and Rountree in a May 12 memorandum that he intended to recommend that Dulles inform the Italian Government of U.S. support for Italy’s candidacy before May 20. (Ibid., 320/5–1258) Wilcox and Rountree both objected in memoranda, May 14, citing the arguments outlined in the source text. (Wilcox to Jandrey, ibid., 320/5–1458; Rountree to Jandrey, ibid., 330/5–1458)
  4. Dulles responded along the lines of the draft statement when asked about Italy’s Security Council candidacy during a May 20 press conference. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, June 9, 1958, p. 948.