68. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Organization of Summit Preparations


  • Ambassador Manlio Brosio, Italian Embassy
  • Minister Carlo Perrone-Capano, Italian Embassy
  • Mr. Kohler, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
  • Mr. McBride, WE
  • Mr. Stabler, WE

Ambassador Brosio called at his request and referred to the strong statement which had been made by the Italian representative to the [Page 173] North Atlantic Council on January 13.1 Italy now seemed to be facing, the Ambassador said, the organization of a Quadripartite Directorate. [15 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Kohler said that we were very conscious of Italy’s problem and in deference to Italian views some adjustments had been made in the organization for Summit preparations. The disarmament group was to be the sole group for the preparations for the Ten-Power Conference and the Summit Meeting. The Germany–Berlin Group seemed to be acceptable because it was limited to that subject alone.

Ambassador Brosio pointed out that the inclusion of Germany in the direction of the preparations, but not Italy, was responsible for the trouble. [10 lines of source text not declassified]

[1 paragraph (10 lines of source text) not declassified]

Mr. Kohler repeated that we had great sympathy with the Italian position but that in all frankness he could not react favorably [1 line of source text not declassified]. Speaking of our concept of the approach to Summit preparations, Mr. Kohler pointed out that the immediate subject which involved war or peace was Germany and Berlin. It was this subject which had led to the Summit Meeting. Although disarmament was a highly important subject, in fact it took second place to Germany and Berlin. Mr. Kohler pointed out that we have done everything, short of abrogating the special responsibilities of the Three for Berlin and Germany, to resist the creation of special hierarchical positions in NATO. We have done more than probably any other country to consult in NATO. We have resisted French efforts to create a Directorate and we did not propose to create a Four-Power Directorate. In any event, the Italian idea of adding Italy to the Four, thus apparently creating a Five-Power Directorate, was not the answer.

Mr. Kohler pointed out that Germany was not being included in the Working Group on East-West Relations. He said that the East-West Relations question was incidental but that no Head of Government could meet with Khrushchev without talking about it. We had no doubt that President Gronchi would unilaterally discuss this subject with Khrushchev.2 We had not been consulted on positions which Gronchi would take, although we were sure that the preparations would be sound and solid with respect to the Alliance. Although it was true the East-West Relations item was incidental to the Summit, all the NATO Governments should be concerned with its preparations and a common position [Page 174] should be reached in NATO. It was for this reason that it was proposed that a NATO observer should attend meetings of the East-West Relations Working Group to represent overall NATO interests.

[16 lines of source text not declassified] Mr. Kohler pointed out that he was in no way questioning President Gronchi’s visit, but was only endeavoring to point out that the East-West Relations question inevitably came up whenever these meetings occurred, even though it might not be the principal subject.

Ambassador Brosio said that Italy does not question US motives or imply that it is US policy to up-grade Germany and down-grade Italy. However, whatever the intentions, the fact was that this was the way the situation was developing. [5 lines of source text not declassified]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–PA/1–1860. Confidential. Drafted by Stabler and initialed by Kohler.
  2. A report on the North Atlantic Council discussion of the schedule of meetings and arrangements relative to a summit meeting was transmitted in Polto 1315 from Paris, January 13. The views of the Italian Permanent Representative at the meeting followed the same lines as those presented by Ambassador Brosio. (Ibid., 396.1–IS/1–1360)
  3. Italian President Gronchi visited the Soviet Union February 6–11.