48. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy0

3120. Following based on uncleared memo conversation:1

During conversation April 14 with Under Secretary, Italian Foreign Minister Segni raised problem of aid to Somalia. Segni stressed that distinction must be drawn between economic and political factors re Somalia aid. While undoubtedly necessary for West, including Italy, assist Somalia in post-independence period2 factor of overriding importance was need to keep Ethiopia, “one of decisive areas of Africa" firmly linked with West. Actions which Emperor had taken vis-à-vis USSR disturbing and although Italy did not believe Ethiopia would orient itself toward Soviets, essential that Italy and US have consistent political line toward Ethiopia. Segni recalled that Italy’s relations with Ethiopia, which on whole very good, had nonetheless been bothered by problems involving Somalia. Italy would try impede Greater Somalia, “for which no natural reason exists.”

Re specific measures aid to Somalia, Segni said in recent conversation Rome with member Somalia government exorbitant requests had been made. Italy presently not prepared assist Somalia beyond 2 million dollars banana subsidy, and 2 million dollars other aid. Italy would not agree cover entire budget deficit since Somalia would never make efforts become self-supporting.

Under Secretary stated US interested in Somalia and believed desirable meet with Italian experts to reach joint conclusion on how much and what kind aid Somalia needed. Once such conclusion reached, then decision could be made re division between participating countries. Dillon stressed US could not significantly increase its aid to newly independent African countries in view heavy demands on [Page 189]our resources and European countries able to help should continue aid to their former territories on same scale as before. In our view proportion Italian to US aid to Somalia should be two to one.

Re Ethiopia Dillon said US shared view re its importance and we would be willing discuss Ethiopian questions, both political and economic, with Italy at same time we discussed Somalia. Re aid to Somalia and Ethiopia Dillon said division of effort unimportant as long as each did fair share. Dillon agreed that West could not indefinitely underwrite Somalia budget deficit. Important to assist in development projects so that Somalia could become self-supporting.

Segni expressed full agreement to hold early meetings at expert level to consider Somalia and Ethiopian questions and also agreed to Dillon’s caveat that talks should be conducted without publicity to avoid difficulties with Ethiopia.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 777.5–MSP/4–1560. Confidential. Drafted by Officer in Charge of Italian-Australian Affairs Wells Stabler, cleared by Director of the Office of Northern African Affairs William J. Porter, and approved by Director of the Office of Western European Affairs Robert H. McBride. Repeated to Addis Ababa and Mogadiscio.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., 396.1–WA/4–1460)
  3. Italy and Somalia had agreed to advance the date of Somalia’s independence to July 1, 1960. On December 5, 1959, the U.N. General Assembly approved the conclusion of the U.N. Trusteeship on that date in Resolution 1418 (XIV), cosponsored by the United States; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1959, pp. 1139–1141.