205. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State0

Secto 31. Following based on uncleared memcon,1 subject to revision, and not to be discussed with foreign officials:

July 1 morning private meeting talk between President and Segni touched on MLF, FGR and Italian internal situation.

On MLF, Segni said even though Leone govt nominally “provisional,” it stood good chance getting Parliamentary approval for Italian go-ahead. On this issue, Leone could get support of party groups which do not support his govt. Segni personally was strongly in favor of MLF. [Page 602] If British stayed out entirely, this would make problems for Italians. Otherwise, Leone govt faced fewer obstacles on this issue than Macmillan’s. President said U.S. aware of limitations and weaknesses of MLF when it was first proposed. Our general intention was to give non-nuclear countries like Italy and Germany stronger role in deterrent aspect of NATO defense. We wanted to be sure Italy and Germany were not just accepting membership out of sense of partnership, and that there is real need for MLF and MLF meets this need. He then described plans to carry on technical talks on MLF in Washington and expectations British would participate. Even if they didn’t, talks would proceed. These talks also open to Italians. President said he hoped that prior to his departure either in final communiqué2 or in other public statement, Italy would announce intention participate in such technical talks.

On Germany, Segni said very important not let FGR stand alone. France should not be only close friend. French had overcome previous bad relations, and so could Italians. Segni pointed out he due visit President Luebke soon and he hoped for better German-Italian relations. Closer European relations with FGR had to be built around solid US-FGR relationship. President said he very pleased with his visit Germany. New team of Erhard, Schroeder and Von Hassel could be expected to work hard for European and Atlantic unity.

On internal political scene, Segni said fate of center-left formula depended on outcome Socialist (PSI) congress in October. Recent effort detach PSI from Communists (PCI) and lead them into democratic camp had led to strong PCI pressure on Lombardi faction of PSI. Opposition of majority of PSI Central Committee to Nenni’s agreement with Moro for a new center-left government had resulted from combination two factors: PCI pressure and fear within PSI ranks that renewed association with Christian Democrats (DC) would cause PSI further loss of strength. Leone govt would last at least until budget vote deadline Oct 31. Continuance beyond that date also depended on PSI congress. Another possible factor was skill Leone had shown in dealing with different Italian parties. As with MLF, he might find on other issues more support in Chamber from other groups than these supporting govt. President said he was interested in internal situation various countries in view U.S. impression that threat of Soviet military takeover had receded to be replaced by political and social moves. Segni said he agreed with this view.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2279. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. US/MC/25. (Ibid., CF 2275)
  3. For text of the final communiqué, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pp. 493–494.