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

1401. Embtel 1475.1 Department has exhaustively reviewed question of position US reps should adopt re possible government dependent on PSI support. Position should be as follows:

In discussions with top level Demochristians, particularly Fanfani and Moro, Embassy reps should confidentially state we are alive to possible advantages in isolating Communists and strengthening Italian democracy which might result from obtaining PSI support for government, provided, however, that this could be accomplished without any compromise whatsoever with PSI on foreign policy. Embassy should emphasize however that we would consider it serious development for West if formation of such government with PSI collaboration were to result in any change in Italian support for NATO or in Italy’s foreign policy in general. (Begin FYI. Will be noted this approach leaves to CD leaders question of public or private assurances or guarantees on foreign policy to be required of PSI as price of formation of government dependent on PSI support. End FYI.)
In discussion with PSI Autonomists US reps should confine selves to reiteration of our concern over and disagreement with current PSI foreign policy positions and our hope that Party will move to wiser positions in future. Should make clear we share wish of most Italians for dynamic, “positive” domestic program which would accelerate existing pace of reform, improvement in material conditions and social change. As friends of Italy, we would welcome PSI support for such program, although this question does not of course involve US directly. Same comments could be addressed to other figures in PSDI and Republican parties who favor opening to left. (Begin FYI Will be noted that specific reference to our attitude towards government with PSI support, as outlined in preceding para, would be omitted from these comments to PSI, PRI and PSDI figures. Should US reps be pressed for statement of specific US attitude toward such Govt, they should turn question aside, avoiding reply. End FYI.)2

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Italy. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Knight, cleared by Tyler, and approved by Ball. The time of transmission is illegible.
  2. Document 291.
  3. On December 3 Foreign Minister Segni called Reinhardt to his office to express concern over the political impact of a proposed visit by Nenni to the United States. In the course of his response, Reinhardt conveyed the substance of paragraph A of telegram 1401 to Segni. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Italy)