102. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy1

333. Re Embtel 270.2 In course two informal discussions Italian Ambassador somewhat confirmed information given you by Malfatti. (We agree about the delicacy this information and extreme importance that it be closely held.) Fenoaltea told Tyler Nenni has given “silent” consent. Malfatti report suggests stronger PSI position. Does Embassy have any idea as to how Italian decision will be reflected in government actions?

In answer to our probes Fenoaltea seemed to say that now Moro government would not have to commit itself to the project prior to British elections. Previously Fenoaltea, as strong supporter MLF, expressed great concern that Labor victory in October would mean indefinite deferral Italian decision to participate while they awaited British action.

Fenoaltea will be in Rome for week’s consultation prior holiday. He will presumably explore Italian position vis-à-vis MLF with particular reference to European clause and inner group. He raised both points with us and was given standard response. We particularly emphasized advantage not pressing these issues at this time in Paris Working Group.

Quite apart from leg up given MLF by Italian government decision, PSI support of this position seems to us of great significance. In your view does this mean irrevocable commitment PSI to center left government and acceptance defection Lombardi faction?

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15 IT. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by Schaetzel; cleared in EUR, S/MF, and by Klein of the White House staff; and approved by Tyler.
  2. Telegram 270 from Rome, July 30, reported that during negotiations for the formation of the second Moro government, the parties agreed that “Italy would subscribe and participate in MLF.” (Ibid.)