143. Telegram from the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State 1

8973. Subject: P3B.

In my conversation with Minister Medici on October 16, he raised with me the question of the P3B. I said that I assumed the matter had been taken up with him in Washington, and he told me that [Page 295] neither the President nor the Secretary had mentioned it, a fact which was somewhat surprising.2 I told him I was surprised too. The Minister thought he knew the explanation. Foreign Minister Debre had told him he intended to protest vigorously to the United States Government the political pressure which had been exerted on the Italians on behalf of the “Orion”, which he thought was quite improper. Debre had seen the President prior to Medici’s call. He (Medici) assumes that the matter was not mentioned by the President or the Secretary in response to Debre’s complaint.
He wanted to know, however, whether the United States Government’s interest in this matter had changed in any way. I assured him that it had not. We still attached great importance to it for military, economic, and political reasons. Medici said he was very happy to have this assurance. He wanted to be able to say to the Prime Minister same afternoon that the American Ambassador had called on him and had again assured him of the American interest in this matter. Minister Medici was well aware of the second supplementary U.S. proposal, and had in his hand the English version of same.
As I left the office, Minister Medici expressed his hope for a favorable outcome on this matter.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 12-5 IT. Confidential; Limdis.
  2. Ackley recommended in telegram 8742 from Rome, October 7, that the Secretary discuss the matter with Medici. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 258677, October 21, Secretary Rusk instructed Ackley to convey to Medici his interest in the P-3B question and to request Medici’s support. (Ibid., POL 7 IT)