182. Telegram From the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State1

5557. Subject: Italy and Chirep. Ref: State 143767, State 145748 (Notal).2

1. Having asked to call on Foreign Minister Moro as soon as possible after his return from vacation to discuss Chirep, Chargé was received morning September 2 by Moro.

Chargé stressed to Moro that there would be no change in our position on Chirep and noted our several initiatives with respect to Chicoms to which there has been no response. We indicated we were strongly opposed to any threat to GRC position in US [ UN ?] and expressed our concern at damaging effects which Peking’s admission on its own terms could have on UN. We considered it an error to pursue Communist China with invitation to join UN on its own terms, and particularly when Chicoms appeared to be so totally uninterested in membership. We pointed out that if GRC were expelled and Peking admitted, Chinese Communists would not permit representation of Taiwan in any form. We also told Moro that expulsion of Taiwan would be matter of grave concern to important sectors of American public opinion and might well raise serious doubts about continued US support for UN. We confirmed to Moro that US would as in past vote for Important Question and against Albanian Resolution3 and we expressed hope Italy would do likewise.

2. Moro reviewed at some length history of Italian position on Chirep including Study Committee proposals which were made during time he was Prime Minister.4 He recalled that these proposals were price which his government had to pay for Socialist support, and particularly that of Nenni who viewed admission of Peking and universality of membership in ideological terms. Moreover, he had always found difficulty in explaining to Socialists and others why Italy could [Page 631] not follow same line in UN as that followed by British and Dutch. It had been less difficult to explain French actions. Moro also recalled fact that when Saragat was Foreign Minister, he had raised question of recognition of Communist China, saying it was a question of when rather than whether. In Rumor’s first government Nenni had taken position that question of “when” had now become actual and proceeded, as we knew, to explore with Communist Chinese question of recognition. Moro also recalled Nenni’s conversation with Secretary last April when he had stated that Italian vote in favor of Albanian Resolution would be logical consequence of Italian policy of recognition.

3. Moro went on to say that recognition of China was not a subject which attracted much attention or interest in mass of Italian public opinion. However, it was a matter which was felt deeply in political circles, particularly among leadership of Socialist Party and certain elements of Christian Democrats. He doubted if Italian Communists themselves were much interested in recognition at this time. As result of these political pressures (although he admitted PSU 5 was now probably more “tepid” about matter than PSI), and fact that present Rumor government depended on outside support of Socialists, problems of Chirec and Chirep were extremely delicate and difficult for government and “anguishing” for him personally. He said that he had been left to deal with rather extreme positions which had been taken by Nenni on this question and incidentally also on Greece. He was just beginning his consultations within Foreign Office and with government on how to handle Chirec and Chirep. Chinese Communists had drawn close connection between Chirec and Chirep and he indicated that conversations with Chicoms were moving very slowly indeed, in good part as result of Italian reluctance to accept this tight connection and its consequences.

4. Moro indicated that vote for Important Question presented no problem, but that GOI now had to decide between three possibilities in preparing its position on Chirep. First was whether to vote against Albanian Resolution and he indicated that this would not seem likely since it would be inconsistent with position on Chirec which present government has made its own. Second possibility might be some new initiative which might serve purpose of bringing about movement in situation which had remained static for so long. Such initiative might take form of resolution merely supporting admission of Peking. Third possibility was abstention, but this would depend on whether or not agreement could be found for this course within GOI on basis that [Page 632] while Italy supported admission of Communist China, it could not accept severe consequences of expulsion of GRC and thus of possible disruption of UN. Moro promised he would remain in close touch with US as Italian position developed as he did not desire to take any action which would be harmful to US interests. He said Ambassador Vinci would be returning shortly to assist in GOI discussions of this question.

5. In expressing appreciation for this full exposition of his thinking, Chargé referred to Moro’s comment on possible new initiative and said this would create new situation which could be dangerous. Moro replied that he had been thinking out loud and that no decision along these lines had been made. He would keep fully in mind views which had been expressed recently by Secretary to Ambassador Ortona and statements which had been made by Chargé this morning.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 694, Country Files—Europe, Italy, Vol. I. Confidential; Exdis. Sent with a request to be passed to Brussels, Ottawa, Taiwan, Tokyo, USUN, and Hong Kong.
  2. In telegram 143767, August 26, the Department of State provided instructions for a discussion of the Chinese representation issue with the new Italian Government. (Ibid.) Telegram 145748, August 28, reported on the discussion. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 16 CHICOM) The Rumor government fell on July 5 in the wake of the Socialist party split. After failing to secure majority support for a new center-left coalition, Rumor formed a minority all-Christian Democrat government on August 5.
  3. See footnotes 3 and 4, Document 89.
  4. December 1963–June 1968.
  5. The Socialist Unity Party was formed in July by defectors from the Italian Socialist Party. The party, which consisted of Deputies aligned with President Saragat, subsequently readopted the name Social Democratic Party.