194. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Minutes of the Meeting of the 40 Committee, 25 May 1970


  • Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Packard, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Helms
  • Mr. Thomas Karamessines and Mr. Wymberley Coerr were present for all items.
  • Mr. David Blee and Mr. Talcott Seelye were present for Item 1.
  • Mr. [name not declassified] was present for Item 2.
  • Mr. John Hart was present for Item 3.
  • Mr. [name not declassified] was present for Item 4.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Italy.]

[Page 655]

3. Italy—Request by U.S. Ambassador for Financial Support for [less than 1 line not declassified]

a. The Chairman asked the members for their opinions on Ambassador Graham Martin’s request for [1 line not declassified] regional and administrative elections on June 7, 1970.2 It was noted that this request was probably stimulated by both higher authority’s Italian visit and the blockbusting $30,000,000 the Soviets are alleged to have fed in to the electoral campaigns.

b. Mr. Johnson said that State felt that it was not a good idea because it inserts the USG directly into [less than 1 line not declassified] disputes, because [less than 1 line not declassified] was not a chosen U.S. instrument and other figures loomed as large or larger, and also because, although such subsidies might be shielded from outsiders, it would be an open secret within [less than 1 line not declassified]. Furthermore, the [less than 1 line not declassified] does have money available to it and does have sources which have not been tapped.

c. A general discussion of the Italian political scene took place, and it was noted that if a Popular Front ever came to the fore it would not be because [less than 1 line not declassified]. Mr. Mitchell then observed that at best it was too late now to apply the election funds. He hinted that another visit by Rogers Morton might be useful since one of the [less than 1 line not declassified] minuses was lack of a modern political organization.

d. The Chairman asked for a solid assessment of the leadership, the names and numbers of the players, and their potential impact. It was suggested that this might take until some time after the election when the shakedown cruise had been made and strengths and weaknesses determined.

e. It was noted that the Secretary of State was in Rome at this time, and the Committee directed that a cable be sent to the Embassy indicating the Committee’s decision and their desire for intensified political coverage as suggested above.3

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Italy.]

Peter Jessup
  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Records of the 40 Committee, Minutes. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted on May 27.
  2. See footnote 8, Document 192.
  3. The Committee’s response was transmitted in telegram 80225 to Rome, May 25. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 695, Country Files—Europe, Italy, Vol. II) In a June 18 memorandum to the President summarizing the results of local elections, Kissinger noted that they “have produced a surprise; the center-left coalition parties have been considerably reinforced, and the heretofore steady increase in Communist voting strength has been arrested.” (Ibid.)