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210. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Italy (Martin) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

1410. 1. On the night following my dinner with Admiral Roselli-Lorenzini, the four military chiefs, Marchesi, Mereu of army, Fanali of air force, and Roselli-Lorenzini had private dinner. Although they had wrangled in a meeting Saturday morning over service shares of the defense budget, subject of dinner discussion that evening was how best to cope with the Communist situation. They agreed unanimously to follow lead of General Marchesi.

2. Roselli-Lorenzini indicated that when he went to Washington he will speak to President Nixon and other top American leaders in his role as a member of the Italian Chiefs of Staff and ask that there be more tangible American involvement in the current struggle against Communism.

3. General Marchesi has inquired whether Roselli-Lorenzini was seeing the President. I said it would be normal for Washington to ask whether I would think this a good idea. In the absence of such an inquiry, I assumed Roselli-Lorenzini would be received only by Admiral Zumwalt and perhaps by Admiral Moorer if he were in Washington. Marchesi indicated relief and said Admiral Roselli-Lorenzini was an extrovert “with a volcanic personality” and was not really well informed on the complexities of internal Italian politics. General Marchesi concluded by saying he desired “that the Ambassador would be the only one to coordinate Italian armed forces efforts and hoped that there would be no direct links between Washington and Admiral Roselli-Lorenzini.”

4. I said I was sure he would have no objection to the continuation of direct service-to-service links on technical naval matters, but that I could assure him that only I would deal with him on matters affecting the political scene.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 65, Country Files—Europe, Martin, Ambassador (Italy). Secret; Sensitive; Immediate; Eyes Only. The White House forwarded the message to San Clemente at 1857Z, April 5, with the instruction: “Deliver in sealed eyes only envelope for Colonel Kennedy.” A notation on the original reads: “Recv’d. SCCC 051125Z” and “4/5/71. HAK has seen.”