374. Memorandum From the Counselor (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1

SUBJECT

  • Schmidt Statement on Italy: Volpe Wonders Whether to Proceed with Scranton/Lodge Project

You will have seen Volpe’s Rome 11592 as well as other items from Italy reacting violently to Schmidt’s statements and, less so, to the Gelb piece on the “Kissinger formula.” The Italians also picked up a White House comment on Saturday essentially confirming the accuracy of what Schmidt said. Volpe notes Italian pique at having been excluded from the pertinent Puerto Rico deliberations. He asks for an explanation for Lodge’s use in his meetings; but more basically Volpe seems to feel that our approaches should either be stopped or in some unspecified fashion modified.

There has of course always been the likelihood that our coordinated approaches will become known. Schmidt has made the issue more explosive than it would otherwise have been. On the other hand, Gelb (and Carter) have muddied the water by implying that we will go along with indirect CPI participation in Italian government decisions and activities.

The French have issued an ambiguous statement, the thrust of which is to disavow Schmidt. The British remain silent.

I personally think Lodge should proceed as planned, if only to leave Italian leaders in no doubt about our views.

As for an explanation of why Moro et al were not included in the Puerto Rico discussions, I believe Lodge might say the following:

[Typeset Page 1137]

1. The discussions on Italy were informal, on the margins of the formal Puerto Rico meeting.

2. It was not thought proper to call Moro and Rumor “on the carpet” and embarrass them.

3. Scranton and Lodge as well as Ambassador Volpe were dispatched to make clear our American position to Italian leaders. There is no formal agreement with the other three Western Governments and they are free to proceed with their own policies and explanations on their own. If they agree with our line, they are doing so independently.

RECOMMENDATION

1. That you authorize an immediate message to Volpe making the above three points and telling him to let Lodge proceed.

2. That you authorize me to inform the German, French and British Ambassadors (who may or may not know of the various emissaries) that our “representatives” in Italy have been instructed to answer queries from the Italians on the Schmidt statements along the lines of numbered paras. 1, 2 and 3 above.

  1. Summary: Sonnenfeldt discussed the effects of a recent statement by Schmidt on Italy.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Helmut C. Sonnenfeldt, 1955–1977, Entry 5339, Box 5, Italy—Sensitive—July 1976. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for urgent action. Telegram 11592 from Rome, July 19, is ibid. Kissinger initialed his approval of both recommendations. On July 16, Schmidt stated that the FRG, France, the UK, and the United States had “agreed not to extend economic aid to Italy if Communists are included in the Italian Cabinet.” (“Schmidt Says Aid to Italy is Linked to Politics,” New York Times, July 17, p. 5) Although no record of such talks at Puerto Rico was found, handwritten notes of a July 8 meeting in Paris among Sonnenfeldt and French, FRG, and UK officials indicate that they discussed a paper on Italy that would serve as a “basis for parallel interventions.” In a July 14 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt described the dispatch of FRG officials to Italy for discussions. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Helmut C. Sonnenfeldt, 1955–1977, Entry 5339, Box 5, Italy—Sensitive—July 1976)