740.0011 European War 1939/2691-4/7
The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
ROME, June 1, 1940--1 p.m.
[Received June 1--10 a.m.]
145. My telegram No. 437, May 31, 2 p.m.
I was sent for by Ciano at 12:15 p.m. and, he gave me verbally Mussolini's answer to President Roosevelt's message of May 30. Mussolini, in confirming what Ciano told me yesterday, mentioned particularly that already the decision to enter the war had been made. Mussolini does not agree with the views of the President regarding United States' interests in the Mediterranean maintaining that the interest of the United States in that area is the same as that which Italy has, it might be said, in the Caribbean Sea area.
Regarding the statement of the President that participation by Italy the war would bring about a redoubling of efforts to aid the Allies on the part of the United States, Mussolini indicated that it was our business and of no concern to him. It was thus proven to him, however, that help is actually being given by the United States to the Allies; that America already has "chosen the Allied side". He desires to fulfill on his part his engagements with Germany and does not believe that an enlargement of the Mediterranean war will necessarily be brought about by the intervention of Italy. As that is not the Italian object, to prevent it, Italy will do everything possible.
In conclusion Ciano said that Mussolini preferred not to receive "any further pressure" as this, I was informed, "would only stiffen his attitude". It was added by Ciano that the President's mind is already known to Mussolini, and of Mussolini's mind, the President is doubtless aware by now.
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