May 20, 1959

GREECE-ITALY: Rome, 19 – The government and people of Italy gave King Pavlos and Queen Frederiki a warm welcome. During an official dinner at the Quirinal Palace last night, King Pavlos responded to a toast by Italian President Giovanni Gronchi by saying, among other things, that «the Italian people hold a prominent place in the hearts of Greeks, who admire the superior culture of the Italian people as they have excelled in all sectors of the economy, the arts and sciences and are such a credit to your country.» The Italians have reservations about the idea of a Mediterranean treaty. They do not reject it in principle, but have stressed the difficulties inherent in carrying it out. The Italians believe that the draft treaty drawn up during talks in Madrid between General Francisco Franco and Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, which has won the favor of France, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and Cyprus, does not serve any immediate need. The Italians, however, are not against Spain’s accession to NATO, as are the British and Scandinavians. According to diplomatic circles here, Italy wants to play a major role in the Mediterranean and hopes to revive the Balkan Treaty due to its concern over Russia’s intentions to set up missile bases in Albania.

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