In a conversation today about other matters with Hayden Raynor at the State Department, we were told that the State Department is already giving thought to the question of how to influence the forthcoming elections in Italy in favour of Premier de Gasperi. They regard the elections, which are due in the latter part of May or early June, as very important, not only for the future of Italy, but also in the context of the cold war. The prospects they fear are that the extremists on the right as well as on the left wing may gain at the expense of the moderates. Thus the State Department are casting about for any gestures, or specific forms of assistance which might strengthen the position of Premier de Gasperi, and they would certainly welcome anything that we can do or suggest.
2. One matter which is regarded as of particular political importance in Italy is the pressure of excess population. The United States officials recognize the legislative handicaps placed upon United States action by the McCarran Act. However, they are exploring the possibilities of doing something that might have a favourable political effect in Italy. In this connection the State Department recognize what an important contribution Canada has made in accepting nearly 25,000 Italian immigrants in 1951 (State Department figure) and in continuing to admit a substantial number of Italians last year also. Since this form of help has a very direct political impact upon Italian public opinion, the Stale Department wondered, Raynor said, whether it might be possible for the Canadian Government at an appropriate time to issue some statement which would hold out continuing hopes for Italian immigration into Canada in the future.
3. We hope to be able to furnish you shortly with the background of the State Department's appreciation of the political situation and prospects in Italy.