Sut,-The present Big Four deadlock over the Peace Treaty with Italy prompts rue to make a
few comments thereon, as your paper has always been sympathetic towards Italy.
Much of the Press opinion in this country seems to regard the Peace Treaty as a Boorse where strategic and economic advnntages are traded, oblivious of the fact that the items so dealt with are the possessions of others. The Times of June 27 suggested that Mr. Bevin could afford to let Italy pay £100,000,000 reparations to Russia, inasmuch as for this. M. Molotov might be induced to make concessions elsewhere. On another page of the same newspaper, it was stated that Italy's first budget since the overthrow of the Fascist regime showed a deficit of £220,000,000, which is a large sum, considering the country's meagre resources. It is therefore difficult to see how reparations are to be paid without causing a complete breakdown of the Italian economic system.
Mr. Bevin has always shown himself favourable to just Italian claims. but if he allows himself to be manceuvred into a policy of opportunistic bargaining, the consequences of such an action for Italy (and ultimately for the Allies) will be grave. On the one hand it will strengthen the Italian Communists who can then say that Russia is italy's fairy god-mother, and on the other hand, the neo-Fascist underground whose acts of violence, of late, have increased. The net result of political unrest and economic instability will be to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the new democratic Italian State to establish itself on a firm basis.
6, Seymour House, Tavistock Place, London, W.C.1.