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2nd memo De Courten

"The Dick memo (Instructions for the movement of Italian warships and merchant ships) is very obscure and lends itself to many criticisms; it is evident that in its drafting only the British unilateral point of view was taken into account, without any expert on the Italian side was able to present logical considerations and well-founded objections.


In par. 2 shows the ports in which the Italian naval forces can direct, as if to indicate a choice between them.


In par. 3-4 on the other hand, the ports of destination (Malta - Haifa - Augusta) are strictly established for most naval departments: not only, but for the Naval Forces of La Spezia (which constitute the most important part of our fleet) it is indicated which they must direct to Bona "where they will receive instructions for further navigation", without indicating the port of destination.


It is also established that all merchant ships must be concentrated in Gibraltar and Alexandria, that is, in highly eccentric areas, without taking into account the essential supply needs of the Nation, the Overseas Armed Forces and the islands, beyond any possibility of control by the Italian side.


Finally, the extent of the control bodies and the disarmament measures is left to the complete will of the allied authorities, without any limitation that safeguards our dignity and above all the safety of our ships.


No mention of the essential problem of the flag.


I believe it is absolutely necessary that delicate negotiations of this kind be carried out with the assistance of naval experts, who are able to protect the needs of the Navy and take into account the particular needs of the Naval Forces, especially since the "Fleet" question, as already pointed out, it has absolutely paramount importance in the present circumstances ".

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