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06ROME824 2006-03-16 10:11:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rome
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1. (U) Labor Counselor met February 27 and March 15 with
Francesco De Stefani, Acting Director of the MFA's UN Office,
to deliver reftel demarche and discuss Italy's participation
in the International Tracing Service (ITS). De Stefani
confirmed that MOD Colonel Sandro Tortoro has replaced Carlo
Izzo as Italy's ITS representative. It appears Izzo and
Tortoro have been working together on this issue for some

2. (C) De Stefani was quick to express appreciation for
receiving our demarche and made it clear that Italy supports
the ITS and the MFA supports the principle of opening the Bad
Arlson holocaust archives to researchers. It appears,
however, that the MFA does not know who appointed Tortoro or
who in the Italian government makes policy on the ITS. De
Stefani raised this problem with MFA DG for Political Affairs
Terzi, who told De Stefani to work with the Ministry of
Defense to resolve these questions. In a welcome sign that
MFA is taking a pro-active role, De Stefani asked Tortoro to
come to the MFA to discuss Italy's role in the ITS and its
position on the archives. De Stefani promised a readout as
soon as he had a position to report.

3. (C) De Stefani was very pleased to receive the reports
of the last three ITS meetings and visibly distressed to see
a reference to Italy's non-participation in the
Lijnzaad-Mertz letter. When asked why Italy had not attended
the last three meetings, De Stefani said that Tortoro had
claimed not to have received the invitations. When we asked
if we could help expedite delivery of the invitations, De
Stefani asked that we send them to the MFA (in addition to
the ITS invitation sent directly to MOD) and they would
ensure Italian participation. If OHI could forward the May
invitation, we will deliver to MFA.

4. (C) On the specific issue of reearcher access to Bad
Arlson, De Stefani noted that Italy continues to have some
concerns about privacy protection and asked for clarification
on why the U.S. wanted individual countries to receive
ditigitzed copies of archive information. As he had not yet
read the meeting notes, De Stefani asked if we could provide
a readout on the position of various ITS members on the
privacy question.

5. (C) Comment: Without explicitly identifying a religious
or cultural bias, De Stefani acknowledged that the MFA was
aware of "problems" during Izzo's tenure as ITS
representative. De Stefani has a delicate task ahead of him
in coordinating a joint position with the MOD, but Terzi's
engagement should ensure that Italy at least resumes its
participation in ITS meetings.