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Verso Bella Italia


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A request from Italy for diplomatic discussion had been received by the Cabinet. Chancellor Prescott hesitated at first; news of the Mediterranean security force irked him somewhat. But in the end he obliged and instructed for an ambassador to be sent. There was no harm in merely opening a dialogue.


Lucas Monk was an experienced diplomat. He'd been in the business for a good three decades now and he would be retiring soon, at the age of fifty-three. Lucas took a direct flight to the Italian capital where he intended to meet his counterpart and hopefully begin a pragmatic discussion on a variety of matters. 

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The British ambassador would be met at the airport and taken via motorcade to the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome. Upon arriving, Chancellor of Exterior Cristiano Rosetta would meet him outside the building and greet him saying, "Your excellency, welcome to Italy! I sure hope that our two countries may make full use out of this opportunity to further our bilateral relations."


They would then be escorted into an elaborate meeting room to hold one-on-one discussions.



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Lucas felt momentarily awed by the reception granted to him upon his arrival in the lustrous Italian capital. He wore a typical sage smile as the Chancellor met him and explained her hopes. Monk simply nodded in agreement and allowed himself to be led along towards the room where they would discuss matters of importance.


The British diplomat opened up first. "It's a pleasure to be here Ms Rosetta, it's been a very long time since I last visited your beautiful country."


He took a moment to properly relax, reclining in his seat and placing his hands on the table, fingers interlocked.


"Now, on to business. There is, I feel, a pressing matter that must be discussed first before anything else. I've read reports that Italy and France are now operating a naval security force in the Mediterranean sea, preventing military vessels from free travel. Is this true?"

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"Mister Ambassador, the Republic of Italy in concert with France have terminated the mandate for the Joint Mediterranean Naval Security Force. This was done in response to the positive response to the new Suez Canal policies."

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Relief flooded across Lucas Monk's face momentarily, as the news came through that the Mediterranean security force had been terminated. He regained his composure and replied promptly. "Thank you for informing me of such happenings Ms Rosetta." He left it at that; no need for a subtle rebuke that was meaningless with the naval pact consigned to history.


"Would your government be interested in establishing a trade and finance pact with the Federation?"

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"Look, Al, I just don't see the benefit."
"Are you serious? Do I need to push the strategic assessment in your face again?"
"Oh come on. It's too soon to go that far and to make that kind of contribution."
"Explain France then."
"That's different. The French are on our doorstep and they will play a pivotal role in Europe. Besides, we don't have the resources for a commitment on that level. We're still punching above our weight and you of all people should know it."
It was 6.30 in the evening and this conversation had been going on for some hours now, round and round between four individuals: Will Prescott, Alex Hartmann, Liz O'Mahoney and Dick Winters. Prescott and O'Mahoney were pushing heavily for a strictly finance-oriented pact with the Italians, while Hartmann and Winters wanted a defence clause introduced. A stalemate ensued. Although the Chancellor could, legally speaking, simply override the others and put his foot down, he didn't work that way. The opinions of his employees were of great value to him. The Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke up next.
"Looking at this from a militarily perspective, it's evident that we could use some of the capabilities that Italy might provide us as an ally. Section Seven made it clear they have naval assets which could be instrumental in defending British shores, were we to find ourselves in circumstances that warranted such actions."
Liz placed two fingers on her temples and rubbed them, trying to stave off an incoming headache. Strategic. She was beginning to hate that word because of how much it was thrown around these days. Strategic this, strategic that...let's have a strategic dinner shall we with drinks strategically placed to quench our ultimately strategic thirst. She almost laughed in spite of herself. But deep down she knew how important this was. The Chancellor always considered the big picture and as with most big pictures, a lot was at stake. She threw in her two pennies once more.
"But we all recognise that friendship is a two-way street. What could we provide them that they don't already have well-covered? Nothing. Nothing except a promise that we may or may not eventually be in a position to come to their defence in the event of a conflict. Mr Prescott is right, for the foreseeable future we will be fighting outside of our weight class. We need to apply this fact to our foreign affairs."
The Minister of Defence piped up.
"With the greatest of respect to the Chancellor, I'm absolutely confident that we can fight and win wherever we go and whomever we go up against. We may not have half a million troops or the most modern technology but we are warfighters and we have personnel that reflect this. I can name off the top of my head at least twenty individuals who can lead a task force with a major degree of competence and leadership ability, let alone the Marshals themselves. But I digress. The priority right now is defending the country and a defence clause with Italy allows us to do that with much more confidence and capacity."
Alexander leaned back in his chair and interlocked his fingers, clearly demonstrating that he was done debating the matter. William frowned but then shook his head and closed his eyes for a moment, rubbing his forehead.
"Alright. A binding mutual defence clause, given all the factors we have taken into consideration, may not be the best option at this moment in time and in fact there's no reason to believe Italy would even accept that. But I suggest we put something light in there, something optional. At the very least we should show we are willing to be effective military allies."
William stood up from his chair. The others did the same. He walked over to the window and silently looked out for a whole sixty seconds, gazing at the rain coming down hard against everyone unfortunate enough to be outside. The sun still shone just above the horizon and lent itself to the effect, producing a rainbow that stretched across the Thames and fell somewhere behind Westminster. Quite beautiful. A stark contrast to all the pain and horrors to come.
"Stick to the original financial specifications. But. Put a military co-operation clause in there. Something concerning localised security. Nothing heavy. That'll be all for this evening."
The others nodded in quiet assent and began to leave the room, one by one. Early next morning, a secretary would transmit a series of encrypted documents to the Italian Foreign Ministry, which contained a draft of a treaty text. 

Treaty of Finance, Trade and Security


Article I: Preamble

The nations of Great Britain and Italy hereby commit to a pact of non-aggression, mutual financial agreement and regional military co-operation. Neither state shall infringe on the sovereignty of the other, nor will they commit any act of aggression against the other, no matter how great or small.


Article II: Trade

A Class 2 trade agreement between Great Britain and Italy shall exist upon acceptance of this treaty. This agreement will include a reduction of tariffs on imports and exports between both nations, exclusive trading rights on certain resources, increased co-operation in trade disputes and increased communications and co-operation between domestic businesses.


Article III: Finance

A Class 2 finance agreement between Great Britain and Italy shall exist upon acceptance of this treaty. This agreement will include reductions in tax and tariffs on domestic companies in one country trading with domestic companies of the other, increased co-operation between banking institutes, some exemption from domestic laws on lending and borrowing, co-operation with requests for financial aid and the supply of such aid and retaining preferred status for investment opportunities.


Article IV: Security

A Class 1 security agreement between Great Britain and Italy shall exist upon acceptance of this treaty. This agreement will include increased co-operation between both countries in matters of regional security, including but not limited to: ocean piracy, elimination of criminal enterprise, prevention of terrorist activity on domestic soil and elimination of bandit and rebel organisations who exist solely for the purposes of engaging in armed conflict with either country.



The British Cabinet



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After reviewing the proposed document, Chancellor of Exterior Cristiano Rosetta consulted with members of the Executive Branch in Rome to see if all was in order. After an hour he returned prepared to sign the document.


Chancellor of Exterior Cristiano Rosetta
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