Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt 1

most secret

No. 393. Former Naval Person to President personal and most secret. Your number 332.2

We agree that Eisenhower be authorized to prescribe the conditions contained in your Paragraphs 1 to 11 inclusive in case the Italian government ask him for an armistice. These conditions should not be made public without the prior approval of our two governments.

We suggest, if there is time as there probably will be, he should add in Paragraph 4, after the words “The Italian fleet” the words “And Italian aircraft.”3
We also agree that the war criminal problem can be taken up later.
So much for the immediate emergency. We hope however that you will also urgently have our instrument of surrender4 examined, so that we reach full agreement on it. There are several points in this not dealt with in the emergency terms, and it is couched in a precise, formal and legal vein, on which much thought has been bestowed here. We are rather puzzled to know why you never refer to this document, as it seems to us to be in fact only a more careful and comprehensive version of the emergency armistice terms. We should be very grateful if you would let us know how you feel about it. We ought certainly to have it, or something like it, ready as soon as possible.
To save time, I am repeating this present message to Eisenhower, who will thus be fully empowered to act should a sudden emergency occur.
  1. Sent to Washington by the United States Military Attaché, London, via Army channels; forwarded by the White House Map Room to Roosevelt, who was then at Hyde Park, as telegram No. White 4.
  2. Ante, p. 519.
  3. The War Department sent the following telegram No. 3974 to Eisenhower on August 1, 1943: “In case the Italian Government asks for an armistice (for Eisenhower’s Eyes Only from Marshall) you are authorized to prescribe conditions contained in President’s 332 of 30 July to Prime (as contained in our 3824 July 30) [see ante, p. 519] with the following additions: ‘In Paragraph 4 of conditions after the words “Italian Fleet” add the words “and Italian aircraft”. These conditions will not be made public without prior approval of our two governments.’” (740.00119 EW/8–143)
  4. The British draft of a “long” or “comprehensive” instrument of surrender had been circulated as annex i to C.C.S. 258, “Surrender Terms for Italy and Draft Declaration and Proclamation”, June 16, 1943 (not printed). For a revision of the “comprehensive” instrument, sent to Roosevelt and the Department of State on August 3, 1943, see post, p. 538.