740.00119 European War 1939/1556: Telegram

The Chargé at Vatican City (Tittmann) to the Secretary of State 1

138. My 131, July 26.2

For the moment it would appear Badoglio Government less preoccupied by prospect unconditional surrender to Allies than by possibility public disorder and uncertainty as to intentions of Germans. I am told of indications that predominant emotion Italian official circles today is fear and that this possibility should not be lost sight of when evaluating situation.
Vatican officials are following closely all Allied pronouncements with regard to surrender of Italy and are on lookout for anything [Page 525] that might imply “terms”. Thus far however efforts to assess in this light various public statements made by Allies would seem to have resulted only in their confusion. In some quarters suggestion has been reiterated that an early landing on peninsula by Allied forces would be desirable from point of view Italian security and that we would meet with little opposition if we attempted to do so.
  1. Sent to the American Legation at Bern and transmitted in telegram No. 4659 of August 2, 1943, from the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State; received in Washington at 6:20 p.m., August 2.
  2. In this telegram, sent to the Legation at Bern and transmitted in telegram No. 4618 of July 31, 1943, from Harrison to the Secretary of State, Tittmann had reported:

    • “5. Allies should pay close attention developments in Italy and be ready intervene in case public disorder or German reprisals. It has been suggested we would meet little opposition if we attempted land on Italian peninsula and that this might be best way bring war to early conclusion.
    • “6. Cardinal Secretary [of] State [Maglione] expressed hope we may display patience and understanding of difficulties of new [Badoglio] government.
    • “7. Cardinal Maglione, on July 23 formally asked former Italian Government to remove everything and everybody of military importance from Rome in order to enable it to be designated as ‘open city’ and has now made similar appeal to new government. Cardinal is aware this would mean elimination all military traffic through Rome.
    • “8. Osborne believes, and I agree with him, that we should not bomb Rome or other populous centers again or at least until new government has had time establish its authority. We should attempt to fortify position of new government by not saddling it with odium of partial responsibility for further loss of civilian life.” (865.00/2114)