740.0011 EW/8–343

The Chief of Staff, United States Army ( Marshall ) to the President 1


Memorandum for the President

The following is a paraphrase of a message just received from General Eisenhower:

When your first message2 was received, informing me that the Italian Government had requested the terms the Allies would impose before recognizing Rome an open city, the mission against Rome scheduled for August 3rd was cancelled. Your last message3 authorizing me to proceed with the operation came too late to return to the original plan. Arrangements are now being made to attack the railroad yards at Rome tomorrow afternoon, August 4th. We are briefing the pilots on suitable alternative targets, should it again appear desirable to cancel the mission.4 Pending the decision to recognize Rome as an open city, it may be preferable to refrain from bombing the city. It should not take the Badoglio Government long to act on the Allied conditions. These conditions should be simple, and should require the complete demilitarization of Rome and the complete cessation of all movements of troops and military supplies through the city. All factories engaged in the manufacture of munitions and military supplies, and all airdromes in the close vicinity of Rome should be closed. The designation of Rome as an open city should become effective within seven days from the time the Italian Government accepts our requirements. Whether the Italians are acting in good faith is the important question. If they are, our terms will be accepted promptly, as they will certainly be reasonable. If there is evidence of a temporizing policy on their part, and they do not act promptly, we should return to the attack whenever planes can be spared from more important targets. I fully realize all the complications and repercussions which are bound to result from operations against Rome, and for this reason, I do not intend to over-do the matter. There is no question, however, that a marked effect results from the presence of our planes over the city dropping leaflets and, when appropriate, bombs. End of Eisenhower’s message.

We understand that the Secretary of State dispatched to you last night the conditions we propose the Italian Government be required [Page 550] to meet before recognizing Rome as an open city.5 Until we receive your approval to these proposed terms and they are coordinated with the British, nothing can be sent to the Italian Government.

[G C Marshall]

Chief of Staff
  1. Printed from an information copy sent to Hull on August 3, 1943, by the Secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Deane). The memorandum was presumably telegraphed to Roosevelt, who was then at Birch Island, by the White House Map Room. Cf. Eisenhower Papers, p. 1310.
  2. Ante, p. 528.
  3. Ante, p. 530.
  4. The mission planned for August 4, 1943, was canceled because of bad weather in the vicinity of Rome. See Garland and Smyth, p. 279; Eisenhower Papers, p. 1313.
  5. See ante, p. 530.