Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

The Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Allied Force Headquarters (Smith) to the Combined Chiefs of Staff


W–9423/1907. Following cipher message has just been received (to AGWar from[for] Combined Chiefs of Staff and to USFor for British Chiefs of Staff from Smith signed Eisenhower. This is Naf 365. Delivery times to both addresses immediately required.)

“Owing to changes in the situation which has broken down and the existence of German forces in the Rome area it is no longer possible [Page 1274] to accept immediate armistice since this proves[would mean?] that the capital would be occupied and the government taken over forcibly by the Germans. Operation Giant 2 no longer possible because of lack of forces to guarantee air fields. General Taylor1 ready to return to Sicily to present views of the government and awaits orders. Communicate means and location you prefer for this return. Signed Badoglio.”

CinC is now in conference with Commanders at Advanced Command Post and has this information. Decisions taken will be communicated to you at the earliest possible moment. They probably will be to call off Giant 2 (this is inevitable) and to go ahead with all other plans. Question of whether announcement of armistice should be made as originally scheduled is most important. It might have great effect on Italian resistance and after all we have the signed document which was completed in good faith by an authorized representative of the man who now retracts. It is possible but not probable that Ambrosio will leave Rome and go ahead with the original plan from some other location. In any case we would like to have at the earliest possible moment your thought on whether or not we should proceed with the armistice announcement for the tactical and deception value it might have. Certainly the Italian government itself deserves no consideration. This is Eyes Only.

  1. Concerning Taylor’s mission in Rome, see Garland and Smyth, pp. 499–504.