740.00119 MPC/20a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Soviet Union ( Hamilton )

963. Please deliver the following message to M. Molotov:33

“Reference Para 3 of your message to me dated 26 September 1943.34 There appears to be no conflict between the Military-Political Commission envisaged by the three governments of Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, and the Control Commission set up by Para 37 of the long term Italian surrender document35 agreed to by the three governments.

[Page 794]

The Control Commission acts directly under the Supreme Allied Commander to deal with specific problems arising in areas of Italy liberated by Anglo-American armies. These are problems arising in any active military area under direct supervision of the Supreme Commander and so the commission must act under his direct control.

On the contrary, the Military-Political Commission for the Mediterranean Basin will have the purpose, as Marshal Stalin says, of ‘considering the questions concerning the negotiations with the different governments disassociating themselves with Germany’. Thus it will deal with the broad overall picture in this area. It will not have plenary powers. Its members will study the problems and advise their governments. The governments will then consult each other and reach a decision. If such decision affects the Supreme Allied Commander, he will be informed of it through the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Now that the Members of this Military-Political Commission have been appointed and it will meet soon, I feel the policies of our three governments in the Mediterranean area will be harmonized more effectively and quickly than heretofore.”

Hull 36
  1. A memorandum for the Secretary of State dated October 8, 1943, and signed by Adm. William D. Leahy, President Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff, stated that the President requested that the Secretary telegraph this message to Mr. Molotov (740.00119 MPC/10–843).
  2. See telegram No. 1470, p. 789.
  3. The so-called long-term Italian surrender document, entitled “Additional Conditions of the Armistice with Italy,” was signed by Marshal Pietro Badoglio, head of the Italian Government, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces, at Malta on September 29, 1943. For text, see Department of State, United States and Italy, 1936–1946: Documentary Record, p. 55. The Soviet Government had empowered General Eisenhower to sign the terms of surrender in behalf of the Soviet Government.

    Paragraph 37 read: “There will be appointed a Control Commission representative of the United Nations charged with regulating and executing this instrument under the orders and general directions of the Allied Commander-in-Chief.”

  4. Secretary Hull was actually en route from Washington to the Moscow Conference between October 7 and 18, but as a security measure outgoing telegrams from the Department of State during this period bore his signature.