740.00119 European Advisory Commission/10–1944: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

8951. Comea 114. I have been giving a good deal of thought to the question raised in Department’s 7884, September 27, 8 p.m.; Department’s 8605, October 17, midnight,60 and I fully sympathize with the desire to make some recognition of the Italian war effort. Before taking definite steps to ask the European Advisory Commission to invite Italy to present its views on German surrender arrangements I should like to consult the Department concerning several questions which are likely to arise in that connection.

One question is whether similar invitations should be extended to other co-belligerents. It is quite possible that the Soviet delegate, for example would take this opportunity to suggest that such an invitation be extended to Italy only if Rumania and Bulgaria are included. I should like to know what attitude the Department would want me to adopt in this case.

A second difficulty may be that placing Italy in the same relationship to the work of the EAC as the nine Allied Governments61 in [Page 78]Europe will lead some or all of those nine Governments to redouble their pressure for active participation in the settlement of the German surrender arrangements. The advantage secured in Italy by the proposed invitation might be more than offset by the reaction to it on the part of those Governments and peoples who have been on our side from the beginning.

The preamble to the instrument of surrender62 refers to the US, UK and Soviet Governments “acting in the interests of the United Nations”. Until or unless Italy becomes a member of the United Nations it is hard to see on what legal basis the Italian Government can participate in the formulation and imposition of the surrender. If Italy should fail to become a member of the United Nations prior to the German surrender it would seem from a juridical standpoint that some sort of separate surrender arrangement would have to be made between Germany on the one hand and Italy and other non-United Nations co-belligerents on the other. Would it not be putting the cart before the horse to try to bring Italy into the United Nations group by a back door invitation from the EAC? The more direct procedure of allowing Italy to adhere to the United Nations Declaration would resolve these difficulties.

Is it necessary or possible for the Italian Government to empower SCAEF to represent it in any surrender? There is no arrangement at present for such a delegation of powers by any of the United Nations and the surrender instruments state merely that the representatives of the supreme commands of the UK, US and USSR will be “acting by authority of their respective Governments”. It would seem premature to attempt to arrange for delegation of powers on the part of the Italian Government prior to arranging for similar delegations of powers by present members of the United Nations.

These considerations are based on an anticipation of the objections which the proposed suggestion is likely to meet in the Commission and which I am at present unprepared to meet. Careful thought will also have to be given to the timing of any such proposals in the EAC in order not to interrupt its progress in completing the basic agreements concerning occupation and control of Germany.63

  1. Latter not printed; it reported on the receipt by the Department of the memorandum from the British Embassy dated October 4, p. 66.
  2. i.e., Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, and the French Committee of National Liberation.
  3. For the text of the instrument of unconditional surrender of Germany, agreed to by the Representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union at a meeting of the European Advisory Commission at London on July 25, see p. 256.
  4. Telegram 9606, November 15, 1944, midnight, to London, stated that the Department was inclined to agree that it was not necessary or desirable to have the EAC extend an invitation to the Italian Government to present its views on German surrender arrangements; the telegram also transmitted a summary of the memorandum of November 15 to the British Embassy, p. 83. (740.00119–EAC/10–1944)