The Secretary of War (Stimson) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to your letter of March 10, 1944, in which you suggest a policy with respect to treatment of diplomatic and consular property of enemy governments and the property of enemy diplomatic and consular personnel.

I find that the Combined Chiefs of Staff have established a policy which, while more general in character, does not appear in conflict with State Department policy described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of your letter. I refer to paragraph 28 (c), “Instrument of Surrender of Italy” signed at Malta on September 29, 1943,26 as amended by the protocol signed at Brindisi on November 9, 1943.27

The title of this document was amended by the protocol to read, “Additional Conditions of Armistice with Italy,” which (referring to Axis countries) states as follows:

“28. (c) All property in Italian territory belonging to any such country or occupied country or its nationals will be impounded and kept in custody pending further instructions.”

I assume that the more detailed statement of policy contained in your No. 137 to the American Mission at Algiers28 has been presented by the Chief of that mission to the Commander in the field through appropriate channels. I also assume that the Commander has given this statement consideration.

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I feel that the policy laid down for the Commander in the field should not be too rigid or detailed. In the unpredictable circumstances of battle we must rely a great deal on his good judgment.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson
  1. For the terms of the Additional Conditions of the Armistice With Italy, September 29, 1943, see Department of State, United States and Italy, 1986–1946, Documentary Record (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1946), p. 55; or 61 Stat. (pt. 3) 2740.
  2. United States and Italy, 1936–1946, p. 65.
  3. Dated January 14, p. 1474.