The Department of State to the British Embassy


With reference to the Embassy’s aide-mémoire of June 14, 1944 outlining instructions to Sir Noel Charles, the British High Commissioner in Italy, concerning the position of the British Government toward the newly formed Italian Government, the following is a paraphrase of a message68 which the President has sent to the Prime Minister defining this Government’s position.

After having consulted with my advisers here and abroad concerning your telegram no. 69969 and my reply no. 558,70 and regardless of some surprise here that General MacFarlane acted apparently without consulting the other Allied governments, I have concluded that it would be a serious mistake if we did not permit the prompt inauguration of the Bonomi Government. It is my feeling that Badoglio’s withdrawal, although I regret it, may be of distinct advantage to us. It is desirable that the surrender terms—associated with Marshal Badoglio in the public mind up to the present time—should become the obligation of the most representative Italians available today, composing a government regarded as completely anti-Fascist. Furthermore there is the desirability of implementing our proclaimed policy and allaying domestic and foreign criticism concerning our Italian policy. The new government has pledged itself, I understand, to assume all obligations, including the postponement of the institutional question, until the end of the war, and the long terms of surrender existing between the Allies and the Badoglio Government. It has been foreseen for some time that the Government would be broadened when Rome was reached. Following the liberation of Rome the negotiations were carried on in constant consultation with the Chief Commissioner of the Allied Control Commission and his American and British advisers in the political field and with the approval of the Control Commission. Signor Bonomi was the unanimous choice of all the parties represented in the Rome Committee of National Liberation, although the parties were divided in their willingness [Page 1134] to enter the Government under Badoglio. The best available channel existing in Italy today for the expression of popular will appears to be the Committee of National Liberation. I fear that there will be serious repercussions both at home and in Italy if we interfere at this late date in the installation of what appears to be a representative government. I fear such interference would work to the advantage of mischievous elements in Italy and to the detriment of the military situation there. I also question if such interference would not be directly contrary to our declared policy to leave the choice of government to the people.

It is understood that the British High Commissioner in Italy has been instructed to convene the Advisory Council for Italy on Saturday, June 17, at 4 p.m., to consider the political developments in Italy since the fall of Rome. In order to avoid further delay in seating the new cabinet, with attendant deterioration in the internal political situation, it is the opinion of this Government that it would be highly desirable if objection to the new government could be withdrawn prior to the consideration of this question by the Council on June 17. In such circumstances the British High Commissioner could review political developments since the fall of Rome, express the Council’s hopes for the success of the new, representative government, take note of the assurances it has given General MacFarlane and recommend to the Supreme Allied Commander that the new government should formally express its readiness in writing to accept all the obligations toward the Allies entered into by former Italian Governments since the conclusion of the Armistice, including the long Armistice terms, and that every member of the new government should be personally acquainted with the terms of all such obligations.

It is hoped that the Ambassador will find it possible to recommend this course of action and this solution to his Government in order that the British High Commissioner may receive appropriate instructions before the Council’s meeting tomorrow.

  1. This is message 562, dispatched June 15, 1944.
  2. See footnote 63, p. 1129.
  3. Telegram in Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y., not printed. This was merely a preliminary reply.