865.01/929: Telegram

The Chargé at Algiers (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

158. From Reinhardt.

1. After an informative inspection of Allied control operations in Sicily and Sardinia which appeared favorably to impress my Soviet colleague the Advisory Council party was joined in Naples by Macmillan [Page 1000] and Massigli where on January 9 the Council held informal meetings with the Neapolitan leaders of the six anti-Fascist parties composing the Committee of National Liberation. The following day January 10 the Council held a formalizating [formal meeting?], its fifth during the course of which General Joyce15 and Marshal Badoglio16 accompanied by members of his Government met with the Council. On January 11 Vyshinski and Massigli visited Croce and and Sforza17 [at?] Sorrento and the morning of January 12 the whole party returned to Algiers with the exception of Livengood18 who is remaining a few days in Sicily to examine the sulphur mines and other industrial installations.

2. The Neapolitan political leaders although reflecting the divergent philosophies of their several parties were unanimous in their insistence that Victor Emmanuel19 must go and in their willingness to accept a regency until the liberation of Italy permitted the “institutional” question to be submitted to the vote of the Italian people. The parties of the right indicated that if necessary they would accept Piedmont or some other member of the House of Savoy for the duration of the war in Italy but this view was not shared by the other leaders who considered Piedmont as unacceptable as the King himself. A corresponding divergence of opinion was expressed regarding the probable effect that the King’s abdication would have on the loyalty of the Italian Armed Forces. All party representatives made a plea for greater Allied understanding of the grave economic situation in liberated Italy and the parties of the left urged more freedom of the press and public meetings as well as a more radical application of the process of de-Fascistization.

3. Marshal Badoglio read the Council a set paper which contained emotional expressions of his devotion to the Allied cause, enmity for Fascism and requests for war materials with which to make possible active Italian participation in the fight against Germany. It contained moreover a gratuitous interpretation of the invitation to meet with the Council as being tantamount to an invitation to participate regularly in its work. He was gently disabused of this misapprehension. He carefully avoided making any statements with regard to the Monarchical question other than to say that it would, of course, have to be submitted to the Italian people after the war. He was evidently unwilling to discuss the person of the King in the presence [Page 1001] of the Council and when asked how he proposed to form a representative Government of Ministers after moving to Salerno in the face of the unanimous opposition to Victor Emmanuel on the part of all of the six anti-Fascist parties satisfied himself with the remark that should any one refuse for this reason to join his Government he would pick someone else. It would, therefore, appear that he is thinking in terms of a government of men rather than of parties. The position of his Government with respect to the King is simply that the conditions raised by the six parties can at this time only tend to divide, not to unite the country. Although the Marshal cannot be said to have made a particularly forceful presentation or advanced arguments of a nature best suited to impress an Anglo-American audience, Vyshinsky appeared to be impressed by what he described as the “real patriotism” of the man.

After Badoglio and his party withdrew, General Joyce, in reply to a question, stated that the Marshal was to his knowledge the only person of leadership available in liberated Italy. With reference to the cooperation of the Italian Armed Forces, he felt that on the part of the Navy and Air Force it had been quite good, and on the part of the Army reasonably so considering the difficult circumstances. It was his opinion that there was a high degree of loyalty to the King in all ranks of the Italian Navy and Air Force, and in the higher brackets of the Army.

General Joyce stated that the Italian Government would move to Salerno as soon as it had accepted the terms of transfer which were almost ready for presentation to it. The government might be expected to be established in its new seat by the end of the month.

4. The Council in executive section [session?] raised the question of Soviet and French participation on the Control Commission and as reported in my 131, January 1220 was informed that I was still without instructions in the matter.

5. It was agreed to study the problem of developing a procedure governing the return to Italy of political exiles. A recommendation proposed by Macmillan that Mario Ercoli be permitted to return to Italy was supported by the other members but I reserved my opinion pending the receipt of instructions. See my 151 January 14.

6. The Council was provided by AMG21 officials with reports on the food situation, progress of de-Fascistization and the problems of the press and public political meetings.

7. Livengood and I will report by despatch on the general political and economic situation encountered in Sicily, Sardinia and southern Italy.

[Page 1002]

Please bring foregoing to attention of Murphy.

7. [8.] Sent to Department as 158, repeated to London as 19 and Moscow as 3. [Reinhardt.]

  1. Gen. Kenyan Joyce, American representative and Deputy President of the Allied Control Commission for Italy.
  2. Pietro Badoglio, Head of the Italian Government.
  3. Benedetto Croce and Carlo Sforza were leaders of the anti-Fascist group at Naples.
  4. Charles A. Livengood, American member of the Advisory Council for Italy.
  5. King of Italy.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Allied Military Government.