865.01/965: Telegram

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

216. From Reinhardt. Macmillan, who is at present in Italy, has telegraphed the Foreign Office, in agreement with General Mason MacFarlane,25 with respect to the situation which may be found when Allied forces enter Rome, asking immediate guidance in connection [Page 1003] with certain problems which may be expected to arise at such a time. Reber26 has asked that I telegraph you in similar terms.

The appointments of Armellini as military governor of Rome and of Motta as civil administrator are designed to insure that there shall be no political activity, such as an attempt to form as [an] alternative government, in any period between German withdrawal and Allied entry.
The King, we have been warned, wishes immediately after the Allied entry, to be allowed to pay at least a short visit to Rome accompanied by Badoglio. Delay in permitting such a visit they point out will prejudice the King’s chances of being able to form the broad based political government which he has undertaken shall be set up when we have reached Rome. We consider this is true in view of his hasty departure last September: In fact the postponement of his visit will have just as positive results as the granting of permission for it. Although it is admitted that such a visit may be represented as evidence of Allied support the refusal will be tantamount to direct opposition. In our view therefore he should be given this chance to carry out his pledge to the Italian people.
In the event that he succeeds, the constitutional question may thus be deferred until all of Italy can participate in the decision. If, on the other hand, he fails because of the refusal of the Rome party leaders to serve under him, he will have shown himself incapable of carrying out this pledge and should either abdicate forthwith or withdraw until the constitutional question can be settled. Voluntary abdication without foreign intervention would be preferable in every way.
The probability so far as we can see here is that the King will (1) fail to form a government, and (2) refuse to withdraw from the scene. In these circumstances Allied pressure would be justified on military as well as other grounds provided a genuinely representative national government can be formed and we should favor its use.
Immediate guidance is needed as to whether Allied authorities in Italy can use their own discretion on the above lines as regards (1) the King’s visit to Rome and (2) position to be adopted in the event of his failure to form a broad based government. Should these questions be left for decision until they arise there will be unavoidable delay which will hinder the positive direction of policy.
Macmillan does not anticipate any undue difficulty with the Advisory Council on the line recommended, with which I concur.

Please bring foregoing to attention of Murphy. [Reinhardt.]

  1. Deputy President of the Allied Control Commission for Italy.
  2. Samuel Reber, Vice President of the Political Section of the Allied Control Commission for Italy.