740.00119 ACI/47: Telegram

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

259. From Reinhardt. The Advisory Council held its sixth meeting in Algiers yesterday January 24.

With respect to the question of Soviet and French representation on the Allied Control Commission, I carried out the instructions contained in the Department’s 130, January 13, midnight. The Council accordingly agreed on a recommendation to the Commander-in-Chief that the participation of the Soviet representative should be accepted and further that the Commander-in-Chief should intervene with Combined Chiefs of Staff with a view to an early solution of the question of French participation. Massigli took the occasion to express grave concern at prolonged delay in reaching a decision in this connection.
He referred to the high importance to France of her relations with Italy and political and moral implications of a refusal to permit French membership in the Allied Control Commission which was engaged in the actual day to day solution of Italian problems. He urged me to intervene with my Government with a view to obtaining an early decision of the question. Following adjournment of the Council meeting he earnestly repeated to me his case, mentioned French troops fighting in Italy and the effect on future work of Advisory Council which could not but result from an unfavorable decision. Chapin requests that Wilson be informed of foregoing.
A proposal put forward by Vyshinsky recommending to the Commander in Chief a greater degree of civil liberty in Sicily was in great part met by calling to his attention a recent order of FHQ [AFHQ?] on this subject. It was however agreed to recommend to the Commander in Chief political prisoners that liberty should be given to all adversaries of fascism arrested for political reasons and that for the future there should be no arrest of anti-Fascists on grounds of political activity.
Massigli presented the members of the Council with copies of a note31 which the respective representatives of the French Committee [Page 1006] of National Liberation had been instructed to deliver yesterday in Washington, London, and Moscow setting forth the opinion that the Allies should without further delay require the abdication of King Victor Emmanuel and the withdrawal of Marshal Badoglio from the Italian Government. It was the opinion of all the other members of the Council that to raise this question through diplomatic channels was premature at this time. It was pointed out that the Council could as yet hardly claim to know Italian public opinion and that although the French Committee had apparently crystallized its view with respect to the question of the King certainly the American, British, and Soviet Governments had not as yet done so. Macmillan suggested this was the kind of problem which should properly be discussed informally by the Advisory Council before its formal presentation through diplomatic channels.
It was in just such an exchange of views and information, he thought, that the Council could be most helpful to the several governments in reaching the wisest solution of matters of such importance. Vyshinsky pointed out that the question of the King could not be treated by itself, but that it inevitably brought in its wake many other important and related problems. He believed that the Advisory Council would need more information before it could properly form its opinion. With Massigli’s agreement it was decided to defer further discussion of the question until some not too distant future meeting when the other members would have been able to ascertain the positions of their respective governments.
An exchange of views of the members’ impressions, derived from the recent trip of the Advisory Council to Italy, revealed reasonable satisfaction with Allied control operations in general. Vyshinsky stated that his only observation was one he had made before, namely, that Allied authorities were too cautious in the matter of extension of political liberty in Italy, but he recognized that considering the importance of the current military operations the Advisory Council should itself be cautious for the time being with respect to the recommendations it might make to the Commander in Chief. A memorandum submitted to the Advisory Council by AMG officials in Naples on the subject of increasing the number of newspapers and political publications in that area received general approval, but at Vyshinsky’s request it was agreed to recommend that if possible the projected measures be accomplished in a shorter period of time than the memorandum contemplated.
Macmillan proposed a procedure for the examination of requests from political exiles for permission to return to Italy which envisaged their being handled entirely by the Allied Control Commission and the Italian Government except in cases where the Commander in Chief specifically desired an opinion from the Advisory Council. [Page 1007] Vyshinsky referred the proposal to his Government and it will be taken up again at the next meeting.
With respect to Ercoli’s desire to return to Italy, I joined in the Council’s recommendation to permit his return as authorized in the Department’s 147, January 15, 2 p.m. Since the Italian Government had already expressed its agreement the matter was referred to the Commander in Chief.

Please bring foregoing to attention of Murphy.

Sent Department, repeated to Moscow and London. [Reinhardt.]

  1. Dated January 25, not printed.