865.01/985: Telegram

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

281. From L’Heureux. A message from the Rome Committee is carried by three representatives who have arrived in southern Italy for the political conference convening at Bari tomorrow, according to a report from General MacFarlane to Allied Force Headquarters. MacFarlane understands that the message recapitulates the October 16 declaration36 calling for assumption of all constitutional powers of the state by an extraordinary government. He comments that this phrase is purposely vague because of apparent lack of full agreement among the Rome Committee as to whether these powers should be assumed by the proposed extraordinary government itself or delegated to it by the King.

The more responsible party leaders in Naples have indicated in conversations with MacFarlane, he adds, that they are determined to avoid any action in the conference that might prejudice their future position. He is assured Sforza and Croce will strive to keep the meeting orderly and preserve the agreed policy that until all Italy is liberated so the people can make their own choice there can be no fundamental change in the Government’s structure. There is little doubt, however, that the trend of the meeting will be against Victor Emmanuel and his unwillingness to abdicate until conclusion peace.

MacFarlane also reports that leaders of the Communist and Socialist Parties in Naples recently refused a new request by Badoglio to serve in the Cabinet until liberation of Rome and the establishment of a new government because they were unwilling to compromise their [Page 1011] position regarding the King for this interval and there had been no change in this situation since Badoglio’s similar efforts in October.

MacFarlane intends to see Badoglio today and has agreement of General Alexander37 to propose February 10 as a date for transfer of territory to Italian administration since it will take that long for the Italian Government to become settled in Salerno. [L’Heureux.]

  1. Declaration made by the six anti-Fascist parties in Rome.
  2. Gen. Sir Harold R. L. Alexander, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Armies in Italy.