865.01/995: Telegram

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

322. From L’Heureux. Following is a summary of General Mac-Farlane’s report to Allied Force Headquarters on the opening session of the Bari Political Congress January 28:

With Albert Cianca presiding Croce made opening address criticizing the King and an alleged tendency by the Allies to keep persons of a Fascist character in power.

Longo Bardi, Socialist delegate from Rome, submitted a message from the Central Committee of National Liberation in Rome which declared that the Badoglio government had been unable to bring about effective participation of the nation in the fight against the invader and his Fascist servants or to contribute to resistance in German-held Italy. Therefore the present government must be replaced by an extraordinary government of National Liberation which should assume all constitutional powers without prejudicing national unity or the free expression of the people’s will regarding the institutional question of the monarchy.

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The Socialist, Communist, and Action Parties then presented a proposal based on the position of the Rome parties and claiming to represent the unanimous desire of the Italian people. This called for:

A bill of indictment against the present government, citing all violations of statutes committed by the King.
Proclamation by the Congress of itself as the representative assembly of liberated Italy, to be augmented by representatives of other provinces as fast as they are liberated, to meet in Rome as soon as possible and sit until a constituent assembly can be formed. Its duties would be: (a) formation of an extraordinary government on a wide base to unite the powers of the Crown and the dissolved Parliament; (b) intensification of the war effort; (c) preservation of liberties newly won.
Appointment of an Executive Committee for liberated Italy to function pending Rome’s liberation. This Committee would: (a) do everything necessary to carry out the (b) and (c) points of the preceding paragraph; (b) act as the Italian people’s representative in relations with the United Nations; (c) promote mass action to assure verification of the powers and the legal foundation of the Congress; (d) through the Communal, Provincial and Trade Union organization set up in liberated territory by anti-Fascists take measures to alleviate the food situation, destroy the black market and eliminate employment.

The Congress decided that before taking any action on these proposals a definite program should be prepared by a group composed of two representatives of each of the parties. The result of this group’s work was expected to be submitted to the Congress yesterday but as yet has not been reported here. [L’Heureux.]