865.01/1064: Telegram

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

494. From Reinhardt. General Wilson has handed Makins50 and me a communication from General MacFarlane with which was enclosed together with other documents a telegram from Croce and Sforza addressed to the Secretary, Eden, and Molotov.

The text which is transmitted in my immediately following telegram,51 represents the redraft of a more impetuous and less coherent message which demanded forceful Allied intervention to rid Italy of Badoglio and the King and which, MacFarlane induced Sforza and Croce to withdraw.

In his accompanying memorandum MacFarlane urges the Allied Governments to choose one of two alternative policies at an early date. He points to the growing vocal opposition to the Badoglio government and to the possibility that, having no other means of getting its way and due to the delay in reaching Rome, it might be tempted to resort to direct action. He thinks therefore that it is no longer safe to sit by and do nothing and proposes as the two alternative courses: (1) To bring pressure on the King to abdicate if, as is most likely, he refuses to do so of his own volition. This would leave the way clear to the possible succession of the Crown Prince and the reformation of representative government which might include [Page 1022] Badoglio. (2) To warn the opposition including their leaders in Rome that no interference with the Badoglio administration will be tolerated until we get to Rome. MacFarlane believes it might be possible to get the available leaders to agree to this although they have already told him that they could not guarantee the action of less responsible elements.

It is MacFarlane’s opinion as well as that of his responsible advisers that it is necessary to take one course or the other and that from the local point of view the first would appear to present greater advantages and fewer dangers to the Allied cause than the second.

General Wilson discussed the matter with General Devers,52 Makins and me and it was the General’s preliminary view that the present developments do not warrant any modification of the decision that no political change should be allowed to occur during the present phase of the military operations and that any efforts by the political leaders to stir up trouble at this time by direct action should be firmly discouraged. I pointed out that while my Government agreed to this as a short term policy I doubted whether it would be prepared to maintain the position if the capture of Rome was long deferred.

MacFarlane has been asked to prepare for the Commander-in-Chief a considered estimate of the effect the abdication of the King might have on the Italian Armed Forces and thus upon the prosecution of the war in Italy.

It was generally agreed that the circumstance, whether any political change is the result of direct Allied intervention or is worked by the Italians themselves, will have an important bearing in this connection.

Generals Wilson and Devers are proceeding to Italy where they will see MacFarlane and it is proposed to review the position on their return to Algiers at the end of the week.

The texts of MacFarlane’s memorandum, the two telegrams prepared by Croce and Sforza together with a supporting legal document are being forwarded by airmail.53

I am preparing a supplementary telegram on the foregoing indicating the latest developments in the political situation at Naples. [Reinhardt.]

  1. Roger M. Makins, Assistant to the British Minister Resident at Allied Force Headquarters.
  2. Infra.
  3. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, Deputy Commander in Chief, Allied Force Headquarters, and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
  4. Copies transmitted to the Department by Mr. Reinhardt, Acting American member of the Advisory Council for Italy, in his despatch 428, February 16; received March 2. One of the telegrams prepared by Croce and Sforza is quoted in telegram 495, infra.