865.01/1065: Telegram

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

495. From Reinhardt. The following is the text of a telegram from Sforza and Croce to the Foreign Ministers of United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union dated Naples, February 10.

“Being in constant intimate touch with the six parties but being personally independent our appraisement of the situation might perhaps be useful.

Junta sent letter to King urging him abdicate immediately for nation’s and war effort sake.

Most probably King will not unless he receives secret hint from Allies who alone have the force.

If abdicating in favor of his son present Cabinet is obliged by our laws to resign at once into the hands of new King.

But no responsible statesman will accept form a new Cabinet unless new King signs decree yielding all military civil powers to an extraordinary government or to a Lieutenant General (luogotenente) of Realm chosen among some most respected private citizens. A scheme communicated to General MacFarlane shows all this is consistent with precedents.

New King will accept at once this condition if same secret hint takes place it being understood that new rulers assure respect of national consultation of whole liberated nation. All this [should] seem imperative to Allies as to us because a second Cabinet of generals and officials would mean complete lack of popular support and because only a Cabinet including six parties may save Italy from growing disintegration and may start war effort. We, too, for example are decided not to join Cabinet on different conditions since silent acceptance of this compromise has been maximum reached from Leftist parties and since a minor formula would not be accepted North.

Necessary to form new Cabinet at once in order to avoid possible serious danger of two governments, one in Salerno and one in Rome, dreamed of by daring elements there.

First duties of new Cabinet:

To include only four or five Ministers, each keeping various interims, in order to make easy and immediate a reshaping of Cabinet when in Rome.
To reaffirm not only most complete loyalty to armistice rules but add that supreme duty is to organize much more intimate collaboration than at present with Allies for war effort and future general policy.
In order to avoid depressing influence of defeated pro-Nazi generals to create only one civilian Minister for National Defense with three military Under Secretaries, the names of which are ready.
In order to create new war atmosphere to try and eliminate all big military and civil Fascists who betrayed last September [Page 1024] but to forgive all minor Fascists, urging them to rehabilitate in war.
Knowing that present big army is definitely made [rotten]54 to create only a small decent standing army South, and organize volunteers North, which has never been done in a national form.
New government is sure of its will because it knows it has no other means to assert itself and save Italy.”

  1. Corrected on basis of copy of message transmitted to the Department in despatch 428, February 16, from the Acting American Representative on the Advisory Council for Italy.