740.0011 EW/6–2045: Telegram

No. 474
The Ambassador in Italy ( Kirk ) to the Acting Secretary of State
secret

1693. Chief Commissioner AC 1 sent the following memo to SACMed 2 containing recommendations on redeployment of Allied troops in Italy:

1.
In examining the question of the redeployment and distribution of Allied troops in Italy, consideration must be given to external and internal security and the undoubted duty of the Allied Govts to ensure so far as possible that free elections are held so that the population may express its opinion on (a) the institutional question; and (b) the constitutional Govt of the country without fear.
2.
Consideration must also be given to the size and location of Ital land forces.
3.
If the proposals for the maintenance of an interim Ital Army of 140,000 submitted in HQ AC memorandum 251–180–EC of 7 June 19453 are approved then the following distribution of the troops is recommended: Combat groups one each in Turin, Milan, Brescia, Udine and Bologna. Internal security divisions strength 2500 each: Two divisions in Sicily, one div in Sardinia, one div in each of the military regions viz. Palermo, Bari, Naples, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, Turin, Milan, Bolzano and Udine.
4.
The primary functions of the combat groups are for frontier defence and control. The group at Bologna could be used as a reserve.
5.
If the above distribution of the Ital Army is approved then the maintenance of five Allied Div is recommended in addition to the administrative and service units employed in redeployment of personnel and material and exclusive of any Allied forces in Venezia Giulia. Consideration has been given to the fact that Ital troops will not be maintained within fifteen miles of the French frontier.
6.
It is recommended that one division be placed in each of the following areas: Milan, Padua, Florence–Bologna, Rome–Naples, Bari.
7.
The distribution of troops within these areas is a matter for military consideration. It is obvious, however, that a small force will be needed on the Franco-Ital frontier and possibly in the southern Tyrol and Udine. Mobility would be a prerequisite and during the weeks preceding the election, it would be expedient to allow a very very [sic] wide distribution of troops in order to cover the larger towns and some of the more important rural areas. They would naturally take the form of a special exercise or operation and need not be considered in detail in this memorandum.
8.
It is considered that it would be retrogressive to station Allied troops in Sardinia or Sicily even during the election period. Sardinia can very well be left to Ital troops and in Sicily particularly during election times the employment of Allied troops would be unfair.
9.
The role of the Allied troops at all times and especially during the election period would be as representatives of the democracies and it would be necessary to arrange for special instruction and even training to this end. Intervention in Italian affairs except in the gravest emergency would have to be avoided and the greatest care would have to be taken in the handling of such administrative problems as accommodations, requisitioning, etc. The troops would be not so much forces of occupation in a defeated country but forces of assistance provided by the Allies in order to give confidence to the population and the Govt: To strengthen by their presence the authority of the Ital machinery of law and order (but only in exceptional cases to supplant it) and to be used in a last resort to prevent the opposition of radical methods by force.
10.
The Allied troops should be maintained in this country until such time as the Italian Army and the forces of public security in Italy can play a competent role in the preservation of security. It is estimated that at the earliest, this cannot take place before Sept 1, 1946. End Memo.

[Page 707]

I consider Chief Commissioner’s recommendation regarding maintenance of Allied divisions in Italy as the minimum at least until some basis for stability is established in Italy and some assurance can be found that this area will not be subverted by Communist and anarchist propaganda for imperialistic Russian purposes.

Kirk
  1. Rear Admiral Ellery W. Stone.
  2. Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander.
  3. Not printed.