Truman Papers

No. 1089
Proposal by the United States Delegation 1
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Policy Toward Italy

The objectives of the three governments with regard to Italy are directed towards her early political independence and economic recovery, and the right of the Italian people ultimately to choose their own form of government.

Italy’s present status as co-belligerent and unconditionally surrendered enemy is anomalous, and hampers every effort both by the Allies and by Italy herself, to improve Italy’s economic and political situation. This anomaly can be finally solved only through the negotiation of a definitive peace treaty which would at best require some months. The preparation of such a treaty should be one of the first tasks of the suggested council of foreign ministers.2

Meanwhile, however, improvement in the Italian internal situation would be greatly facilitated by some immediate interim arrangement whereby the Italian Government would have some tangible recognition of Italy’s contribution toward the defeat of Germany.

It is therefore recommended that the short terms of surrender3 and the numerous obsolete clauses of the long terms of surrender4 be [Page 1081] terminated, and replaced by certain undertakings on the part of the Italian Government to meet the requirements of the existing situation.

These undertakings should provide:

That the Italian Government will refrain from any hostile action against any of the United Nations pending the conclusion of the treaty of peace.
That the Italian Government will maintain no military, naval or air forces or equipment, except as authorized by the Allies, and will comply with all instructions on the subject of such forces and equipment.

Under this interim arrangement, control of Italy should be retained only so far as is necessary:

To cover Allied military requirements, so long as Allied forces remain in Italy or operate therefrom.
To safeguard the equitable settlement of territorial disputes.

  1. Attachment 4 to the minutes of the First Plenary Meeting, July 17. See ante, p. 54. Cf. document No. 214, printed in vol. i . Dunn’s copy of document No. 214 bears the following notation in his handwriting: “Mr. Churchill speaks of difficulties of war for 2 years & losses of ships &c[.] Not in disagreement but wishes to study.”
  2. See document No. 711.
  3. i. e., the Conditions of an Armistice, signed at Fairfield Camp, Sicily, September 3, 1943 (Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1604; 61 Stat. (3) 2740).
  4. i. e., the Instrument of Surrender of Italy, signed at Malta, September 20, 1943 (Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1604; 61 Stat. (3) 2742).