Roosevelt Papers:Telegram

President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill 1

top secret

Number 669, Top Secret and Personal from the President for the Prime Minister.

Your 845.2

As you know, the letter to Berle merely transmitted Sforza’s message to Badoglio and in no way involved this Government. I see no reason why you should not use the message itself in any way you see fit. I believe the message has already been made public, having been given to the press by Badoglio at the time of its receipt.

I deplore any offense which the press release on Italy may have given you personally or any implication of my lack of understanding of your responsibility before your country. You must recognize, however, the untenable position in which we were put by Mr. Eden’s prior statement in the House3 regarding the British Government’s representations to the Italian Government on the position of Sforza in any new government. While military operations continue, Italy is an area of combined Anglo-American responsibility and our silence on this step made it appear that we agreed with the action taken. Actually this move was made without prior consultation with us in any quarter and it is quite contrary to the policy which we have tried to follow in Italy, since the Moscow Conference last year, in accepting democratic solutions in government worked out by the Italian people themselves. In the circumstances we had no other choice than to make our own position clear.

You will remember my feeling on this score expressed to you at the time Bonomi succeeded Badoglio in forming a Government last June.

  1. Sent to the United States Naval Attaché, London, via Navy channels.
  2. Not printed as such, but see the description of this message in the Stettinius Record, post, p. 431, and in Sherwood, pp. 838-839.
  3. For Eden’s statement, see Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th ser., vol. 406, cols. 305–308, December 1, 1944.