800.4016 DP/4–3045

The Italian Embassy to the Department of State


Since the beginning of 1944 the Italian Government, for reasons of humanity and justice, has repeatedly recommended to the Allied Commission the return to Lybia of Italian refugees who are living in Italy under distressing conditions, separated from their families and their possessions. They number about 12.000 persons; among them are children whose parents live in Lybia and who were sent to the summer colonies of Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica. When these places, at present occupied by the Allied forces, were endangered because of air attacks, they were removed elsewhere and are now living on public charity.

The Allied Commission realizing the humanitarian reasons which prompted the Italian request concerning the aforesaid people has given its consent, in principle, but has pointed out that in view of difficulties of transport and supplies “their return for the time being was to be limited to particular cases to be examined individually”.

On the other hand, the Allied Commission has informed having already authorized the return to Lybia of a group of Greek and Maltese refugees who had previous residence there, and it has confirmed what was already known to the Italian Government, namely, that the summer colonies at Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica were in fact used by the Allied troops, after the removal of the children.

[Page 1158]

Recently, on March 15th, the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has appealed to Admiral Stone20 asking that an end be put to the tragic situation of these refugees and of the children separated from their parents who have not at present any shelter whatsoever, by authorizing a collective repatriation.

This Embassy begs to draw the attention of the Department of State on this matter and will appreciate any action taken with regard thereto, so that Admiral Stone’s plan will be carried out.21 In this connection the Embassy points out:

  • First: that the method of individual repatriation is more difficult to organize than the collective one;
  • Second: that the Italian High Commissioner for Refugees would be willing to examine jointly with the Allied Authorities the possibility of utilizing for the purpose some of the naval transport means at its disposal;
  • Third: the matter concerns, in the majority of the cases, Italian farmers or their relatives who have in Lybia means for their self-support and who contribute with their work to farm production for the benefit of the Lybian population.

  1. Adm. Ellery Stone, Chief Commissioner, Allied Control Commission for Italy.
  2. A memorandum of June 21, 1945, in reply to this memorandum stated: “The Department has every sympathy for the natural desires of displaced persons to return to their homes at the earliest possible moment. However, it is realized that the military authorities who have responsibility for repatriation must for reasons of military necessity and convenience have full freedom as to the timing of movements of particular groups of displaced persons.” (800.4016 D.P./4–3045)