740.00119 EW/4–545: Telegram

Mr. Myron C. Taylor, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt to Pope Pius XII, to the Secretary of State

75. For the President only. My 73, April 5, 4 p.m.91 Following is a translation of written proposal made through Cardinal Schuster92 by the son of Mussolini93 to His Holiness Pope Pius XII:

“In the event that developments in the war or in the political sphere compel the armies of Kesselring to withdraw within their proper confines, in that moment the Armed Forces of the Italian Social Republic of all branches will meet in previously agreed upon places thus to offer the most strenuous resistance to the enemy and the forces of disorder and to those of the Royal Government, conscious of the fact that anti-Fascist hatred does not allow them any other escape than that of fighting to the last man and to the last cartridge.

“However, in order to avoid additional sorrow to the population of northern Italy and to preserve from total destruction that which remains of the industrial and agricultural patrimony and to show that love for Italy takes precedence over any interest of party or of ideas the Government of the Social Italian Republic proposes that a preliminary agreement be signed with the Supreme Allied Command on the basis of which the two contracting parties would take upon themselves the following obligations:

  • “1. The Armed Forces of the Social Republic under command of Marshal Graziani and all the other armed units of the Republic will maintain order as far as possible in the cities and country districts until direct agreements are reached between the Allied Command and that of the Italian Social Republic. With Marshal Graziani there will function a commission of citizens of the Italian Social Republic that will do everything possible in order that the life of the nation may not be thrown into chaos or the most absolute anarchy and into civil war.
  • “2. Every uncontrolled or extremist activity of irregular or popular origin (Partisan Bands, Communists, public meetings, strikes et cetera) will be opposed by the Republican armed forces and by the Allied military authorities. Moreover, the Clergy will undertake the obligation to initiate immediately a decisive publicity campaign in favor of general pacification.
  • “3. The Allied Command pledges itself to see to it that the Partisan forces take no indiscriminate action of a terroristic or predatory nature and that their disarmament will be effected previous to that of the regular formations of the Italian Social Republic. Furthermore the Allied Command will provide in the most absolute manner that no units of the Bonomi94 Army or of the Carabinieri will come into the Po Valley until order has been completely restored.
  • “4. An absolutely necessary condition for negotiations and signing of the agreement is this: That there will be an immediate cessation of arrests and trials and the abolition of every other form of persecution on the part of the Epuration Commission functioning at Rome against those who kept their faith in agreements freely made and who fought with honor against the enemy whether they be Fascists or soldiers who swore allegiance to the Italian Social Republic or civilians employed in the various Ministries or Government Agencies and their families. The Allied Commission may denounce to the regular courts only those who are guilty of notorious crimes not connected with war guilt of events relating to the war.

“Similarly it is desired that word be given as to the fate of the members of the government and of those who have held positions in the Grand Command of the Italian Social Republic (arrest, concentration camp, exile).

“The Fascist Republican Party will be dissolved. It will be understood that the citizens would have equality of rights and duties and it is to be hoped that in that moment there will be effected the formation of a government which will be representative of every political conviction and that a general election will be held at the earliest possible date.”

The document of which this is a copy was consigned to Cardinal Schuster by the son of Mussolini on March 13, 1945.

The Secretariat of State has already given the following answer:

“That insofar as the Holy See is aware the authorities do not intend to enter into negotiations but insist upon unconditional surrender.”

It is not necessary to telegraph at this moment certain other “indications” linking German authorities with this proposal. You will be promptly advised of any developments. I have pledged secrecy except as to yourself.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 90, supra.
  2. Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster, Archbishop of Milan.
  3. Presumably Vittorio Mussolini.
  4. Ivanoe Bonomi, Italian Prime Minister.