740.0011 PW/5–945: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

3632. The Italians have for some months been seeking our permission to their declaring war on Japan. Having obtained the views of War, Navy, and JCS the Department recommended and the President has now approved that after obtaining British concurrence and notifying the Soviets of our intentions we inform the Italian Government that the United States would welcome a declaration of war on Japan but that such action involves no commitments with respect to Allied resources or shipping.

Please seek British concurrence to this step, which would afford Italy an opportunity to sever publicly her relations with Japan under the 1940 Tripartite Pact in the same manner in which she was permitted to align herself with the United Nations against Germany. If of negligible military value, acceptance of Italian participation in the Far East war would contribute to the prestige of the Italian Government during this difficult period and to the support of the moderate elements included in it. To refuse the Italian request, on the other hand, would be a discouraging rebuff.

As soon as the British reply, telegraph the Department and repeat your answer to Moscow so that, if the British agree, Moscow can immediately inform the Soviet Government of our intention.

Sent to London as No. 3632, repeated to Moscow as No. 1039.