740.00119 Control (Italy)/5–1545

The British Embassy to the Department of State


In conversation with Sir Noel Charles in Rome and with Mr. Harvey40 at the Foreign Office, Count Carandini41 has indicated that the Italian parties of the Left are considering raising shortly the “Institutional Question”, that is, the form of the Italian State. It would seem that after the end of fighting in Italy and before the election of the Constituent Assembly which may involve some delay, these parties would like to see the formation of a Council of Regency for the present Crown Prince’s son in place of the present arrangement whereby Prince Umberto exercises the royal power as Lieutenant-General of the Realm. The Regency would be modelled on that in Yugoslavia, that is, there would be three Regents: the names suggested are Signer Bonomi, Count Sforza and Signor Croce. This, in Count Carandini’s opinion, would probably be the first step towards the abolition of the Monarchy.

Like Marshal Badoglio, Signor Bonomi gave the Allies an undertaking in writing that the Italian Government would not reopen the “Institutional Question” without the prior consent of the Allied Governments until such time as Italy had been liberated and the Italian people had the opportunity of themselves determining the form of government. The question with which the United States and His Majesty’s Government may be faced before long is, therefore, whether they are prepared either to waive this undertaking if the Bonomi Government continues in office after the liberation of the North or not to insist on the renewal of the pledge if a new Government comes into power.
The interest of His Majesty’s Government in the matter is
to ensure that nothing happens which is likely to endanger the safety of the lines of comunication with Austria or to start internal disturbances which might require the use of British troops.
to avoid intervention in Italian internal affairs or with Italian political parties;
to encourage as far as possible the establishment of a form of government which fairly represents the wishes of the majority of the Italian people.
In present circumstances the most important of these points is the first, namely security. Accordingly His Majesty’s Government believe that the “Institutional Question” should continue to be postponed until after elections have been held in Italy and that Signor Bonomi should be held to his undertaking not to raise it. Any departure from this course would seem to them justified only if it were clear that this was the wish of the majority of the Italian people, and that a refusal to allow the issue to be raised would in itself be likely to create internal disturbances.
  1. Oliver Charles Harvey, British Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Nicolo Carandini, Italian Ambassador in the United Kingdom.