The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Kirk)

No. 520

Sir: I refer to the Department’s telegram number 765 of May 448 and previous correspondence regarding the reorganization of local government in Italy. The Department desires an early re-establishment of local electoral machinery in Italy in order that local elections may be held as a prerequisite for calling national elections. The Department is also interested in the organization of local government in Italy along democratic lines.

The British and Soviet Governments were informed of the Department’s program for implementing point six of the Moscow Declaration of November 1, 1943,49 and their concurrence in that program was requested. The Soviet Government informed the American Ambassador in Moscow50 that the plan required careful study (telegram [Page 981] Moscow to Rome, number 48, June 20). The British Embassy in an aide-mémoire of July 10 declined to be associated with the Government of the United States in advising and urging the Italian Government to adopt a specific program of governmental reorganization. The British Government believes that however desirable such a reorganization of local government may be, any action by the Allied Governments except in general terms would lead to difficulties and would be liable to misinterpretation. The Department, therefore, does not contemplate any formal step in advising and suggesting to the Italian Government the adoption of a program of regional decentralization but instead will make its studies regarding local government in Italy available to the Italian Government on an informal basis. The British and Soviet Governments will be informed that we have withdrawn our proposal for joint action by the three Powers and that we are simply confining our action to an informal transmission of the substance of the studies to the Italian Government.

You are instructed to provide for the transmission informally to officials of the Italian Government of PWC documents numbers 314 and 312, as amended for transmission. Two copies of each of these documents are enclosed for this purpose.51 The Department does not desire to advise, urge, or suggest any particular program to the Italian Government regarding local government and the documents are to be transmitted to the appropriate officials merely for their information.

A similarly amended set of the two documents will also be made available informally to officials of the Italian Embassy in Washington

Very truly yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.
  2. Point 6 reads: “Democratic organs of local government shall be created.” For text of Declaration, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 759.
  3. W. Averell Harriman.
  4. Postwar Programs Committee documents 314 and 312 not printed.