865.00/8–2245: Telegram

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

1417. Following discussions between US and UK delegations at Potsdam, it was agreed that holding of elections in Italy at an early date should be encouraged and that accordingly the two govts would express their interest to Ital Govt and urge that preparations be expedited so that elections might be held this year if possible.

You should therefore call on Parri and express this Govt’s interest in prompt holding of free and fair elections in Italy in keeping with democratic principles which US has always advocated. This Govt desires to see Italy begin to build its govt on an elected basis as soon as honest balloting may be feasible. To this end it feels Ital Govt [Page 982] should immediately consider calling local elections commune by commune as soon as preparations are completed, with a view to holding national elections as soon as electoral machinery set up for local elections shall be in operation throughout the country. Precisely because this Govt recognizes the grave responsibilities as well as privilege accruing to Ital Govt in holding first elections since pre-fascist days it advocates the above course as the most practical in overcoming material difficulties and as the best guarantee of national democracy: it would restore democratic responsibility to the community, which is the base of the state, and provide machinery already tested for national elections. While this Govt is preparing to conclude a peace treaty with Italy on the assumption that that country is a democratic nation, it cannot to date cite a single commune even in territory first liberated and returned to Ital administration which has a popularly elected body of government. This Govt therefore earnestly hopes that before the end of the year communal elections at least will have been held throughout Italy.