865.00/9–745: Telegram

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

2625. Department’s secret instruction 578, August 22. Allied Commission has continued with Parri government representations begun with Bonomi government in improvement of Italian electoral law of 1915 without apparent effect. On July 7 Chief Commissioner56 wrote to Parri recalling previous correspondence between AC and Bonomi [Page 988] government and latter’s proposal to return to “unified text of 1915”, to reconstitute collective communal and provincial councilors contemplated therein and to provide provisions re Government method of voting for councilors. The Admiral continued, however, that it was Bonomi government’s intention to make certain minor amendments and simplifications in text, such as reduction in number of councilors and abolition of separate presidency of provincial deputation. Stone then reiterated objections he had made to Bonomi on inadequacy of unified text of 1915 in assuring free and secret voting. These were:

No official ballot paper.
No control of electioneering at polls.
No formal nomination of candidates before voting.

He urged Parri to amend this law before holding elections in Italian Government territory, saying that procedural defects of 1915 law are such that AC could not permit elections under it in AMG territory.

Stone said he was representing views of both US and UK Governments in these representations and urged in all seriousness that they be given earliest and fullest consideration. He concluded that three particular defects are not exhaustive and that there are other points some of which may be susceptible of reasonable explanation between AC and Italian Government. Others cannot be reconciled to spirit qf modern democracy, such as denying the franchise to non-commissioned officers and men of the Italian armed forces while permitting officers to exercise it.

This letter has been followed up with reminders but no reply or action by the Italian Government has been forthcoming except as the recently appointed commission to study elaboration of electoral procedure for constituent under Nenni may be considered a response (see my 2548, September 2).57

AC has inquired informally if US and UK Embassies will support their suggestions to Italians on this important subject by independent and direct representations.

I recommend that Department authorize me, if my British colleague receives similar, instructions, to support AC’s representations and to approach Italians directly in effort to expedite necessary modifications of 1915 law.

  1. Adm. Ellery W. Stone.
  2. Not printed.