740.0011 E.W./2–745: Telegram

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

338. The following is text of messages addressed by Bonomi to the President, Churchill and Stalin77 which are being sent through AC and of which a copy has been furnished me by Foreign Office.

“On the eve of decisive military events, the Italian Government venture to request that the Heads of the United Nations who are now discussing the fate of the new Europe reexamine the very severe conditions imposed upon Italy on [in?] September 1943.

At the moment when an earnest exhortation is being addressed to all classes of the Italian nation towards a supreme effort of cooperation with the Allies on the front line, in the rear and in the patriots’ warfare, the Italian Government feel it their duty to emphasize once [more] that the ambiguous situation of co-belligerency thwarts their efforts to raise and maintain throughout the country that intensity [Page 996] of purpose and determination which can only result from the consciousness of a sacrifice achieved in freedom and dignity.

It is therefore also in the interest of the common cause that the Italian Government ask for a new settlement based on a confident and full association with the Allied Powers in the place of the present one-sided formulas of control and guardianship set up by the armistice.

For the same reason the Italian Government hereby direct to the United Nations their warmest appeal:

To see that the Italian people who are still undergoing almost unendurable hardships be granted, particularly in the matter of food and transportation, the possibility of satisfying at least their most elementary needs.
To suppress the financial burdens which by an extensive interpretation of the armistice have been weighing for 15 months upon the exhausted resources of an already devastated country and have been hindering any reconstruction and monetary rehabilitation.
To afford to half a million Italian soldiers in Allied hands the possibility of giving their contribution, not as prisoners of war but as free men, both in the field and in the factories to the struggle for a new world to which the whole Italian people devote their will and hopes.

The people and the Government of Italy are striving for the establishment of a free, orderly and stable democracy. The Government feels however that should the liberation of the most populated and industrious regions of Italy find the country still under the incumbent menace of inflation and hunger and its Government in a humiliating position for which they are in no way responsible, it would be extremely difficult to allay the causes of unrest, disorder and discouragement and to foster in those long suffering regions the energy indispensable for the reconstruction of a new Italy within a world of free democratic institutions and effective cooperation.

The Italian Government submit these considerations to the generous understanding of the Heads of the United Nations in the full confidence that their appeal will be received with the same spirit of loyalty and friendship by which it was inspired and in order that the gallant efforts of the Allied Armies may bear their full results and that the hopes of the Italian people, fighting against their German and Fascist oppressors, be not frustrated.”

  1. Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, President of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union. At this time the heads of the American, British, and Soviet Governments, with their advisers, were meeting in conference at Yalta in the Crimea. For documentation on this conference, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945.