740.00119 Control (Italy)/4–2545

The British Embassy to the Department of State


On February 11th last, President Roosevelt addressed a letter89 to the Prime Minister, referring to conversations between Mr. Matthews and Sir A. Cadogan90 on the subject of Italy, and stating that while there seemed to be no basic reason for any quarrel between His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government in regard to Italy, he must stress that the two Governments were faced with a real problem for the future. The President considered it in our joint interests to do what we properly could to foster Italy’s gradual recuperation and return to the community of peace-loving democratic states. He believed that “some constructive steps should be taken to move away from the present anomalous situation of onerous and obsolete surrender terms which are no longer pertinent to the situation today. I hope that the Foreign Office and the State Department will be able to work out some mutually satisfactory procedure to remedy this situation. As you know, we accepted the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive to Field Marshal Alexander91 along the lines suggested by Mr. Macmillan. Although we felt that the directive was greatly watered down and much of its substance lost, we went along with you in the hope that we may reach some agreement on further steps in the near future”.

Mr. Churchill has now replied in a letter to President Truman emphasizing the desire of His Majesty’s Government to work closely with the United States Government over Italy, and stating that an approach will shortly be made to the State Department in regard to the United States desire to terminate the Italian armistice regime.
Accordingly, His Majesty’s Ambassador92 is authorized to recall that His Majesty’s Government have already expressed their readiness, as soon as the war with Germany is over, and as soon as Italy is liberated and military operations in Italy are brought to an end, to consider making peace with Italy ahead of any settlement with Germany. By this arrangement it would be shown that the two Governments [Page 1004] regard the association of Germany and Italy as finally terminated. His Majesty’s Government now propose that this suggestion should be further pursued: they feel confident that this procedure offers a promising basis for joint action, and they are as a matter of urgency, preparing, for communication to the United States Government at the earliest possible opportunity, a statement of the provisions which they for their party would wish to include in such a peace treaty. In the view of His Majesty’s Government this treaty would be final and would cover all questions appropriate to a peace settlement with Italy.
If, as is hoped, this proposal meets with the approval of the United States Government, His Majesty’s Government would be glad to receive some indication of the United States Government’s desiderata in regard to the terms of the proposed treaty, and to work out jointly with the United States Government a suitable procedure to be followed in regard to obtaining the views of the other Allied governments and to making some communication to the Italian Government.
  1. For text of letter, see Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 963.
  2. H. Freeman Matthews, Director, Office of European Affairs, and Sir Alexander Cadogan, British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, were present at Malta and Yalta during the time of the Conferences there.
  3. Fan 487, January 31, 1945, from the Combined Chiefs of Staff to Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander, Head of Allied Military Government in Italy and Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, is not printed. See, however, aide-mémoire of February 24, 1945, addressed by the Acting President of the Allied Commission (Macmillan) to the Italian Government, printed on p. 1244; this aide-mémoire was based on Fan 487.
  4. Lord Halifax.