740.00119 EW/6–3045

Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to President Truman 2

Subject: Revision of Italian Armistice Terms

In accordance with your and President Roosevelt’s directives with regard to Italy, our objective is to strengthen Italy economically and politically so that the truly democratic elements of the country can [Page 1010] withstand the forces that threaten to sweep them into a new totalitarianism. Italian sympathies naturally and traditionally lie with the Western democracies, and, with proper support from us, Italy would tend to become a factor for stability in Europe. The time is now ripe when we should initiate action to raise Italian morale, make a stable representative government possible, and permit Italy to become a responsible participant in international affairs.

The anomalous status of cobelligerent and unconditionally surrendered enemy has hampered every effort, both by the British and ourselves as well as by Italy herself, to improve her economic and political situation. This anomaly can be resolved drily through the negotiation of a definitive peace treaty which has been urged by the British Government but which will require several months. Meanwhile, the Italian internal situation and our own efforts would be greatly facilitated by some immediate interim arrangement whereby the agencies of the Allied Governments would have a clear-cut policy directive and the Italian Government would be accorded tangible recognition of Italy’s substantial contribution towards the defeat of Germany.

Only on a military level, without reference to treaty-making bodies, does an interim agreement seem immediately feasible. Revision of the armistice terms after consultation with Great Britain and the USSR is suggested for that reason and also because of mounting pressure for their publication which, unless accompanied by an announced improvement in Italy’s status, would have a demoralizing effect inside Italy, would lead to agitation by groups in this country, and might well be exploited against us by certain foreign powers;

It is therefore recommended that the armistice terms be revised immediately so as to terminate all provisions save those required to

Cover military requirements.
Safeguard proper settlement of territorial disputes.
Implement the tripartite pledge concerning democratic government.
Safeguard Allied rights pending the final treaty.

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Memorandum was approved by the President on July 1, 1945.