740.00119 Control (Italy)/8–1745: Telegram

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

2379. Chief Commissioner Allied Commission has made following recommendation to Allied Force Headquarters on turnback of north Italy Provinces still under American Military Government:

(Begin summary)

Admiral Stone refers to previous recommendations that five divisions [Page 1020] of Allied troops be retained in Italy and says that these recommendations have important bearings on his following proposals:

He recommends with the unanimous approval of regional commissioners and political advisers that American Military Government territory in north Italy except Province of Udine be handed back to Italian Government on September 15; Udine Province being returned to Italian jurisdiction on December 1 (Provinces in Venezia Giulia under American Military Government are, of course, excepted);
He does not believe that usual previous standard for handback i. e. that region is in proper state administratively and that Italian Government is capable of maintaining efficient administration can apply to northern regions if present redeployment plans for Allied troops are carried out. Although at present tranquil, situation in northern Italy contains potential danger of grave disorder for following reasons:
Large quantities of arms and ammunition are believed still held by civil population;
Persistent rumors re communist coup d’état within next 2 months.
Withdrawal of American Military Government followed by rapid total redeployment of Allied troops would be followed in view of regional commissioners at minimum by disorders and bloodshed and at maximum by some kind of armed revolution communist-inspired. Stone desires that there be no misunderstanding on this. He expresses doubt whether Italian Government alone can maintain order during coming winter months attended by political crises.
Question is whether American Military Government should be retained through the winter which is recognized as politically retrogressive or if risk should be accepted of handing over territory in present state to Italian Government.
Stone recommends latter course feeling greater insurance against disorder and breakdown of government exists if transfer from American Military Government to Italian Government is made while substantial number Allied troops are still in Italy to give confidence to Italian people and government particularly during important period of elections.
He expresses opinion that Italian Government should be given every assistance by Allies to assume responsibility for maintenance of law and order.
Consequently Stone recommends:
Northern regions except Udine Province be restored to Italian Government September 15 or 21 days after receiving Allied Force Headquarters approval, whichever is latest date;
Because of serious risk of disorder, renewed and urgent consideration should be given to retention of substantial number of Allied troops in Italy.
Stone asks for early decision on turnback date since general impression among Italians is that September first will be date and some publicity and preparation will be required for postponement.
Proposals for retention of liaison and economic groups in north after turnback will be made in subsequent telegram.

(End of summary).

Sent Department; repeated to AmPolAd 503.