740.00119 EW/1–446: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan)


53. In reply to Dekanosov’s4 letter Jan. 3 (urtel 37 Jan. 45) please inform FonOff Dept views revision of Ital armistice regime as related more to present situation in Italy than to question of peace treaty. [Page 826] Ital Govt, with support of all parties in Govt coalition, continues to urge revision, which it regards as necessary to enable it to meet immediate problems which under modification in practice of armistice terms are now solely responsibility of Ital Govt, and Dept feels US, UK and Soviet Govts should do what they can to demonstrate to Ital people that democratic political elements in Italy have support and confidence of Allies in their endeavor to establish democratic state.

We do not therefore regard revision of armistice regime in any way as provisional peace. Rather, we regard it as step justified by events during 28 months since armistice was signed and are of opinion that US, UK and Soviet Govts should proceed with abolition of numerous obsolete restrictions in armistice regime, which have already been largely relaxed in practice and which we have no intention of re-imposing. There would appear moreover to be no reason why abolition of these restrictions should await conclusion of peace treaty, which can not be expected before June at earliest, since such revision would not prejudice United Nations claims against Italy, and would in no way attempt disposition of those questions which must be included in final peace settlement.6

Dept hopes therefore that FonOff will give further consideration to revision and will find it possible to concur in Dept’s views.

Sent Moscow, repeated Rome as 51 and London as 276.

  1. Vladimir Georgiyevich Dekanozov, Assistant People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. On March 15, 1946, the title was changed to Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Not printed; in this telegram Mr. Kennan reported having received a letter from Mr. Dekanozov which suggested that because the Council of Foreign Ministers would soon begin its work, the question of revising the armistice terms for Italy had lost its meaning (740.00119 E.W./1–446).
  3. For documentation on the Paris Peace Conference, which largely completed the drafting of the peace treaty with Italy, see volume iv.