The Department of State to the French Embassy
Reference is made to the French Embassy’s memorandum (No. 125 of February 18, 1946)12 in which exception is taken to the action of the United States Government in initiating proposals with the governments of Great Britain and the USSR, without similar action being taken with respect to France, looking toward a revision of the terms of the armistice with Italy.
With reference to the statement that the French Government was informed of this proposal through the press, it may be recalled that before any action was taken this Government’s intentions were orally conveyed to M. Bérard of the French Embassy13 by Mr. Reber of the State Department.
It is, of course, true that the French and other Governments adhered to the armistice with Italy, but the instrument of surrender was originally drawn up and executed by the Governments of the United Kingdom, the USSR and the United States. It is, therefore, regarded as quite appropriate that in taking the initiative for a revision of the Italian armistice the United States Government should first approach the original signatories. Similarly, while the French Government is engaged with British, Soviet and American representatives in drafting the provisions of a treaty of peace with Italy, it will be recalled that French participation is in pursuance of an invitation extended by the Governments of the United Kingdom, the USSR and the United States. In this connection the Government of the United States derived considerable satisfaction from proposing and urging the inclusion of the Government of France in the drawing up of the Italian peace treaty.
In the present instance the Government of the United States has also proposed to the Governments of the United Kingdom and the USSR that France be invited to participate in the revision of the Italian armistice in the same manner as she was invited to participate in the [Page 829] peace treaty. The fact that such an invitation has not yet been extended to the Government of France is the cause of regret to the United States Government, but is not a matter for which the latter regards itself as bearing any responsibility. In any event the Department of State will be happy to keep the French Government fully informed of any developments.
Consequently, the Government of the United States is unable to agree that the complaint of the French Government is justified and must confess to some surprise at the contents of the Embassy’s memorandum under reference, particularly in view of the strong stand taken by the Secretary of State at London in favor of French participation in the drafting of not only the Italian peace treaty, but the Balkan peace treaties as well.