SWNCC 271, Part I, 388.1 Peace Treaties—Italy

Memorandum by the Department of State to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee

secret
SWNCC 271

Subject: Proposed Modification of Italian Armistice Regime.

The Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, and U.S.S.R. have agreed that consideration should be given to a modification of the Italian armistice regime which would reflect the situation now existing, wherein the three powers no longer exercise certain rights and powers accruing to them in Italy under the Armistice of September 3, 1943, and the additional terms of surrender of September 29, 1943.14

The Department of State is of the opinion that this modification should be achieved through the negotiation of an agreement along the lines of the enclosed draft document, to be signed by the Supreme Allied Commander in Italy15 and the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Government,16 and desires to submit this proposal to the Government of the United Kingdom and U.S.S.R.

In view of the military-political implications involved, the draft document is submitted for the concurrence or comment of the State–War–Navy [Page 830]Coordinating Committee. The Secretary of State desires that consideration be given this draft document as a matter of priority.

For the Department of State
H. Freeman Matthews17

Appendix

Draft Agreement Modifying Armistice Regime18

Whereas hostilities have ceased;

Whereas Italy, as a cobelligerant in the war against Germany, has cooperated loyally with the United Nations and has contributed materially towards the final victory over the common enemy;

Whereas the Armistice terms have thereby become in part obsolete or have been superseded by events;

Whereas the Government of Italy has requested and the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France have agreed to a modification of the Armistice regime in the light of existing circumstances;

[Page 831]

It is considered that the Armistice terms should be modified by an interim agreement pending the coming into force of a definitive treaty of peace.

I.
The additional conditions of Armistice of September 29, 1943, are hereby abrogated.
II.
Relations between the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet and French Governments, acting in the interest of the United Nations, and Italy shall be governed by the Armistice of September 3, 1943, as modified by the present agreement.
III.
The Allied Commission is hereby abolished.
A.
A special section, with the Supreme Allied Commander as Chairman, shall be established at Allied Force Headquarters to assume the functions of organization and command of the Italian armed forces heretofore exercised by the Land, Navy, and Air Force Subcommissions of the Allied Commission. This section shall direct the size and character of all Italian armed forces and shall control the production of armaments.
B.
The employment and disposition of the Italian Navy and the Italian merchant fleet shall continue to be subject to the terms of the Cunningham–DeCourten Agreement of September 23, 1943, and the amendment thereto of November 17, 1943.
C.
Pending the coming into force of a treaty of peace, Allied Military Government shall be continued under the Supreme Allied Commander in Venezia Giulia, the Dodecanese Islands, and in Italian overseas territory. Allied Military Government shall likewise be continued in the Province of Udine so long as military necessity may require.
IV.
Simultaneously with the coming into force of the present agreement, further agreements shall be concluded between the United States and Italy, and between the United Kingdom and Italy, providing for the maintenance in Italy of Allied forces under redeployment, and for the retention of Allied forces required for the maintenance of Allied lines of communication to Austria.
V.
Italian prisoners of war now held under the jurisdiction of the United States, United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and France shall be repatriated as promptly as transport facilities permit.
VI.
The Government and people of Italy will abstain from all acts detrimental to the interests of the United Nations.
A.
The Italian Government will cooperate in the apprehension and surrender for trial of, or in making available for witnesses, Italian subjects or nationals of states at war with the United Nations listed by the United Nations’ War Crimes Commission or the International Military Tribunal established by the agreement signed at London on August 8, 1945.
B.
The Italian Government will cooperate with the United Nations in the search for and restitution of looted property which may be located in Italian territory.
VII.
The Italian Government, in full recognition of the absolute and untrammeled right of the people of Italy to choose by constitutional means the form of democratic government they desire, hereby renews its pledge to submit to the will of the people. To this end, the Italian Government undertakes to provide through free elections for an expression of the popular will on the democratic form of government to be chosen by the people, it being understood that the choice shall be decided by the majority of the popular vote, which shall be binding upon the present government and upon the bodies constituted through such elections.
VIII.
The present agreement shall be without prejudice to any claims of any of the United Nations against Italy arising out of hostilities conducted in or by Italy and shall in no way affect the final disposition of Italian territory, nor shall it impair any limitation or restriction which may be imposed upon Italy in the treaty of peace.
IX.
The present agreement shall enter into force upon signature thereof by the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, and by the Supreme Allied Commander in Italy, and shall remain in force until superseded by other arrangements or until the voting into force of the peace treaty with Italy.

Signed at Rome on the . . . . . day of . . . . . . . 1946.

  1. For texts of the Italian military armistice, September 3, 1943, of the Cunningham-DeCourten agreement, September 23, 1943, and of the Instrument of Surrender, September 29, 1943, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1604.
  2. Lt. Gen. Sir William D. Morgan, Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater.
  3. Alcide de Gasperi.
  4. Director of the Office of European Affairs, and representative of the Department on the Combined Civil Affairs Committee, Combined Chiefs of Staff.
  5. In the action of the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee of March 13, 1946, SWNCC 271/2, it made the following changes in the initial draft:

    Clause III was changed to read:

    • “III. The Allied Commission is hereby abolished.

      A.
      A special section of Allied Force Headquarters, with the Supreme Allied Commander as Chairman, shall be established to assume the control functions of supervision and direction of the Italian armed forces heretofore exercised by the Land, Navy, and Air Force Subcommissions of the Allied Commission. This section shall control the size and character of all Italian armed forces and shall control the production of armaments.
      B.
      The employment and disposition of the Italian Navy and the Italian merchant fleet shall be under the command and control of the special section authorized and directed to be established in accordance with sub-section A above, and in all other respects shall continue to be subject to the terms of the Cunning-ham-DeCourten Agreement of September 23, 1943, and the amendment thereto of November 17, 1943.
      C.
      Pending the coming into force of a treaty of peace, Allied Military Government shall be continued under the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, in Venezia Giulia and so long as military necessity may require in the Province of Udine.”

      A new clause IV was added which read:

    • “IV. The provisions of the present instrument shall not apply in or affect the administration of any Italian colony or dependency or the rights or powers therein possessed or exercised by the United Nations, except in such cases and to such extent as the United Nations may direct.”

    The subsequent clauses were renumbered so that initial IV became V, initial V became VI, etc. (SWNCC 271/2, SWNCC 271, Part I, 388.1. Peace Treaties—Italy).

    In telegram 500, March 19, 1946, to Moscow, this exact wording was forwarded to Moscow with a change merely in the numbering of the articles. New clause IV was designated III D, bringing the total number of clauses back to nine (740.00119 EW/2–1346).