The British Embassy to the Department of State
His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have given careful consideration to the United States Government’s proposals for an Agreement modifying the conditions of Armistice with Italy.
- A revised United Kingdom draft Agreement is attached hereto at Annex “A” and a brief memorandum of comment at Annex “B”. It will be observed that Articles I, II, III, IIIA, IIIB and IIIC of the United States draft are all covered in the revised United Kingdom draft of these articles at Annex “A”. Article VIB of the United States draft is covered by Article VIII of the revised United Kingdom draft, the feeling of the Foreign Office being that it would be a mistake to mention the question of looted property by itself in the revised document and thus imply that this is the only item in respect of which the Italian Government will have to continue to co-operate in these sort of questions.
- It is hoped that the United States Government may already have communicated to the Soviet Government the United Kingdom redraft of Article IIIA.
- The Foreign Office assumes that the State Department will have made their approach in Moscow solely on their own behalf and that the Soviet Government will not be allowed to gain the impression that His Majesty’s Government had accepted either the United States plan to revise the Armistice terms at this stage or the State Department’s draft.
- In this connection, His Majesty’s Government wish to make it clear that, realizing the importance which the United States Government attach to the matter and wishing themselves to accommodate Italian aspirations as far as possible, they have examined the United States proposals to revise the Italian Armistice terms with every desire to be helpful. The result, however, has been to confirm them in their original view, which they have never ceased to hold, that it would be best in the interests of all concerned to concentrate on the conclusion of a peace treaty at the earliest possible date. It would be unwise, in their view, to proceed actually to revise the Armistice terms at this moment or indeed unless it was manifestly clear that the peace negotiations were to be appreciably delayed.
- A further difficulty arises in the view of His Majesty’s Government in that it is hard to see how in present circumstances the four Allied Governments (if France is included) could claim to enter into [Page 835]an agreement with the Italian Government “in the interests of the United Nations” without the previous concurrence of the United Nations or at least of the belligerent Allies and His Majesty’s Government feel that prior consultation with the latter seems essential.