740.00119 EW/4–346

The British Embassy to the Department of State

No. 212


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.

Annex “A”

British Draft Agreement Modifying the Conditions of Armistice With Italy

Whereas hostilities have ceased; whereas Italy, as a co-belligerent in the war against Germany, has co-operated 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 Government of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and France have agreed to a modification of the Armistice regime in the light of existing circumstances.

Article 1. The instruments embodying the conditions of Armistice signed on September 3rd and September 29th, 1943 shall henceforth be modified in the manner provided by the present Agreement, which shall govern the relations between the United States, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France, acting in the interests of the United Nations, and Italy, pending the coming into force of a definitive Treaty of Peace.

Article II. Those provisions of the said instruments not expressly preserved by the present Agreement or by either of the Agreements referred to in Article IV below shall be deemed to be abrogated.

Article III. The Allied Commission shall concern itself solely with matters arising out of the present Agreement, and shall be reduced to the smallest proportions necessary for the execution of this task.

Article IIIA. The responsibilities of the Supreme Allied Commander in regard to the Italian Armed Forces shall remain as heretofore. The Supreme Allied Commander shall continue to control the Italian production of armaments and to have a full right to impose measures of disarmament and demilitarisation.

Article IIIB. The employment and disposition of the Italian Navy and the Italian Merchant Fleet shall continue to be subject to the terms of the Cunningham–de Courten Agreement of the 23rd September 1943, and the amendment thereto of the 17th November, 1943.

Article IIIC. Pending the coming into force of a Treaty of Peace, Allied Military Government shall be maintained in Venezia Giulia. [Page 836] Allied Military Government shall also be maintained in the Province of Udine so long as military necessity requires.

Article IIID. The Italian Government will exercise no jurisdiction over the Dodecanese Islands or Italy’s African possessions and will continue to recognise the arrangements made for their administration.

Article 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.

Article 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.

Article VI. The Government and people of Italy will abstain from all acts detrimental to the interests of the United Nations.

Article VIA. The Italian Government will co-operate 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 8th, 1945.

Article VII. The Italian Government, in full recognition of the absolute and untrammelled right of the Italian people to choose by constitutional means the form of democratic Government they desire, undertake at the earliest possible occasion to provide, through free elections for an expression of the popular will.

Article VIII. The Italian Government re-affirms its acceptance of the obligations which it has undertaken in the conditions of Armistice signed on the 29th September, 1943 or otherwise, to safeguard the persons of foreign nationals and the property of foreign States and nationals, to comply with such requirements as the United Nations may prescribe in regard to restitution, including restitution of ships and vessels, reparations, deliveries, services or payments by way of reparations, to hold enemy property in Italy at the disposal of the United Nations and to comply with the requirements of the latter as to the disclosure, control and disposal of Italian assets pending the coming into force of a Treaty of Peace.

Article IX. The present Agreement shall be without prejudice to any claims of the United Nations against Italy, whether arising out of inter-governmental settlements, reparations, restitution, restoration of property and compensation for loss or damage thereto, private indebtedness, treaty rights or other claims not specifically referred to, and [Page 837] shall in no way affect the final disposition of Italian territory and shall be without prejudice to the imposition of obligations, limitations or restrictions upon Italy by the Treaty of Peace.

Annex “B”

Comment on the United Kingdom Proposals for Agreement Modifying the Conditions of Armistice With Italy Together With Comment on the United States Proposals

Title, Preamble, Article I and Article II. The Foreign Office entirely agree with the State Department that the Armistice must be maintained in some form until it is replaced by a Treaty of Peace. It is felt, however, that it would be a mistake to abrogate the long terms while preserving the short terms and that the long and short terms should be regarded as a whole, the provisions of which would be deemed to be abrogated insofar as they were not expressly preserved by the new Agreement. In point of fact it is the long rather than the short terms which are important in present circumstances, and some of their provisions must certainly be preserved.

Article III. After careful consideration the Foreign Office have come to the conclusion that it is essential to maintain the Allied Commission until the Peace Treaty to act as a channel of communication with the Italian Government on matters arising out of the new Agreement which cannot properly be handled through the diplomatic channel, and to ensure continuity with whatever Allied Inspectorate is set up under the Peace Treaty. At the same time the Foreign Office are as anxious as ever to reduce the functions and size of the Allied Commission as much as possible.

Article IIIA. The arrangement proposed in the original State Department draft would give the Soviet and French Governments rights in respect of the Italian Armed Forces which they do not at present enjoy and could only have an adverse effect on the efficiency of those troops. The Foreign Office would much prefer the existing arrangements to be continued and if, as the Foreign Office suggests, the Allied Commission is not abolished, the necessity for abolishing the existing Services Sub-Commissions and attributing their functions to some other body no longer arises. It is not thought that the preservation of the status quo in this matter could be resented by the Soviet or French Governments.

The War Office consider it advisable to reserve to SACMED the right to impose measures of disarmament and demilitarisation which he enjoys under the Armistice Terms.

[Page 838]

Article IIIC. Considerable amendment of the State Department draft seemed necessary. Thus Allied Military Government under the Supreme Allied Commander is not at present maintained in Venezia Giulia as a whole, nor in the Dodecanese Islands, nor in any Italian overseas territory. In the Foreign Office revised draft the words “Allied Military Government” as applied to Venezia Giulia are admittedly ambiguous since they must be understood to cover Anglo-American Military Government in Zone A and Yugoslav Military Government in Zone B but this is considered preferable to stating that SACMED will maintain Allied Military Government in Zone A, which would leave Zone B unaccounted for.

As regards Article IIID in the Foreign Office revised draft, it is felt that the obligation should be on the Italian Government to recognise the arrangements made now or in the future for the administration of the Dodecanese Islands and the Italian colonies (all of which territories are of course under British Military Administration) rather than on the Allies to maintain military Government. This consideration does not apply to Zone A of Venezia Giulia where the Italian Government are presumably only too glad to see Allied Military Government continued.

Zara and Saseno are not covered by the Foreign Office redraft but to specify these areas would seem an unnecessary complication.

Article VII. The Foreign Office feel that the State Department draft might be regarded by the Italian Government as an attempt to intervene in the question of the Constituent Assembly. It seems doubtful whether in present circumstances any provision of a purely internal political nature is necessary, but if the State Department still attach importance to having some such provision, then the Foreign Office would greatly prefer their revised draft which they believe meets the State Department on all essentials.

Articles VIII and IX. Article VIII in the State Department’s draft was no doubt intended to reserve the rights of the United Nations in regard to all matters which will fall to be decided by the Treaty of Peace. In the Foreign Office view, however, the State Department’s wording would not adequately cover those questions which the Foreign Office in fact wish to be dealt with in the Treaty and which are being or will be discussed in the Conference of Deputies and/or Peace Conference. Moreover, the words “arising out of hostilities by Italy” in the State Department’s draft are open to the objection that they limit Italy’s responsibilities to the period between her declaration of war and her surrender, whereas the Foreign Office have always maintained as a matter of principle that the liabilities and [Page 839] responsibilities of ex-enemy states must extend to the date of the signature of a peace treaty. Finally, it seems most desirable to preserve the powers which the Allies hold under the Armistice Terms to require Italy to take certain interim action, e.g. in regard to United Nations property, enemy assets, etc. or to refrain from action e.g. in regard to Italian assets, gold, etc., more particularly if there is any likelihood of the final Peace Treaty being considerably delayed.

In view of the foregoing the Foreign Office consider it advisable to replace Article VIII of the State Department draft by two Articles, one re-affirming Italy’s obligations, the other reserving United Nations claims. As will be seen from the Foreign Office text the two concepts are not co-extensive.