740.00119 EW/4–2246

Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Southern European Affairs (Dowling) to the Counselor of the Department (Cohen)

Mr. Cohen: Since the documentation on Italy was completed for the April 25 meeting of the Foreign Ministers, the French and Soviet [Page 841]Governments have both agreed in principle to our proposal for modification of the Italian armistice regime. The situation now is as follows:

USSR: Accepts the US proposal, except for the provision continuing the Italian merchant fleet under the controls stipulated in the Cunningham–DeCourten Agreements. (Pgh. IIIB of US draft). However, through an error in our code room, Paragraph VI of the US draft was omitted from the telegram transmitting the text to Moscow, and its omission was noted by our Embassy there only on Friday last; the Soviet agreement therefore does not extend to this clause, but it is not anticipated that they will object to it, since it does little more than obligate the Italian Government to abstain from acts detrimental to the United Nations.

France: Accepts US proposal, but suggests changes in wording of the preamble and of Paragraphs IV and VI. The French also propose release of the Italian merchant fleet from Allied control, and ask that the command arrangements for the Italian armed forces be modified to include French and Soviet participation with the US and UK.

UK: Accepts US proposal in principle, but holds that it would be unwise to proceed with the armistice revision unless it becomes evident that the peace treaty will be appreciably delayed. The UK also doubts whether the four powers could claim at this stage to conclude an agreement with Italy “in the interests of the United Nations” without consulting the latter.

Finally, the British submit a draft of their own, which is more or less a redraft of the American proposal; it does not, however, provide for abolition of the AC.

We have now inquired whether the British would be prepared, in view of the Soviet reply, to proceed immediately with the armistice modification, and if so, what changes in the US draft they would consider essential. The French requests for Soviet and French participation in Allied control of the Italian armed forces is not regarded with favor by our military, and might be politically undesirable if the peace treaty were long delayed. It is believed, however, that we can agree to the Soviet and French position on the Italian merchant fleet, and that agreement can be reached with the French on a compromise basis as regards the other points which they have raised.

[During the First Informal Meeting of the Second Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Paris, May 2, 1946, the Secretary of State circulated a slightly revised draft agreement modifying the Italian armistice, which, in response to the views of the Russian and French Governments, eliminated from clause IIIB the provision for control of the Italian merchant fleet and the reference to the Cunningham–DeCourten agreement. That draft agreement is not printed, but [Page 842]for the United States Delegation Record of the meeting, see volume II. The United States draft agreement was subsequently further revised and resubmitted to the Council of Foreign Ministers on May 14.

At its 18th meeting, May 15, 1946, 5 p.m., at Paris, the Council of Foreign Ministers approved the draft as proposed by the United States Delegation; see the United States Delegation Record and the Agreed Record of Decisions of this meeting, ibid. At its unnumbered meeting, May 16, 1946, 5 p.m., at Paris, the Council of Foreign Ministers signed a protocol to accompany the agreement modifying the Italian armistice; see the United States Delegation Record of this meeting, ibid. For text of the protocol, circulated in the Council as document C.F.M. (46) 95, May 16, 1946, see ibid.]