740.00119 EW/5–2146

Memorandum by the Acting State Member (Matthews) for the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee30

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Subject: Modification of Italian Armistice Regime

It is requested that the following memorandum from the Secretary of State be transmitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a matter of priority:

“There is enclosed the text of an agreement modifying the Italian armistice regime, which was approved on May 16, 1946, by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France. The agreement is to be signed between the Italian Government and the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean.

“It is requested therefore that the agreement be presented to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for transmission to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, with instructions that he submit the text thereof immediately to the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Government. He should inform Signor De Gasperi that, if the agreement meets with the approval of the Italian Government, he has been authorized to proceed with its signature simultaneously [Page 843]with the conclusion of separate agreements between the United States and Italy, and between the United Kingdom and Italy, regarding the maintenance of American and British forces, respectively, in Italy.

“As regards these latter agreements, it is desired that the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, inform Signor De Gasperi that they are now under consideration by the American and British Governments, and will be submitted to the Italian Government in a very few days.”

H. Freeman Matthews
[Enclosure]

Text of Agreement Modifying Italian Armistice Regime31

Whereas hostilities have ceased;

Whereas after the Armistice, Italian forces contributed to the war against Germany, Italy declared war on Germany as from October 13, 1943, and thereby became a cobelligerent against Germany;

Whereas the Armistice terms have thereby become in part obsolete or have been superseded by events;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

Accordingly, the afore-mentioned Governments have decided that the Armistice terms shall be modified as follows, pending the coming into force of a Treaty of Peace:32

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 of Allied Force Headquarters under the orders of the Supreme Allied Commander who will act as Chairman, shall be [Page 844]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 in 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 shall remain as at present under the command and control of the Supreme Allied Commander.33
C.
Pending the coming into force of a Treaty of Peace, Allied Military Government shall be continued under the Supreme Commander, Mediterranean, in Venezia Giulia and in the Province of Udine.34
IV.
The provisions of the present instrument shall not apply in or affect the administration of any Italian colony or dependency.
V.
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 the Allied forces required for the Allied lines of communication to Austria.35
VI.
Italian prisoners of war now held under the jurisdiction of the United States, United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and France shall be repatriated as soon as possible.
VII.
The Government and people of Italy will abstain from all acts detrimental to the interests of the United Nations or of their nationals.
VIII.
The Italian Government will cooperate in the apprehension and surrender for trial of, or in making available as36 witnesses, Italian subjects or nationals of States at war with the United Nations designated by the United Nations’ War Crimes Commission or the International Military Tribunal established by the agreement signed at London on August 8, 1945.
IX.
The Italian Government will provide, at its own expense, all necessary facilities for, and will cooperate with the United Nations in the search for and restitution of property wrongfully removed from [Page 845]the territories of the United Nations and located in Italian territory.37
X.
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 forms 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.
XI.
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 disposal of Italian territory or property, nor shall it impair any limitations or restrictions which may be imposed upon Italy in the Treaty of Peace.
XII.
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, duly authorized thereto by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and France, and shall remain in force until superseded by other arrangements or until the coming into force of the Peace Treaty with Italy.38

  1. An office memorandum attached to this paper reads:

    “The text of the revised armistice as agreed by the four Foreign Ministers at Paris on May 16th to be officially communicated to Signor de Gasperi at 11 a.m. on June 1st.

    “The agreed revised armistice terms will be signed by SAC & Ital. Govt, at the same time as 2 supplementary agreements between the U.S. & Italy & the U.K. & Italy respectively re maintenance of troops in this country.”

    A handwritten notation at the head of the document reads: “Signed and Received in SWNCC 5/21/46 H. W. Moseley”.

  2. This exact text was forwarded to the Ambassador in Italy in Department’s telegram 1120, May 21, 1946, with the following information: “Agreement modifying Ital Armistice regime will shortly be transmitted to SAC by CCS with instructions to communicate it to Ital Govt and to inform latter that if agreement is acceptable he has been authorized to proceed with signature simultaneously with conclusion of civil affairs agreements between US–Italy and UK–Italy. As regards latter agreements, he will be instructed to say that they are under consideration by US and UK Govts and will be submitted to Ital Govt in a few days.” (740.00119 EW/5–2146)
  3. In the revised United States draft of May 14 (C.F.M.(46) 84) this sentence had read: “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.”
  4. In the revised U.S. draft of May 14 this sentence had read: “The employment and disposition of the Italian Navy shall be under the command and control of the special section, authorized and directed to be established in accordance with sub-section A above.”
  5. This sentence had read: “Pending the coming into force of a treaty of peace, Allied Military Government shall be continued under the Supreme Commander, Mediterranean, in Venezia Giulia and so long as military necessity may require in the Province of Udine.”
  6. In the May 14 draft the words “maintenance of” had been used preceding the words “Allied lines of communication to Austria”.
  7. In the draft of May 14 the word was “for” rather than “as”.
  8. In the May 14 draft clause IX had read: “The Italian Government will cooperate with the United Nations in, and will provide at its own expense for, the search for and restitution of property wrongfully removed from the territories of the United Nations and located in Italian territory.”
  9. This final clause had read: “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 coming into force of the peace treaty with Italy.”