740.00119 EW/6–146: Telegram

The Chargé in Italy ( Key ) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

2708. RefDeptel 1120, May 21.40 Executive Commissioner AC 41 called on Prime Minister42 this morning under instructions from SAC and formally submitted to Italian Government text of modification of armistice agreement as directed in Fan 666. Covering letter to Prime Minister mentioned SAC’s instruction to “arrange for the publication in Italy” as soon as text of agreement has been communicated. After careful consideration and consultation with officials Foreign Ministry De Gasperi said he would prefer that text of modified agreement be not published until after it had been signed. He asked Lush to convey his request to SAC. Both British Embassy and ourselves feel that text of agreement should not be published now in face of Italian opposition and so advised AC. Lush communicated above views to SAC by telephone who agreed to comply with Prime Minister’s request.

It is understood that Italian Government will issue press release this afternoon in effect that AC has communicated to it officially text of armistice modification; that agreement will be signed by SAC and PM and that signature must await conclusion of separate US and UK agreements with Italy covering necessities for Allied troops in Italy. No release will be made by Allies.43

Sent Department 2708, repeated Caserta 808, Paris 30.

  1. See footnote 31, p. 843.
  2. Brig. Maurice Stanley Lush, Executive Commissioner and Vice President, Allied Commission.
  3. Alcide de Gasperi.
  4. Naf 1148, June 2, 1946 (copy enclosed in a memorandum by H. Freeman Matthews for the Secretary of State, dated June 3), has the additional explanation: “The President of the Council of Ministers while welcoming the receipt of the agreement after considerable discussion said that he thought it would be far better in the present political situation not to publish the text but to confine press release to a statement that the text had been handed to him and that signature would take place simultaneously with the other agreement Although he saw value of publication of some articles, for example, abrogation of long term of the Armistice and the abolition of Allied Commission, he considered Paragraph 5 left so much in the air that the the publication thereof might do harm at this last moment before the elections.” (740.00119 EW/6–346) The national elections were scheduled for June 2.