865.00/1–2146: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

secret

333. In informing Department January 7 of conversation between Admiral Stone and Prime Minister regarding Constitutent Assembly we suggested that if Dept had any views which it wished expressed regarding procedure to be followed in elections Constituent Assembly or its powers now was time to authorize me to submit them to Italians as the various questions relating to Constituent Assembly will come up before Council of Ministers here for decision shortly (copy of my No. 80, January 7 to Dept is being sent you by courier). We have had no reply (your 60, January 1693a) consequently until we get definite instruction the contrary I feel we should continue to press here and at AFHQ for decision of institutional question by referendum either directly from govt or from Constituent Assembly after it has convened. I agree with position you have taken in this and do not feel that there [Page 878]have been any developments since July which make referendum plan less desirable or feasible. Allied military supervision of referendum is in any event a secondary consideration with respect to the merits of a referendum as the fairest means of deciding institutional question. (Caserta’s No. 60, January 16, 2 p.m., sent to Dept as No. 332, January 21, 6 p.m.)94

I agree that there should not be prolonged agitation over institutional question and in view of technical problems yet to be overcome before national elections can be held. (The end of April is only target date which govt is striving to achieve). I feel that lifting of ban on institutional question should be closely related to holding of national elections and convocation of “costituente”. An appropriate date might possibly be at time govt announces definite date for convocation of costituente. There is no doubt that election must be freely discussed and Italian Government should express its views as to where it considers such discussions are opportune.

Sent Caserta No. 134; repeated Dept as No. 333.

Kirk
  1. This reference is in error; telegram 60 to Rome is dated January 10 and relates to peace treaties (740.00119 EW/1–446).
  2. Not printed; it reported that G–5 at Caserta had raised question of whether approach to Italian institutional question should be modified in view of changed situation, following end of the war (740.00119 Control (Italy)/l–2146).