The Ambassador in Italy (Kirk) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 15—8:16 p.m.]
800. See my 33295 and 333, January 21. In commenting on question raised by AFHQ with AC whether attitude toward institutional question should be modified in view of changed conditions since Naf 1043, July 20,96 was despatched British Political Adviser AC gave following views of Foreign Office on general question:
(Begin summary) British Foreign Office does not consider it desirable to give formal advice to Italians on questions of referendum though it has permitted its opinion to be made known informally to Italian Foreign Ministry that it is favorably impressed with Signor de Gasperi’s suggestion (conveyed to Noel Charles in private conversation) that at some stage institutional question should be referred to Italian people. (See my 439 January 25.96) Foreign Office assumes that sole purpose of SACMED raising question reported in my 332 was to enable him to send follow up telegram to CCS to effect that Naf 1043 was now out of date and that there was no question of him or Chief Commissioner advising Italian Govt on this question, and that such advice could now only be given through diplomatic channel. [Page 879] Foreign Office considers that with regard to removal of ban on discussion of institutional question, it is for Italian Govt to take initiative and in absence of such Italian initiative no action should be taken by Allied Govts at this time. If and when Italian Govt asks to be relieved of its undertaking in this regard it is assumed that SAC will refer question to CCS for directive, at which time question will be considered by US and UK Govts and their decision will be conveyed through diplomatic channels to Italian Govt While British are not prepared at this time to say what their attitude will be when this question is raised, it is considered that question of abrogating or appropriately amending decree law 151 would be one for Italian Govt to solve if decision were that it could be relieved of its undertaking. In any event British feel that until Italians are relieved of their undertaking they should not abrogate or amend decree law. (End summary)
Sent to Dept as 800; repeated Caserta 300 and London 108.