865.00/3–1846: Airgram

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


A–279. Reference Embassy’s telegram 800, February 14, 3 p.m. In replying to question raised by AFHQ regarding possible modification of attitude toward institutional question, in view of changed conditions, since despatch of Naf 1043, July 20, 1945,2 Allied Commission made following comments on releasing Italian Government from obligation which precludes institutional questions being reopened without Allied consent:

“The undertaking given by the Italian Government precludes the institutional question being reopened without Allied consent ‘until such time as Italy has been liberated and Italian people have the opportunity of themselves determining the form of Government’. Italy has now been liberated and it is felt that sooner or later the Italian Government will make an approach with a view to their being released from the undertaking given. It is considered that the initiative in this matter should be left with the Italian Government.

“Moreover it would be highly undesirable for the Allies to take the initiative in releasing the Italian Government from its undertaking at a time when the law for the national elections and the question of the powers of the Costituente are under consideration by the Italian Government and are shortly to be debated in the Consulta.

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“In terms of the proposed national electoral law the Italian Government must officially give 70 days’ notice to the people before the actual date of the election, that an election is to be held. It is considered that such notice-date might be a suitable time for releasing the Italian Government from its undertaking not to raise the institutional question but in any event the views of the Italian Government should first be obtained. It may be that the Italian Government will wish to be relieved of their undertaking earlier than this but if so they should be left to raise the matter.

“It is considered for the reasons given above that the Allies should not take the initiative now in the matter of releasing the Italian Government from its undertaking.”

  1. Not printed.