740.00119 Control (Italy)/4–446: Telegram
The Chargé in Italy (Key) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 5—10:11 a.m.]
1769. See my 1767, April 4.3 When Admiral Stone called on Lieutenant General Tuesday4 to take leave Prince repeated account of his father’s possible abdication (see my 1713, April 13). In his call on Prime Minister subsequently Admiral mentioned his conversation with Prince and discussed its possible implications with regard to institutional truce. De Gasperi, who appeared somewhat surprised by direct confirmation from Palace, said that in his opinion, which he believed would also be opinion of his Govt, abdication of Victor Emmanuel would not constitute violation of institutional truce.
In his conversations with Prince and Prime Minister yesterday Admiral Stone also asked their views regarding releasing govt from its obligation not to raise institutional question (see mytel 4037, December 13, 19453) now the law regarding referendum had been signed and date of Constituent Assembly fixed. Prince demurred and said he would like to give his answer later while Prime Minister said he would prefer not to have govt released from obligation on institutional question now that release by Allies would be misinterpreted and abused by more violently republican elements in govt, prove factor of instability during present critical period and result in extremes of undesirable nature.
As result of De Gasperi’s reaction Chief Commissioner decided, and we agreed, that he would not pursue this question further and would follow earlier AC line (see my A–279, March 18) of waiting for [Page 885]Italian Govt to take initiative in requesting that it be released from its obligations with respect to institutional question. Position of various political parties is and can be made quite clear on institutional question during coming campaign without violating govt’s obligation, and Ministers have made in past and probably will continue to make their positions clear in this regard under present arrangement.
Sent Dept 1769; repeated Caserta 511 and London 299.