The British Embassy to the Department of State

No. 224


His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have now given further consideration to the question of the Institutional Truce.6 There is, in their opinion, clearly no case for insisting that the Truce should still be observed. It has in fact been repeatedly violated, more particularly by Ministers of the Left. Furthermore, the Italian Government have now issued the Decree Laws providing for the election of the Constituent Assembly and the holding of a referendum to settle the institutional question.7

One course of action would be to wait until the Italian Government asked to be relieved of their pledge and then to grant their request. The alternative would be to take the initiative and inform the Italian Government that in view of the issue of the Decree Laws of the Constituent Assembly and the referendum, and since the Italian Government will presumably wish the election campaign to open shortly, the Allied Governments consider the undertakings given by successive Italian Governments in regard to the Institutional Truce to be no longer binding.
The second alternative has the advantage of removing all justification for possible accusations that the Allies had, by failing to terminate the Truce, hampered the activities of the political parties and thereby prejudiced the results of the referendum. It is this course of action, therefore, which His Majesty’s Government suggest could most appropriately be adopted. They hardly think it desirable to [Page 886] mention to the Italian Government previous violations of the Institutional Truce since it might be difficult to quote instances of such violations without appearing to take sides.
His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom would be glad to know the views of the United States Government and to consider any alternative suggestions which they may wish to make.
It is thought that before taking a final decision, His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government ought to consult the Soviet Government who, after His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government, were the government principally concerned in imposing the Institutional Truce on the Badoglio Government in April, 1944.
  1. Agreement by the leaders of the six anti-Fascist parties on April 27, 1944, to postpone the argument over the permanent form of the state until the war was finished and Italian territory liberated.
  2. For text of Decree Law No. 98, March 16, 1946, see Department of State, United States and Italy, 1936–1946 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1946), p. 233.