The British Embassy to the Department of State

No. 228


His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have instructed His Majesty’s representative at Moscow to inform the Soviet Government of the views of His Majesty’s Government with regard to the question of the Institutional Truce in Italy, since the Italian Government have recently issued the necessary Decree Laws for the holding of elections to the Constituent Assembly and for the referendum of the Institutional question.

His Majesty’s representative has been instructed to remind the Soviet Government that the King of Italy announced with the consent of the Allies his irrevocable decision to withdraw from public life on the liberation of Rome and to hand over his royal powers to the Crown Prince as Lieutenant of the realm. The Italian Government of that time gave the Supreme Allied Commander a written undertaking that the Italian Government would not reopen the Institutional question without the prior consent of the Allied Governments until Italy had been liberated and until the people of Italy had the opportunity of themselves determining the form of government. This undertaking was reaffirmed by subsequent Italian Governments, including that of Signor de Gasperi.
His Majesty’s representative at Moscow has been instructed to tell the Soviet Government that in the view of His Majesty’s Government there is no longer any point in maintaining the Truce. In the opinion of His Majesty’s Government there are two methods by which [Page 887] the Truce could be brought to an end. The first course of action would be to wait until the Italian Government ask to be relieved of their pledge and then to grant their request. The alternative would be for the Allied Governments 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.8 The Soviet Government are being informed that His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom prefer the second alternative since it removes 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.
The Soviet Government are being invited to express their views on this matter since they, together with His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government were signatories of the Moscow Declaration on Italy issued after the Foreign Secretaries Meeting in October, 1943,9 and were principally concerned in imposing the Institutional Truce on the Badoglio Government in April, 1944. His Majesty’s representative at Moscow10 has been instructed to notify the Soviet Government that a similar enquiry is being addressed to the United States Government and that he should press for an early reply in view of the urgency of the matter.
  1. The Department in its memorandum to the British Embassy dated April 29, 1946, stated that the Department was in agreement with this alternative (865.00/4–1646).
  2. For documentation on the Tripartite Conference in Moscow, October 18–November 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 513 ff.
  3. Frank Kenyon Roberts, Chargé.