740.0011 EW/5–2045: Telegram

Mr. Alexander C. Kirk, Political Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, to the Secretary of State

2252. Re our 2245 of May 19, 7 p.m.26 In a personal report to Field Marshal Alexander Gen Clark27 has recommended that Allied Govts should make strong representations to French Govt to have French troops withdrawn from northwestern Italy at earliest possible date.

Gen. Doyen explained to Clark on May 18 that French troops were seriously disappointed when required to stop advance in Italy just as they were about to exploit victory; that prestige and honor of French army require that French not be required to withdraw at [Page 731] this time; and that he felt certain question of annexation of Italian territory was not involved. When Doyen suggested that American troops should fall back to allow French to occupy a larger area, Gen Clark told Doyen this would never be agreed to.

Clark feels French troops will remain generally in present positions in Italy while situation is being discussed at governmental level, but in meantime situation of two commanders of mixed troops in same area is unsatisfactory. Until problem is settled at governmental level, Gen Clark suggested that French troops now in Italy be placed under operational command of 15th Army group which in turn would attach them to 5th Army. In this event French troops would be assigned by Clark to a definite sector of responsibility to avoid large-scale mixing of French and American troops.

AMG28 activities throughout whole area would continue to function under 5th Army Command as at present. Gen Doyen considered Gen Clark’s suggestion logical, but was careful to avoid committing his Senior Commander. Clark did not discuss AMG angle with Doyen and the whole change of command proposal was presented to him as Gen Clark’s suggestion subject to SAC’s29 approval and orders.

Sent Dept; repeated Paris as 130.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Gen. Mark Clark, Commanding General, 15th Army Group, Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
  3. Allied Military Government.
  4. Supreme Allied Commander.