740.00119 Control (Italy)/l1–2945: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

6883. Part 1. In connection with what Bidault told me last night (my 6847, November 28), he handed me an aide-mémoire reading in translation as follows:

Part 2.

“Under date of November 21 the Executive Commissioner of the Allied Commission in Italy informed the French representative on the said commission that following a decision of AFHQ, Allied troops would be withdrawn from the frontier of the Alps. AFHQ considered, in effect, that because of the recent reductions in personnel, the conditions on which the agreement of June 11, 1945 was based according the terms of which a zone of 15 miles from the Franco-Italian frontier was forbidden to Italian troops ‘as long as Allied troops were available’ no longer existed.

Part 3.

At that time there appeared no doubt that Allied forces would not be withdrawn before the conclusion of a peace treaty or in any case before the preliminary negotiations were already far advanced. It was furthermore in this spirit that on different occasions each time there was a question of the withdrawal of the AMG (American Military Government) and in particular at the end of the month of August the Allied authorities gave the French representatives assurances which led the Provisional Government to believe that the zone of 15 [Page 745] miles would remain under their (Allied) control until a decision could be taken concerning the future tracing of the frontier of the Alps.

Part 4.

The decision of AFHQ, whatever may be the motives, could be considered as a breach if not of the letter, at least of the spirit of the Caserta agreement.

Part 5.

It has been noticed that Italian behavior in the regions in question, especially during the past several months, has shown itself unfavorable to our interests: On several occasions it has been brought to the attention of the French Government that the carabineers molest the inhabitants of these regions who are favorable to our views. Under the circumstances and especially on the eve of the elections which are being organized in Italy, the departure of Anglo-American troops could not fail to be interpreted as the adoption by the Allies of a definite position vis-à-vis French claims.

Part 6.

Italian opinion has been prepared notably by the recent declarations of M. de Gasperi for rectifications in the frontier. To take measures today which might create certain illusions would risk causing a resentment which would then turn against the Allies themselves when the rectifications take place.

Part 7.

For this reason the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in drawing the special attention of the Embassy of the United States to the foregoing would be grateful if the Embassy would urge its government to have the decision of AFHQ rescinded and Allied troops maintained until further orders in the 15-mile zone from the Franco-Italian frontier.”

Sent Department as 6883; repeated to Rome as 229.

Caffery