213 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 150 LONDON, 4 July 1944, 8.55 p.m.

MOST SECRET

Your telegram of 10th June, No. 133. [1]

Proposal for preliminary peace treaty with Italy. As stated in my telegram of 23rd May, D.No. 765 [2] the proposal was prompted by desire not to adopt a completely negative attitude towards the Badoglio Government. We agree that it will need to be reconsidered in relation to the subsequent change of Government in Italy and that timing of any communication which it may be agreed to make to any Italian Government must take account of their attitude to allies and their internal prospects. We have not yet received United States views nor have we ourselves concluded consideration of points which should be covered by any new agreement with Italy.

2. As regards the possibility of territorial changes, we agree that final disposal of Italian oversea territories and final decision on Italy's European frontiers can not yet be reached. Our idea would be that preliminary treaty such as we suggested should provide for cession to allies by Italy of all territories liable to figure in definitive peace treaty which would settle future sovereignty. We are not entitled under Armistice terms to impose territorial changes and if Italians are not brought to face necessity for them until final settlement we should run risk that they may by then have so strengthened their position that allies could not for one reason or another readily enforce their full requirements. We should in any case aim at safeguarding all essential rights secured under 'long' Armistice terms and our idea generally would be to improve our position vis-a-vis Italian Government.

3. We note your suggestion for a 'revised Armistice' but from our point of view-'preliminary peace treaty' which would eliminate many technical hindrances inseparable from a state of war while giving us practical advantages would have much to commend it and we do not think that this procedure would necessarily react adversely on prosecution of war against Japan.

4. We have not yet received United States views but shall of course keep you informed of developments.

SHEETS, FROM SECDOMIN (LARGELY D SERIES AND AUSTRALIAN SERIES), MAY-DECEMBER, 1.24922/923]

1 Document 190.

2 See Document 190, note 1.

[AA:A3195, 1944, FOLDER, INWARDS MOST SECRET AND TOP SECRET MASTER