Cablegram 140A LONDON, 13 October 1944, 7.15 p.m.
Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin. Italy. Future of
You will have seen Dominions Office telegram No. 1526 of the 12th
of October  advising that the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs was asked whether in view of Ministry of Information
pamphlet 'The First to Be Free' (copy sent by air mail to External
Affairs) setting out details of Italian maladministration in
Eritrea and Somaliland, he would assure the House that the United
Kingdom Government was opposed to the return of the colonies to
Italy, and that their declaration that the Italian Empire in
Africa was irrevocably lost would be strictly adhered to-to which
Eden replied 'Yes, sir'.
The declaration referred to was a statement which the Prime
Minister made in a broadcast on the 21st of September last year.
You will also have seen Dominions Office telegram D. No. 1527 
setting out the Italian reactions to Eden's answer.
You will recall my telegrams numbers 60A of the 26th of April and
61A of the 28th of April, 1944 , summarising preliminary United
Kingdom views on the future of Italian Empire, the latter telegram
dealing with the strategic aspect.
Although there seemed to be general agreement that it would be
undesirable to leave Eritrea or Italian Somaliland in Italy's
hands, the question of whether Tripolitania should be returned to
Italy was left open.
The view was expressed by the Chiefs of Staff organisation that,
provided Tripolitania were demilitarised and British airfield
rights were secured, there would be no objection on strategic
grounds to returning this colony to Italy.
From the point of view of encouraging Italian post-war co-
operation there is a good deal to be said for letting Italy have
Tripolitania back. 
In any case the question of the future of the Italian Empire in
Africa is one of considerable importance and is of concern to us,
not only because of the position of these colonies along the
Mediterrranean and Red Sea routes, but because of the part
Australian Forces played in North Africa.
I have emphasised to the Dominions Secretary that there should
have been further consultation before so categorical a statement