America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

White House statement warning neutral nations against asylum for war criminals
July 30, 1943

On August 21, 1942, I issued a statement to the press in which after referring to the crimes against innocent people committed by the Axis powers I stated:

The United Nations are going to win this war. When victory has been achieved, it is the purpose of the government of the United States, as I know it is the purpose of each of the United Nations, to make appropriate use of the information and evidence in respect to the barbaric crimes of the invaders, in Europe and in Asia. It seems only fair that they should have this warning that the time will come when they shall have to stand in courts of law in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts.

On October 7, 1942, I stated that it was:

…the intention of this government that the successful close of the war shall include provisions for the surrender to the United Nations of war criminals.

The wheels of justice have turned constantly since those statements were issued and are still turning. There are now rumors that Mussolini and members of his Fascist gang may attempt to take refuge in neutral territory. One day Hitler and his gang and Tōjō and his gang will be trying to escape from their countries. I find it difficult to believe that any neutral country would give asylum to or extend protection to any of them. I can only say that the government of the United States would regard the action by a neutral government in affording asylum to Axis leaders or their tools as inconsistent with the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and that the United States government hopes that no neutral government will permit its territory to be used as a place of refuge or otherwise assist such persons in any effort to escape their just deserts.

U.S. State Department (July 30, 1943)

President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister

Washington, July 30, 1943.


My thoughts of today on prospects and methods of handling the Italian situation with which we are now confronted are expressed generally in your message No. 383 dated July 26, 1943.

I have suggested for consideration in the following draft certain minor changes. If the reasons for these changes are not obvious, we can discuss them at our next meeting.

  • There seems to be a high probability that Mussolini’s fall will involve the overthrow of the Fascist regime and that the new government of the King and Badoglio will attempt to negotiate with the Allies a separate arrangement for an armistice. If this should develop, it will become necessary for us to make up our minds first of all as to what we want and secondly as to the conditions and measures necessary to achieve it for us.

  • Our thoughts at this moment above all others must be directed at the supreme goal namely the destruction of Hitlerism and Hitler. Should the surrender of Italy occur, every military advantage arising out of it must be sought for this objective.

  • Of these, the first is the control of all Italian territory and transportation against the Germans in the north and against the entire Balkan peninsula in addition to the use of air bases of all types. Included in this must be the surrender to our garrisons of the Dodecanese and Corfu and Sardinia as well as all the air and naval bases on the mainland of Italy as soon as they can be acquired.

  • The second of these and of equal importance is the immediate capitulation of the Italian fleet to the Allies, or at least its effective demobilization and the disarmament, to whatever extent we find needful and useful, of Italian ground and air forces. The surrender of the fleet will be most agreeable to the United States and will liberate powerful British naval forces for service in the Indian Ocean against Japan.

  • The immediate surrender or withdrawal to Italy of all Italian forces wherever they may be outside of Italy proper will also be of equal consequence.

  • Still another goal of the greatest importance regarding which there will be passionate feeling in Britain and in this country is the immediate release of all prisoners of war from the United Nations in the hands of the Italians, and the prevention of their being transported northwards towards Germany, which can in the first instance be made only by the Italians. I look upon it as a matter of humanity and honor to obtain the return of our own flesh and blood as soon as possible and to spare them the incalculable horrors of incarceration during the last stages of the war in Germany.

  • Fighting between the Germans and the Italian Army and population will probably be a result of the fate of the German troops in Italy and particularly of those south of Rome.

  • We can take a further view about action to be taken north of Rome when we see how this process goes. However, we should attempt at the earliest moment to get possession of points on both the west coast and east coast railways of Italy as far north as we dare and of a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany. And dare we must at this time.

  • We cannot afford in our struggle with the German Army and with Hitler to deny ourselves any means that will kill Germans. The Italian population’s fury may now be turned against the German intruders who, as the Italians will feel, have thrust these miseries upon Italy and then come to her aid so grudgingly and so scantily. In order that the new liberated Anti-Fascist Italy shall afford us at the earliest moment a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany, we should stimulate this process.

  • A new advantage of the first order is obtained by this air attack as it brings the whole of the Mediterranean Air Forces into action from a direction which exposes all those centers of war production which have been increasingly developed to escape air blows from Great Britain and which furthermore turns the whole line of air defenses in the west. The highest degree of urgency will apply to getting supplies, agents and commandos across the Adriatic into Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia by sea. It must be borne in mind that there are 15 German divisions, of which 10 are mobile, in the Balkan Peninsula. However, it is by no means unlikely that the Hun will be forced to withdraw northwards to the line of the Save and Danube, thus liberating Greece and other oppressed countries, once we have control of the Italian Peninsula and of the Adriatic and the Italian armies in the Balkans withdraw or surrender.

  • The effects of Italian capitulation and of Mussolini’s fall upon Bulgaria, Roumania and Hungary cannot yet be calculated. It may be that they will be profound. The collapse of Italy, in regard to this situation, should establish the time for applying to Turkey the strongest pressure to act according to the spirit of the alliance. Britain and the United States should, if possible, be joined or at least supported by Russia in this move. If practicable, I believe the agreement of Russia should be obtained in any important negotiations affecting the Balkans.

  • Our primary goal of getting Italy out of the war would, I believe, be prejudiced by an effort to seize the “head devil” in the early future. In due time we can try to secure the person of the “head devil” and his assistants, and then their individual degrees of guilt for which “the punishment should fit the crime” may be determined.


U.S. Navy Department (July 30, 1943)

Communiqué No. 454

The U.S. non‑rigid airship K‑74 was lost at sea recently as the result of a gunfire attack by a surfaced enemy submarine.

The K‑74 was fired on while attacking the submarine, and, as the result of a hit, was forced to make a landing on the sea.

All except one member of the crew of the K‑74 were rescued. Next of kin of the one casualty has been notified that he is missing in action.

The Pittsburgh Press (July 30, 1943)

Roosevelt warns neutrals against helping Mussolini

Roosevelt set to talk peace
By Joseph L. Myler, United Press staff writer

Washington –
The United States and Great Britain today pointedly urged neutral nations not to give sanctuary to Benito Mussolini or any other “war criminals” whom the United Nations are determined to bring to justice.

President Roosevelt enunciated this nation’s views in a formal statement, and the British government officially endorsed his declaration.

The British War Cabinet held an extraordinary session early today for an unannounced purpose but possibly to discuss a peace feeler by Italy or to get a time limit for a reply by Italian Premier Pietro Badoglio to Allied terms.

Seeks to avert anarchy

In addition to clarifying the U.S. attitude to war criminals, Mr. Roosevelt announced that the Allies will not discuss Italian capitulation with any persons definitely known to be Fascists. But we will be willing to accept surrender from any other Italian authority capable of averting anarchy there.

The Allied military purpose, he said, is first to knock Italy out of the war and then to prevent the chaos of anarchy which would force the United Nations to employ large numbers of troops to maintain order. These troops could be used more effectively on the fighting front against Germany.

Raises many questions

Mr. Roosevelt’s statement about bringing war criminals to justice raised many questions as to how it will be received by the neutral countries.

Pointing out that there are rumors that Mussolini may try to escape and that “one day Hitler and his gang and Tōjō and his gang will be trying to escape,” the President added:

I find it difficult to believe that any neutral country would give asylum to or extend prosecution to any of them.

Precedents cited

The President also reiterated the firm determination of the United Nations to punish leaders of the Axis for their crimes against innocent persons.

In the long history of European wars, leaders of lost causes have frequently fled to neutral countries, whose governments have usually adopted the attitude that to give up the refugees on demand would be a violation of the asylum nation’s sovereignty.

Holland thus gave sanctuary to Kaiser Wilhelm II when he fled to that country after Germany’s collapse in World War I.

Leaves little doubt

But Mr. Roosevelt’s statement left little doubt that he does not consider this and other precedents valid in this war.

The President did not say what action the United Nations might take against a neutral nation providing refuge for fleeing Nazis or Fascists, but he did declare:

The government of the United States would regard the action by a neutral government in affording asylum to Axis leaders or their tools as inconsistent with the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and that the United States government hopes that no neutral government will permit its territory to be used as a place of refuge or otherwise assist such persons in any effort to escape their just deserts.

There have been many rumors since Mussolini’s resignation that he has fled to Spain, to Switzerland, to Germany.

Under news conference questioning as to whether this government would be willing to deal with the government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio of Italy, the President said he did not care who we dealt with in Italy as long as it was not a definite member of the Fascist Party.

The peace negotiations might well, he said, be with a King, a Prime Minister, or a mayor of a town.

Aid Sicilians

Asked whether this meant that he did not regard Badoglio as a Fascist, the President said he was not going to discuss personalities.

The President told of a report from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower showing the extent to which the Allies are aiding the economic rehabilitation of the people of Sicily and promising similar treatment for Italy.

The President said the plight of the civilian population in Sicily was relieved immediately by the Allied forces, who carried with them emergency rations.

Sent from Africa

Meanwhile, the President said, shipments from a stockpile in North Africa are moving across the Mediterranean to Sicily to care for the civilian population particularly.

The shipment include sugar, flour, milk, meat, soap, matches, medical supplies, and even quantities of an Italian food favorite – pasta (a kind of macaroni).

Public health and sanitation experts went in with the troops to tackle immediately the task of restoring municipal facilities. Mr. Roosevelt also said that Gen. Sir Harold Alexander, deputy to Gen. Eisenhower, had been ordered to free selected Sicilian prisoners of war to help put the island back on a livable basis as fast as possible.

Get diesel oil

Shipment of diesel oil are also going into Sicily, he said, to provide fuel for the milling of native wheat.

The President cited these facts to show that the Allies are making good on their promises.

He expressed the hope that in this harvest season the people in Italy proper, as well as in Sicily, could keep their own crops instead of sending them to Germany.

Italian soldiers reported defying orders to shoot peace demonstrators

Rioters storm Milan prison
By Aldo Forte, United Press staff writer

Allies drive deep into Axis Sicilian lines

Land and air raids pave way for pushing enemy into sea
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied armies bit deep into the center of the Axis last-ditch defense line in northeastern Sicily and smashed enemy front and rear bases with mounting aerial attacks today in apparent preparation for the final all-out offensive to drive the remaining German and Italian forces into the sea.

A big-scale blitz against the narrowing Axis bridgehead was indicated following small gains by Americans and Canadians on the 40-mile front stretching from San Stefano on the north coast through Nicosia and Agira to Catania on the east coast.

Patrols attack

Spirited Allied patrol attacks were reported at all key points and both sides were engaging in sharp artillery duels, while Allied air squadrons hammered at enemy transport and concentrations around Mt. Etna and hit at targets on the mainland. British warships again bombarded the Italian coast.

Coincident with a front dispatch reporting indications that the German 15th Panzer Division is withdrawing before the Americans in northern Sicily, a communiqué said. Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 7th Army had moved forward at several places.

In the center of the Allied front, the Canadians pushed ahead through strong opposition while Allied planes pounded the Axis “escape” bridgehead in the northeast end of Sicily. On the British 8th Army front below it, patrols punched at German defenses in small but successful skirmishes.

Resistance stiffens

The Americans met stiffer resistance as they moved eastward against Axis defenses anchored at San Stefano, but they edged forward steadily over rough terrain along the 40-mile front.

Frontline dispatches today said Canadian forces have captured Nissoria, three miles east of Leonforte, and U.S. troops have made new gains in the direction of San Stefano.

The Canadian struck at the Axis line below Nicosia, on the southern end of the American line, and were slowly bending it back. Capture of Nicosia had snapped the links between the enemy forces on the center of the American flank and wedged the outer defenses of the chief Axis line of strongpoints protecting the Messina bridgehead.

The Axis forces had been rammed back into an area small enough for Allied aircraft, enjoying complete superiority, to blitz their remaining foothold on the island much as was done in the final phase of the Tunisian campaign.

Bomb airdrome

Reaching 50 miles above Rome, U.S. Flying Fortresses battered the Viterbo Airdrome yesterday against weak enemy opposition, a headquarters announcement said.

A dispatch from the British 8th Army headquarters in Sicily said RAF pilots had seen trucks filled with men moving eastward through northern Sicily toward the narrowing Axis bridgehead around Messina.

Alfred Wagg, United Press correspondent, reported that British warships, in the second bombardment of the mainland since the Sicilian campaign began, hit a bridge yesterday and sent six-inch shells into railroad lines near Crotone on the sole of the Italian boot.

One merchantman was left sinking and two escorting warships, including a destroyer, were set afire in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Flying Fortresses set a half-dozen fires and touched off one huge explosion at the Viterbo Airdrome. Three other Italian airdromes, all around Naples, were hit in heavy raids Wednesday night and yesterday.

The Tactical Air Force concentrated behind the enemy’s Sicilian front, bombing the harbors of riposte and Messina. RAF Warhawks and Kittyhawks damaged a merchantman and the ferry docks at Messina.

U.S. Warhawks carried out sweeps over northern Sardinia.

Drive on Munda moves slowly

Yanks gain yard-by-yard in bitter fighting
By Brydon Taves, United Press staff writer

Blimp shot down by German sub in battle at sea

First such loss of war announced by Navy; all but one crew member saved after attack in Atlantic

3 months pay urged as aid for veterans

President reveals details of plan to be sent to Congress

Father of Pacific hero has his third son at 76

Although boys served in both wars, Bulkeley has other plans for this one

Danger ahead

By Florence Fisher Parry

Grace blames labor unrest on agitators

Bethlehem Corporation president cites contract breaks; flays stewards

WAVE reports for duty as mate dies in action

East Granby, Connecticut (UP) –
The War Department notified Mrs. Mary Ronan Lipinski a few hours before she reported for duty in the WAVES that her husband, Pvt. Joseph Lipinski Jr., 28, had been killed in action in the Pacific Theater.

Mines Bureau tests fuel oil ‘made’ of coal

Use of industrial-scale pilot plant planned in experiments
By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Ford, at 80, makes money his servant

It’s Finito Benito – and Sicilians just grin

By John Gunther, North American Newspaper Alliance

Blocked door halted escape in plane crash

Airliner brought down in perfect landing, passenger says

U.S. fliers wreck Burma rail bridge

U.S. subs sink 10 more ships

Total of Jap sea victims mounts to 210

WLB restores 5 commissions

Labor representatives regain voting power