Rome assails ‘U.S. armistice offer’ (8-3-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 3, 1943)

Peace clamor grows louder among people

Reported Roosevelt plan includes arrest of war criminals
By William D. Dickinson, United Press staff writer


Berne, Switzerland (UP) –
Scores of persons were reported injured today when Italian police armed with sabers sought to break up demonstrations in Genoa against the government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

Port workers at Genoa gathered at the Piazza De Ferrari, reports said, and demonstrated against the failure of Badoglio to seek peace with the Allies.

At first mounted police intervened, but when the people refused to go back to work, Carabinieri with sabers joined in the effort to suppress the demonstrations.

London, England –
Radio Rome belligerently criticized a purported seven-point armistice proposal by President Roosevelt today despite reports of new popular demands for peace, including a left-wing manifesto calling for an army revolt.

The so-called armistice plan, which Radio Rome attacked as showing that the Allies had no intention to “give peace to our country,” was alleged to be based on “latest reports” and provided:

  1. Cessation of Italian resistance.
  2. An end of collaboration with Germany.
  3. Withdrawal of Italian troops from Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania and France.
  4. Surrender of all Italian war material.
  5. Recognition of a British-U.S.-Soviet government over Italy “until operations have been ended.”
  6. Arrest of war criminals.
  7. Release of Allied war prisoners on Italian soil.

The German DNB News Agency attributed the peace plan reports to the newspaper Popolo di Roma.

The German news agencies, which have recently quoted the Italian newspaper Tribuna when citing Italian opinion in their propaganda broadcasts, said that the Italians were “disciplined” and strongly behind the government of Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

The Tribuna was quoted as saying:

Italy knows that the war is continuing and that the people must hold out until [they are] victorious if they are to have a life worth living.

Information from Italy reaching the Swiss frontier was sketchy, but it appeared that disorders were increasing in the industrial north. Milan was emptied of much of its civilian population in fear of Allied air raids.

The Vichy radio said that 20 persons were sentenced to more than a year each in prison for breaking the curfew regulations. A London radio report said that Italian artillery at Larissa in Greece had refuted German attempts to force them to disarm and were surrounded by Nazi troops.

Reports reaching Madrid from France said Italian government leaders met at the Quirinal Palace to discuss making peace, but were unable to reach a decision.

Other Spanish reports asserted that Italian workers were deserting war factories in droves.

Radio Brazzaville quoted European reports that 18 German divisions have taken up “defensive positions” in northern Italy and Madrid heard that the Germans were increasing their control in the Fiume and Trieste areas.

Underground reports from France said the Germans are sending reinforcements into Corsica by sea and air to take over defense of the island in the event of Italian capitulation.

A Rome dispatch to the Zürich newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung said the food situation was serious in the Italian capital because of transport troubles despite a large exodus of residents.

Military courts start

Reports from the Italian frontier said military courts had begun functioning and numerous executions of accused “foreign agents” had been carried out. One convicted was said to be Rino Parenti Como, a Fascist dignitary.

Riotous joy at Mussolini’s resignation had been replaced by deep anxiety because of failure of the new government to take steps toward ending the war, the frontier dispatches said.

The Italian underground station Radio Leghorn was heard broadcasting that crews of Italian warships and merchant vessels had been placed in a state of alert to prevent the Germans from seizing or harming them.

Cabinet meets

The British War Cabinet met last night to discuss the Italian situation, but the authoritative Press Association said the ministers primarily discussed the Sicilian offensive.

Peace demonstrations throughout Italy took on renewed vigor as word spread of the Allies’ intention to bomb the country into surrender as a result of the government’s failure to capitulate.

King Victor Emmanuel III, Crown Prince Umberto, Count Dino Grandi and Adm. Paolo Thaon di Revel (new president of the Senate) were said to have favored an immediate peace, at a conference of leaders in Rome yesterday, while Premier Pietro Badoglio and Foreign Minister Raffaele Guariglia held out for an attempt to negotiate for favorable terms.

Plan reported

The London Daily Mail quoted Italian frontier reports that the latest peace plan advocated in Rome would turn over southern Italy to the Allies, the Po Valley in the north to Germany and create a buffer Italian state in the center, but even the most optimistic Italians were said to realize that the Allies would not agree.

A group of Italian senators was reported to have met Sunday in Rome and informed Badoglio that they believed Italy should withdraw from the war immediately, even if it meant unconditional surrender.