Simms: Preparations already begun for surrender (7-28-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (July 28, 1943)

Simms: Preparations already begun for surrender

Allies will deal with duly constituted Italian authority
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor

Washington –
Preparations for the eventual surrender of Italy are already underway, official denials notwithstanding, is the opinion of many diplomats here.

This does not mean that London and Washington have offered Italy detailed peace terms. There are reports, however, that King Victor Emmanuel had put out feelers via Madrid and that London, after contact with Washington, has definitely made known the answer.

The essence of that answer has been made public. In his speech to the House of Commons yesterday, Prime Minister Churchill told Italy that unless she withdrew from the war at once, she would be “seared, scarred and blackened from one end to the other.” Unquestionably King Victor Emmanuel has the official text of that speech at hand now.

But that was not the significant part of what the British statesman had to say. He made it unmistakable that Great Britain and the United States were prepared to deal with the King, Marshal Pietro Badoglio or any other duly constituted authority.

Warns of mistake

When Italian affairs are in the present flexible, formative position, he said:

It would be a grave mistake for the rescuing powers – Britain and the United States – so to act as to break down the whole structure and expression of the Italian state.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there are certain ideological groups that strenuously object to having anything to do with King Victor Emmanuel, the House of Savoy, Marshal Badoglio or anybody else who, in the past 12 years, has had anything to do with the Italian scene. It is to these, apparently, that Mr. Churchill addressed his word of caution.

Similarly significant was President Roosevelt’s sharp rebuke yesterday to the Office of War Information. The OWI had broadcast by shortwave that:

There is no reason to believe that the essential nature of the Fascist regime of Italy has changed.

…and had quoted an American columnist as calling the Italian ruler a “moronic little king.”

Roosevelt agrees

That was on Sunday night. Yesterday, Prime Minister Churchill announced that:

Mussolini has gone and the Fascist power has certainly been irretrievably broken.

He went on to say that he and President Roosevelt were in daily contact and were in complete agreement on the course to pursue. And, speaking of the Badoglio government, he added that:

We would be foolish to deprive ourselves of any means of coming to a general conclusion with the Italian nation.

Mr. Churchill said:

We certainly do not seek to reduce Italian life to a condition of chaos and anarchy and find ourselves without an authority with which to deal.

Won’t start revolution

From the above, it would seem conclusive that Great Britain and the United States have no intention whatever of waiting for a revolution to break out in Italy – let alone stirring one up – before taking steps to “a general conclusion.”

Months ago, both Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt told the Italian people that if they would oust Mussolini and his Fascists, they could set up any kind of democratic government they wanted. Mr. Churchill said:

One man, and one man alone, has brought them to this pass.

And now, he says:

Mussolini has gone and the Fascist power has been irrevocably broken.

If, as he said, he and Mr. Roosevelt see eye to eye with regard to Italy, it would seem that the Italian surrender can proceed.

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