106 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1005 LONDON, 7 June 1945, 5.40 p.m.

SECRET

My telegram D No. 1716 22nd November, 1944. [1] ITALY.

The Italian Ambassador Washington [2] has been sounding United States Official opinion and has apparently put forward a definite request from the Italian Government to be allowed to declare war on Japan.

2. The United States Government have informed us that they feel that although from a military angle such a declaration might be of negligible value, acceptance of participation of Italy in the Far Eastern war would contribute to the prestige of the Italian Government during the present difficult period and strengthen the position of moderate elements. A refusal of the Italian request would, on the other hand, be a discouraging rebuff. The United States Government accordingly propose that if we agree and after the Soviet Government have been informed, the Italian Government should be told that the United States would welcome declaration of war on Japan but that such action would involve no commitments regarding Allied shipping or resources.

3. The United States Government have asked for our concurrence and added that this step would also afford Italy an opportunity of severing her relations with Japan under the 1940 Tripartite Pact.

(Presumably the United States Government will attach less importance to this now that the Japanese Government themselves have declared the Tripartite Pact no longer valid.) 4. We still remain opposed to Italy playing any part militarily or diplomatically in the Far East during or after the war. On the other hand declaration of war might have a favourable effect on the Internal Political situation in Italy. It might also facilitate our obtaining from Italy services which we had in any case required her to render for prosecution of the war in the Far East. We therefore propose to agree to United States suggestion subject of course to the reservation that Italian declaration of war on Japan will involve no commitments regarding Allied shipping or resources.

1 On file AA : A1066, H45/1013/1/12. It advised that as Italy had no direct interest in the Far East, the U.K. Govt was averse to any Italian participation in the war against Japan.

2 Alberto Tarchiani.

[AA : A1066, E45/19/17]