HC Deb 22 March 1944 vol 398 cc828-30
4. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government were consulted before the Soviet and Italian Governments agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations by exchanging ambassadors; and whether His Majesty's Government propose taking similar steps.

7. Mr. Ivor Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what communications have passed between His Majesty's Government and the Italian Government relative to an exchange of diplomatic representatives; and will he make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Eden

No communications have passed between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Italian Government regarding an exchange of diplomatic representatives between this country and Italy.

His Majesty's Government do not intend to alter the existing position under which relations between this country and the Italian Government are conducted through the medium of the Allied Control Commission set up under the terms of the Armistice with Italy.

His Majesty's Government are in communication with the Soviet Government regarding the exchange of representatives between that Government and the Italian Government as to which they were not consulted beforehand and I have no further statement to make on this matter at the present time.

Sir Alfred Beit

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Italian democratic parties staged a meeting of protest, as they did after the very moderate speech of the Prime Minister?

Mr. Eden

I am afraid I have no information.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Are we not rather apt to forget how short a time ago it is since the Italians were killing our men?

Mr. Lipson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the decision he has just announced was made after consultation with the Government of the United States of America?

Mr. Eden

Yes, certainly; my hon. Friend will observe that Mr. Hull used language very similar to that which I have just used.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Before representatives are exchanged, will the decision be taken in the light of the first point of the Moscow Declaration on Italy, that it is essential that the Italian Government should be made more democratic by the introduction of representatives of those sections of the Italian people who have always opposed Fascism?

Mr. Eden

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will argue that out with the Soviet Government.

12. Mr. Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Soviet Government was associated with the provisional agreement between Great Britain and the U.S.A. to take a new view of the future government of Italy after the occupation of Rome?

Mr. Eden

The Italian campaign is a combined Anglo-American operation, and for this reason the British and United States Governments were alone parties to the provisional agreement mentioned by the Prime Minister in his statement of 22nd February. The Soviet Government are, of course, represented on the Advisory Council for Italy, and they have not expressed any dissent from the course of action agreed upon, either to His Majesty's Government or to the Council.

Mr. Cocks

Would not affairs be likely to go more smoothly if the Soviet Union were associated with this provisional agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America?

Mr. Eden

I really do not think that is justified. The actual operations which have taken place in Italy are military operations with which our Government and the United States Government are, in particular, concerned. The Soviet Government are fully represented on the Advisory Council where they can state what views they like. If the hon. Member is suggesting that this action in some way did not concur with the views of the Soviet Government, he has only to remember the action they have taken in recognising the Badoglio Government.

Mr. Cocks

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the action he mentions took place after this agreement between ourselves and America about Rome? It was not a military agreement at all.

Mr. Eden

If there is any complaint at all, I think the hon. Member could leave it to the Soviet Government to make. I can say that immense pains have been taken by His Majesty's Government, and the American Government, to consult them at every stage of this Italian business.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that on 15th October Marshal Badoglio undertook to resign when the Allies took over? Will he be held to that?

Mr. Eden

That seems to be rather a different question.

Mr. G. Strauss

In this connection, will the right hon. Gentleman hear in mind that whereas the Italian Government stated a few months ago that they would retain power until Rome was captured, they are now saying that they should retain power until the end of the war?

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