Franklin D. Roosevelt

Joint Statement with Prime Minister Churchill on Conditions in Italy.

September 26, 1944

THE Italian people, freed of their Fascist and Nazi overlordship, have in these last twelve months demonstrated their will to be free, to fight on the side of the democracies, and to take a place among the United Nations devoted to principles of peace and justice.

We believe we should give encouragement to those Italians who are standing for a political rebirth in Italy, and are completing the destruction of the evil Fascist system. We wish to afford the Italians a greater opportunity to aid in the defeat of our common enemies.

The American and the British people are of course horrified by the recent mob action in Rome, but feel that a greater responsibility placed on the Italian people and on their own Government will most readily prevent a recurrence of such acts.

An increasing measure of control will be gradually handed over to the Italian Administration, subject of course to that Administration's proving that it can maintain law and order and the regular administration of justice. To mark this change the Allied Control Commission will be renamed "The Allied Commission."

The British High Commissioner in Italy will assume the additional title of Ambassador. The United States representative in Rome already holds that rank. The Italian Government will be invited to appoint direct representatives to Washington and London.

First and immediate considerations in Italy are the relief of hunger and sickness and fear. To this end we instructed our representatives at the U.N.R.R.A. Conference to declare for the sending of medical aids and other essential supplies to Italy. We are happy to know that this view commended itself to other members of the U.N.R.R.A. Council.

At the same time, first steps should be taken toward the reconstruction of an Italian economy—an economy laid low under the years of the misrule of Mussolini, and ravished by the German policy of vengeful destruction.

These steps should be taken primarily as military aims to put the full resources of Italy and the Italian people into the struggle to defeat Germany and Japan. For military reasons we should assist the Italians in the restoration of such power systems, their railways, motor transport, roads, and other communications as enter into the war situation, and for a short time send engineers, technicians, and industrial experts into Italy to help them in their own rehabilitation.

The application to Italy of the Trading with the Enemy Act should be modified so as to enable business contacts between Italy and the outside world to be resumed for the benefit of the Italian people.

We all wish to speed the day when the last vestiges of Fascism in Italy will have been wiped out, and when the last German will have left Italian soil, and when there will be no need of any Allied troops to remain—the day when free elections can be held throughout Italy, and when Italy can earn her proper place in the great family of free Nations.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joint Statement with Prime Minister Churchill on Conditions in Italy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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