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September 3



The signature ofShort armistice,however, it could only take place at 5.15 pm on 3 September, at the time when a telegram signed by Marshal Badoglio, specifically requested by the Allies, in which General Castellano was explicitly authorized to sign, arrived at 17.00 on that day.


Cassibile 3 September 1943

Bedell Smith, signing. Standing from left the English Commodore Dick, the US General Dwight Eisnhower, Commander-in-Chief of the allied forces, the English Captain Deann, the General Castellano and the interpreter Montanari

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Walter Bedell Smith, General Kenneth Strong, General Rooks (of the Operations Department), Commodore Roger Dick (Chief of Staff of Admiral Andrew B. Cunningham, Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Forces in the Mediterranean), the major Luigi Marchesi and the consul Franco Montanari.

L'Short armisticeit was signed, for the Italian side, by General Castellano delegated to sign by Marshal Badoglio, and for the allied side by General Smith, delegated to sign by General Eisenhower.

Our representative was given the following documents:

  • L'Short armistice, signed, with the additional conditions of theQuebec Memorandum;

  • a copy ofLong armisticewhich defined, in more restrictive terms, the conditions contained in the'Short armistice;

  • theTHEinstructions for the movement of Italian warships and merchant shipsprepared by Commodore Dick;

  • theInstructions regarding the flow of aircraft to the bases of Sicily and North Africaprepared by US Army Air Force General Conrad Cannon;

  • a memo from General Harold R. Alexander on the behavior to be followed by the Italian Armed Forces at the time of the proclamation of the Armistice;

  • a reminder for the Military Information Service (SIM);

  • the provisions for the “Giant 2” operation which provided for the use of the 82nd US Airborne Division in the Rome area.


It is recalled that a mutual commitment was made that the Armistice would be made public only when the Allies made the planned landing in Central Italy. Furthermore, as a warning signal for the Italian authorities, Radio Londra was supposed to broadcast half an hour of Verdi's music between 09.00 and 10.00 (Greenwich Mean Time), as well as a two-minute news bulletin on German activity in Argentina.

The announcement of the Armistice would have been made by General Eisenhower, by radio, five or six hours before the main Allied landing; immediately afterwards the message of Marshal Badoglio was to follow, also proclaiming the cessation of hostilities.

As previously mentioned, General Castellano tried, as far as possible, to know the exact date of the landing, given the importance that this had for the Italian government but, due to the military secrecy that the operation covered, he only managed to obtain some vague news.

At 8.30 pm on the 3rd a meeting took place aimed at establishing, between General Castellano and the Allies, the actions to be taken for the application of the Armistice.

Among these, only the part of the Report of that session which concerns the Italian Navy is reported below. This Report was recovered by the historian Anna Vailati through the examination of an unpublished microfilm of documents belonging to General Smith.

Naval requests:


Commodore Dick said that, under the terms of the Armistice, the Italian fleet had to move to the southern ports, under Allied control. This was very important for his salvation.

General Castellano asked if, as indicated above, part of the fleet could remain in Sardinian ports, for example Cagliari.

Commodore Dick replied no, because Admiral Cunningham wanted the units from La Spezia to go to the Bona area and those from Taranto to Malta.

Commodore Dick specified that by the time the Italian ships moved, the Allied ships would also take to the sea. Admiral Cunningham's plan was intended to prevent them from meeting and fighting at night. "We know from German prisoners - he said - that the Germans intend to sink Italian ships with bombs and torpedoes rather than letting them fall into the hands of the allies".

Commodore Dick pointed out that initially steps had to be taken to take control of these units (by the Allied side).

General Castellano pointed out that he hoped the form would be as non-offensive as possible.

General Smith said there was so little time that the Allies were forced to follow the indicated procedure. There would then be an adjustment process until coordinated action could be established. Italian officers and sailors would not be subjected to any humiliating treatment.

Commodore Dick then said that there were some points which, for the moment, could only be dealt with generically. He asked if an Italian naval officer could be sent to the Mediterranean Naval Command in Chief.

General Castellano replied yes, adding that:

  it was advisable to avoid a transfer by air. He thought that the transfer could be made with an appointment at sea [...].

Commodore Dick said that the date of proclamation of the Armistice was important and that, unless otherwise specified, the ships had to be ready to move on the night of the proclamation, which, according to forecasts, would take place at 6.30 pm, time of Rome, on day D, a few hours before the main allied landing.

And once again, matters concerning the Italian Navy and related decisions were dealt with without prior knowledge of Admiral de Courten's opinion.

However, it is important to highlight the consideration in which the Italian Navy was held by Premier Churchill, who in a letter sent on September 9, 1943 to President Roosevelt, writes as follows:

  “The issue of the flag of Italian ships should be considered, as well as an agreement so that the Italians can command these ships under British or American control. The whole question of how to deal with the Italian Navy and how to achieve maximum utilization requires a high-level review [...] ”.

And still Churchill puts it this way:

 "I very much wanted the Italian Navy to be treated well". At Cunningham I telegraphed on 10 September: 'If the Italian fleet arrives unscathed in our ports, after having scrupulously observed the armistice conditions and supported the retaliatory attack of the German aircraft, I trust that you will consult General Eisenhower, so that it may be received with generosity and courtesy. I am sure that this will happen in harmony with your feelings "..

Especially the tone of this telegram clearly illustrates the esteem enjoyed by the Italian Navy from Premier Churchill and also from Admiral Cunningham.

Consideration and esteem that our Sailors had won from the Allies, in the forty months of glorious behavior of our crews during the conflict.

And also in this case the Allies kept faith in their moral commitment as,   on 29 September 1943, a "Naval Agreement" was signed in Taranto between the admirals de Courten and Cunningham, concerning the cooperation of the Royal Navy in war operations alongside the Allies, which placed the Italian Navy on the same level of moral equality with regard to the allied Navies

September 3


Marshal Badoglio urgently gathered at the Viminale:

  •   General Ambrosio,

  •  general Antonio Sorice (Minister of War),

  •  Admiral de Courten,

  • General Renato Sandalli (Minister and Chief of Staff of the Air Force),

  •  Raffaele Guariglia (Foreign Minister),

  • Count Pietro Acquarone (Minister of the Royal House).


Marshal Badoglio, after having bound those present to the commitment of the most rigorous secrecy on the news that he would have communicated to them and after a succinct exposition on the tragic conditions in which the economic and social life of the Nation was precipitating, as well as the efficiency of our Armed Forces , informed those present that

“Given this situation, SM the King had decided to start negotiations for the conclusion of an armistice: conversations were taking place in Palermo. In the course of these attempts were made to get the Anglo-Americans to land as close as possible to Rome and to transfer an airborne division near the capital. The meeting was very short and took place in such a way as to exclude information and comments from those present ".

Marshal Badoglio also communicated

  "the authorization given to General Castellano for the acceptance of the Armistice, therefore inviting everyone to prepare, in their own competence, everything that could be done to improve the situation of our Armed Forces, with respect to the German ones, and according to the directives already given by the Chief of the General Staff ”.

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