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September 8 afternoon in Rome


General Castellano had replied with a telegram to Marshal Badoglio, in which he pointed out that it was absolutely necessary that the agreements established at the time be respected, that General Eisenhower would announce the Armistice at 18.30 and that an hour later it was to follow the announcement of the Italian Government. The telegram ended by stating that

"The Commander in Chief declares that failure to announce could have disastrous consequences for the future of Italy".


General Eisenhower, on whom operational decisions depended, was in Biserta, where the texts of the various phonograms reached him and summoned General Castellano  in this port. With very harsh words he specified that it was absolutely impossible to stop the complex war machine set in motion and in particular the substantial naval convoys that were now close to the Italian coasts, therefore, in agreement with the other allies, it had been decided to confirm for the 18.00 the announcement of the Armistice; furthermore, the provisions taken by the Allies, regarding the proclamation of the Armistice, responded to what was established in the agreements signed on 3 September in Cassibile. The only operation that could be canceled was the departure of the airborne troops.

Consequently, General Eisenhower sent a firm and harsh message to Marshal Badoglio, recalling him to the agreements made, and to the need for him, after his message of 6.30 pm, to immediately follow the proclamation of the Government to the Italian people. He also asked him to arrange for General Taylor to go to Bizerte instead of Tunis.


17.00 - General Alexander answered Marshal Badoglio that he was ready to receive both General Rossi and General Taylor in Tunis at 19.00.

Marshal Badoglio and General Ambrosio after receiving this telegram, believed that there were good hopes for a delay in the proclamation of the armistice.


5.30 pm - The ultimatum of General Eisenhower reaches Marshal Badoglio and deprived him of all hope on the possibility of obtaining a delay regarding the declaration of the Armistice. It was therefore decided to convene the "Council of the Crown" for 6.00 pm, to inform the military leaders and the Foreign Minister of the situation.


Marshal Badoglio, General Ambrosio, Ministers Guariglia and Sorice, Admiral de Courten, General Sandalli, General Roatta, General Giuseppe de Stefanis, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army and General Coals. Badoglio, Guariglia and Ambrosio were made to enter immediately in the presence of the King, shortly after the other summoned authorities were also introduced.

The King said:

“General Eisenhower announced that this very evening he will notify the Armistice on the radio, while this should only have taken place in a few days. I wanted to bring together Lor gentlemen to find out their opinion on this sudden and unexpected change in the situation "

Admiral de Courten expressed to the minister Guariglia, a neighbor, his surprise not being aware of the signing of an armistice and the related clauses.

The King, noting the exchange of words between de Courten and Guariglia, turned to de Courten:

"You Admiral what do you think?"

Admiral de Courten replies:

"I have no knowledge that an armistice has been concluded, nor its clauses, nor of a fixed date for its notification, so I do not feel like expressing an opinion on a matter of which I do not know the exact terms"

General Sandalli pointed out that he was in the same condition as Admiral de Courten.

The King then invited General Ambrosio to illustrate the situation which turned out to be the following:

  • the first active contacts with the Anglo-Americans to reach the signing of an armistice dated back to the beginning of August;

  • his son had communicated to de Courten “that His Majesty the King had decided to start negotiations for the conclusion of an armistice”);

  •  si had insisted on defining the notification date taking into account the mutual needs;

  • the presumable date indicated by the negotiators was between 12 and 13 September;

  • suddenly General Eisenhower had announced that at 18.30 today he would announce the signing of an armistice and the suspension of hostilities;

  • this advance created very serious situations even bearing in mind the foreseeable German reaction;

  • General Rossi, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, had flown to Palermo together with American General Taylor to persuade Eisenhower to postpone the announcement for a few days;

  • it was hoped that our good reasons would be accepted, but the Reuter Agency had already sent rumors about it.

Major Marchesi, who had participated in the armistice negotiations and in the signing of the "Short armistice”Which took place in Cassibile on 3 September, which illustrated both the progress of the negotiations and the figure of General Castellano, signatory of the Armistice.

The meeting took on lively tones and those present expressed their indignation towards Marshal Badoglio and General Ambrosio for not having kept them informed of the actual progress of the armistice negotiations, which would have allowed them to take the appropriate security measures in time.

Some hypotheses were also advanced on the actions to be taken, but all were discarded.


General Paolo Puntoni, Adjutant to the Field of the King, entered to point out that General Eisenhower was about to communicate the signing of the Armistice with the Italian Government on Radio Algeri.

The King, who had carefully followed the exchanges of views, the recriminations, the criticisms, the various proposals, asked to be left alone for a short time in order to reflect serenely on the situation. After a while he called Marshal Badoglio and told him that he had decided on the complete and loyal application of the armistice clauses by ordering that the Government, and in particular all the Armed Forces, had to faithfully carry out the provisions of the Armistice.

The Crown Council meeting ended around 7.00 pm

This meeting also reports what was written on the subject by Admiral (CM) Giovanni Bernardi, an attentive scholar of the events of 1943

The Marshal reported to the other attendees at the meeting, what was arranged and ordered by the King. Badoglio then went to the EIAR headquartersto communicate the news of the Armistice to the Italian people. The proclamation of Marshal Badoglio was broadcast at 7.45 pm.

General Ambrosio then summoned the three Chiefs of Staff (de Courten, Roatta and Sandalli) to Palazzo Vidoni.

He read the text of theShort armisticesigned on September 3.

Admiral de Courten's reaction, on hearing this news for the first time, was particularly harsh, saying:

"You have made a holocaust of the Fleet, which was the only force left in the country, but you do not deserve it to sacrifice itself, I will give the order that it self-sink this very evening".

At this point, General Ambrosio handed over to de Courten the "Quebec Memorandum

General Ambrosio added:

"In any case, the Allies have assured that they will respect the honor of the Fleet."

Admiral de Courten gave a quick glance at the document and understood that the future of Italy rested essentially on our fleet, as it was the only armed complex that remained compact, united and immediately operational. He therefore requested that a complete copy of the armistice protocol be sent to him as soon as possible.

Around 8.00 pm the admiral quickly took leave of General Ambrosio, specifying that he would make his decisions known as soon as possible.

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