Britain, Italy and the Origins of the Cold War by Effie G. H. Pedaliu (auth.)

By Effie G. H. Pedaliu (auth.)

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Sample text

The Conservatives did not file any awkward questions on this matter either. Thus, the government had a free hand on the issue and sought to find a way of avoiding direct responsibility on extraditions and regulating war crimes issues through the inclusion of a war crimes clause in the Italian Peace Treaty. But, even this was not to be straightforward. 72 The Italian government disliked the idea of a war crimes clause immediately. By 1946, the postwar Italian state had begun showing signs of asserting its newly found but as yet fragile sovereignty and was in the process of trying to achieve international rehabilitation.

The Foreign Office, having failed to stick to policies which would ensure the prosecution of these alleged criminals and having suffered a bout of bad Prosecution of Italian War Criminals 31 conscience, was becoming angry with what it regarded as Italian slackness in dealing with the issue. 100 It was not until November that the Italians informed the Rome Embassy that they were about to charge 40 Italians as war criminals. 101 British pressure on Italy to act, however, brought about yet a further deterioration in Anglo-Italian relations.

American cooperation was to be unforthcoming. 66 The Allied Forces Head Quarters (AFHQ), the body through which apprehension and ‘hand-overs’ would be carried out, was a combined and fully integrated organisation. This meant that British decisions could not be executed without the agreement of their American allies. It also meant that the line on extraditions that the SACMED had adopted in contrast to the Foreign Office could not be overriden. The AFHQ kept procrastinating and creating additional delays, which made the British government quite uncomfortable.

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