763.72119/2610: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall ) to the Secretary of State

5751. I have received communication from Doctor Korosec, President of National Council of Zagreb, representing the Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes of former Austro-Hungarian monarchy, enclosing protest of National Council addressed to Allies and United States.3a Communication states similar protest being sent by King of Servia.

This protest states following: Although zone of occupation by Entente troops fixed by terms of armistice, this zone was not to prejudice the final demarcation of the western frontier of Austria-Hungary. It is unfortunate however, that zones determined upon by armistice are same as those traced by treaty of London of April 25 [26], 1915, which treaty was concluded against wish and undoubted right of Yugo-Slavs at the time when the principle of self-determination was not yet officially recognized by the Allies as a principle of international law of civilized peoples. It is to be feared that at the time of the final demarcation of this frontier the right of self-determination will not prevail. This fear is enhanced by manner in which the terms of the armistice are being executed. Not Allied, but Italian troops are forming army of occupation. Localities such as Fiume, outside of prescribed zone, are being occupied without any military justification, since the troops of the National Council of Zagreb are already in possession. In occupied districts military authorities address proclamations to the people which foreshadow definite annexation to Italy. Contrary to terms of armistice, civil governors and local authorities are being nominated by occupying army. Such procedure arouses justified discontent among the people and unless measures are taken with the least possible delay to remedy situation National Council declines in advance to accept any responsibility for the consequences which may result.

In connection with above protest, I have just received rumor that general mobilization of Yugo-Slav forces against Italians has been declared.

  1. Communication and protest printed as enclosures to the Minister’s despatch No. 5267, Nov. 18, 1918, p. 298.