763.72/12283: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Page ) to the Secretary of State

2363. Feeling aroused against Jugo-Slavs by latter’s action regarding Austria’s fleet has been further augmented by Jugo-Slav efforts to forestall Italian possession of various ports on Adriatic. Italian feeling also going against France which is credited with inspiring and encouraging much of what Italians term Jugo-Slav imperialistic aggressiveness. Situation in Fiume is typical. Hungarian Government abandoned Fiume night of October 28th, turning over city to Croatian Governor and Jugo-Slav troops which now hold city while Italian Squadron which arrived November 4th under Admiral Rainer, sent at the request of Italian population of Fiume, lies in port “to protect Italians and interests of Italy.” Many incidents of violence but no bloodshed. Both Italian troops and Jugo-Slav commander [Page 295]reported as showing commendable moderation but situation is one in which a clash may readily occur. Due reparation rendered by both sides to insults of other’s flag. Italian population Fiume reported Austria census about 30,000, Jugo-Slav 13,000, Hungarian 7,000, other nationalities 2,000.

Delegate plenipotentiary sent some 10 days ago by municipality and National Committee of Fiume received by Italian Premier and on 13th by the Italian Mayor of Rome. Proclamation issued October 30, 1918, declared decision to unite Fiume to Italy and placed decision “under the protection of America, mother of Liberty.” This decision apparently represents the will of majority of inhabitants of Fiume. In any event, Italian public now boldly claim Fiume as an Italian city.

Nelson Page