763.72/12287: Telegram

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

2376. Occupation of Fiume by Italian forces was made November 9th. Reported that detachment marines landed from Italian destroyer [name garbled] at Volosca and Abbazia near Fiume followed November 11th by a battalion which promptly disarmed Croat [Page 297]and Austrian officials. Conditions Fiume reported serious. Croat element and disbanded Croat, Serb and Slovene soldiers resorting to violence and disorder against property and to overthrow Italian element. Further stated that mob of ex-Servian prisoners of war and Croat and Sloven armed soldiers created reign of terror …9 Italians declared that then in Fiume forty-odd thousand citizens of Italian stock, that schools, official documents municipality, archives, newspapers, languages and customs are and have been up to the present Italian. Conflict between Croats Slovenes breaking [out] and conflict between Croats and Servians was expected. Contingents of Allied and American troops have been sent there. Similar detachments have been sent to Cattaro and I hear to Pola. The British have sent a Brigadier General in command of their battalion stating it is because they need someone of experience and judgment.

Belief prevails here that French agents inspired disorder for unknown reason. An Italian just returned from Fiume states that a few days past French warships entered harbor and commander spent several hours in conference with Jugo-Slavs and left without calling on Italian authorities only sending them his card. Belief growing in Italy that Jugo-Slavs have no intention observing Pact of Rome.10 Evidence of this shown in fact that Dr. Ante Trumbič is reported excluded from Jugo-Slavs committee organized by Koraszek.

I hear also that the Servian Government has broken with the Jugo-Slavs and now speak only of a greater Servia.

British opinion gathered here is apparently in accord with Italian view that Jugo-Slavs are against Italy and will continually play into hands of Germany bringing latter down to Adriatic. ‘Meantime everyone appears to feel that presence of Allied and American troops necessary to prevent serious outbreak.

Nelson Page
  1. The deleted passage was so garbled as to be unintelligible.
  2. General agreement among the subject nationalities of Austria-Hungary, April 10, 1918. See Adriaticus, La Question Adriatique, Recueil de documents offlciels (Paris, Imprimerie Typographique, 1920), Document VI, p. 24. A translation of the agreement may be found in René Albrecht-Carrté, Italy at the Paris Peace Conference (New York, Columbia University Press, 1938), p. 347.