763.72119/9120: Telegram

The Special Representative ( House ) to the Secretary of State

129. The Italian Ambassador in Paris has just transmitted to me the following confidential telegram which he received from the Italian Prime Minister today:

“During a conversation which the French Ambassador at Rome held with the Italian Prime Minister by order of his Government, the former referring to the recent occupation of Fiume made the following requests.

  • First. That the Italians should keep within the territorial limits agreed upon in the armistice.
  • Second. That they should abstain from occupying territory beyond these, as such occupation was to be carried out by the Franco-Serbian forces of the army of Saloniki only.
  • Third. That in principle, Allied troops should cooperate [in] occupation of territories specified in the armistice.

To these three requests Mr. Orlando replied that the occupation of Fiume had taken place upon positive information of ill-treatment of [Page 306]Italians in that city, such information having been confirmed by English and American citizens. Furthermore, that territorial occupation for reasons of public order was admitted by the conditions of the armistice beyond the limits indicated therein, and that it would be unjust to deny such faculty to the Italians while reserving it to the Franco-Serbian forces. Moreover, the occupation of Fiume by Inter-Allied forces had taken place and American contingents had already reached the city. As to the intervention of the Inter-Allied forces in the territory specified under the armistice, there could be no doubt that the Allies were entitled to this privilege, but to bring undue pressure upon the Italian Government to enforce this right would hardly be friendly. In any event, such cooperation in occupied territory should be carried out by Allied troops belonging to the armies which have fought on the Italian front.”

Edward House