763.72/12324: Telegram

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

2386. Italian Government has received deed of transfer of Austro-Hungarian fleet to representatives of Jugo-Slavs. Press comments with scathing expressions of indignation and contempt, especially as document would appear to be dated a few days after armistice was signed between Italians and Austria-Hungary. Question is raised of who in Austria-Hungary would indemnify Allies and ourselves. Some suggest Italy be indemnified by Hungary and by Duchy of Austria and by Jugo-Slavs if their anti-Italian policy continues. Announcement now made that Italian troops with Allied contingents have occupied Fiume. This done it is explained not only on account restoring public order upon urgings of Italian citizens who asked for protection. Vice Admiral Millo of Italian Navy, has landed at Sebenico and has taken possession as representative of Italy, of the Allies, and of the United States.

Yesterday I received two reports from the Prime Minister which he states illustrate manner in which Jugo-Slavs are acting towards Italy. Among these was copy of protest which Italians of Spalato made to commander French squadron against abuses committed by National Guard of Provisional Local Jugo-Slav Government in that city. These acts, Prime Minister states, were so unjustifiable that even said Government had to deplore them. Also at Gorizia, he states, Jugo-Slavs give proof of their sinister designs. There they constituted a sort of provisional government and have even refused handing over military magazines containing foodstuffs and, with 1,500 Jugo-Slavs, are committing extraordinary acts, such as occupation public telephone and telegraph offices, seizure of safety deposit offices, appropriation of foodstuffs, et cetera.

It would appear that unless the Jugo-Slav committees, styling themselves provisional local governments, have a [apparent omission] they will soon reach a point where the Italians will take matters hi their own hands and we shall have a disastrous clash.

Nelson Page