Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Phillips)

I sent for the Italian Ambassador this morning and told him that we had been receiving information from abroad for some time past regarding the relations of the Italians with the Jugo-Slavs, which was disturbing us and that we hoped that the Italian Government would take no steps in the disputed territory (territory outside of the pact of London), which could in the slightest degree alienate our sympathies with Italy; that this Government wanted to be in complete sympathy and accord with Italy, etc., etc. The Ambassador replied at length on the subject of the relations of Italy with the Jugo-Slavs and more especially with France. He pointed out that Italy had acted on the Dalmatian coast only according to the terms of the armistice and the agreement of London. He said he felt sure that our reports originated in Paris where there was intense antagonism to the Italian cause and that there was a growing feeling on the part of the French to deprive Italy of the result of her successful war and of territory promised under the pact of London; in fact he was sure that the French were stirring up the Jugo-Slavs to make trouble and was clearly under the impression that the French had practically recognized the Pact of Corfu18 which was of course entirely inconsistent with the pact of London.

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At the end of his remarks the Ambassador showed me a telegram this morning received from Sonnino, reporting a conversation with the French Ambassador in Rome, in which it was agreed that the Italian and Allied flags would fly together on territory on the Dalmatian coast outside of the territory occupied by Italy under the armistice. I said I was glad to hear this and hoped that much of the difficulty would be solved in this way. The Ambassador frequently showed great bitterness towards France and French diplomacy and repeated several times that if Italy was deprived of her just claims under the pact of London, a revolution would surely follow in Italy.

  1. Signed July 7/20, 1917, by the Serbian Prime Minister and the President of the Yugo-Slav Committee. English text in H. W. V. Temperley, A History of the Peace Conference of Paris (London, 1920), vol. v, p. 393.