J. C. S. Files

No. 561
Agreed Note by the Supreme Commander oF the Yugoslav Army (Tito) and the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean (Alexander)1

Note on Civil Administration of Zone of Venezia Giulia Coming Under Allied Military Government

With reference to Article 3 of the agreement signed in Belgrade on 9th June 1945, a Memorandum was submitted by the Jugoslav Delegation setting out proposals with regard to the civil administration of the territory coming under Allied Military Government.
The Delegation representing the Supreme Allied Commander were unable to accept these proposals and presented the Jugoslav Delegation with an Aide Memoire showing how it was intended that Allied Military Government should operate.
The Jugoslav Delegation are unable to regard this Aide Memoire as satisfactory and reserve the right to raise this matter through diplomatic channels.
Apco P. Jobahobиh
For Marshal Josip Broz Tito,
Supreme Commander of the Jugoslav Army.
W. D. Morgan .
Lt. Genl[.]
For Field Marshal The Honourable Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander,
Supreme Allied Commander of the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.
[Enclosure 1]3


Note by Jugoslavs on Allied Military Government

In connection with point 3 of Belgrade agreement and in regard of fact that the population of that territory has compactly organized an armed resistance movement on the Allied side against the Italian army and authorities before the capitulation of Italy , and [Page 844] has built up and maintained until today its own civil administration, and in regard of the national composition of the population on [in] that area, the old system of the Italian civil administration will not be renewed. Instead of that, the new organs of the already existing civil administration will be accepted, if they are working satisfactorily according to the opinion of the Supreme Allied Commander.
In case that A. M. G. is not satisfied with work of the administrational personnel or any organs of the civil administration, the Regional National Committee as the first subordinated organ of the civil administration to the A. M. G. is obliged on request and to the satisfaction of A. M. G. to carry out immediately necessary replacements.
The Italian Government as well as the organs subordinated to it, will have no influence on the civil administration of this area.
The Slovene and Italian nationalities are equal in regard to A. M. G. Both languages are equal in official relations. In inscriptions, proclamations and other official statements, both languages will be used.
To avoid provocative activities of Fascist elements and to safeguard impartiality of the civil administration, the Regional National Committee will hand over to the A. M. G. commented [annotated?] lists of persons who have been in the service of the enemies of the United Nations during the war or have perpetrated violence and crimes against the local Slovene and Italian population.
[Enclosure 2]

Comments on Draft Paper on “Civil Administration”

The draft paper on civil administration which you submitted yesterday raised several important points of principle which we discussed quite fully. In order that there may be no misunderstanding, however, I wish to comment briefly on the four important questions presented.

First, you stress again the fact that this territory is liberated in character, in part through the struggle of the civilian population itself over a long period. The liberated character of the area is fully recognised. In friendly territory, which we consider this to be, AMG will conduct its relations with the civilian population accordingly and anticipates close cooperation with those elements which have proved their sympathy for and support of the Allied cause during the war.

Second, you ask adoption of the principle of equality as between persons of Italian and Slovene origin, particularly as regards language. [Page 845] As we have made clear to you all persons, of whatever national origin, enjoy equality before AMG. As to language, we have already taken measures to have proclamations and other papers published in the Slovene language where appropriate, that is, in areas in which the Slovene population is concentrated in numbers sufficient to warrant it.

Third, you have asked us to give you assurance that the Italian Government will have no influence on the civil administration of this area. I do not think it necessary, in this connection, to lay down any principles beyond those which ordinarily govern our military administration of occupied territory. I call your attention to the fact that Article No. 1 of Proclamation No. 14 states that all powers of government and jurisdiction in those parts of Venezia Giulia occupied by the Allied Forces and over its inhabitants, and final administrative responsibility are vested solely in the Supreme Allied Commander as Military Governor. This formally denies to the Italian Government, as it does to all other authorities other than the Allied Military Command, any power in our military administration.

In connection with the general question of relations with the Italians, you should have in mind two points. As set forth in the proclamations, the laws applicable in the territory during our period of trusteeship will be Italian laws, purged of all fascist measures and supplemented by our AMG proclamations and orders. This follows inevitably from the fact that the territory belongs legally to Italy unless and until it is transferred to another power under the orderly procedures of international law. If, as you indicated yesterday, you interpret this fact as implying the reintroduction of fascism in any form, you show very little understanding of the intentions of Britain and the United States with regard to this area and, in fact, of their objectives and accomplishments during this war. Both Britain and the United States have fought a long, bitter and costly war to destroy fascism and it would be as intolerable to us as to you to permit its rebirth in any area for which we are responsible.

You must also bear in mind that there are large numbers of Italians in the territory which we will administer. It will be our duty to protect their rights as vigorously as we shall the rights of Slovenes or any other groups who may be subject to our orders.

Finally, in your draft you ask us, in effect, to recognise certain committees of liberation as the sole agencies through which we will conduct the civil administration. This we cannot do. In the proper discharge of his responsibilities to the two governments, the Supreme Allied Commander cannot so limit his authority. You, as a soldier, [Page 846] should understand this principle. Even if he were free to do so, the Supreme Allied Commander would not now agree to accept any person or group of persons as the instruments through which he will govern the territory without satisfying himself as to their efficiency and loyalty to the purposes of his administration. You have the undertaking of our two governments in the Belgrade agreement. I am not empowered to add to or further define that undertaking.

In closing this subject, I should like to venture a final suggestion. The degree to which Allied Military Government and the groups whose interests you have been representing will be able to cooperate will depend, I believe, in large measure upon the willingness and ability of these groups to assist us in maintaining order and conducting civil administration in this area during a difficult period. I trust you will make this clear to all concerned. If you and they will have confidence in our desire and ability to insure a just and impartial regime you will make a great contribution toward the solution of the problem.

  1. Printed from a photostatic copy, in the files of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of the signed original. Although this note was signed on June 20, its precise terms were not known to the Department of State until the afternoon of June 23, by which time the Department had received a full telegraphic text from Kirk.
  2. Arso R. Jovanović.
  3. Enclosures 1 and 2 are printed from mimeographed texts prepared in Alexander’s headquarters.
  4. Text in The Allied Military Government Gazette (published in Trieste by Allied Military Government, 13 Corps, Venezia Giulia), No. 1, September 15, 1945, p. 3, and in Department of State Bulletin, vol. xvi, p. 1265.