740.00119 Control (Italy)/6–2345: Telegram

No. 570
President Truman to Marshal Stalin 1
top secret

304. Since the receipt of your message of 21 June,2 in regard to the negotiations at Trieste, I have received word from the Supreme Allied [Page 853] Commander that these discussions in Trieste have been concluded and a supplementary military accord signed. These discussions were intended solely for the purpose of implementing the military aspects of the political agreement reached between the United States, British and Yugoslav Governments on June 9. The June 9 agreement embodied the principle that the future disposition of the Venezia Giulia territory should be reserved for orderly adjustment as a part of the eventual peace settlement, and that nothing in the agreement would prejudice or affect the ultimate disposal of the area.

Having reached agreement on this point, it was then conceded that Yugoslav administration could be established in the disputed area up to the limit of the territory necessary to meet Allied military requirements. Throughout the discussions, both on the government and military level, due regard has been given to legitimate interests of both Yugoslav and Italian populations as well as to the Yugoslav contribution to the elimination of German military power.

As I said in my previous message to you on this subject,3 the Allied Commander must have adequate authority in the area entrusted to him to enable him to carry out his task and to safeguard the interests of all concerned. In a like fashion responsibility of the Yugoslav Commander has been recognized and there has been no effort to interfere with the exercise of his responsibility in the region of Venezia Giulia entrusted to him east of the agreed line. The Allied Governments must therefore insist that there be no interference with the exercise of their responsibility west of the line, particularly since both commanders have agreed that they will refrain from any action prejudicing the final settlement.

It is true difficulties arose during the conversations at Trieste since it appeared that the Yugoslav authorities did not fully appreciate that the fundamental principle of the agreement of June 9 was that no action could be permitted which would prejudice the ultimate disposal of the area. The Yugoslav Military Commander at first declined to recognize the Allied Commander’s authority which was established by Article 3 of the Belgrade agreement over administration west of the line. This and other acts on the part of local commanders subsequent to June 9 have given rise to the impression that these local commanders had not yet been informed of the full extent of the agreement reached with Marshal Tito and the Belgrade Government.

Should there be any further aspect of the agreement which you feel should be considered, we shall have an opportunity to discuss this at our early meeting.

  1. Presumably sent to the United States Naval Attaché, Moscow, via the White House Map Room and Navy channels. This message had been drafted in the Department of State and submitted by Grew to the White House for approval under cover of a memorandum of June 23 (file No. 740.00119 Control (Italy)/6–2345). It was telegraphed to Truman, who approved the draft, with minor changes, on June 25. For Churchill’s reply to Stalin’s message of June 21, see Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. i, p. 370.
  2. Document No. 562.
  3. The reference is to a message received by Stalin on May 31 Text in Stalin’s Correspondence, vol. ii, p. 240.