740.00119 Control (Italy)/7–2745: Telegram

No. 1209
The Chargé in Yugoslavia ( Shantz ) to the Acting Secretary of State 1
us urgent

318. Foreign Office delivered letter last night addressed to President Truman and signed by Marshal Tito and Dr. Šubašić concerning “a matter which presses heavily upon our peoples”. A similar letter was delivered at about same time to British Ambassador for Mr. Churchill.

Letter refers to Foreign Office note of July 17, contents of which were summarized in my telegram No. 296 of July 20,2 on the civil administration of the area of Venezia Giulia under AMG (Allied Military Government) and quotes the following clause in Article 3 of the Agreement signed in Belgrade on June 9:

“Use will be made of any Yugo Civil Administration which is already set up and which in the view of the Supreme Allied Commander is working satisfactorily.”

Letter then says this clause rests upon fact that area is liberated territory inhabited mostly by a population which has proved its [Page 1220] devotion to Allied cause and is not merely occupied territory. But with coming of Allied military authorities democratic development of Venezia Giulia was brought to standstill] Some democratic institutions were abolished and legal order based on laws in force up to September 8, 1943, was reinstated along with Fascist laws, Fascist institutions and Fascist administrators. Allied military authorities were not satisfied to use the democratic institutions and democratic procedures available. Therefore, it is proposed that democratic elections be carried out in the part of Venezia Giulia under Allied Administration “whereby the organs of civil administration would be chosen in accordance with the democratic aspirations of the people”.

Note concludes that settlement at peace conference of question of Venezia Giulia is awaited with greatest confidence but in meantime, interpreting the wishes of both Slovenes and Italians, it is desired that these afflicted heroic peoples be returned liberties they won through their sacrifices so that until final decision of peace conference they may live under a national administration of their own choosing in close collaboration with AMG.

Please note Yugo claim that territory administered by AMG is liberated territory and that no mention is made of the region of Friuli. Reaction of British Ambassador is that holding of an election in Venezia Giulia would add enormously to burden of AMG and that to accept Yugo thesis that the area is liberated territory would in effect prejudge the final question of sovereignty. We agree in this opinion. Text of letter follows by airgram.3

  1. Text repeated in extenso in telegram No. 155 of July 29 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 740.00119 (Potsdam)/8–645).
  2. Not printed. For the full text of the note referred to, see the enclosure to document No. 1207.
  3. Airgram not printed. For the full text of the Tito-Šubašić communication, see document No. 1207.