740.00119 Control (Italy)/2–1145: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

1972. At Yalta Eden gave Molotov and the Secretary identic notes concerning the interim administration of Venezia Giulia which in substance proposed that a provisional line of demarcation be established in the compartment between the area to be controlled by Tito and the area over which AMG would be established. Text has been sent you by airgram.

Please deliver a reply to Eden containing the following substance:

The Department has been giving serious consideration to British proposal, submitted to Soviet and American Secretaries of State at Yalta, and to the whole question of the interim administration of Venezia Giulia. As Eden knows the question was discussed by Alexander and Tito at Belgrade recently and a recommendation for solution of the problem has been made to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in a telegram dated March 2. A reply to SAC’s telegram giving him direction on this problem will shortly be considered by Combined Civil Affairs Committee.

This Government wishes to maintain the principle that, during the [Page 1115] period of combined Anglo-American military responsibility in Italy and subsequently until such time as final disposition will be made of Venezia Giulia in the general peace settlement, no unilateral action be permitted by either one of the claimants (Italy or Yugoslavia) to this disputed area which would prejudice its final disposition. It has felt for some time and it understood that the British Government agreed that this objective could best be achieved by establishing Allied military government under SAC throughout the entire Venezia Giulia and by maintaining such government there until its final disposition. We feel that any other course would seriously prejudice a final equitable decision, establish an unhappy precedent with respect to other disputed areas by recognizing the efficacy of force and unilateral action in determining Italy’s frontiers and contribute in an unforeseen degree to the political instability of the Italian Government.

We understand that Tito has accepted the idea of Allied military government in Venezia Giulia with certain reservations affecting his local administrations already established there. We are confident that the details can be worked out between SAC and Tito if the British, Soviet, and American governments agree in principle that this disputed area should be administered in its entirety by Allied military government under SAC during interim period between German withdrawal and the area’s final disposition by treaty.

It is hoped that the British Government will give careful and favorable consideration to this proposal and that it will at the same time agree to put aside for the time being the suggested solution of a provisional line of demarcation dividing Venezia Giulia between AMG and Tito’s forces which was submitted to the Soviet and American Secretaries of State at Yalta and in which the US Secretary cannot concur for the reasons set forth above.

The Soviet Government is being informed of the nature of the US reply to British note.68

Sent to London. Repeated to Moscow and Caserta.69

  1. See paragraph numbered 3 in telegram 1090, April 8, 11 p.m., from Moscow, vol. v, p. 1215.
  2. As Nos. 594 and 217, respectively.