740.00119 Control (Italy)/4–2645: Telegram

Mr. Alexander C. Kirk, Political Adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, to the Secretary of State

1747. ReDeptel 380, April 25, 7 p.m. At SAC’s political committee meeting today there was considerable discussion of a draft telegram to CCS requesting instructions on plans SAC should make for moving into Venezia Giulia.

Text was finally agreed upon and approved on purely military grounds and was transmitted as Naf 932, April 26 to CCS from Alexander.

During course of meeting Macmillan said he had received a telegram from London indicating that Venezia Giulia would be discussed during Eden’s sojourn in America.86 It was clear from what Field Marshal Alexander and Macmillan said on this subject during course of the conference that British are not at all sanguine as to possibility of whole compartment of Venezia Giulia being occupied by Anglo-American forces and that they expect Tito to occupy that area thus presenting us with a fait accompli. At one stage of the discussion SAC proposed that he should inform the CCS that he did not have sufficient forces to seize the whole of Venezia Giulia and therefore intended to proceed in accordance with his original plan of agreeing with Tito on a military boundary (see our 609, February 20, 11 p.m.).

Macmillan during his presentation of entire problem stated it was all well and good for us to talk about not wanting to discuss frontier questions or prejudice the 1939 boundaries before the peace conference but fact was that United States and Great Britain had agreed at [Page 1124] Yalta on new boundaries for Poland87 and he had good reason to believe that United States and British Governments were now discussing giving the Dodecanese Islands to Greece. He added he felt certain that all who were in the room with him if they considered the question from a realistic point of view would agree that we could not hope to save the whole of Venezia Giulia from Tito. We stated that while we sympathized with SAC’s position and recognized he must have instructions as soon as possible from CCS in order to make plans for entering Venezia Giulia we wished to remind both SAC and Macmillan that British Government had accepted our proposal on Venezia Giulia (see Deptel 315, April 10, 7 p.m.) and that the CCAC had considered and approved solution for administration of Venezia Giulia on basis of American proposal and British plan (2) for its execution. We added we hoped SAC would press CCS for instructions but we would not like to be involved in discussions with Tito or [on?] Alexander–Robertson on [or?] any similar line. SAC rebutted with argument that he was being faced with an immediate military problem and could not wait indefinitely before making plans nor could he afford to offend Tito.

Incidentally both Field Marshal Alexander and British Resident Minister stressed that we must do everything possible to keep from “drifting into a state of war with Tito”.

Highest American military official at AFHQ are inclined to sympathize with SAC’s position on military grounds.

This evening we were shown by a member of Macmillan’s staff a telegram from Eden to Churchill repeated to Macmillan stating that in view of fact that British Government had already accepted the American proposal for administration of Venezia Giulia, he was reluctant to take up matter with Molotov at this time.

Macmillan showed us his telegram which he is sending to Foreign Office and repeating to Eden on today’s meeting. In his message he stated that SAC is being placed in very unfair position by lack of instructions from CCS with regard to Venezia Giulia and recommended that an immediate decision be forthcoming on this matter. His message added that if United States and British Governments for political reasons wished Alexander to occupy whole of Venezia Giulia he trusted that SAC would first be consulted so that the two governments might benefit from SAC’s opinion on (1) what he could do with forces at his disposal in case Soviet Government agreed to British-American occupation of Venezia Giulia or (2) in case Soviet Government did not care to advise Tito to withdraw his forces from that area.

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We hope Department will consult CCS at earliest opportunity with regard to Naf 932 and inform us of latest developments on this subject. In this connection we have of course not yet received any official indication of what Soviet attitude is or might be on question of Venezia Giulia.

  1. Anthony Eden was in the United States for the United Nations Conference at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945. For documentation concerning the Conference, see vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  2. For this agreement regarding Poland, see Protocol of Proceedings, Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 975, 980.