740.00119 Control (Italy)/5–445: Telegram

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

1926. Re our 1906, May 3.13 Tito has sent an urgent message to SAC which reached AFHQ this morning stating that he had just received a report from his Fourth Army to effect that infantry and [Page 1139] tank units of Allied forces under SAC’s command without any previous notice had entered cities of Monfalcone, Gorizia and Trieste which had been liberated by Yugoslavs.

Tito also said that since he did not understand meaning of this action he requested an immediate explanation regarding the matter.

At a meeting with SAC this morning we assisted in preparing a reply from Alexander acknowledging receipt of Tito’s communication and expressing astonishment at his apparent failure to honor the agreement made at Belgrade (see our 786 of March 2). The message from SAC sets forth that Tito agreed last February that it was essential to the maintenance of Allied advance into Austria that the port of Trieste and the road and rail communications to Austria from Trieste via Tarviso and Gorizia should be under SAC’s full control. Tito had offered and SAC had accepted that Yugoslav forces in these areas would be put under command of SAC. Communication further stated that in order that Tito might be enabled to clear the Germans from his country, he has been and was still being provided by SAC with large quantities of food, medical supplies and munitions of war. Alexander’s telegram added that he had kept his promise fully and that he believed Tito would keep his.

Alexander’s telegram said that so far, however, unilateral action had been taken by Tito by his ordering his troops to occupy territory as far west as the Isonzo River. He suggested that since an immediate solution to this question was needed Tito should send to Bari, where he has a military mission, his Chief of Staff to meet with Lieutenant General Morgan, SAC’s Chief of Staff. SAC felt that this conflict of views could be concluded satisfactorily to both sides by such a meeting. SAC’s reply concluded with statement he had ordered his troops to maintain their present positions in the areas of Gorizia, Monfalcone and Trieste.

SAC is repeating to Combined Chiefs of Staff Tito’s message, his reply and brief account of present situation in Trieste. It would appear from latest reports that General Freyburg who did accept surrender of German garrison at Trieste is now in control of the port and docks in the town and the Yugoslav Partisans are in control of the center of the city and the suburbs.

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