740.00119 Council/10–445: Telegram

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

10332. Delsec 106. From Dunn. The Foreign Office is about to send instructions to Washington proposing a directive for the return of the Bolzano region to Italian administration but on condition that there be an official and public understanding that this measure is purely for administrative reasons and in no way prejudices the peace settlement on questions of Italian frontiers. Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean would also be requested to arrange that British and American troops continue to be held in the region.

On the first point, I think that it is important to avoid wherever possible any measure which would give rise to speculation as to the territorial settlement with Italy, in view of the political effect at the moment on the general question of the peace treaties. Since the British want to keep Udine under Military Government (as well as Venezia Giulia, of course) the retention of Bolzano ought not to create the administrative difficulties which the British think would result from a division of authority in “a small and isolated part” of northern Italy.

It seems to me that the contemplated statement would not allay the anxieties of the local population. At the same time the withdrawal of Military Government would point up a difference in policy as applied in the case of Venezia Giulia.

On the second point, we should keep in mind the fact that the Foreign Office is able to make decisions for the utilization of the military for political purposes to a much greater degree than can we.

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I recommend that we still delay this measure if at all practicable in the light of the various reports from the field which I understand are available in Washington. [Dunn.]