The Department of State to the British Embassy 90


The Department has read the paraphrase of a telegram from the Foreign Office to the British Ambassador, copy of which has been received from the British Embassy, concerning plans for British military administration in the Dodecanese Islands and a proposal that the British Government make a statement indicating that it will support Greek claims to the Islands. The Foreign Office has expressed the [Page 308] hope that the proposal will meet with the approval of the United States Government.

Careful consideration has been given to the British proposal to make an early statement with respect to its position on the future status of the Dodecanese Islands and to the various reasons advanced by the Foreign Office for making such a statement. In the opinion of the Government of the United States the Dodecanese Islands comprise another disputed area of Italian national territory and should be administered effectively and impartially by Allied (or in this case British) Military Government during the interim period until they may be disposed of permanently in the general peace settlement. Military administration similar to that which is envisaged for the Venezia Giulia and for the province of Bolzano91 would seem to be appropriate for the Dodecanese Islands until their final disposition in the general peace settlement or until the Italian and Greek Governments may come to a direct understanding with respect to their future status. For these reasons the Government of the United States is unable to give its approval to the proposed statement by the British Government.

In view of public and private statements by various responsible Italian officials the British Government might be able to extract a public statement from the Italian Government reflecting its official position with respect to the future disposition of the Dodecanese Islands. An appropriate Italian statement on this subject might serve the purpose which the British Government has in mind.

  1. In telegram 732, April 28, 1945, 6 p.m., to Rome, the Department informed Alexander C. Kirk, American Political Adviser on the Staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, of the contents of this memorandum (868.014/4–2845). The Ambassador in the Soviet Union was likewise informed in telegram 1050, May 10, 1945, 4 p.m., with the instruction that, “If opportunity presents itself, you may make clear to the Soviets the foregoing position concerning the Dodecanese, which applies equally to the other disputed areas. We maintain that any unilateral action prejudicing a fair and reasoned settlement of territorial disputes will inevitably diminish the prospects for lasting peace.” (868.014/4–1945)
  2. See memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to President Truman, May 4, 1945, vol. iv, p. 1136.