740.00119 Council/2–2046: Telegram

The Assistant Secretary of State ( Dunn ) to the Secretary of State

secret

2105. Delsec 192. For the Secretary from Dunn. I have been rather concerned with the drift of the discussions in the Deputies’ meetings recently and more particularly those of the last two days. The reports of our meetings of February 18 and 19 will describe the developments in those discussions, but I wish to point out particularly the basic difficulties we have been encountering with the visit of the commission of experts to Venezia Giulia.30 I might say that the [Page 14] British position is identical with ours and the French, while they agree in general with the British and US views, have taken the position that the experts should not only choose an ethnic line but must take care that such a line is not geographically and economically absurd.

The Soviets have been insisting that we limit the scope of the investigation to the area between the furthest extent of Yugoslav claims and their “Italian ethnic” line (see Delsec 19331) as being the only area now in dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia. They also oppose any visit to Fiume.

In the course of the discussions we have made it clear that in order to justify such a serious step as the recommendation of a boundary on the basis of the Ministers’ decision of last September which would “in the main be an ethnic line leaving a minimum under alien rule”,32 the commission should visit any area as to which there might be uncertainty in the minds of any one of the four governments. It was only when I stated that we failed to understand what objection there could be to the inclusion of any such area in the investigation that Gusev agreed to the proposal enabling the discussions to be continued today.

I have tried to draw out of the Soviet representative the reasons for his objecting to having the commission visit the areas along our suggested line. He has adduced no other reasons than the alleged shortness of time and the fact that it was unnecessary to go into those areas because of the existing data showing that the Italians themselves admit there is only an Italian minority there. One of the reasons underlying the Soviet position may be that both the Soviet and Yugos Govts are desirous of limiting to the greatest extent possible any investigation of the areas in zone beyond the present military right of way.

The discussion on this matter is only one more example of the difficulty we are having in harmonizing the views of the various delegations on such important other points for the treaty as the disposition of Italian colonies and the payment of reparations by Italy. The subcommittees are working so slowly, due to no fault of our own members, that I cannot yet report much progress on their work.

If these obstacles continue to be placed in our path we see little chance of keeping the May 1 deadline.

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  1. At their second meeting on January 19, the Deputies agreed to the establishment of a Commission of Experts for the Investigation of the Italo-Yugoslav Boundary. In three separate meetings on February 18 and 19, the Deputies discussed the instructions to be given to the Commission, without reaching agreement on the part of the instructions dealing with the specific areas to which the Commission was to devote particular attention. These meetings were reported upon in telegram 2068, Delsec 193, February 19, from London, not printed. Complete agreement on the instructions to the Commission was not reached until the end of February; see the communiqué issued on February 28 by the Deputies on the establishment of the Commission, Department of State Bulletin, March 10, 1946, p. 391. The Commission carried on its investigation in Venezia Giulia from March 5 to April 7. For the text of the Commission’s report to the Council of Foreign Ministers, see C.F.M. (46) 5, April 27, 1946, p. 140. For previous documentation in regard to concern of the United States over the control of Venezia Giulia, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iv, pp. 1103 ff.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 30, p. 13.
  3. The quotation is from the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers relative to the Yugoslav-Italian frontier, First (London) Plenary Conference, 12th Meeting, September 19, 1945. For the text of Record of Decisions of this meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 469.