740.00119 Council/3–546: Telegram

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


2607. Delsec 238 from Dunn. It is opinion of all four delegations that Austrian proposal for revision of Austro-Italian frontier (re Delsec 226, March 236 does not constitute case for minor rectifications within meaning of CFM (Council of Foreign Ministers) decision taken in September 1945.37

At meeting of deputies March 4 I suggested study of question by subcommittee which would examine in detail material submitted by Austrian and Italian Governments and report to deputies on possible minor rectifications in Austria’s favor. UK and French Delegations favored this procedure. Soviet deputy saw no purpose in setting up committee in view of September decision that frontier would not be changed subject to decisions by CFM on any case Austria might present for minor rectifications, since no such case had been presented. Jebb,38 who is now British deputy, said that if deputies cannot agree to have present Austrian proposals studied in detail with a view to reaching conclusion on what minor rectifications may be possible and desirable, then they ought to inform Austrian Government that its proposals are inacceptable because too extensive and that it would be well advised to submit new proposals for minor rectifications only; he felt it would be unfair to let the Austrian case go by default. Gusev stated that while deputies must consider any proposals for minor rectifications they receive from Austrian Government they [Page 21] should not at this stage ask that government to present such proposals. Discussion was adjourned.

It was clear from discussion that there is no disposition on part of any delegation to support Austrian claim to entire Province of Bolzano. It is quite clear that the deputies in taking the literal view of the September decision do not feel they are authorized to consider the ethnic aspect of the problem. Hence no occasion for discussion of plebiscite has arisen. Soviet deputy appears inclined to stress first part of September decision, that frontier will not be changed, although he has not taken any definite position on the question of the location of the final frontier. British say favor some revision but probably not as far south as city of Bolzano. They will circulate paper as possible basis for discussion when question is taken up again at an early meeting.39

Sent Department as 2607; repeated Rome as 80 and Vienna as 47.

  1. Telegram 2525, Delsec 226, March 2, 1946, from London, not printed, reported that the Deputies, at their meeting on March 1, had held their first discussion on the Austro-Italian frontier question and the Austrian claim to the South Tyrol (740.00119 Council/3–246). The basis of the discussion was document C.F.M. (D) (46) 3, January 21, 1946, not printed, which had been circulated to the Deputies at the request of the British Delegation. C.F.M. (D) (46) 3 was a memorandum from the Austrian Foreign Office to the Allied Council in Vienna, dated November 5, 1945, with an annexed copy of a memorandum of September 11, 1945, by Austrian Chancellor Karl Renner. Both memoranda, neither of which are printed, were concerned with a proposal for the incorporation of the South Tyrol into the Austrian Republic. The Renner memorandum of September 11 is described in telegram 213, September 14, 1945, from Vienna, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, p. 593. In considering the Austrian memorandum of November 5, the Allied Council, at its meeting on November 30, 1945, decided that the South Tyrol question did fall within its competency and that each Commander in Chief in Austria would send a copy of the memorandum to his Government. The Austrian memorandum of November 5, 1945, was sent to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 557, December 7, 1945, from Vienna, not printed (863.014/12–745). A delineation of Austrian claims in the South Tyrol appears on the map facing p. 358.
  2. For the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers with reference to the Austro-Italian frontier, see the Record of the Third Meeting of the Council, London, September 14, 1945, 11 a.m., Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 158.
  3. Hubert Miles Gladwyn Jebb, Counselor of the British Foreign Office.
  4. At the 28th Meeting of the Deputies, March 8, 1946, the British submitted the following text of possible terms of reference for a Committee of Experts on the Austro-Italian frontier:

    “The Expert Committee should consider in the light of memoranda which the Austrian Government has presented, whether any minor rectifications in Austria’s favour should be recommended. The Committee should also take into account the memoranda of the Italian Government. In considering this matter the Committee should bear in mind that the return to Austria of Bolzano and the surrounding industrial district cannot in the opinion of the Deputies be classified as a minor rectification,” (C.F.M. Files, Lot M–88, Box 2066: Deputies Records of Decision)

    At their 31st Meeting, March 19, 1946. the Deputies took up the Austro-Italian frontier question once more and heard a suggestion from the British Deputy. Telegram 3286, Delsec 304, March 21, 1946, from Dunn at Paris, not printed, reported on the discussion as follows:

    “Brit Deputy referred to arguments in Austrian memo CFM (D) (46) 3 in favor of giving Austria direct line of road and railway communications between north and East Tyrol. He suggested subcommittee might study possible frontier rectification which would transfer that line of communication to Austria. Such rectification would give to Austria Brenner Pass, and towns of Vipiteno, Brunico, Dobfilco [Dobbiaco?], and perhaps also Bressanone. Jebb suggested subcommittee examine economic and other aspects of such a rectification. To meet objections of Soviet Deputy I proposed it should be studied by each delegation and then discussed by Deputies. This was agreed.” (740.00119 Council/3–2146)