Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946, Paris Peace Conference: Documents, Volume IV
Note by the Secretariat
Covering letters addressed to the Secretary–General by the Austrian and Italian Delegations, dated 6th September, 1946, and accompanying the text of an Austro-Italian Agreement of 5th September, 1946, concerning the rights of the German-speaking population of the South Tyrol [are herewith circulated,] together with the text of the Agreement (transmitted in English by the Austrian Delegation and in the three official languages by the Italian Delegation).
The Austrian Delegation to the Secretary General of the Paris Peace Conference
Sir: I have the honour to inform you that the Austrian and Italian Delegations recently discussed a number of questions concerning the German-speaking population of the South Tyrol. I am pleased to be able to state to-day that our two governments have reached agreement on this matter. The text of this agreement, signed on 5th September, 1946, by Signor de Gasperi and by myself is attached herewith. As you will see, this agreement guarantees the German-speaking inhabitants of the province of Bolzano and the neighbouring bilingual towns of the province of Trentino complete equality of rights with the Italian-speaking population. Moreover, the populations of these regions will enjoy legislative and executive autonomy; the Hitler-Mussolini Agreement of 1939 will be revised; special arrangements will be made for the mutual recognition of the validity of certain university degrees and diplomas; an agreement will be concluded to facilitate the transport of passengers and goods by rail and by road between the North and South Tyrol; and agreements will be made to facilitate frontier traffic and commerce between Austria and Italy.
Although this agreement mainly concerns Austria and Italy, it seems to us that it is of great interest and considerable importance for [Page 809] the United Nations as a whole and more especially for those governments which at the present time are negotiating the peace treaty with Italy. A certain number of countries have shown interest in the problem of the South Tyrol and its German-speaking population and we feel convinced that all the United Nations will learn with satisfaction that Austria and Italy have been able to reach agreement on this matter. We hope that the conclusion of this agreement will eliminate one of the many difficulties which have arisen during the negotiations connected with the Peace Treaty with Italy.
For this reason and because we believe that it would be a great advantage if those nations which in various ways have shown their interest in the future of the South Tyrol gave their formal sanction and approval to the terms of the said agreement, the Austrian Government sincerely hopes that it will be possible to embody the text of the agreement in the Peace Treaty with Italy. Such an arrangement would confer on this agreement the seal of approval of the other nations concerned and would considerably enhance its power and authority. Moreover, this would materially contribute to the alleviation of the difficulties which up to the present have unfortunately arisen between the two governments in connection with problems concerning the future of the South Tyrol.
I have therefore the honour to request that the text of the Austro-Italian Agreement enclosed herewith and that of the present letter should be circulated to the members of the Conference. If it were possible, the text of the agreement could replace or complete the present Article 10 of the Draft Treaty with Italy, the substance of which—I take the opportunity of pointing out—is embodied in Article 3,c) of the present Agreement.
I have [etc.]
The Italian Delegation to the Secretary General of the Paris Peace Conference
Sir: Faithful to the ideals which inspired the new Italian democracy in its treatment of ethnic minorities and in particular of the problem of the Upper Adige, the Italian Delegation has in the course of conversations held in the last few days with the Austrian representatives renewed in more precise form the assurances (already given to the Deputy Ministers on the 30th May) guaranteeing within the framework of regional autonomy, the ethnic characteristics as well as the cultural and economic development of the German-speaking minority of Upper Adige.[Page 810]
The attached document, signed by Dr. Gruber and by myself on the 5th inst., lists in paragraph 1 (sub-paragraphs a, b, c and d) and in paragraph 2 the legislative and administrative measures for this purpose already adopted or under consideration by the Italian Government.
Further, with a view to establishing cordial and good-neighbourly relations between their countries, Austria and Italy have agreed to hold joint consultations on a number of measures listed in paragraph 3 (sub-paragraphs a, b, c and d) of the same document and relating to matters of mutual interest arising from the past or designed to ensure better co-operation in the future.
In making this communication, the Italian Government is persuaded that it is not only contributing decisively to the solution of the problem of the Upper Adige which was referred to the Peace Conference but is also proclaiming before the United Nations its faith in the supreme value of international co-operation.
I have [etc.]
- German-speaking inhabitants of the Bolzano Province and of the neighbouring bilingual townships of the Trento Province will be assured complete equality of rights with the Italian-speaking inhabitants, within the framework of special provisions to safeguard the ethnical character and the cultural and economic development of the German-speaking element.
- In accordance with legislation already enacted or awaiting
enactment the said German-speaking citizens will be granted in
- elementary and secondary teaching in the mother-tongue;
- participation of the German and Italian languages in public offices and official documents, as well as in bilingual topographic naming;
- the right to re-establish German family names which were Italianized in recent years;
- equality of rights as regards the entering upon public offices, with a view to reaching a more appropriate proportion of employment between the two ethnical groups.
- The populations of the above-mentioned zones will be granted the exercise of autonomous legislative and executive regional power. [Page 811] The frame within which the said provisions of autonomy will apply, will be drafted in consultation also with local representative German-speaking elements.
- The Italian Government, with the aim of establishing good
neighbourhood relations between Austria and Italy, pledges itself,
in consultation with the Austrian Government and within one year
from the signing of the present Treaty:
- to revise in a spirit of equity and broadmindedness the question of the options for citizenship resulting from the 1939 Hitler-Mussolini agreements;
- to find an agreement for the mutual recognition of the validity of certain degrees and University diplomas;
- to draw up a convention for the free passengers and goods transit between Northern and Eastern Tyrol both by rail and, to the greatest possible extent, by road;
- to reach special agreements aimed at facilitating enlarged frontier traffic and local exchanges of certain quantities of characteristic products and goods between Austria and Italy.
- English text as communicated by the Delegations. [Footnote in the source text.]↩