740.00119 Control (Italy)/3–546: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser at Allied Force Headquarters (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

top secret

259. Reference our 240 of 27 February 2 p.m.12 General Harding13 has telegraphed SAC that there has been a noticeable deterioration of civilian morale in Zone A of Venezia Giulia during past week. Many responsible citizens, according to his information, are fearful of outbreaks of disorder and even urged intervention by Yugoslav forces in near future. There has been some talk in civilian quarters of a run on the banks and large scale evacuation by Italian population.

General Harding points out that it is of course inevitable that at this stage there should be some talk of this kind and he points out that a good deal can and is being done locally to regain confidence. At the same time he feels that our hands would be greatly strengthened in attempts to allay civilian fears if a joint high level statement were made by US and British Govts that it is their firm intention to maintain their present position in Zone A until an agreed political settlement has been reached and ratified by them.

He strongly recommends that prior to arrival of Boundary Commission14 statement along foregoing lines be issued. General Harding also states that he considers it important in interest of military security and public safety in the area under his command that Boundary Commission should both collectively and individually refrain from expressing any official or private opinion concerning what will be future settlement. He would urge that nothing be made public until [Page 874] four powers charged with task of preparing Italian peace treaty have reached agreement.

He strongly recommended to SAC that British and American Govts be urged to instruct their representatives accordingly and to do all possible to insure similar reticence by representatives of other two powers concerned.

In this connection please see Naf 1118 of March 4 from SAC to CCS15 urging that joint statement be made by British and US Governments as indicated above.

Repeated Rome 211 and to London for Dunn as 34.


[At the meeting of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy on March 6, 1946, Secretary of War Patterson said that he was very much disturbed about recent messages concerning the situation in Venezia Giulia, and he urged that consideration be given to dealing with all possibilities in the area. Secretary Byrnes agreed and spoke of the deplorable effect that the rapid American demobilization was having on the Venezia Giulia matter and similar situations. The records of the meetings of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy are filed under 811.002/1–2446.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. Lt. Gen. Sir John Harding, British Commanding General, XIII Corps in Italy.
  3. The Commission of Experts for the Investigation of the Italo-Yugoslav Boundary, established at the direction of the Council of Foreign Ministers, visited Venezia Giulia between March 12 and April 2, 1946. Documentation relative to the establishment of the Boundary Commission and the consideration of its report of April 5 is included among the papers of the Council of Foreign Ministers, vol. ii.
  4. Not printed.