865.00/5–846: Telegram

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


501. Re my 496, May 3, 3 p.m.56 AFHQ has been informed by XIII Corps that there is increased evidence of Italians organizing into action squads and some cases of aggression against pro-Slavs have been reported. On May 1 approximately 15 Italians stopped a jeep and killed Giuseppe Ravnikar (suspected OZNA agent). There has also occurred the stabbing of a pro-Slav named Grisdarcic whose condition is reported serious.

XIII Corps contrasts this tendency with present PCG policy of law and order. PCG is making considerable propaganda value out of these incidents. Line intercepts show that whereas information concerning the above attacks was passed by pro-Slavs to Tan jug and Lavoratere civilian police were not informed and thus handicapped in investigations.

While I was in Trieste Gen. Harding referred to the above developments and expressed some concern that Italians were getting out of hand since their recent upswing of confidence and successful demonstration during visit of Boundary Commission.57 He said that Italians should be warned that further activities of organized groups such as these recent occurrences could not but have harmful effect on entire situation in Venezia Giulia and would reflect badly upon previous good record of Italians in that area.

I discussed this question with Greene who felt that control of Italians in Venezia Giulia by Italian Govt was so ineffective that any warning informal or otherwise to Italian Govt would serve no useful purpose. He felt that the only way to meet situation if it continued [Page 893] to develop was to take firm action in each individual instance.58 I am repeating this message to Rome for Embassy views (repeated Rome as 375).

  1. Not printed; it reported that in general the May Day celebrations in Trieste had passed quietly (800.00B International Red Day/5–346).
  2. 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. For the Commission’s report, document C.F.M. (46) 5, April 27, 1946, see vol. ii, p. 140.
  3. Telegram 139, May 10, to Caserta, gave the Department’s views as follows: “Dept agrees there is no basis for approach to Ital Govt re activities of Italians in Venezia Giulia, since administration of territory is solely Allied responsibility and Ital Govt is not in position to exercise any authority therein. Dept also believes situation can be met by firm and tactful action on part Allied local authorities.” (865.00/5–846)