SWNCC Files: SWNCC 313 Series

The Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater (Morgan) to the Combined Chiefs of Staff72


FX 68001. Naf 1159. 1. Uneasiness amounting to grave anxiety has become apparent among Italian population of Pola enclave since British and U.S. Governments indicated that they were prepared to accept French proposal for Italo-Jugoslav frontier and particularly since British Foreign Secretary’s statement in Commons on 5th February.

2. This state of mind, which materially increases difficulty of administering Allied Military Government and maintaining military security, is chiefly due to uncertainty of extent to which interests and property of Italian population will be safeguarded.

3. I therefore recommend for your consideration that an early statement should be made by Allied governments to the effect that before sovereign rights over territory in Venezia Giulia are assumed either by Jugoslavia or Italy, all guarantees will be given of fair treatment for residents therein, including facilities for the evacuation of themselves and their property prior to the area being handed over to Jugoslavia or Italy.

4. On the basis of past experience with the Jugoslav Government and the failure of that Government to carry out provisions of the Belgrade Agreement,73 such as the return of Italians deported from Venezia Giulia, I consider that any declaration in the above sense would not be effective in preserving public confidence in Pola unless [Page 900] it provides for evacuation of persons and property prior to actual handover of territory.

5. I anticipate that numerous applications will shortly be made to the Allied Military Government authorities for permission to move industrial plant from Pola to other parts in Zone A. Movement of plant or industrial facilities from one part of Venezia Giulia to another in anticipation of final partition of territory, while not contrary to Morgan–Jovanovic agreement,74 might be interpreted as contrary to spirit of that agreement. On other hand, by refusing such permission, we may in actual fact without legal right be obstructing Italians in Pola from lawfully protecting their property, particularly if guarantee in paragraph 3 is not given. Your instructions as to policy to be followed in dealing with these applications are requested. In the meantime I have ordered that permission will not be granted.

  1. This message was forwarded to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 24 with request for the basis of a reply (SWNCC 313 Series). The message was referred to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Subcommittee for Europe for study and the preparation of a draft reply (SWNCC 313/D).
  2. The Anglo-American-Yugoslav agreement signed at Belgrade, June 9, 1945; for text of the Belgrade agreement, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 501, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1855.
  3. Agreement between the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and the Supreme Commander of the Yugoslav Army, signed at Duino on June 20, 1945, by Lieutenant General Morgan and Yugoslav Lieutenant General Arso Jovanović, implementing the Anglo-American-Yugoslav Agreement of June 9, 1945.