Defense Files: Telegram

The Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater ( Morgan )1 to the Combined Chiefs of Staff

top secret

FX 73668 (Naf 1242). Subject is military implications arising out of ratification of peace treaty.

To facilitate further correspondence, date of signature of treaty by Council of Foreign Ministers will be referred to as “S” day and date of coming into force of treaty on ratification as “R” day.
For planning purposes the period between now and ratification has been divided into three phases:
  • Phase 1. Period prior to “S” day.
  • Phase 2. Period between “S” day and “R” day.
  • Phase 3. 90-day period after “R” day.
The implications which arise in each phase are:
Phase 1 (Pre-Signature Day).
a. Except for British Service Troops and 1 United States infantry battalion, none of the Allied troops designated for free territory force are now located in free territory. Therefore, regrouping will be necessary. However, I consider such regrouping would be unsound both operationally and administratively, while present operational commitment remains. I do not propose, therefore, to make any major redispositions during this phase.
b. The general distribution of British, United States and Jugoslav forces in Trieste Free Territory must be decided urgently, as it will be necessary to construct camps and other accommodations on the assumption that present heavy requisitioning may have to be reduced. Provisional estimate for completion of such construction is 4 months. Moreover, I feel most strongly that to divide the area into national zones would delay if not prevent the Free Territory from becoming truly autonomous. It is most desirable therefore to locate some United States/British detachments in Jugoslav Zone “B” sector and vice versa rather than to split the new Free Territory into national zones.
Phase 2 (Period between signature and ratification).
a. I recommend that, once the Treaty is signed by the Foreign Ministers, my existing role of maintaining my forces in order to impose maximum delay in event of a Jugoslav attack, be eliminated and that my only operational mission be the control of the Morgan Line and internal security. This will enable me to:
Release for evacuation during this period the majority of my armour, anti-airforce and medium artillery.
Regroup my forces so that new Allied Force of 5,000 each can be established in the Free Territory by “R” day.
The movement limitations and lack of transit facilities at Venice force me to make the maximum use of Trieste for evacuation of 1 armoured division. Furthermore, the organization and administrative difficulties in maintaining and handling vehicles and equipment, caused by most units being below strength in effectives, makes (1) above most desirable. If the above conditions cannot be realized the completion of final evacuation within 90 days may well be jeopardized.
b. Interim force of 5,000 each must be organized, in position and ready to function in Free Territory on “R” day. Headquarters 1 Armoured Division could not efficiently continue to discharge its present heavy occupational and administrative tasks in Trieste, hand over to the new and inexperienced force headquarters, and carry out its move to Middle East all at the same time, especially as this move involves a complicated sorting of personnel and equipment, and the despatch of advance headquarters echelon to Middle East. It will be highly desirable if not necessary for the Free Territory Force Headquarters to take over operational control of present area from headquarters 1 Amoured Division 1 month before main body of division begins embarkation; which embarkation will not start prior to “R” day. In view of the limited size and anticipated role of the Allied force remaining in the Free Territory, I propose to exclude from it armoured units.
In considering the question of the new frontiers between Italy, Jugoslavia and Trieste Free Territory, 2 points arise:
At present our forces are holding the Morgan Line which in the main lies well within future Jugoslav territory.
It is militarily desirable and presumably politically obligatory to withdraw to the new boundaries promptly after treaty is ratified. It is evident that final delineation of the entire French Line cannot be completed before Allied troops withdraw.
Therefore, a temporary line based thereon will have to be accepted without further survey, subject to later adjustments. In this connection we estimate that approximately 48 hours would be required to complete arrangements for withdrawal at end of which period Morgan Line posts retire and Jugoslavs may move forward to new line. It will [Page 53] further be expedient to time withdrawal from whole of the Morgan Line simultaneously, Allied Forces being withdrawn well clear of the new international boundaries where frontier guards would meet at the expiration of the 48-hour period.
In view of the above it is recommended that:
Arrangements be made for a joint reconnaissance by Italians and Jugoslavs under allied supervision, during the interval between “S” day and “R” day, to agree on the international boundary to be manned provisionally from “R” plus 48 hours until the boundary is surveyed and finally confirmed.
Similar detailed preparations during “S” to “R” days period must be arranged for the taking over of Civil Administration by both Jugoslavs and Italians from Allied Military Government.
Phase 3 (Period after ratification).
  • a. To enable US [us] to evacuate within 90 days, I must be relieved of all operational commitments as from “R” day. As I now foresee some Allied administrative responsibilities may or may not continue.
  • b. Although certain evacuation will have taken place in phase 2, as envisaged in paragraph 4 (a) above, it will be necessary for the port of Trieste to be used for the final evacuation. This is due to lack of transit facilities and that the outloading capacity of Venice is incapable of handling total evacuation on its own. As an indication of the overall movement involved and on the assumption that both Venice and Trieste are used to capacity, the War Office Sea Movement Plan for the movement of British Troops, to the Middle East alone, requires 2 months.
  • c. It is therefore necessary that full right of transit movement and maintenance be accorded to Allied Forces, over and above accommodations of the eventually remaining 5,000 each, which must be finally evacuated through Trieste during this phase. This must include all facilities at present enjoyed by Allied Troops in this area.
  • d. It is most desirable that Allied Military Government continue to function in the Trieste Free Territory until the new administration is in a position to take over.
In conclusion I request that guidance be given on each of 6 points as soon as the relevant information becomes available:
General disposition of Allied Forces in Trieste Free Territory.
Approval of my recommendations in paragraph 4 (a) above, regarding modified role of Allied Forces between signature and ratification.
Approval of my recommendations for the setting up and handing over control of the New Frontiers and Allied Military Government and that the necessary instructions be issued to effect this.
Confirmation that I am released from all operational commitments after ratification.
Approval that forces, including equipment, surplus to 5,000 each can be evacuated through the Free Territory of Trieste after ratification.
Confirmation that Allied Military Government will continue to operate in Free Territory until the new administration has set up the necessary machinery to take over.
  1. Lt. Gen. Sir William D. Morgan, Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, October 25, 1945–April 1947.