865.014/3–2847: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union


715. Moskco 33. For Cohen and Matthews. After period unusual calm characterized by relatively cooperative attitude Yugos towards Allied authorities situation VG again deteriorating. Mar 14 US truck stopped Pola road and personnel disarmed. Mar 16 first recurrence border incidents when 2 Brit soldiers captured by Yugos along Morgan Line. Soldiers released Mar 19 after maltreatment. Mar 17 five Yugos including rwy [railway] and Red Cross officials apprehended attempting abduct anti-Tito Slovenes to Zone B.1

Re boundary commission work, Stilwell2 reports serious Italo-Yugo disagreements, especially for areas near Gorizia and Mernice,3 adding that work northwest of Gorizia hampered by Slovene citizenry obviously inspired from outside. Stilwell concludes situation not now serious but could be if Itals start countermeasures.

Yugo rejection idea Four Power Boundary Commission might exercise arbitral function in Italo-Yugo provisional delimitation disputes now concurred in by USSR, and Stilwell reports Soviet rep supporting all Yugo positions whether logical or illogical with equal fervor. Dept not yet replied Yugo proposal that neither Ital or Yugo troops occupy area in dispute along provisional frontier upon ratification, since Dunn and Allied military in Italy disapprove Brit suggested reply to effect this was matter for settlement between Ital and Yugo Govts as provided all interested powers ratify treaty [apparent [Page 67] garble] US and UK intend withdraw their troops along frontier 48 hours after treaty comes into force. Allied military certain Allied withdrawal leaving vacuum would lead to serious disorders.4

No reply yet reed from USSR to Dept’s proposal for provisional delimitation Free Territory frontiers (Deptel 490 Mar 12 to Moscow) but French Delegate Boundary Commission has informed Stilwell Yugos intend reject proposal if made to them. This alleged Yugo attitude seems indicate they are unprepared withdraw from Zone B areas to be incorporated Free Territory and raises question desirability of withdrawal Allied forces from Zone A regions in north to be ceded Yugos until Free Territory boundary fixed in south.

In view foregoing, and of Soviet delay instructing Gromyko re Trieste Governor you may wish consider desirability discussions with Soviets Moscow.

(Sent Moscow, rpt Rome as 442 Belgrade as 176 and London as 1402.)

  1. Telegram 9, March 20, from Trieste, not printed, reported that the five Yugoslavs were being held on the charge of assault and attempted abduction (865.00/3–2047).
  2. Lt. Col. Richard G. Stilwell, Military Adviser to the U.S. Ambassador in Italy; served as Secretary to the Supervisory Commission for the Four Power Temporary Boundary Commission in Venezia Giulia.
  3. Mernice, probably means Mernico, a small place near Albana and Prepotto.
  4. In telegram 643, March 26, from Rome, not printed, Dunn reported that the military authorities were planning for a withdrawal from the frontier areas in 48 hours, but would make such a withdrawal only if the Italians and Yugoslavs had agreed in advance on a provisional frontier (865.014/3–2647).