860S.00/4–1547: Telegram

The Representative of the United States Political Adviser (Cole), at the Headquarters of Allied Military Government in Venezia Giulia to the Secretary of State


19. This is CA 14 from Stilwell. Delicacy of situation regarding provisional demarcation Italian-Yugoslav frontier suggests recapitulation of present status quo:

Yugo, from beginning, have refused to recognize that Big Four commission has anything except advisory capacity; they propose that disagreement between Italians and themselves be held over until council of ambassadors can proceed per article 51 of treaty and that [Page 71] in interim neither Italian nor Yugoslav troops occupy disputed areas.
In commission itself, Russian member2 has supported Yugo thesis (1 above) while other three members, with concrete or implied backing of their governments, have maintained that commission must have arbitration powers to insure that complete line is provisionally demarcated prior to treaty ratification; all three oppose Yugo thesis of non-occupation of disputed areas pending final demarcation feeling that Yugos would not comply in spirit and disorders would result.
Russian member likewise has contended that all commission recommendations must be formulated by unanimous vote; other three members have disagreed in principle but have had to recognize his contention in fact.
Increasingly apparent that Yugo delegation considers this provisional demarcation actually the finial one since Yugos insist on full application paragraph 5 article 5 readjustment to local economic and geographic conditions. Yugos foresee that Council of Ambassadors will be hamstrung on unanimity issue. Consequently our adherence to known intent of French line essential.
Commission reached unanimous recommendation on first disputed area northwest of Gorizia which generally supported Yugo argument. Italian delegation stated its willingness accept recommendation as binding if Yugo delegation would agree that all commission recommendations, subsequently to issue should be regarded as obligatory with respect “provisional” demarcation. Yugo delegation, in view previous statements, refused agree such principle. Thereupon, Italian delegation declined implement commission’s sole recommendation pending instructions Italian Govt and addressed letter to commission requesting advice on commission’s terms of reference and powers vis-à-vis two delegations.
Reference Italian delegation’s letter, agreed reply doubtful because it concerns repetition of previously recorded divergent opinions regarding commission’s powers. However, may be possible convince Russian to support Italian position that all recommendations are obligatory if we accede to his principle of unanimity in formulating recommendations.
Must be realized that reparation [preparation?] of agreed reply not likely insure settlement crucial Gorizia dispute because improbable Russian will veer from full support Yugo claims. Thus most that can be expected is resolution two or three men or disagreements. Consequently [Page 72] whether or not reply formulated necessary have plan of action substantially along line Trieste’s 17 to Dept (repeated Rome 29)3 or equivalent.

Sent Rome as 33, repeated Dept 19, Belgrade 30, Dept repeat to Moscow and pass to War Dept Plans and Operations.

  1. Article 5 reads:
    • “1. The exact line of the new frontiers laid down in Articles 2, 3, 4 and 22 of the present Treaty shall be determined on the spot by Boundary Commissions composed of the representatives of the two Governments concerned.
    • “2. The Commissions shall begin their work immediately on the coming into force of the present Treaty, and shall complete it as soon as possible and in any case within a period of six months.
    • “3. Any questions which the Commissions are unable to agree upon will be referred to the Ambassadors in Rome of the Soviet Union, of the United Kingdom, of the United States of America, and of France, acting as provided in Article 86, for final settlement by such methods as they may determine, including, where necessary, the appointment of an impartial third Commissioner.
    • “4. The expenses of the Boundary Commissions will be borne in equal parts by the two Governments concerned.
    • “5. For the purpose of determining on the spot the exact frontier laid down in Articles 3, 4 and 22, the Commissions shall be allowed to depart by 0.5 kilometer from the line laid down in the present Treaty in order to adjust the frontier to local geographical and economic conditions, provided that no village or town of more than 500 inhabitants, no important railroads or highways, and no major power or water supplies are placed under a sovereignty other than that resulting from the delimitations laid down in the present Treaty.”
  2. Gaik Doulian, First Secretary, Soviet Embassy, Rome.
  3. Dated April 4, p. 67.