Defense Files: Telegram

The Acting Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater (Lee) to the Combined Chiefs of Staff

top secret

FX 76086 (Naf 1314). Naf 13081 and Naf 13132 refer.

My proposed plan for handover of the provisional boundary between Jugoslavia and Italy is as follows:
Immediately on ratification entire provisional boundary to be manned at road and track crossings by Allied Detachments after which Italian frontier guards to be allowed to come forward to them.
Allied Detachments of Morgan line to be withdrawn simultaneously, falling back without pause through Allied Detachments on provisional boundary. Arrangements to be made beforehand for Jugoslavs to follow up to new boundary and to establish their posts on it.
After time interval sufficient to allow all Italian and Jugoslav detachments to reach new boundary, Allied Detachments to withdraw simultaneously from it. These detachments would thus constitute the rear guard to all other Allied troops from Zone A and adjacent territory and would withdraw rapidly to assembly areas generally no less than 10 miles west of the new boundary.
I anticipate that in effecting this handover the leading Jugoslav troops may not accept the majority demarcation in disputed sectors and may be difficult elsewhere. I consider that a display of Allied Force will be necessary on the provisional boundary to act as a deterrent to the Jugoslavs.
I request your approval of my plan in paragraph 1 above. If you agree to this plan I request further approval of my specific instructions to use small arms fire in preventing penetration of the well marked boundary by individual Jugoslavs or minor groups in order that clear and definite instructions may be issued to Allied Detachment Commander who will be responsible for the physical handover.3
In the event of your agreement to the foregoing I recommend that if complete agreement on the provisional boundary proves unobtainable, the Jugoslav Government should be informed through normal diplomatic channels of our intention to use force if necessary in standing on the tentative boundary agreed by the majority of the nations participating in the provisional boundary agreement.4

  1. FX 75936, April 14, not printed.
  2. FX 76089, April 25, not printed.
  3. In telegram 63, April 26, from Leghorn, not printed, Acting U.S. Political Adviser Greene called the attention of the Department to General Harding’s request for approval of his plan, and especially for authorization to resist any Yugoslav attempts to proceed beyond the agreed boundary (865.014/4–2647).
  4. The Combined Chiefs of Staff responded in Fan 771, July 1, not printed, modifying slightly the proposals made in this telegram.