501.BC/12–2747: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin)


9. If press reports are correct that Italian and Yugoslav Govts have failed to agree on a compromise candidate for governor of Trieste we anticipate that this question will again be raised in SC.

Dept’s policy has consistently been that we will accept no less than an absolutely top-notch governor for Trieste and that unless and until such a man is found we are content to maintain the status quo. (CF–Dept’s 2745 Dec. 31 to Rome).2 For your secret info we feel that in this critical juncture of affairs in Europe it would be dangerous to alter current situation in Trieste where presence of 10,000 US–UK troops serves as decided stabilizing influence at a key point.

In private conversation with your British, French, Canadian and Belgian colleagues of SC you are authorized to state that info in possession of this govt strongly suggests that if any governor, irrespective of his personal qualifications, were appointed to FTT at this time he would be subject to such Yugoslav tactics and pressure as to find himself incapable of maintaining integrity and independence of FTT. SC by appointing a governor under these conditions would find itself in anomalous position of taking a decisive step toward defeating its main purpose and responsibility under Article 2, Annex VI of Italian Peace Treaty, which is to assure integrity and independence of Free Territory.

Foregoing authorized statement must be used with extreme discretion so as to avoid leaks to press. It should not be divulged to any delegation on SC which might be disposed to such indiscretion or to use this info against our interest.

For immediate problem which is report of Italian and Yugoslav Govts to SC we believe that USUN should not take initiative but [Page 503] should contrive that some other delegation move that Council take note of unavailing Italo-Yugo consultation, thank both govts for their efforts and add that if further consideration in SC produces a satisfactory candidate the two govts will be consulted as provided for in Article 11 (1) of Annex VI of Treaty.

If USSR or Ukrainian delegates question USUN as to our apparent lack of zeal in pressing for a governor it would not seem useful to point the finger at only Soviet intransigence as being mainly responsible for Council’s inability to find a governor since USSR may be quick to accept any candidate knowing that it can frustrate his activities once he assumes charge in Trieste. We feel emphasis should be on exceptional qualities of the potential governor and that in concert with your UK colleague you will be able alternately to manifest inability to accept names thus far offered by the Soviet faction or other delegations excluding of course the UK. If by some chance USSR agrees to one of our own candidates, e.g. Egeland,3 you should state that since so many months have elapsed since his name was first proposed it would seem necessary to inquire as to his availability and that you are referring the matter to your govt for further info on that point.

  1. See ibid., p. 135, footnote 4.
  2. Leif Egeland of South Africa was one of several possible candidates mentioned in telegram 45 from the Secretary of State to the U.S. Representative at the United Nations, February 12, 1947 ( Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, pp. 6061.)