501.BC/1–1648: Telegram

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


61. USUN received following advance copy dated January 12 of a Yugoslav letter to SYG reporting failure of talks between Italy and Yugoslavia on a nominee for Trieste governorship:

“In connection with the decision of the SC of December 18, 1947 recommending that the governments of the Federal Peoples’ Republic of Yugoslavia and of Italy reach an agreement by January 5, 1948 on the issue of the person for the governor of the FTT, and on the basis of the communication of the SYG of the UN to the government of the FPRY in letter No. 1204/5/1/DP regarding this decision, the government of the FPRY has the honor to submit to the SC a report on the outcome of its efforts to achieve agreement with the government of Italy on the person for governor of the FTT.

  • “1. On December 23, 1947, the government of the FPRY conveyed [Page 504] instructions to its minister in Rome1 to engage in negotiations with the Italian government on this question.
  • “2. On December 24, 1947, the minister of the FPRY in Rome, Mr. Ivekovic, requested an urgent appointment with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sforza. Mr. Sforza replied that on the question of the FTT, negotiations with our minister would be conducted by Mr. Fransoni,2 SYG of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • “3. Only on December 26, 1947 did Mr. Fransoni receive Minister Ivekovic, who, on that occasion, submitted to Mr. Fransoni the list of candidates for governor. The government of the FPRY proposed the following candidates: Emil Stang, President of the Supreme Court of Norway; Bohuslav Ecer, General Chairman of Czech delegation to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg; Georg Branting, Swedish senator. Mr. Fransoni did not submit any list of candidates and declared that the Italian government as yet did not have one as the suggestion of the SC came to the Italian government quite unexpectedly. Minister Ivekovic expressed his bewilderment at the fact that the suggestion of the SC could come unexpectedly for the Italian government in view of the fact that on October 25, 1947, the representative of France in the SC already had proposed that the FPRY and Italy agree on the question of electing a governor of Trieste, which proposal was afterwards accepted by the permanent members of the SC. Minister Ivekovic asked for the quickest possible reply to the Yugoslav list of candidates, respectively, for a counterproposal of the Italian government.
  • “4. Not until the morning of December 31, 1947, did the SYG, Mr. Fransoni, invite Mr. Ivekovic to a discussion. He apprised him of the opinion of the Italian government, i.e. that it would be necessary to choose a candidate for governor from a neutral country, concretely from Switzerland, because it is difficult for Italy to accept a candidate who is a citizen of a country with which it had been at war. For this reason the Italian government rejected all three candidates of the FPRY. Minister Ivekovic could not accept the point of view of the Italian government as this would mean virtually excluding from responsible functions citizenry of all countries which are members of the UN, and would be to the advantage of countries which stood passively aside in the anti-Fascist war of liberation, respectively, which, through their passivity, even served the forces of the Axis; and, further, it would mean the identification of present Italy with Fascist Italy. Besides, this reason as such does not apply to two of the three candidates proposed by the FPRY. One of them is Swedish, and Sweden was an entirely neutral country, and the second is a Norwegian, and Norway was not at war at all with Italy, and the exclusion of such a candidate for reason of his citizenship would infer that the Italian government considers it necessary to exclude all countries against which Germany perpetrated aggression, even though Fascist Italy was not at war with them. Mr. Fransoni declared that only in the afternoon, after a discussion with Mr. Sforza, could he communicate the names of the Italian government candidates.
  • “5. In the afternoon of December 31, 1947, Mr. Fransoni communicated the names of these candidates, namely, Henri Guisan, Swiss general, and Walter Stucki, Swiss diplomat.
  • “6. On December 31, 1947, the government of the FPRY issued instructions to Minister Ivekovic to reject these candidates. Their choice indicated that the Italian government did not seriously intend to reach agreement with the government of the FPRY on the question of the person for governor, both candidates having already once refused such candidacy, i.e. General Guisan in April 1947 and Mr. Stucki in September 1947. The government of the FPRY made still another effort and submitted as candidates Mr. Maurice Dejean, French Ambassador in Prague, and Mr. Pablo de Azcarate, ex-Ambassador of the Spanish Republic in London, who was proposed as a candidate by the French government as well.
  • “7. On January 3, 1948, Minister Ivekovic transmitted the above mentioned proposal of the government of the FPRY to the Italian government.
  • “8. On January 5, 1948, Mr. Fransoni informed Minister Ivekovic that the Italian government had refused the new Yugoslav proposal as well, and that it was proposing new candidates of its own, i.e. Mr. Paul Ruegger, Swiss diplomat, and Mr. Leif Egeland, South African diplomat. Mr. Fransoni did not offer any reasons for rejecting the candidates of the government of the FPRY but that the Italian government considered its candidates would better respond to the functions of governor.

“The government of the FPRY is convinced that it must have been clear in advance to the Italian government that the candidates submitted in this proposal would also be unacceptable for the government of the FPRY and it can only interpret the entire manner of procedure of the Italian government as revealing a complete lack of desire for agreement on the person for governor, while the act of proposing candidates serves only as a formality to avoid responsibility for the failure of the negotiations.

“The government of the FPRY therefore believes that all further efforts towards a mutual selection of the person for governor would be futile and that further negotiations with the Italian government on this question would only delay the appointment of governor, an appointment which is urgent and necessary in the interest of the FTT and for the protection of world peace.

“The government of the FPRY takes this opportunity to express its deep respect to the SC of the UN.”

  1. Mladen Ivekovic, Yugoslav Minister in Italy.
  2. Francesco Fransoni, Secretary General in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.