501.BC/2–648: Telegram

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

top secret

45. It is apparent that permanent members of SC will shortly again be asked to consider problem of Trieste Governorship. As you know, Dept feels in this critical juncture of affairs in Europe that it is essential to national interest of US that Anglo-American force under Gen. Airey remain for the present in city of Trieste pursuant to provisions of Annex VII of Peace Treaty with Italy, as an essential holding force at this possible gateway to Communist aggression against Italy in particular and Western Europe in general.

We need not recapitulate previous telegrams which have made clear [Page 507] that for Council to appoint a governor to FTT at this time would invite such Yugoslav tactics of infiltration and eventual aggression as to destroy integrity of FTT which SC has agreed to maintain and to remove strategic and political advantage we now hold by presence of Gen. Airey’s command in city of Trieste.

At this juncture it is impossible clearly to predict what course events may take. Outcome of Italian elections in April is not a foregone conclusion and policy cannot be crystallized until elections are over. One basic objective of our policy is, however, beyond any doubt: we do not intend to see Trieste fall into Yugoslav hands. This overall objective should condition your thinking on problem.

Dept is fully cognizant of difficult situation you have been placed in by shifting events and of distasteful task we have asked you to assume in stalling any effort by SC to agree on a governor. We now feel that some variation on the theme might be welcome and that your excellent presentation to the Council on Jan. 23 as reported in your 84 affords us an opportunity to shift emphasis of Council’s thinking from qualifications of governor per se to conditions which any governor must confront if and when he is appointed.

At a meeting on Feb. 2 between officers of Dept, representatives of British Embassy, and Mr. Sullivan, UK Political Adviser to Gen. Airey, it was agreed that discussion should be had of Gen. Airey’s report which will shortly be sent to you1 for formal submission to Council and that in general terms charge should be made that Yugoslavs in their zone have been violating basic human rights of inhabitants, protection of which is a specific responsibility of SC under Art. 2(A) of Annex VI. Our charges against Yugoslavs would, however, be couched in general terms as to conditions in their own zone, since this tactic is designed to pave way for decision by Council calling on Yugoslav Govt, to submit a report on conditions in Zone B. In this same debate we would be prepared if necessary to criticize Yugoslav subversive and hostile activities against UK–US Zone A as exemplified in certain passages of Gen. Airey’s report.

The Council having called for report from Yugoslav Govt, could then wait for submission of such an account before further reviewing its position with regard to choosing a governor. While our thinking has not progressed beyond this point at moment, studies are in progress looking toward possible constructive lines of action which we [Page 508] might suggest in Council after both Yugoslav and Anglo-American reports have been studied.

British line of tactics has been communicated to Sir Alexander Cadogan and in general terms is set forth for your information in our next following telegram which is text of a telegram sent from British Ambassador here to Foreign Office London following discussions of Feb. 2.2 You have full authority to coordinate our lines of approach with your British colleague but to point out that we feel no advantage is to be gained by either British or ourselves formally urging that general situation in Trieste be placed on Council’s agenda. Furthermore, proposed British draft of a resolution calling upon Yugoslavia to submit a report on conditions in its zone mentions a deadline of March 16, which in our view is unduly limiting, if not in fact hasty.

Mr. Sullivan at meeting on Feb. 2 read portions of an exceedingly long draft note which he thought Sir Alexander Cadogan might use in SC in charging Yugoslavia with miscellaneous high crimes and misdemeanors. We do not regard this draft as useful and if you discern any inclination on part of your British colleague to use it please tell him that we have gravest doubts on this point and would not wish it introduced without additional consultation.

  1. The Department’s despatch 38, February 13, 1948, not printed, notified Ambassador Austin that 12 copies of General Airey’s report for the period September 15–December 31, 1947 were being sent to him (501BC/11–1547).

    In telegram 186, February 18, 1948, not printed, Austin reported that the report had been delivered to the Secretariat and after mimeographing would probably be released as a public document (860S.00/2–1848).

  2. Departmental telegram to USUN 46, February 6, 1948, not printed (501.BC/11–1547).