865.00/3–448: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Dunn ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

943. We believe that Foreign Minister’s suggestion to me regarding Anglo-American statement on Trieste for electoral purposes (mytel 883 March 1)1 should be considered in context of following factors:

Belief which we are inclined to share among many officials of Foreign Office with whom we have talked as well as among members of government parties that latter’s position before electorate needs to be strengthened by one or more favorable diplomatic actions from west in face of Soviet propaganda. Likely subjects include, as we have previously suggested, Italian colonies and migration in addition to Trieste.
Italian Government has apparently considered and now rejected possibility that it can anticipate Communist initiative regarding Trieste by direct approach to Yugoslavia.
Soviets may well have in mind trying to blackmail Italians out of cooperation with western countries as indicated in reported offer by Soviet Ambassador Paris to Italian Ambassador there (Department’s info telegram February 26, 6 a. m.).2 If in fact this offer has been made it of course eliminates possibility of Italian initiative by [Page 510] overture to Belgrade and makes even more imperative that we take initiative before we are beaten to punch.
Anglo-American troops must remain in Trieste for as long as necessary to forestall any Yugoslav plan for taking over city.

Despite recognizable difficulties of statement by US and UK on Trieste we feel on balance that it would serve interests of Italian democracy and therefore of US if we could find a way to achieve tactical objective suggested by Count Sforza. We further believe that an effort should be made to obtain additional support of French Government3 for such proposal in order to avoid giving impression that we are ignoring them or that Anglo-Americans as interim administrators of city of Trieste are weakening in their determination to oppose spread of Communism or are motivated by any desire to fall short of our obligations admittedly difficult as implied in Sforza’s proposal. (See mytel 3538 November 54 and Belgrade’s telegram 2199 November 8 to Department.)5

If British and French concurrence can be obtained we would suggest that it be openly propounded in Security Council that Council consider, on basis of recently submitted reports, an administration of both zones of FTT whether a revision of treaty might be desirable with a view to recommending to all signatories that Free Territory provisions be revised to permit return of Trieste to Italy. It occurs to us that in so doing we would accomplish purpose which Count Sforza has in mind while avoiding necessity of bringing up many of clearly debatable and even polemical points he has suggested. Even if Soviets should agree mechanics of obtaining consent of all other treaty signatories to treaty amendment and of implementing such an amendment would, we believe, consume indefinite time during which our troops would necessarily remain in area.

  1. In this telegram, not printed, Dunn reported that Sforza had suggested “from the tactical point of view in relation to the electoral campaign” a statement by the United States and Great Britain recommending the return to Italy of that part of the Free Territory under AMG (865.00/3–148).
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. In telegram 966 of March 6, not printed, Dunn referred to the favorable French views, and again strongly urged favorable consideration by the Department and prompt action in order to forestall a possible Soviet propaganda move regarding Trieste during the pre-election period (860S.00/3–648).
  4. Not printed.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, p. 123.