865.014/3–1148: Telegram

The United States Deputy for the Former Italian Colonies of the Council of Foreign Ministers (Gallman) to the Secretary of State


1004. Itcol 117. Twenty-fourth meeting DepItcol held yesterday afternoon with Gallman presiding. Record twenty-third meeting approved.

Deputies considered French proposal for scheduling hearing of interested governments without reaching any agreement. Prior to meeting Embassy officer obtained British support for US position as instructed [Page 904] in Colit 62.1 At meeting Zarubin, while agreeing in principle to French proposal, refused agree paragraph seven that proposal and insisted all hearings should be completed by April 7. UK and US deputies noted that Soviet had not changed position nor made any new proposal. In view Soviet intransigeance French plea for reconsideration was ineffective and US and UK deputies maintained position that no hearings should begin until May 1 in order allow interested governments receive reports on Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. Deputies decided to report their inability agree on timetable of hearings to their respective governments. Thus question was temporarily shelved although it remains on agenda for consideration at some future meeting deputies.

Recent note from Italian Government to deputies2 concerns subject of hearing views of Italian refugees from former colonies now in Italy. Last November deputies asked commission for its views on this subject and commission postponed its decision until reaching Libya (document IC 85).2 Deputies decided to inform Italian Government that they agreed in principle to hearing views Italian refugees and were consulting with commission on best means obtaining those views. Deputies also decided to ask commission its view of Soviet proposal to hear Italian refugees by sending one representative each delegation in commission to Italy for that purpose after commission completes work in Libya. All deputies expressed general approval this proposal subject to receiving views of commission on its practicality.

Secretary General yesterday received memorandum from Italian Government presenting its views on Libya. Since deputies had previously sent similar Italian memoranda on Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to commission it was agreed send this memorandum on Libya to commission also.2

Deputies considered recent letter from commission concerning security of persons testifying before commission. Letter refers to requests made by several political organizations in Mogadishu to have commission leave observer in territory to see that public order was respected and that reprisals were not taken against any persons or groups. Since this matter was outside scope of commission it advised deputies of requests. Deputies agreed matter was outside their functions and powers as well and that maintenance of public security was responsibility of government administering territory. Therefore, deputies [Page 905] decided forward letter to British Government for its information without any comments. Commission will be informed that its letter this subject is being forwarded British authorities.

English text commission’s report on Eritrea received by Secretary General few days ago and was circulated to deputies March 9.3 French and Russian text will not be received and reproduced before March 20. Since commission has not yet agreed on appendices to be included in report copy English text appendices may not be sent deputies for about three weeks. French and Russian translations appendices will have to be done in London and since they comprise some 200 pages Secretary General considers entire job translation and reproduction may not be completed until about May 15. US, UK and French deputies generally agreed that report as received should be sent all interested governments as soon as French and Russian translations ready in order allow interested governments as much time as possible to study report before presenting views. They also thought appendices should be distributed whenever they are completed. Zarubin took contrary view and declared report should not be sent to any other interested government until all of report, including appendices, had been received and translated. Zarubin used paragraph five, document IC 294 as argument for saying reports should not be distributed until they were completed, and pointed out that secretary of commission, in letter covering report, stated “no date can be given for completion of appendices to Eritrea report as agreement has not yet been reached regarding materials to be included.” In view delay appendices, Zarubin contended, interested governments would not receive report before hearings even if hearings did not begin until May 1. Faced with this pronounced disagreement, deputies postponed further discussion re distribution report until after deputies and their governments had studied report.

Deputies did not discuss chapter of Eritrea report on results of investigation wishes of inhabitants on which commission was unable to agree. Secretary General has received draft texts this disagreed chapter with statements delegations in commission which are being reproduced for circulation to deputies. Copies will be forwarded to Department as soon as possible.

Gallman, as chairman, summarized discussion and noted items retained on agenda: hearings interested governments; hearing Italian refugees; and report on Eritrea. Gallman then stated next meeting could be held after deputies have further considered these subjects and have consulted their respective governments, and thus next meeting could be held whenever the deputies desired. Zarubin objected such [Page 906] procedure might postpone next meeting for weeks or months. But French deputy, who will be next chairman, stated they would request meeting next week.

French informed us privately they want deputies at next meeting to instruct commission to investigate boundary questions concerning French territories and Libya in regions of: west of Nalut, Gadames, west of Gat, Tummo, and northern Tibesti.

  1. Not printed; the French proposal suggested that hearings begin March 17 and end May 14. Colit 62 instructed the U.S. Deputy to delay all hearings until May 1, since the satellites would support the Soviet position, while the other interested governments might embarrass the Western Powers with their views (865.014/3–948).
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed; for text, see Four Power Commission of Investigation for the Former Italian Colonies, Official Reports, 3 vols., 1947–8.
  6. Not printed.