740.00119 Control (Austria)/6–2149: Telegram

The Chargé in Yugoslavia ( Reams ) to the Secretary of State


602. Yesterday Peake1 saw Assistant Foreign Minister Mates re possibility of concluding an air agreement. During his conversation Mates referred to Soviet abandonment of Yugoslavia on Carinthia and asked whether Trieste had been discussed in CFM. Peake replied that he did not know but that he thought it natural that Soviets having abandoned on Carinthia might well do same on Trieste. Therefore, he believed that Yugoslavs should have another look at their own policy on this question. Mates inquired concerning possibility of compromise. Peake replied his government naturally stood on March 20 declaration but might view sympathetically any reasonable arrangement Yugoslavs might work out with Italians. Initiative must come from Yugoslavia and there could be no intermediates. Mates stated question would be studied.2

I believe that we might also reexamine our own position on this subject in view of possibility of Yugoslavia’s approach to Italians. I [Page 509] do not suggest abandonment our March 20 position but I do feel that some pressure on Italians might be necessary in order to convince them they should accept some solution other than return of entire territory to Italy.

It seems to us that Soviet adherence to our March 20 declaration might raise some embarrassing issues for us. We could, of course, turn zone A over to Italians and presumably Yugoslavs in their present situation could be expected not to make any physical attack upon Trieste. However, I do not believe that Yugoslavs would voluntarily retire from zone B. It seems quite certain that they would refuse to withdraw and that we would then be faced with possibility of either evicting them by force or of imperiling our policy under which we are committed to keep Tito afloat for time being. It would obviously be almost impossible to give any aid to Tito if he were defying us on zone B. Soviet adherence to March 20 declaration could be the most effective means open to them of completely violating Tito Government and bringing about its downfall.

Sent Department 602, repeated London 29, Moscow 65, Paris 63, Rome 45.

  1. Sir Charles Peake, British Ambassador in Yugoslavia.
  2. In telegram 2414 of June 22, 1949, not printed, the London Embassy reported having received an account of the conversation in Belgrade from Sir Anthony Rumbold, Head of the Southern Department of the Foreign Office (740.00119 Council/6–2249)

    In a memorandum of conversation by Joseph N. Greene, Jr., of June 23, 1949, not printed, he recorded that Lord Jellicoe had shown him a copy of Sir Charles Peake’s report which was essentially the same as reported by Reams, but with the added detail of the suggestion that the Yugoslav Government take advantage of the commercial negotiations proceeding in Rome to raise the question informally with the Italians (860S.00/6–2349).