750G.00/9–553: Telegram

No. 103
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State 1

789. Reference Deptel 831, September 4.2 I saw Pella today who assured me, as he stated in speech at Bari fair this afternoon, that he would continue to work calmly for preservation of peace and a peaceful solution of current tension in international relations. Pella stated that even if Tito massed troops on the frontier and gave an inflammatory speech tomorrow, provided he did not take action to cross frontier, or annex Zone B, Pella would not take any counter-measures until he had announced them in his speech on September 13.

I pointed out to the Prime Minister that my government recognized that there was no likelihood of any demonstrations against AMG in Trieste, but I expressed the hope that he would continue to lend his helpful assistance and influence to make this sure. Pointing out considerations listed Deptel 831, I stated that AMG would be required to resist any attack on its authority in the zone.

[Page 262]

At that point, Pella repeated what he had told Durbrow on August 29 (Embtel 6993) namely:

If Tito annexed Zone B, the Italians would move their armed forces to Zone A with the objective of annexation.
If there were resistance by allied forces, the Italian forces would not attempt a forced entry.
If annexation of Zone A were prohibited. Pella would resign and place Trieste question before Italian nation.

Pella then inquired whether I had any reason to believe that Tito would annex Zone B. I gave him my personal opinion that I did not think he would, pointing out strong representations we had made in Belgrade. Pella appeared disappointed, and in response to my observation that the situation would become even more serious if Zone B were annexed by Tito, he said it would not necessarily be worse provided Italy could thereupon and immediately enter Trieste and annex Zone A. An immediate Italy entry into Trieste and annexation of the zone would put Italy on an equal footing with Yugoslavia and would satisfy Italian public opinion.

British Embassy has not yet received instructions to make similar representation to Pella.

Since drafting above, Del Balzo has called to say Pella has telephoned to mayor of Trieste. Pella emphasized to mayor delicacy of international situation and requested him to use every possible means to prevent disorders or manifestations which would embarrass Italian Government.

  1. Repeated for information to Belgrade, Trieste, Paris, and London.
  2. In telegram 831, the Department instructed the Embassy in Rome urgently to convey the following information to Pella. The United States realized that it was highly unlikely that relations between the Allied Military Government and the Trieste populace would suffer from the current tension, especially since the present difficulties had nothing to do with AMG. Nevertheless, the United States wished to express the hope that Italy would lend its influence to prevent any such development from taking place. The Italian Government should understand that the United States could not give in to any attempt on the part of irresponsible elements in Trieste to impose a change in the status of Zone A by force or agitation. In this regard and with respect to the reference to the possibility that Italian troops might seek to enter Zone A, the United States wanted to make clear that it was contemplating no change in the longstanding responsibilities of the Zone Commander, which had always been to ensure the integrity of the Zone. Changes could only come about as a result of prior decisions of the United States and British Governments regarding the Zone.

    The telegram, also sent to Trieste and London, instructed the U.S. Political Adviser in Trieste to use the substance of the proposed démarche to Pella as guidance for discussions with the Zone Commander regarding the position he should take in the “unlikely contingency Italian troops actually attempt take over of Zone.” (750G.00/9–453)

  3. See Document 93.