No. 111
Editorial Note

In a speech in Rome, September 13, Prime Minister Pella called for a plebiscite in the Free Territory of Trieste, which he said would constitute “the formula of implementation of the Tripartite Declaration.” He also proposed that, as a means of carrying out the plebiscite, a meeting be held in the near future of representatives of the United States, British, French, Yugoslav, and Italian Governments. Excerpts from Pella’s speech were quoted in a note verbale, dated September 13, which the Foreign Ministry delivered to the Embassy and which formally requested the Embassy to call the attention of the United States Government to Pella’s proposal. A translation of this note verbale was transmitted to the Department of State as an attachment to despatch 669 from Rome, September 18. (750G.00/9–1853)

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In telegram 334, September 14, the Embassy in Belgrade reported that authoritative editorials in the Belgrade press had called Pella’s proposal completely unacceptable. (750G.00/9–1453) Italian press comment on Fella’s speech was described in telegram 885 from Rome, September 15. (750G.00/9–1553)

On September 13, Tito also delivered a speech, in Split, concerning the Trieste question. Excerpts from Tanjug’s English-language summary of this speech were reported in telegram 329 from Belgrade, September 13, as follows: (1) Yugoslavia would consider the entry of Italian troops into Zone A as an act of aggression and would be compelled to take steps; (2) For the time being, Yugoslavia would not send troops to the border, but it would never be too late for the Yugoslav army to get there; (3) Italy had not abandoned its desire to advance eastward, particularly through Yugoslavia; (4) Contrary to rumors that Yugoslavia was drawing closer to the Soviet Union and its satellites, there had been no acts by these countries, which might be considered an indication of their desire for a normalization of relations; (5) Greece and Turkey should ignore the campaign carried on particularly in Italy which was designed to wreck Yugoslavia’s relations with these countries in the Balkan Pact; and (6) Yugoslavia would remain faithful to its obligations to work through the United Nations together with all friendly nations for the consolidation of world peace. (750G.00/9–1353) The Embassy supplemented this account of Tito’s speech by quoting excerpts of the unofficial translation of the text which appeared in Borba on September 14, excerpts in which Tito had commented on the idea of a plebiscite in Trieste and which had not been mentioned in the Tanjug summary. Among these excerpts were the following remarks by Tito:

“Why are we still against [a] plebiscite? I have said we are against it because Mussolini forced tens of thousand[s] of our fellow-countrymen out of Trieste … in that way Italian element was strengthened … in course of twenty or more years, nationalization of our fellow-countrymen has been carried out and therefore, it would be absurd for us to agree now, several years after the war; to a plebiscite … therefore, we all are against this plebiscite. And I say: First of all allow some 10 to 15 years to correct injustices and then let us see how many votes there will be for that and how many for this; allow it to open not under their pressure, our pressure or under pressure from anyone, but under free development and free self-determination of the people of this territory.”

“We do not demand of people abroad to be on our side. We only demand that they be impartial, that they do not pour oil on fire, that responsible men in western countries try to get out of this blind alley in some way, that they do not again make some unilateral conclusions and agreements without our knowledge and against our will. There is no sense in that because we are an allied [Page 279] country and want to remain such. We have enormously contributed towards the fact that today Europe is in [a] state of peace.…” (750G.00/9–1453)