Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 64 D 199, “Trieste”

No. 113
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright)
  • Subject: Trieste


  • The Secretary
  • Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador
  • Mr. Bonbright, EUR

M. Bonnet raised the Trieste problem with the Secretary on his own initiative. He began by saying that because this problem had not been solved the Pella Government was completely paralyzed and unable to take necessary decisions in other fields. The French therefore felt that we must come up with a solution of the Trieste problem which he rather implied could be imposed. Their thinking was that the solution should be along the lines of the present boundary between Zone A and Zone B, perhaps to be followed by a five-power conference. His specific suggestion was that a tripartite working group be set up to come up with a proposed solution.

The Secretary agreed with the necessity of solving the problem. He pointed out that on previous occasions we had tried, and failed, to get a solution based on modifications of the Zone A, Zone B boundary. The difficulty with this was that refusal of Italy and Yugoslavia to agree on minor details, involving border rectifications of only a few miles, had prevented the reaching of an agreement on the whole problem. He therefore thought it was questionable whether such details should be discussed in a larger group such as a five-power conference. His inclination would be to let the Italians and Yugoslavs work these out.

With regard to the Ambassador’s suggestion of a tripartite working group the Secretary said that he would take it under advisement but would not attempt to comment now.

(Comment: I obtained the distinct impression from M. Bonnet’s attitude during the discussion that he at least suspects we are working on a plan for a solution of the Trieste problem and that the French suggestion for a tripartite working group was intended to smoke us out and get the French in on the ground floor.)