Eisenhower Library, Jackson papers

No. 114
Memorandum by the President’s Special Assistant (Jackson) to the President
top secret

I am sure you agree that the solution of the Trieste problem rates the very highest priority. The situation, which in 1948 was soluble relatively easily, has steadily deteriorated since then and is going to deteriorate still further as the months go by. If it becomes much more of a “thing” than it is today, it could be very, very bad. Necessary as it is to remain on working terms with Tito, I doubt if by any stretch of the imagination a Trieste solution which didn’t give Tito everything he asked for would drive him back into the arms of Moscow or into war with Italy. If he did fulminate a bit, we’ve been fulminated at by experts.

Furthermore, I personally don’t think that the prospect of Tito’s temporary anger and/or threats stacks up against the prospect of losing Italy, which is very conceivable if the Trieste solution does not include giving Italy Zone A, including the town of Trieste.

I know that this problem is classified “urgent” in the minds of Foster, Beedle, Allen,1 and others at the top. What I fear, and I hope I am wrong, is that down the line at the working level, since the problem continues to be a nagging headache, the Indians are inclined to drag their feet.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to discuss this with Foster and actually establish a deadline within which the State Department would be given the responsibility for bringing about a solution? Incidentally, it might be advisable to use covert as well as overt diplomatic measures, and I believe Allen has some ideas in mind.

Last June, Clare Luce wrote me a letter2 in which in her own inimitable style she included the following Estimate of the implications of Trieste. I should have sent it to you then.

  • “For the want of Trieste, an Issue was lost.
  • For the want of an Issue, the Election was lost.
  • For the want of the Election, De Gasperi was lost.
  • For the want of De Gasperi, his NATO policies were lost.
  • For the want of his NATO policies, Italy was lost.
  • For the want of Italy, Europe was lost.
  • For the want of Europe, America . . . . . . . ?
  • And all for the want of a two-penny town.”
  1. John Foster Dulles, Walter Bedell Smith, and Allen Dulles.
  2. Reference is to Luce’s letter of June 30, Document 106.