750G.00/9–3053: Telegram

No. 116
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State1
top secret
niact

1072. Limit distribution. I am deeply concerned by prospects delay inherent reports British tactics contained Embassy telegram 1056, September 29.2 Seems clear introduction factor of “military consideration” will delay action despite fact Foreign Office has ostensibly reached agreement with us on plan for Trieste settlement. While important that military agree to plan we do not believe that Trieste settlement basically a problem involving overriding military factors. For more than year British have been telling us of desire to withdraw troops from Trieste. General Winterton obviously [Page 283]has detailed withdrawal plan ready, thus making consideration at military level purely a formal matter.

I am not clear whether reported view of British Foreign Office means no approach will be made Pella and Tito until plan concerted on military level by UK JCS and US JCS before being discussed with Zone Commander. If this is literally true, would require more time than situation in Italy will permit prior to revelation our plans to Pella. Any long period of silence on US-UK part will seriously threaten Pella’s position as reported in many messages from this Embassy. Therefore, in view of Parliamentary problem if we have no plan which can be presented to Pella in immediate future, I believe we should inform him confidentially and soonest of exact situation. Italian officials now firmly believe no approach has been made to them because of British procrastination. I consider it necessary to do this so that Pella can guide himself accordingly through the Parliamentary difficulties, and in order to prevent feeling of resentment on his part against US with result of deterioration of Italo-American relations. Indications in the press and in Parliamentary circles that Pella’s so-called “transitional” government stands a good chance of becoming a permanent and stable government for Italy. This cannot be achieved without reasonable and demonstrable support by US. We would find it most difficult to deal with any government succeeding Pella, if he fell on Trieste question. Therefore, I do not believe we can sacrifice any chance of obtaining stable government in Italy by delay in presentation our plan for settlement of his most pressing and acute problem.3

Luce
  1. Repeated for information to London and Belgrade.
  2. Telegram 1056 reported British doubts as to whether it would be desirable to have Italian troops enter Zone A prior to the complete evacuation of Allied forces. The Foreign Office had therefore proposed that the British Joint Chiefs study the plan for withdrawal, concert plans with U.S. Joint Chiefs, and then consult with Winterton. It might be three months, the Foreign Office believed, before the Allied forces could be withdrawn and the necessary conditions of security created in Trieste. (750G.00/9–2953)
  3. In telegram 1138 to Rome, for Luce, Oct. 1, the Department of State noted its entire agreement with Luce’s views regarding the urgency of putting the plan into action. It suggested that Luce inform Pella that he could expect an approach by the United States in the immediate future. For Luce’s personal information, the Department of State reported that if Pella could keep the parliamentary debate in hand for the next five or six days, it hoped then to be in a position to make an approach. It also said that the British and U.S. Joint Chiefs were already in consultation with Winterton and it was believed this aspect would not cause delay. (750G.00/9–3053)