No. 119
Memorandum of Conversation, by David Nes of the Office of Western European Affairs 1
top secret
  • Subject: Trieste


  • Mr. Cheetham, British Foreign Office, London
  • Miss Barbara Salt, First Secretary, British Embassy
  • Mr. Homer ByingtonWE
  • Mr. Richard FreundWE
  • Mr. William KnightWE
  • Mr. David NesWE

Miss Salt and Mr. Cheetham returned to the Department at our request to receive the decision of the Secretary on the modifications to the instructions and public statement proposed earlier in the day by the British Cabinet.

Mr. Byington said the Secretary had personally considered at some length and with a great deal of thought the British proposals. He fully understood and recognized the arguments presented and [Page 288] realized the importance from Tito’s standpoint of giving our plan an air of finality. On the other hand, to impose the solution publicly on the Italians as final would in all probability bring about the fall of the Pella Government and might, in fact, make any center government in Italy an impossibility. The Secretary thought the assurances to be given Tito privately regarding the finality of the settlement should be sufficient for him and that he really could not see the necessity of repeating them bluntly in a public statement and so run the very serious risk of losing Italy. In a sincere endeavor to meet the British point of view, the Secretary had said, however, that we would be prepared to substitute “intention” for “expectation” in the instructions to both Belgrade and Rome. With regard to the paragraph suggested by the British for inclusion in the public statement, the language as proposed could not be accepted. The Secretary had, however, drafted a substitute paragraph which he hoped might help in bridging the gap. Beyond this, he was not prepared to go.

Mr. Cheetham thanked us for the expeditious way in which the British proposals have been received and discussed with the Secretary. He said he would cable the Secretary’s reply to the Foreign Office immediately and hoped to receive a reply over the weekend.2 He did not think it would be necessary for Sir Roger to talk to the Secretary as our reply was quite clear.

  1. Cleared with Byington. The meeting took place at 6:30 p.m.
  2. Eden’s reply is described in Document 121.