No. 169
The Chief United States Negotiator in London (Thompson) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright)
top secret

Dear Jamie : Just a line to let you know that the British military have pointed out to General Eddleman that General Winterton is due for retirement and that while they might be able to keep him on a month or two if an agreement on Trieste were in sight, they are anxious to proceed with his retirement. They suggested that it was our turn and wouldn’t we like to designate someone to replace him. When Bob Murphy and I saw Eddleman in Washington Bob expressed the opinion that it would be a good idea to get General Winterton out as he has certainly aggravated the Italians and as you know, despite instructions from the Combined chiefs, he continues to plan in the event of a settlement to have British and [Page 375] American troops virtually sneak out in the middle of the night. I feel and I believe General Eddleman agrees that it would be fatal for us to get saddled with the responsibility there, at least unless an agreement were absolutely certain and when you are dealing with Italians and Yugoslavs such a situation in my opinion will never occur since one or the other is capable of kicking over the traces at the last moment. If we ever get stuck with the Command, I think there is real danger of the British running out on us just as they did in Austria. Since Bob seemed to feel strongly about Winterton, I wanted to put in this word of warning and you are, of course, free to pass on this letter to him if you think it wise.

This has been and is a tedious business and we still cannot judge whether the Yugoslavs really want an agreement, although in my opinion they do and I believe we can succeed provided we can agree on some reasonable outlet to the Gulf of Trieste. It may depend, however, upon the willingness of our military or the Secretary to make plain that failure to agree will have serious consequences, particularly with respect to our aid program. General Eddleman has been splendid in helping me gently convey this idea and if we accomplish nothing else here I feel certain that we have at least convinced the Yugoslavs that our interest is in a settlement of this problem because of the wider issues at stake and not just some maneuver in an Italian game.

[Here follow personal remarks.]

Best regards to Johnny, Wally 1 and yourself,

Llewellyn E. Thompson
  1. References are presumably to John Wesley Jones and Walworth Barbour.