No. 201
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Western European Affairs (Jones)
top secret


  • Trieste Proposals.


  • The Secretary
  • Sig. Tarchiani, Italian Ambassador
  • Mr. Merchant, EUR
  • Mr. Jones, WE

The Secretary asked the Italian Ambassador to come in this afternoon to inform him of the present status of the Trieste negotiations. The Secretary said that we had reached agreement with the Yugoslavs on a Trieste settlement as a result of developments following October 8 and that we hoped and believed this arrangement would be satisfactory to the Italian Government. The proposal which was being put to the Italians in London could be considered, for all intents and purposes, an implementation of the October 8 decision. The Secretary recalled he had always referred to that decision as “bare bones” which would require some flesh and what Ambassador Thompson had worked out in London in the way of minority rights, economic and financial settlements, etc., could be considered as clothing of the original bare decision. The Secretary said we had used every possible means of persuasion with the Yugoslavs to bring them to this point and he felt the results were [Page 442] something which the Italian Government could present to the Parliament and the people as an achievement and which would strengthen its position.

The Ambassador asked if the substance of our understanding with the Yugoslavs had been communicated to his Government adding that he was uninformed. The Secretary replied that Ambassador Thompson had made an initial communication to the Italian representative in London1 and that he, the Secretary, was not prepared to go into the substance of the proposal today. The Ambassador referred to the problem which Sig. Scelba had with his scant majority in the Parliament and expressed the hope that the London proposal was one which would command a safe majority in the Parliament and not endanger the life of the Government. The Secretary in turn expressed the hope that the negotiations with the Italians would not require as much time as had the Yugoslav talks and reiterated his belief that the agreement reached in London was one which should be welcome and useful to the Italian Government.

Mr. Merchant emphasized the desirability of secrecy in the forthcoming negotiations between the Italians, the British and ourselves pointing out that our policy in this regard during the Yugoslav phase had to a large extent contributed to the success of those negotiations.

The Ambassador expressed the personal hope that a Trieste settlement would be forthcoming and the hope that many other problems such as Italian ratification of EDC would fall in line once this vexing problem was disposed of. The Secretary agreed and emphasized the importance of a Trieste settlement not only for Italy and Yugoslavia but for its beneficial effect on the general political climate of Europe. Finally, the Secretary and the Ambassador agreed upon a non-committal statement to the press following their interview.

  1. This presentation was made on June 1; see Document 199.