750G.00/6–1254: Telegram

No. 206
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Aldrich) to the Department of State 1
top secret

5687. Limit distribution. Pass Defense for Hensel and Lemnitzer. From Thompson.

[Page 452]
At meeting today Brosio made oral statement and later gave us copy which I am transmitting by mail.2 It gives brief historical background, states assumes Yugoslav plan not being presented as an ultimatum and that Italian Government prepared consider it provided certain essential Italian requirements are observed. It states boundary adjustment must be made reciprocal in effect as well as all the other points covered. States solution must be de facto and provisional and that Italian Government could not consider possibility of allied statements involving final character of agreement. “If any statements are to be made they should also underline that any further change in the status quo should be brought about by a friendly agreement of the 2 countries concerned excluding the use of force.” On the basis considerations set forth Brosio instructed to undertake secret soundings of exploratory nature.

Following are principal points covered by Brosio orally:

He emphasized internal political weakness Italian Government and stated Scelba and Piccioni had been indignant and at first opposed to negotiations. He admitted Italian Foreign Office took opposite view and indicated he had worked out compromise.

On territory he argued that even October 8 solution on an agreed basis was disadvantageous to Italy but not only was territorial proposal worse than October 8 but was also accompanied by a demand for one-sided concessions. Italy could agree to territorial adjustment only if concessions were balanced and he proposed line which followed present interzonal boundary to a point southwest of Santa Brigida. From that point it ran up to our proposed new boundary which it followed with slight variations to the Zone A–Zone B boundary from which it follows the high ground in a line curving to the southeast hitting the Yugoslav boundary about one and a half kilometers south of Ospo. He indicated that the border could be readjusted to leave Ospo to Yugoslavia. Brosio implied that he and Italian Foreign Office had considered territorial adjustment as relatively insignificant but that Scelba and politicians felt particularly strongly about this point.

On the question of procedure, he stated the French should be kept continuously informed and participate in any final agreement.

He proposed the following amendment to our proposed preamble: Before the word “prove” in the first sentence insert the words “so far”. In the same sentence in place of the words “have been obliged”, insert the words “have maintained”. In the fourth sentence in place of “territorial adjustments” insert “adjustments [Page 453] along the present demarcation line”. In the last sentence in place of “extend their civil administration” substitute “will take over the civil administration”. He also proposed to add the following sentence at the end of the preamble “the Italian Government will be empowered to occupy Zone A with its troops in place of the allied forces”.

On the free port, he said Italy was prepared to issue a decree establishing a free port along the lines set forth in the peace treaty but without international administration. He also agreed that an undertaking to do this could be included in the agreement. In return, however, Italy wanted some undertaking that the Yugoslavs would not attempt to build up a rival port at Capo d’Istria. They were prepared to agree to an undertaking on administrative autonomy if the Yugoslavs would give a reciprocal undertaking.
Italy disliked the term minority since the Italians had in fact been in the majority in Zone B but were prepared to agree to a reciprocal statute on human rights based on the Strasbourg agreement of November 4, 1950. The right of refugees to return to Zone B should be provided for and there should be provision for freedom of circulation. Italy also attached great importance to acceptance jurisdiction of The Hague court not only over such human rights agreement but over the whole Trieste settlement.
There was no objection to the non-prosecution declaration.
Italy was prepared to pay a small sum in settlement of all claims and counter-claims on condition that this settlement should include claims for refugee property in Zone B if such settlement were accompanied by an industrial agreement similar to that which Italy had concluded with Greece in settlement of her reparations and with an agreement on fisheries which would involve only a symbolic payment for fishing rights. Under the heading of steps to improve the atmosphere, Italy wished a slight readjustment of the frontier around Gorizia.
With reference to the credit institution and cultural buildings, Italy was reluctantly prepared to agree provided similar concessions were made to Italy in Zone B.
Harrison and I stated we wished time to consider the points raised before commenting and the only point discussed was that of informing the French. I said we not only had no objection but desired to keep the French informed, but there was the practical question of how to maintain secrecy. He recognized the problem and while no definite conclusion reached seemed to be general agreement that French would be kept informed in only general terms and that would be advisable for any information to be transmitted in Paris rather than London. Brosio suggested that if we were to reach a quick agreement, it would be necessary for some of [Page 454] the points such as economic matters and minorities to be covered by subsequent agreements. Brosio expressed appreciation of the efforts we had made in our negotiations with the Yugoslavs and adopted an attitude of sweet reasonableness but left no doubt that we are in for an extremely tough negotiation.
  1. Repeated for information to Belgrade, Rome, and Trieste.
  2. A copy of Brosio’s oral statement was transmitted to the Department of State as an attachment to despatch 4031 from London, June 14. (750G.00/6–1454)