No. 215
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant) to the Secretary of State1
top secret


  • Status of Trieste Negotiations

Thompson’s and Harrison’s negotiations with Brosio in London are proceeding in a good atmosphere, with three meetings last week and three so far this week. This confirms Thompson’s impression, reported last week, that the Italians were ready to proceed expeditiously.

[Page 466]

The main Italian requirements are: (1) that they get some modification of our proposals, to show that they have negotiated successfully and not accepted a US–UK–Yugoslav “diktat”, above all with regard to the territorial provisions, and (2) that the settlement be presentable to the Italian public as provisional.

On the territorial side they are asking for adjustment at both ends of the proposed new interzonal boundary, but Thompson thinks they will eventually settle for redrawing the western end of the line so as not to lose the kilometer or so of seacoast the Yugoslavs want.

To insure that the settlement can be presented as provisional they are asking for changes in the proposed draft preamble to the final agreement, some of which are clearly unacceptable. But Brosio has indicated that they will not insist on all their changes if they get satisfaction on the territorial adjustment.

On the Yugoslav request on autonomy for Zone A the Italians insist that the provisions be reciprocal if included in the final agreement, but will if the Yugoslavs prefer make a somewhat weaker commitment in a unilateral statement to the US–UK.

On the proposed minority statute and economic clauses, Brosio is still without instructions. They want a vice consul in Zone B, and are much troubled by the proposed Yugoslav port development at Capodistria.

Although a small gap may be hard to bridge when one party has already made what we believe to be his maximum concessions, Thompson clearly believes that he can narrow the gap to a point where neither party can afford to let the negotiations fail. I believe he is justified in this judgment.

  1. A copy of this memorandum, drafted by Hooker and cleared with Thurston and Jones, was sent to Under Secretary Smith.