EUR/RA files, lot 54 D 514, “Trieste 1954”

No. 221
Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Western European Affairs (Jones) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Elbrick)


  • Memorandum of Conversation between Mrs. Luce and Mr. Merchant

When Mrs. Luce called on Mr. Merchant on July 9 she told him briefly of her call at the White House just preceding. In addition to a general discussion of US foreign policy the Ambassador reported that she discussed the following specific points with the President:

Trieste: Mrs. Luce told the President that very shortly the Trieste negotiations would be back with the Yugoslavs. She expressed the hope that the US would be firm with them and make them accept a reasonable compromise between their and the Italian positions. She said that if it had been worth $20 million to the Yugoslavs to permit us to keep our word it should be worth $40 million to the Italians for having broken our word (October 8, I assume). The President asked her what the outstanding differences were between the Italian and the Yugoslav Governments over the Trieste issue at the moment. She said that they were “hash marks” on a map and economic considerations. The President had no suggestion for the boundary but said that if there were any problem of money to bring about a settlement he assured the Ambassador that he would find it.
Facilities Agreements with Italy: The Ambassador, in discussing with the President the wisdom of using pressure in Western Europe to achieve our various objectives, gave the military facilities negotiations with the Italians as an example. She suggested that she be given a cut-off date, if that were possible from the Defense Department’s standpoint, and then be authorized to tell the Italians that a draft facilities agreement was available for them to sign within “X” number of weeks or months; that if they did not sign it by that time we would look elsewhere for our defense arrangements. The President appeared to agree with this and said that he had consistently instructed Defense Department officials that they were not to beg for base facilities abroad but rather to put the proposition on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis.

With respect to the latter subject Mr. Merchant suggested that the Ambassador see the Under-Secretary for Defense, Mr. Anderson, before beginning her holiday on Saturday.1 It was also suggested that she instruct the Embassy at Rome to communicate with the Prime Minister and, with reference to his promise to sign [Page 473] the Facilities Agreement within 24 hours after a Trieste settlement, to ask what agreement he was referring to in order to assure that we would be in complete accord on the draft text when the day arrived to request the Prime Minister to honor his commitment. The Ambassador agreed to these suggestions and subsequently saw Mr. Anderson at the Pentagon on her way to the airport Friday evening.

  1. July 10.