750G.00/7–1554: Telegram

No. 225
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Aldrich) to the Department of State1
top secret

275. Limit distribution. Pass Defense for Hensel and Lemnitzer. From Thompson. Astonishment expressed by Belgrade’s 142 reciprocated, but believed difference of view largely attributable to misunderstanding present status of negotiations. Agreed record initialled with Yugoslavs was never intended as a complete and final solution of Trieste problem since we have constantly made clear we could not express the final judgment on a solution until we had held discussion with Italians. Rather this record was statement of Yugoslav position which we agreed, put to the Italians and in our discussion with Velebit we consistently differentiated the degree of support which we would give to the various items covered. Although Yugoslavs took position they had made their maximum concessions, we did not accept this position and rejected Velebit’s various attempts to put this in writing, stating that if he did so we would have to counter with statement which would protect our position. Other than telling Italians we would not support their request for Ospo, our discussions with Italians on territory were confined to exploration their point of view and we have made no specific request, other than that mentioned for them to modify their counterproposal on boundary. The reason for this is that in the first place, their proposal is not unreasonable and that they have conditioned their acceptance of two other major parts of the agreement upon getting substantial acceptance of their territorial proposal. Before making our final judgment on what we would push the Italians to accept on territory, we considered wise first to discuss all their counterproposals with Yugoslavs. I hope to convince Velebit, it’s to Yugoslav interest give substantial satisfaction to Italians on their relatively minor demands regarding territory in order secure their acceptance of our formula regarding permanence of solution and a reasonable reparations figure. Only discussion with Velebit on territory was my remark regarding Ospo and his statement we knew they could not give up Sacerb. Resentment he expressed was directed chiefly toward the question of Consular representation, Slovene Credit Institution and Autonomy. In this revealing discussion he went far toward admitting Yugoslavs wanted [Page 480] demonstrate Italians had behaved badly and that such humiliating action would assist Yugoslavs in selling solution to their people. Although Velebit does not himself appear personally to attach great importance to autonomy provision, he was apprehensive of effect our failure obtain unilateral declaration would have in Belgrade. If territorial question resolved satisfactorily, believe Italians will agree make unilateral declaration to us since they will in any event accord measure of autonomy to Trieste. From discussions with Velebit, however, believe their fears that Yugoslavs intend use this provision as basis for intervention in Zone A affair is justified.

More Yugos will concede on territory better agreement we can obtain and believe that unless Italians obtain approximately half readjustment they have requested whole entire character of agreement may be upset. If, nevertheless, Yugos insist upon the line as it stands, we are still in position press Italians to accept it even though in my opinion such decision on part of Yugoslavs would be most unwise.

I fully agree with seriousness of situation reported Belgrade’s 13, July 143 and suggest that if Turks and Greeks are unable to remove this misunderstanding we should attempt to do so directly.

  1. Repeated for information to Rome, Trieste, Ankara, Athens, and Belgrade.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.