The Chief United States
Negotiator in London (Thompson) to the Assistant
Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant)
Dear Livie : I have somewhat prolonged the exchange of telegrams with Jimmy Riddleberger 1 not through any desire to win an argument, but because of the belief that if he were not convinced of the soundness of our tactics and policy he would make a poor advocate. I am completely unable to understand his reasoning. Although I had also not wanted to push the Yugoslavs to their final position before approaching the Italians, that is water over the dam and I am by no means sure that I was right and the Department wrong. Scelba nearly blew up in our faces as it was and we will never know what he might have done had we gone to them with a stiffer proposition.
Because of the complications of the Balkan Alliance I am in despair at ever getting through here, but hope we will hear from Velebit tomorrow and at least get on with the struggle.
All the best,
- Thompson sent another telegram to the Department on July 19, telegram 314, repeated to Belgrade, Rome, and Trieste, in which he addressed himself further to the criticisms of his approach in London made by Riddleberger. (750G.00/7–1954) In telegram 57 from Belgrade, July 20, repeated to London, Rome, and Trieste, Riddleberger commented on Thompson’s remarks, concluding as follows: “Whatever misunderstandings may have arisen [it is] important to find settlement of Trieste and we shall lend all our efforts to carry out Department’s decisions. Realize that here on middle Danube we do not have safe telephonic access nor has [it] been possible for us to have face-to-face discussions with Secretary or Thompson, and, therefore, we may not always be informed of all aspects.” (750G.00/7–2054)↩