No. 229
Editorial Note

The Yugoslav reply to the draft proposals regarding Trieste was given by Ambassador Velebit to Thompson and Harrison on July 21. Velebit gave them a new draft of the proposed memorandum of understanding which accepted the language of the preamble and Articles 1 and 2, but recommended a number of changes in and additions to the other articles. Velebit made it clear that the most important points for Yugoslavia were the issue of territory, on which it stood firm, and the possible connection of reparations with the fishing agreement, which it was firmly resolved not to accept. The substance of the Yugoslav reply was reported in telegram 364 from London, July 21. (750G.00/7–2154)

The Yugoslav position on Trieste was the subject of discussion at the Secretary’s staff meetings on July 19 and July 21. At the former meeting, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Elbrick said that Ambassador Riddleberger appeared unduly concerned with regard to the recent developments in the Trieste negotiations. Secretary of State Dulles indicated that it had been his own impression that Yugoslavia had been squeezed quite hard at the time it had agreed to the May 31 memorandum and that it was unlikely that any more concessions could be obtained from Yugoslavia, particularly if Yugoslavia had initialed the May 31 agreement. Dulles added, however, that the Department of State would defer to Thompson as to how much further the Yugoslavs could be pushed. (Secretary’s Staff Meetings, lot 63 D 75, “July 1954”) Apparently as a result of this meeting, Elbrick sent a memorandum, dated July 19 to Dulles, in which he said, “You ask to what extent the United States–United Kingdom are committed to the proposals worked out with the Yugoslavs and embodied in the ‘Agreed Record of Positions’ dated May 31.” Elbrick pointed out that the United States and the United Kingdom found themselves “compelled to extract the utmost possible concessions before going to the Italians because we did not think that lesser Yugoslav concessions made up a good enough proposal to constitute a hopeful basis for discussion with the Italians.” Elbrick concluded by saying that it was believed that this judgment had been confirmed “in that the Italian counter proposals do not differ substantially on any point” and that “what remains is now a matter of trading minutiae and that neither party can afford to let agreement fail on account of the minor differences that remain.” (750G.00/7–1954)

At the meeting of July 21, Elbrick expressed his belief that Yugoslavia was not going to agree to any change in the territorial adjustment [Page 484] to which it had previously committed itself. He said that he was certain this would be Yugoslavia’s position, even though only approximately 30 acres were still in dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia, unless strong representations were made to Tito. A lengthy discussion followed among Secretary Dulles, Murphy, and Elbrick concerning the United States position with respect to the May 31 agreement. It was finally agreed that it had been made clear to the Yugoslav negotiators that even though the United States and United Kingdom had initialed this agreement, they were not legally committed to it as their final and fixed position. Secretary Dulles further stated that he thought Italy should accept the loss of the 30 acres. (Secretary’s Staff Meetings, lot 63 D 75, “July 1954”)