No. 268
Editorial Note

In the days prior to his departure for Belgrade, Murphy was one of apparently several people who took part in the drafting of a letter from President Eisenhower which Murphy was to deliver to Tito. In an interview in August 1972, Murphy recalled that there were several meetings to draft the letter and that a number of people, including Eisenhower and Dulles, took part in the drafting of the letter, but he could not remember who else was involved. (Campbell, Successful Negotiation, page 134) A draft letter from Eisenhower to Tito, dated September 8, is in EE files, lot 58 D 394. This letter, which is nearly identical to the final form of the letter, bears the handwritten notation: “DEM [David E. Mark]. Hold until we get copy of letter as actually delivered, then destroy. [initials illegible]” The following is the text of the final form of the letter, dated September 10 at Denver, Colorado:

“Dear Mr. President: I have asked my friend and your friend, Robert Murphy, to go to Belgrade to discuss with you the Trieste settlement which has been under negotiation during the past seven or eight months, and to ask your assistance in bringing these delicate negotiations to a successful conclusion now. The British and ourselves have been occupying the perhaps unenviable position of intermediaries in this sensitive negotiation. Throughout, we have been most frank in the Trieste negotiations which we regarded as a grave responsibility to be worked out to the mutual advantage of Yugoslavia and Italy.

“In stressing the importance to Europe and to the United States of a prompt and happy termination of the long, drawn-out negotiation regarding Trieste, I count on your continued wisdom and statesmanship. You understand, I am sure, better than I can describe, the larger issues weighing on the free world of which our countries are part. As you know, the United States is providing massive support in Europe to promote collective security which benefits both our countries. The American aid program for your country is not inconsiderable. It is because of our close association and cooperation in the economic and military fields that I feel it is appropriate to call on you in this friendly fashion to intervene personally [Page 532] in the Trieste negotiations to settle the exceedingly small differences now remaining. These are overshadowed by the larger considerations affecting us all.

“I believe that if you can see your way clear to allowing the Italians a small bit of coastline on the Adriatic, together with some hinterland from the strip of Zone A which they were to have given up under the May 31 proposal, we could achieve a settlement which would work to the great advantage of both Yugoslavia and Italy and strengthen your position in that area. Under the proposal I have in mind, the Italians would forego the segments of the Yugoslav Zone which they were to have received. Thus Yugoslavia would give up none of Zone B and would receive a strip of Zone A in the Muggia Peninsula, just inland from the coast.

“I fully realize that in the London negotiation from February 2 to May 31, your negotiators made concessions which represent great sacrifices on your part, and I want you to understand that in urging this further small concession I am not blind to the great contribution you have already made. In my judgment, however, a settlement is not otherwise obtainable. The result, I feel sure, would redound to the advantage of your country. As a military man, you will understand that if the Trieste problem is settled, it will be possible to create a greater power toward defense in that area than if the Trieste question is not settled; and American assistance can therefore be spent with maximum effectiveness only if a settlement is achieved.

“I have been told of certain economic developments and emergencies which have been brought to the attention of our people. I have asked Mr. Murphy to review these matters with you in a spirit of sympathy.

“With my warm personal greetings and best wishes,

“Sincerely,” (Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file)

In telegram 250 to Belgrade, September 10, the Department of State informed Riddleberger that Murphy was also bringing with him the United States response to Yugoslavia’s wheat problem which it hoped would “be useful in facilitating [the] Trieste settlement.” Under the circumstances, the Department asked Riddleberger to leave the wheat question in suspense until Murphy’s arrival. (750G.00/9–154)

Murphy and Robert Hooker of the Bureau of European Affairs left Washington on September 11 and arrived in London the following day where they conferred with Thompson. On September 13, they left London and stayed in Bonn until September 14 before flying to Belgrade.

On September 11, the Department of State informed the Embassies in Belgrade, London, Paris, and Rome, and HICOG Bonn that Murphy’s departure had become known to reporters at the Department of State under circumstances beyond its control. As a result, no formal statement was made, but it was confirmed on a “reliable [Page 533] sources basis” that Murphy was making a short fact-finding visit to Europe in the wake of the European Defense Community defeat and that he had no fixed itinerary but that he was visiting London first. The purpose of his visit, it was stated, was to discuss with United States officials, and perhaps others, general policy questions and some economic matters. (110.13 MU/9–1154)

In telegram 1020 from Rome, September 14, Ambassador Luce said that Del Balzo and Casardi were informed on September 13 of Murphy’s trip to Belgrade and Rome for the primary purpose of making a final effort at reaching a Trieste settlement. She said that they were delighted at the high-level approach which the Italian Government had several times requested. They were also told that Murphy would discuss both Trieste and economic matters in Belgrade and promised to maintain secrecy regarding the primary purpose of Murphy’s trip. (750G.00/9–1454) In telegram 1079 from Paris, September 14, Ambassador Dillon reported that he informed the French Foreign Ministry of Murphy’s trip. In answer to a query from a Foreign Ministry official, Dillon confirmed that Murphy’s mission was related to Trieste and was not a fact-finding mission after the EDC defeat, as the cover story indicated. (750G.00/9–1454)