750G.00/9–2154: Telegram

No. 281
The Ambassador in Italy (Luce) to the Department of State1
top secret

1133. Limit distribution. Defense pass Hensel and Lemnitzer. From Murphy. Ambassador Luce and I met with Foreign Minister Martino this evening. He immediately came to grips with Trieste problem without preliminaries, laying out a map of the area. He said he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Scelba and had a few questions to ask. He said that he had been confused after our conversation on Sunday2 regarding the exact dimensions of the small slice. After that was explained to his satisfaction I mentioned that incidentally on Sunday I had not referred to the Yugoslav suggestion that if possible they would like compensation for the small slice in respect to the Monrupino quarry. However, some Yugoslavs had said that they would not insist on this compensation and therefore, we were not pushing it. The Minister passed this over without comment.

The Minister referred to Piccioni’s declaration to the effect that Italy could not accept any solution which gave them less than October 8 and therefore the question of compensation for any adjustments of the Zone A line is so important. I said that we understood that difficulty and assumed that perhaps the small slice with the compensation of the rockpile area would be more satisfactory. The Minister nodded and then proceeded to suggest that the larger wedge on line 50 with some deviation of the Zone B line in the rockpile area would be more attractive. I told him that we fully appreciated this factor and had made a maximum effort in Belgrade to achieve it but we had failed and that the choice of the two solutions which were now offered was final as far as we were concerned and represented our maximum effort. The Minister then said “if we have no other choice we must accept one of these”. He said that he would consult with Scelba and would notify either Ambassador Luce or myself this evening or tomorrow morning which of the two alternatives his government accepts. I reiterated our understanding that the Italian Government would accept one of the two and the Minister agreed that that is the situation.

The Minister then raised the subject of the timing of the announcement of the settlement and said that it was essential that [Page 554] this be done as soon as possible for the reason that on October 4 the debate on the Foreign Office budget would occur and he desired to have the announcement of the Trieste agreement made before that time. I asked whether that meant that he wished to make it within the next few days, having especially in mind that it would enhance Italy’s position and his own position at the London conference which begins September 28.3 The Minister agreed and said that they desired to make the announcement within the next few days if possible and that in making the announcement they would wish to announce the details of the agreement. It was made explicit that the announcement would be made simultaneously with the initialling of the agreement.

The Minister then raised the question regarding the transfer of such of the Italian population as might want to leave that part of Zone A which is being conceded by Italy to the Trieste area. We said we doubted there would be great difficulty on that score. The Minister suggested that perhaps as many as 2,000 people would leave the area and would wish to be provided for. He desired to avoid incidents. We said that the US would do whatever it could to facilitate an orderly and humane transfer of population with an indication that our estimate of the number of persons who would leave was less than the number he had suggested.

I then mentioned the problems of reparations and cultural houses. The Minister appeared to be unfamiliar with both these subjects and I said I presumed that he would wish to have them discussed in final detail in London. It seemed unwise to pursue these two topics further as the Minister was obviously uninformed.

We were reliably informed at a meeting last night between Zoppi,Del Balzo, Casardi and Lanza it was agreed that the Italians could not raise their figure of 150 million lire for a cultural house more than 25–30 million lire. I believe that we can not allow this issue to hold up agreement and that Thompson must use his discretion with respect to the remaining 5 million dollars at his disposal.

Martino throughout made it quite clear that he was speaking with the authority of the Prime Minister.

At the end of our conversation I emphasized again the value that we saw in the new Foreign Minister proceeding to the London conference with his position strengthened as result of agreement on Trieste and assured him that Secretary Dulles would want to discuss with him other matters of mutual interest. This was warmly seconded by Ambassador Luce and we both hope that there may be [Page 555] an opportunity at London for the Secretary to show special attention to Martino for obvious reasons.4

The Department will of course have in mind the importance of capitalizing through our public information and other agencies at the appropriate time value this agreement after it is announced.5

  1. Repeated for information to London, Belgrade, and Trieste.
  2. Regarding the conversation between Murphy and Martino on Sept. 19, see footnote 2, Document 279.
  3. Reference is to the Nine-Power Conference, Sept. 28–Oct. 3; for documentation, see vol. v, Part 2, pp. 1294 ff.
  4. Dulles and Foreign Minister Martino briefly discussed the Trieste issue in London on Sept. 27; see footnote 2, Document 286.
  5. The source text bears the handwritten notation in the margin here: “being done.”