Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1746 (extract) LONDON, 19 September 1945, 8.25 p.m.


My telegram D No. 1739 19th September. [1] Council of Foreign Ministers. Yugoslav-Italian Frontier.

The following reports of statements by the Australian, New Zealand and South African Representatives have been supplied by the respective delegations.

1. Dr Evatt stressed the right of Australia to participate in every aspect of the Peace Settlement. He welcomed the opening remark of the Chairman (Dr. Wang) [2] to the effect that just and lasting peace settlements require wide discussion open to all parties interested and said that the Australian Government welcomed this suggestion. Australian interest in the matter under discussion arose from no territorial claims but from the fact that as a country which had carried an active and sustained belligerency against the axis powers, Australia felt that it had a right in common with other countries who had made a similar contribution to a direct part in major aspects of the peace settlements. The Council should, therefore, decide between two alternatives:-

(A) That countries who had made active and effective contribution to victory should be fully associated at this stage with peace making processes as in the question under discussion or, (B) That recommendations to the Council should be submitted later to the free deliberation of conference including such States. It was almost as important to adopt just and democratic methods for arriving at peace settlements as to secure just settlements themselves. It was his understanding that the absence of the Canadian Representative from the present meeting was due to Canada’s realisation that present methods of consultation should be extended to more continuous participation. Australia was pleased with recognition of her status but agreed with the Canadian view. It would be wise and only just for the Council to make provision for countries in the category referred to-they were few in number and besides the British Dominions would involve for example Greece and Yugoslavia-to be heard.

2. On the Italy Yugoslav Frontier under discussion, the views put forward on behalf of the Australian Government were advanced without dogmatism or rigidity but with frankness. By reason of Italy’s record in the war and its proved policies of oppression followed in Venezia Giulia after 1920 as from the general history and character of the region, the fair and just presumption must be that Yugoslavia was entitled to the Istrian Peninsula and Western Frontier to the north approximating as nearly as possible to the ethnic line which admittedly could be accurately determined if necessary after investigation. Consequential deprivations of coal and bauxite which Italy might suffer could be remedied by special economic arrangements.

3. Trieste, however, would be left as a pocket under such a settlement. Conflicting claims of sovereignty over Trieste could not be reconciled nor was there any determining factor which would decide that Trieste should go one way or the other. The obvious and reasonable answer seemed to be that the principle of Internationalisation, already conceded by Yugoslavia and Italy in respect of Trieste port facilities, should be extended to cover the general status and administration of the City. Trieste should be neutralized and demilitarized and put under joint Italy- Yugoslavia control with proper relation to an international supervisory authority. The Heads of an International Convention could be drafted for this purpose. Dr. Evatt asked the Council to consider the question of Trieste from a broad angle irrespective of ideas of national sovereignty and to regard it as a further opportunity for application of the principle of international co- operation already favourably endorsed by the Council in respect of former Italian colonies designed for the benefit of people primarily concerned and the peace of the world (the text of the statement has since been circulated as a conference paper [3]).

4. The Chairman (M. Bidault) [4] expressed the Council’s thanks for the Australian contribution and said that the Council would no doubt study his suggestion for procedure as to consultation.

[matter omitted]


1 In AA : A3195, 1945, Folder, Top Secret, Inwards from Secretary of State, D1157-3/7/45 to D2033-2/11/45, I.30165/83/70/71/64. It conveyed the argument put forward by Yugoslavia in support of its claim to the Julian March area.

2 Chinese Foreign Minister.

3 See Document 259.

4 French Foreign Minister.


[AA : A5954, BOX 540]