Telegram No. 118 of October 14 from Rome says:?
"In the course of conversation with Mr. de Gasperi yesterday, he gave me his opinion on what the Italian Government should do in case Yugoslav troops move into Zone A.
"He considers that this would be an armed attack on a NATO party who should at once ask for support of other parties as provided in Article 5 of the Atlantic Pact."
Although Mr. de Gasperi is not at present a member of the Government, his opinions should be taken seriously. Perhaps we should have thought earlier of the place of NATO in this dispute.
2. The US -- UK decision, as announced on October 8, is to terminate the Allied Military Government of Zone A, to withdraw their troops, and to "relinquish the administration of that zone to the Italian Government". Although the announcement does not say so, it was understood that Italian troops would move into Zone A not later than the time of withdrawal of US -- UK troops. Tito then said that Yugoslav troops would enter Zone A the moment Italian troops did so, which would make a clash between the two forces inevitable.
3. Until Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty was amended effective February 1952, the US -- UK forces in Zone A of Trieste were covered by Article 6 not because Zone A was a territory of a Contracting Party but because Article 6 covered "armed attacks on the occupation forces of any Party in Europe", and the US -UK troops in Zone A were deemed to be occupation forces. (See minutes of 18th meeting of Washington talks on drafting of North Atlantic Treaty, held March 15, 1949.)
4. The new article 6 reads in part as follows:
"For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack --
(i) on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe . . .;
(ii) on the forces, vessels or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force . . ."
It is open to argument whether Zone A will be "territory" of Italy20 within the meaning of paragraph (i) at the moment when the threatened attack takes place. However it is clear that Italy could invoke paragraph (ii) of Article 6; so could the US and UK if their troops were attacked in Zone A. Of course, if Tito's troops entered Zone A without "attacking" any forces, it could be said that Article 6(ii) was not involved; can we imagine Italian and Yugoslav troops peacefully inhabiting Zone A together?
5. There is no ground for saying that Article 6 applies to the entry of Tito's troops into Zone B and no one has said it.21
6. If Mr. de Gasperi is correct and Article 6(ii) would apply to an attack on Italian forces in Zone A, it would seem to follow that the North Atlantic Council should at once be seized of this dangerous situation which might involve an "armed attack" within the meaning of Article 6. Other members of NATO are entitled to insist that the Council discuss it at once and furthermore that no further action be taken -- by the US, UK, or Italy -- that might incite an armed attack within the meaning of Article 6 before those future actions have been discussed in the Council.
7. It seems to me that, if the Minister approves, Mr. Wilgress should be instructed to ask Lord Ismay to call the Council to discuss Trieste. Whether we should consult the US and UK before asking Lord Ismay is open to question -- perhaps it would be sufficient to tell the US and UK what we are doing without waiting for their comments. Another gambit, if we wish to be extra kind to the US and UK, would be to urge them to ask for a discussion in the North Atlantic Council.
8. I should think that our Ambassador in Rome should not at this stage tell either Mr. de Gasperi or the Italian Government what we think of Article 6.
9. I assume that our Embassy in Belgrade will be kept informed of all communications.
Note marginale:/Marginal note: It will not be. M. W[ershof]
Note marginale./Marginal note: They are already there.