Volume #17 - 897.|
EUROPE DE L'OUEST ET LE MOYEN-ORIENT
RELATIONS AVEC DES PAYS PARTICULIERS
RÉVISION DU TRAITÉ DE PAIR AVEC L'ITALIE
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire dÉtat aux Affaires extérieures
le 12 septembre 1951|
REVISION OF THE ITALIAN PEACE TREATY|
Italian pressure for revision of the Peace Treaty has been mounting steadily ever since Italy ranged herself along side the Western powers as a signatory of the North Atlantic Treaty. The impending conclusion of a Peace Treaty with Japan has revived the issue in an acute form. Italian sensibilities appear to have been offended by the failure of the United States to invite them to the Conference at San Francisco, despite the fact that Italy formally declared war on Japan in the closing days of hostilities. More important, however, is that fact that the substance of the proposed Japanese Treaty is much more favourable to the vanquished enemy than the existing treaty with Italy, particularly in that it contains no restrictive clauses such as those on limitation of armaments, or any provision for reparations. The situation has not been improved by the publication on the part of the Japanese Government of an official paper on August 3 drawing an invidious comparison between the two treaties.
2. With regard to Italian participation at San Francisco, the United States, with the concurrence of the United Kingdom, took the attitude that it would be inappropriate for an ex-enemy country to sign a multilateral treaty with Japan. Both Governments have however agreed to use their good offices to bring about a separate and mutually satisfactory settlement between Italy and Japan, and the Italian Government has apparently agreed to this procedure. The underlying motive on the part of the United States and the United Kingdom in adopting this position is probably the desire to avoid giving the Italians an even better propaganda point than they now have in favour of revision of the Italian Treaty, if they were to be associated on an equal basis with the other victorious powers in a more liberal settlement with Japan than the one to which they themselves are subject.
3. Reports from Rome indicate that the new Italian Cabinet will make revision of the Treaty a cornerstone of its foreign policy. Premier de Gasped stated in the Italian Senate on July 31 that "the intrinsic logic both of the Atlantic Alliance and of international collaboration should lead to the scrapping of a Treaty which was conceived and imposed as a sanction of war".
The Case for Revision
4. Exploiting to the full the favourable situation created by the negotiations for a Japanese Peace Treaty, the Italian Government in mid-July, made formal approaches to the governments of the United Kingdom, United States and France with a view to the revision of the Italian Peace Treaty. The Italian memoranda to the governments concerned argued that the Treaty had been rendered obsolete by political events. The clauses on Trieste, as the three Western powers stated in their declaration of March 20, 1948, cannot be enforced, and the admission of Italy to the United Nations specifically envisaged in the Treaty cannot be realized because of the Soviet veto. Italy has taken her share of responsibility for the defence of the peace-loving nations, and the restrictions on her armed forces are inconsistent with her position as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty. The Italian memoranda pointed out that the projected treaty between the Western powers and Japan has been conceived in an entirely different spirit from that of the Italian Peace Treaty, a circumstance which, in the opinion of the Italian Government, makes the Italian Peace Treaty even more obsolete and its revision a matter of even greater urgency. The Italian d6marche concluded by asking for an international initiative to render the clauses of the Italian Peace Treaty consistent with present political realities.
Obstacles to Revision
5. The Italian Government's desire to have the stigma of the Treaty removed is understandable and would appear justified on broad political grounds. It merits careful consideration if for no other reason than to enable Italy to play her full part in NATO. The Italian position will become even more anomalous if, in the near future, a settlement is worked out between the Western Powers and the Federal German Republic on terms more favourable than those of the Italian Peace Treaty.
6. On the other hand, from a strictly Canadian point of view, any proposal for the revising or scrapping of the Treaty would have to be weighed against its effect on the outstanding question of the disposition of Italian assets in Canada and the settlement of Canadian war claims, if this problem (now nearing a solution) has not been resolved. There are, in addition, certain obstacles to revision which cannot be disregarded:
(1) Any substantial revision of the military clauses of the Italian Treaty would tend to undermine the position of the Western powers in challenging known infringements by the Balkan satellites of their respective peace treaties.
(2) Formal revision of the Treaty, requiring the concurrence of all the signatory powers, is most unlikely to be achieved since it would require Soviet consent. Any steps taken by the Western powers to modify the terms of the treaty would presumably have to be confined to unilateral declarations of intent.
(3) Revision of the Peace Treaty would revive the question of the final disposition of Trieste and would present special difficulties. By the terms of the Italian Peace Treaty the Free Territory of Trieste was to be created and its integrity and independence entrusted to the Security Council. Pending the appointment of a Governor acceptable to both the Soviet Union and the Western powers, the Permanent Statute for the Free Territory was to remain in abeyance, and the area thus continued under military occupation by the forces of the United Kingdom and United States (Zone A, including the City of Trieste) and Yugoslavia (Zone B). When repeated attempts to reach agreement on the appointment of a Governor had failed, the Western powers in a joint declaration of March 20, 1948, proposed to the Soviet Union the return to Italy of the Free Territory. The decision to admit that this section of the Italian Peace Treaty had become unworkable was prompted in part by a Western desire to influence the course of Italian elections which were then imminent. With the subsequent defection of Yugoslavia from the Cominform the March 1948 declaration has become a source of some embarrassment to the Western powers. Any attempt to implement its declared aim would have unfortunate repercussions on the increasingly friendly relations between Yugoslavia and the West; to withdraw the declaration would constitute a serious blow to the prestige of pro-Western elements in Italy. Under strong Italian pressure the declaration was, however, reaffirmed by the three powers in March 1951 but contained in addition a saving statement to the effect that Yugoslavia and Italy should attempt to reach a settlement through bilateral negotiations.
7. Recent information from Belgrade seems to indicate that Yugoslavia might be prepared to settle the Trieste issue on the basis of Zone A going to the Italians and Zone B to the Yugoslavs (with certain free-port facilities in Trieste) providing that outstanding Yugoslav reparations claims against Italy were also settled and that certain minor adjustments on ethnic grounds in the boundary line were made. If these conditions were agreed to by Italy, there are grounds for believing that Yugoslav opposition to revision of the Italian Peace Treaty would be substantially withdrawn.
The Italians for their part may be disposed to negotiate a settlement in view of the possibility that the passage of time will tend to consolidate the existing temporary arrangements.
8. Because of the uncertainty concerning the Trieste issue, however, the United Kingdom considers that the Italian request for revision of the Peace Treaty could best be met by a declaration by the United Kingdom, United States and France which would indicate that in their relations with Italy they intend to be guided by the spirit of the Atlantic Alliance and that the three governments recognise in principle that Italy should enjoy the legitimate right of self-defence. To render a decla-ration of this nature more palatable to Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom has suggested to the United States and France that it should be counter-balanced by some attempt to ensure that a determined effort is simultaneously made by the Italians and Yugoslavs to settle the question of Trieste, and possibly by a declaration by Italy to the effect that once that question has been settled, no territorial issues would remain outstanding between the two countries.