15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 2


If the handling by Yugoslays and Italians of their conflicting claims in the Trieste area is any indication of how they would govern the area, if permitted, there is every case for not giving either of them the chance. This is particularly true of the Yugoslays. The claim to preferential treatment which they established by their great sacrifices in the war has been dissipated by their insufferable behaviour since. The list of " concessions " which they have offered variously to the Council of Foreign Ministers and, through Signor Togliatti, the -Commimist leader, to the Italian Government, speak for themselves—cancellation of the demand that the Governor of the Free Territory of Trieste should be a Yugoslav ; abandonment of the claim that the Yugoslav representative on the Government of Trieste should have powers of veto ; repatriation of Italian soldiers now in Yugoslavia. These are not genuine concessions at all. The device of demanding the outrageous and impossible and then agreeing to drop those demands in return for other advantages (in this case the cession of Gorizia to Yugoslavia) has the authentic Hitlerian crudity and disingenuousness. The Foreign Ministers were right to sweep it aside, even though Mr. Molotov's attempt to reopen the question of the frontier between Italy and Yugoslavia after it had been unanimously settled at Paris, was scarcely less discreditable than the Yugoslav machinations. Nor do the Italians come off unspotted. They have been faintly tempted by Marshal Tito's suggestion that, in return for Gorizia, Trieste should be given the status of an autonomous area inside Italy. They are still toying with the Yugoslav propaganda for an Italo-Yugoslav com- bination against the " imperialism " of the Great Powers If a genuine understanding between Italy and Yugoslavia were possible it would be welcome. But transparent propaganda from communist sources is completely unhelpful. It becomes steadily clearer that the Foreign Ministers and the Security Council have a better chance of making a peaceful settlement than either Yugoslays or Italians.