740.00119 Control (Italy)/8–645

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State


The French Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Lacoste, called on me this afternoon and took up the following matters:

1. Rectification of the Franco-North Italian Frontier

Mr. Lacoste left with me a note48 covering this subject urging that the transfer of the authority of AMGOT49 to the Italian administration should not prejudice the Morgan-Carpentier agreements concerning the demilitarization of a zone of fifteen miles to the east of the frontier and to the pasture land of Mont-Cenis and of the Haute Maurienne. Mr. Lacoste went back into the history of the matter and explained how in 1860 at the time of the establishment of the Franco-Italian frontier Napoleon III had been unduly generous with the King of Italy by giving to Italy certain territory where the King and his associates were in the custom of hunting, and this generosity had sadly penalized the French when Italy came into the present war because it gave the Italians certain high ground dominating French territory. In other words, the 1860 demarcation was not a strategic frontier. As things now stand many French farmers who have their houses and live on the French side of the frontier have their pasture land on the Italian side and during the present war the Italians were very hard on these people and refused to allow them to cultivate their fields. For this reason the French and allied military authorities had come to an agreement concerning the fifteen-mile demilitarized zone and this is the area which the French do not wish to see prejudiced by the turning over of the administration of that territory to the Italian Government. I said I presumed that this was one of the problems which would naturally be considered in the eventual peace settlement, but that in any case I would see that the French representations were conveyed to the competent authorities.

. . . . . . .

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Infra.
  2. Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory.