Free Trieste




5 October 1954, London: the MoU regarding the Free Territory of Trieste is signed. The primary administering British and U.S. Governments sub-entrust the temporary civil administration of the present-day Free Territory of Trieste to the Italian Government. The A.M.G. F.T.T. ends and the Italian Government undertakes the responsibility to continue its duties.

But at this point, who is to defend Trieste, considering that the 1947 Treaty of Peace establishes it as a neutral and demilitarized State?

Indeed, under the 1947 Treaty of Peace, Trieste is an independent State (art. 21) and the United Nations Security Council is responsible to protect it under its Resolution 16 of 1947, and this includes its neutrality and demilitarization (Annex VI of the Treaty).

During its administration, the A.M.G. F.T.T. exercised both obligations, however, the temporary civil administration sub-entrusted to the Italian Government includes none. The Governments of the UK and of the US remain Trieste’s primary administering authorities, but as their troops leave Trieste, the Free Territory needs a new shield against possible aggressions: that shield is NATO.

Indeed, Italian troops could not enter the Free Territory of Trieste without the consent of the Atlantic Alliance, and their presence within the State should have only granted the FTT’s existence.

This was exactly their duty, as NATO made evident as early as Italian troops entered Trieste: in February 1955, a classified communication includes the Trieste area among the “areas under responsibility of the Atlantic Alliance” because of the provisional “Italian administration”.

Indeed, administration does not not mean sovereignty. And this is also why, one year later, NATO explained to Italian authorities that they could not include the Free Territory of Trieste within the list of the Atlantic Alliance’s sites in Italy (ACP 104). From then on, the “Territory of Trieste” and “Free Territory of Trieste” cannot be include in the lists of NATO sites.


NATO’s only role is to grant the neutrality and independence of the Free State of Territory with its troops and, for practical matters, since Trieste’s provisional Government is that Italy, that duty falls on the Italian Armed Forces. NATO troops instead of the UN Blue Helmets, but with the same mission.

Nothing has changes ever since. Italian Armed Forces can stay in the Free Territory of Trieste, but only in a NATO role, and only to protect the temporary civil administration of the Italian Government, in recognition of the rights of the Free Territory of Trieste, of its international Free Port, and of its citizens.

Translated from blog “Ambiente e Legalità” – “Environment and Legality” by Roberto Giurastante


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