Free Trieste




On 5 October 1954, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding of London, the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States of America sub-entrusted to the Italian Government the temporary civil administration of the Free Territory of Trieste, previously under the military administration of the A.M.G. F.T.T., yet, the issue of the neutrality and demilitarization of the new State remained, since that was to be granted in compliance with the Treaty of Peace.

The Free Territory of Trieste is an independent State (article 21 of the Treaty of Peace of 1947) and the United Nations Security Council is responsible to protect it under UNSC Resolution 16/1947, and to grant its neutrality and demilitarization under Annex VI of the Treaty of Peace.

Both obligations were exercised first by the A.M.G. F.T.T. and then, since 1954, by the Italian Government, the second provisional Government of Trieste. Yet, while the first was a military administration, the second one is civil in nature: military obligations appear to remain entrusted, to date, to the United Kingdom and to the United States of America.

When the British-US troops left, the duty to defend the Free Territory of Trieste from all aggressions became a task for NATO (of which Italy was as well a founding State). This means also that in 1954 the Italian Armed Force could not have entered the Free Territory of Trieste without the authorization of the Atlantic Alliance, and they did enter the F.T.T. to protect it and to grant its continuing existence.

This was exactly the mandate they received from NATO, as early as Italian troops entered Trieste, and NATO itself, in February 1955, repeated it in a classified communication regarding the area of Trieste, to be included within the “areas under responsibility of the Atlantic Alliance” and that it was specifically to be considered a territory under the provisional “Italian administration”.

Administration, again, does not not mean sovereignty. This is why, one year later, NATO explained to Italian authorities that the list of the Atlantic Alliance’s sites in Italy (ACP 104) could not include the Free Territory of Trieste and, instead, any direct mentioning of the “Territory of Trieste” and “Free Territory of Trieste” had to be removed by the lists of NATO sites.


Because the NATO should only grant the neutrality and independence of the State “Trieste free Territory” with its troops that, for practical matters, since the provisional Government was that of Italy, were granted by the Italian Armed Forces. NATO troops instead of the UN Blue Helmets, but for the same task.

Nothing has changes since that time. The Italian Armed Forces within the Free Territory of Trieste can remain here as NATO divisions and only to protect the temporary civil administration of the Italian Government, in recognition of the international rights of the Free Territory of Trieste and of its citizens.


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

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