Operational Role of the 34th Inf Div
Sep 1945

Venezia Giulia and the Morgan Line

34th Infantry Division Association
 
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    Do you remember the Yugoslav Military Detachment on our side of the Morgan Line, up north of Gorizia? What was the name of that town? Did you spend nervous hours at one of our outposts watching the Jugs, man a road post on the Line, remember the occasional small-arms fire, maintain control at a demonstration?
    If so, you either read or were drilled about this document, our 'Rules of Engagement' in Venezia Giulia that late summer and early fall of 1945. The first several sections are a good refresher on the tense political and military situation of that time.
- Patrick Skelly


[This document was originally marked "TOP SECRET", but is now declassified.]

HEADQUARTERS 34TH INFANTRY DIVISION
UNITED STATES ARMY
APO - 34
8 September 1945
SUBJECT: Operational Role for the 34th Division
TO : Unit Commanders and Staff Sections

I.  MISSION

1.  To exercise control of movement across the MORGAN Line and the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA under the terms of the MORGAN-JUVANOVIC Agreement of 20 June 1945.

2.  To exercise control of the ITALY-YUGOSLAVIA frontier East of Tarvisio, in accordance with AFHQ [Allied Forces Headquarters] instructions.

3.  To support A.M.G. [Allied Military Government] in VENEZIA-GIULIA and in the remainder of the Division territory.

4.  If required later by AFHQ, to exercise control on the ITALY-AUSTRIAN frontier.

5.  To assure the security of Allied troops, installations and communications.

6.  To assist A.M.G. in the maintenance of public order by the provision of any relevant intelligence obtained in the course of normal security duties.

7.  The prospect of active operations against a foreign government is considered remote.

II.  MORGAN-JUVANOVIC AGREEMENT

1.  This agreement was concluded between the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and the Supreme Commander of the Yugoslav Army on certain detailed matters arising out of the agreement signed by the Yugoslav Foreign Minister and the United States and British Ambassadors, in BELGRADE on 9 June 1945.

2.  The agreement entered into force on being signed. Like that signed in BELGRADE, it in no way prejudices or affects the ultimate disposal of any part of the VENEZIA-GIULIA.

3.  The area of the territory of the VENEZIA-GIULIA now under command and control of the Supreme Allied Commander and the Yugoslav High Command respectively, conforms to the boundaries shown on Overlay #1, attached. This line is to be known as the MORGAN Line.
[Map overlays and illustrations referred to in this document are not part of the online rendition.]

4.  A detachment of Yugoslav troops remains in the Corps area under command of 13th Corps.
[We - the 34th and later the 88th Infantry Divisions - were also part of and under command of 13th Corps, General Sir John Harding, at Duino Castle.]

5.  The Agreement includes clauses on the following:

(a)  Yugoslav rights regarding war booty.
(b)  Command and control of anchorages on the West coast of ISTRIA.
(c)  Control of movement in the VENEZIA-GIULIA.
(d)  Control of railway traffic between the Allied and Yugoslav occupied zone of VENEZIA-GIULIA, and for the settlement of matters affecting trade and commerce between the zones.
(e)  Yugoslav rights in TRIESTE and POLA.

III.  SUPPORT OF A.M.G.

1.

(a)  The Yugoslav High Command has stated the claim of YUGOSLAVIA not only to VENEZIA-GIULIA, but also to certain communes of the FRIULI, in UDINE Province, in which the population is wholly or largely Slovene.

(b)  The Allied Governments have noted the claim to VENEZIA-GIULIA, which is held in trust under military occupation pending their decision, which may or may not be taken before the Peace Conference.

(c)  The claim, stated verbally at the staff meetings, to territory in UDINE Province has not been recognized in the same manner.

(d)  As a result, A.M.G. in VENEZIA-GIULIA is operated independently of A.M.G. in the rest of ITALY, including UDINE Province. For this reason there is no single A.M.G. control in the 34th Division area, and the Division must deal with the Area Commissioner GORIZIA in respect of VENEZIA-GIULIA territory, and with the Provincial Commissioner UDINE in respect of territory in UDINE Province.

(e)  In case of conflicting A.M.G. instructions on matters of detail common on either side of the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA, the matter will be brought to the attention of this Headquarters.

2.

(a)  Maintenance of law and order is a civil, i.e., A.M.G. responsibility, which should be effected under A.M.G. direction by the Police Force in VENEZIA-GIULIA, and by the Carabinieri in UDINE Province. In the virtual absence of any reliable Police force in VENEZIA-GIULIA, a special combined military-civil Police Force has had to be created. The military element includes both Provost personnel and auxiliary MPs from British and American units within 13th Corps.

(b)  In UDINE Province the Carabinieri are handicapped by lack of numbers and almost certainly by intimidation by pro-Yugoslav and extreme partisan elements.

(c)  In these difficult conditions it is likely that A.M.G. may have to make more frequent calls on military commanders for assistance by the troops than would be usual or desirable. It is, of course, politically most undesirable to employ force or a show of force against civilians, and military commanders concerned should be as careful to avoid premature or excessive use of troops as they must be careful to intervene in time and effectively when in their judgement, after request of A.M.G., it is necessary in order to avoid loss or damage to life or property and to restore the authority of A.M.G. through the Police or Carabinieri.

3.

(a)  Private meetings may be held without permission.

(b)  Public Meetings and Demonstrations may not be held except with permission of A.M.G. Political meetings are permissible under this rule.

(c)  Unauthorized meetings which are entirely orderly should NOT be dispersed by the Police. Delegations should be called for, and their criticisms answered.

(d)  Vehicles, particularly armored vehicles, should NOT be used against a crowd.

(e)  The military should only be called in when there is imminent risk of loss of life or hurt to persons or property and the position has got beyond the powers of the police. When the military have been called in, the handling of the situation will be handed over to the military commander, who will use his own discretion in carrying out the advice and requests of the A.M.G. From the time of handing over, responsibility for the situation is with the military commander.

4.

(a)  On official buildings, in any way controlled by or part of the A.M.G. machine, only U.S. and British flags may be flown and these jointly.
(b)  Troops may fly their own national flag.
(c)  There is no restriction of flags on private buildings.

5.

(a)  Newspapers and posters NOT authorized by A.M.G. are prohibited from publication in the VENEZIA-GIULIA area. This law will NOT, however, be enforced, except as follows:
(1)  Newspapers printed outside the area governed by A.M.G. 13th Corps will be prohibited if imported in very large numbers or if they are seditious or a prejudice to military security.

(2)  Newspapers printed within the Area will be prohibited if banned by A.M.G.
(b)  The general policy will be to show maximum tolerance in enforcing the above law.

6.  Except in cases of emergency, Requests of A.M.G. will NOT be acted on without first consulting this Headquarters.

IV.  VENEZIA-GIULIA POLICE FORCE

1.  There is no civil police force in VENEZIA-GIULIA. Due to the complex political situation, the former police personnel have not been retained and [it] is not possible to import Carabinieri from other parts of ITALY as was done in other areas. Therefore, it has been necessary to form a special police force composed of military personnel from Allied units to preserve law and order, protect life and property, and to detect and prevent crime.

2.  Civil police are being selected and trained to work with the VENEZIA-GIULIA Police Force and to eventually take over all duties of a civil police force. It has been estimated that it will take at least three (3) months before the civil police force can take over completely in VENEZIA-GIULIA.

3.  To maintain the Allied nature of the occupation of VENEZIA-GIULIA, the 34th Division has furnished personnel in TRIESTE, POLA, and GORIZIA to cooperate with other Allied forces providing police protection.

4.  The VENEZIA-GIULIA Police Force is commanded by a Chief of Police who is directly responsible to Commander of 13th Corps. In each Province (GORIZIA, TRIESTE, and POLA) the police are under a Superintendent of Police whose status is equivalent to a Provost Marshal or Provincial Civil Affairs Police Officer.

5.  The military element of the VENEZIA-GIULIA Police Force also carry out normal functions of regular Military Police.

V.  YUGOSLAV MILITARY MISSION

1.  For liaison with Yugoslav Army Headquarters and with the Yugoslav Detachment under 13th Corps, a Yugoslav Mission has been formed and attached to Hq 13th Corps.

2.  With the exception of the Yugoslav Detachment and A.M.G., units under the command of the 13th Corps will NOT deal direct with the Mission.

3.  Officers of the Mission may circulate freely in the course of their duties, between Hq 13th Corps, the Yugoslav Detachment under command of 13th Corps, and Yugoslav controlled territory. To facilitate recognition and assistance, members of the Mission are being issued with a permanent pass by Hq 13th Corps. In addition to this, their vehicles will bear a distinctive sign.

4.  The members of the Mission will not visit any subordinate British or American headquarters, including A.M.G., without first arranging an appointment through G(Ops), or obtaining a pass from Hq 13th Corps.

5.  Members of the Yugoslav Military Mission will NOT be subject to periodic checks for passes, etc.

6.  Officers of the Yugoslav Military Mission may travel freely within 13th Corps area.

VI.  YUGOSLAV TROOPS ACROSS THE MORGAN LINE

1.  The Yugoslav Detachment in the Allied area is under the command of 13th Corps and has concentrated in the area shown on Overlay #2.

2.  Any Yugoslav troops found in the Corps area, outside of the concentration area, without identity cards will be escorted across the MORGAN Line.

3.  Carriage of arms by Yugoslav troops, except when moving in organized bodies, is not allowed. Units will enforce this, taking care to distinguish between such troops and any civil police as may be enlisted by A.M.G. and ordered to carry arms. Details of the police uniform and identifications will be issued shortly.

4.  All roads passing through the area occupied by the Yugoslav Detachment are open to normal movement, but movement should be limited to essential traffic.

5.  The channel of communication between the Yugoslav Detachment and other units will be through Hq 13th Corps.

6.  In addition to a daily courier pass, several passes have been issued to vehicles from the Yugoslav Detachment authorizing return journeys across the MORGAN Line. These passes are issued by Captain A. SIMITCH of the Military Mission.

7.  In the near future personnel of the Yugoslav Detachment will be given the 13th Corps shoulder insignia to wear, but in no case will they be allowed West of the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA.

8.  The checking of passes of Yugoslav personnel will be suspended. Their passes will be checked only if it is obvious that a check is necessary; that is, if they are disorderly, actively participating in political demonstrations, or West of the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA, etc.

9.  The arrangement whereby the Yugoslav Detachment of 2,000, commanded by Colonel BENCIC, was placed under Allied command, was a condition of the agreement between the Supreme Allied Commander and Marshal TITO. This arrangement was based on political grounds and it is therefore most unlikely that it will be altered until the eventual decisions on the future of VENEZIA-GIULIA are taken and implemented.

10.  The Detachment Commander (whose car flies a blue pennant as for a British brigade commander) will be treated at all time as a U.S. regimental commander and the senior representative of the Yugoslav Army in 13th Corps. He will not be subject to periodic checks.

11.  If, in exceptional cases, it should be necessary to take a Yugoslav officer or soldier, whether or not a member of the Detachment, into Allied custody, it is specially important that all action is scrupulously correct and non-provocative. Before conversing or giving orders in Italian, enquiry will be made if it is understood. The Yugoslavs are particularly sensitive to be subjected to orders or abuse in Italian, for obvious reasons. German is preferred.

12.  The Yugoslav Military Hospital in GORIZIA will continue to operate with the following classes of patients, only, being treated:

(a)  Members of the Yugoslav Military Detachment sent for admission or specialist advice by the Medical Officer of the Yugoslav Detachment.

(b)  Members of the hospital staff.

(c)  Local ex-partisans from the GORIZIA area suffering from wounds or disease due directly to the war.

13.  A small British Detachment will remain attached to the Hospital in an advisory capacity and as the liaison link with 13th Corps.

14.  Armed guards will not be stationed at the entrance to or within the hospital, but unarmed Yugoslav Military personnel may be stationed at the entrance.

15.  Patients carrying arms and ammunition will not be admitted to the hospital.

16.  Patients will not be permitted to leave the hospital grounds without permission of the OC [Officer Commanding] Hospital in conjunction with the British Medical Advisory Officer.

17.  All authorized vehicle signs, identity cards and leave and duty passes issued to members of the Yugoslav Military Mission, Yugoslav Detachment, and authorized Yugoslav visitors, within the area of Allied-occupied VENEZIA-GIULIA, are shown in attached Appendices "A" to "K", inclusive.

VII.  MOVEMENT CONTROL

1.  There will be no restrictions on the movement within VENEZIA-GIULIA (includes the 1939 Italian Provinces of GORIZIA, TRIESTE, FIUME, and POLA) of persons, of either Italian or Slovak origin, normally resident in VENEZIA-GIULIA, either Allied or Yugoslav occupied, nor the passage of such persons to an fro across the MORGAN Demarcation Line except that Italian Military personnel normally resident in VENEZIA-GIULIA will not proceed in uniform into Yugoslav-occupied VENEZIA-GIULIA (See Overlay #1).

2.  In order that residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA may be distinguished from Yugoslav citizens and from Italian citizens who are not residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA, A.M.G. and the Yugoslav Military authorities will, in their respective areas, issue special identity documents to all residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA. (These identity documents have not been issued yet.)

3.  The following conditions will apply to the movements of civilians who are Yugoslav citizens or Italian citizens not residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA:

(a)  Neither of these categories of persons will be permitted to enter or leave VENEZIA-GIULIA unless their entry or exit has been approved by the Allied authorities in respect of entry or exit in the West and by the Yugoslav authorities in respect of entry or exit to the East. (Regular A.M.G. pass - Appendix "L")

(b)  Both categories will be permitted to move freely within the Allied-occupied area, if their entry into this area or presence therein has been approved by the Allied authorities. The same principle will apply to the Yugoslav side.

(c)  Neither of these catagories will be permitted to cross the MORGAN Demarcation Line unless their movement across this line has been approved by both the Allied and Yugoslav authorities.

4.  Persons wishing to leave VENEZIA-GIULIA in the West will require an A.M.G. pass (Appendix "L"). Such passes, which will be similar to those hitherto used in Italy, will be issued only by A.M.G., VENEZIA-GIULIA, or by Hq Allied Commission after clearance has been obtained from A.M.G. 13th Corps and the pass endorsed to that effect. Such local modifications of the above system as may be necessary will be made to deal with the requirements of persons living in the immediate vicinity of the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA who have cause to cross the line daily for purposes of work, shopping, etc. A.M.G. UDINE Province may issue passes to enter VENEZIA-GIULIA from the West to persons resident within the Province of UDINE whose ordinary business makes it necessary to travel in VENEZIA-GIULIA, except that passes may not be issued to destinations East of the MORGAN Line. (Regular A.M.G. pass)

5.  Passes for non-residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA to cross the MORGAN Demarcation Line will be issued jointly by A.M.G. and the Yugoslav Mission at Hq 13th Corps. Special passes are being printed for this purpose. (These passes are not out yet. It is contemplated that the regular A.M.G. pass, counter-signed by the Yugoslav Military Mission, would be used.)

6.  Russian officials or persons in uniform attempting to cross the MORGAN Demarcation Line into the Division area will be firmly, but politely, refused admittance, unless in possession of the special permit issued by the Allied authorities through the Yugoslav Military Mission. (This special permit is not in being yet.)

7.  There will be no passage of arms or military personnel across the Demarcation Line with the exception of:

(a)  Yugoslav Military Mission and such Yugoslav personnel whose entry into the Allied-occupied area is sanctioned by the Allied military authorities. Detail of authorized passes for such personnel will be circulated later. (These passes have not been issued yet.)

(b)  Such Allied or Yugoslav military personnel whose entry into the Yugoslav-occupied area is sanctioned by the Yugoslav military authorities. The prohibition does not apply to the movement of Allied military personnel and arms between TRIESTE and POLA. The Yugoslav government has accorded to the Allied forces unrestricted running rights over the selected route between TRIESTE and POLA.

8.   The control of the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA is the responsibility of 13th Corps. The 517 Italian Gd Bn, which has been trained in movement control duties, is being used for this purpose with the exception of the post at C-6759 which is being manned by the 34th Division.

9.  The issue of distinguishing passes to bonafide residents of VENEZIA-GIULIA, and to Yugoslav and Italian Nationals requesting authority to enter Allied-occupied VENEZIA-GIULIA, is now being arranged by A.M.G., and is similarly to be arranged, under the terms of the MORGAN-JUVANOVIC Agreement, by the Yugoslav authorities in the areas they control. Until the passes have been issued it is not practicable to limit the movement of personnel beyond the following:

(a)  On the MORGAN Line: Persons in uniform or armed are to be refused passage without 13th Corps authority.

(b)  On the Western boundary of VENEZIA-GIULIA: Persons other than Italian Nationals and Allied troops are refused passage without 13th Corps or A.M.G. authority.

10.  All trains moving into the Division area from YUGOSLAVIA and vice-versa will be stopped and examined as near to the MORGAN Line as stations permit. Arrangements will be made to ensure that no entrainment or detrainment takes place between the MORGAN Line and the station at which this examination is made. Trains will be examined for unauthorized persons, suspicious persons and arms.

11.  Units are to be instructed to prevent the requisition or removal from the Allied zone of VENEZIA-GIULIA, of equipment and property claimed as war booty or as Yugoslav property, unless expressly approved by A.M.G. or by a special commission. Arrangements are being made for an Allied-Yugoslav commission to be set up to examine claims for war booty or Yugoslav property.

VIII.   ITALIAN-YUGOSLAVIAN FRONTIER

1.  It is politically important that distinction should be made between control of movement across this international frontier as opposed to control on the MORGAN Line, which is a boundary of zones of military occupation and in no respect a frontier. It is also important at this time to avoid direct contact between the Yugoslav and Italian authorities on this frontier. For this reason, current military regulations in this theater applicable to a closed frontier will be applied. These are briefly, that free movement across the frontier will be limited to frontalier[sic] traffic, i.e., residents in the immediate vicinity who will surrender their identity documents to the Allied posts when crossing the line, and be re-issued to them when returning. Residents within a zone 20 kilometers wide this side of the frontier will not be permitted to circulate more than 10 kilometers from their residence, without special authority from A.M.G. Non-residents will not be permitted to enter the zone without authority of A.M.G., or to cross the frontier without the authority of 13th Corps.

IX.  ITALIAN-AUSTRIAN FRONTIER

1.  There is presently no international dispute over this frontier, and the problem is limited to security duties, checking personnel movement across it. These duties have been undertaken by 5th Corps, under British troops in AUSTRIA, from the Austrian side.

2.  The commander in the TARVISIO sector should arrange to maintain liaison with the 5th Corps road post on Route 13. Other than this there is no specific mission, although it may later be necessary, should 5th Corps' strength be reduced, to operate frontier control from 13th Corps' side.

3.  The restrictions for a closed frontier described for the Italian-Yugoslav frontier apply also to this frontier.

X.  ROAD POSTS

1.  The foregoing movement restrictions will be enforced by the establishment of check posts, supported by patrols, along the MORGAN Demarcation Line. The control of the Demarcation Line will be carried out by Allied personnel only. The control posts will be empowered to take such measures as may be necessary to enforce the restrictions outlined above, including identity checks, interrogation and examination of vehicles and baggage. They must, however, carry out such duties with the maximum tact and discretion. In addition, they will be required to compile statistics concerning the number and types of individuals moving in and out of VENEZIA-GIULIA across the Demarcation Line.

2.  Road posts will be established on or near the Line on every first and second class road.

3.  Road posts will be numbered serially throughout the area. When a new post is established it will be given the serial number of the nearest existing post, followed by a letter, e.g., 24A.

4.  Allied road post guards have the right of search and should exercise it to ensure that the fact is widely understood as well as to deter illegal traffic. Local traffic should be permitted to circulate freely. Bulk supplies of food, machinery, manufactured goods or important material will not be permitted to leave VENEZIA-GIULIA without A.M.G. authority.

XI.  POSSESSION AND CARRIAGE OF ARMS

1.  The possession or carriage of arms by any persons in VENEZIA-GIULIA other than Allied military personnel (including the Yugoslav Detachment within the limits imposed in paragraph IV. 3.) and such civil police as may be enlisted by A.M.G. is forbidden.

2.  All persons carrying arms, when not entitled to do so, will be apprehended at once.

3.  Troops will enforce these instructions, as stated, by cooperating with the Military Police, whenever possible.

4.  If Military Police are not readily available, persons will be disarmed, arrested, and handed over to the Military Police as soon as possible, with a full statement as to the circumstances.

XII.  ROUTE TRIESTE - POLA

1.  The Yugoslav government has accorded to the Allied forces unrestricted running rights over the selected route between TRIESTE and POLA.

2.  The selected route runs from road junction at 795607 via the coast to 737472, and not the alternative inland stretch (Route 15).

3.  Although unrestricted running rights on the road TRIESTE-POLA are accorded to the Allies by the recent agreement, it is the policy to restrict movement of individual vehicles to a minimum compatible with necessity. All movement should, as far as is possible, conform to the timings given on alternative days to maintenance convoys to POLA, and to returning convoys from POLA. When this is not practicable, vehicles should be released from both ends in groups of not less than four vehicles. The only exceptions to this will be ambulances who will require no pass, and those who obtain special permission from APM 13th Corps. Northbound movement will be authorized only by 167th Inf Bde.

4.  The only halts which are allowed are at the staging area in grid square 8031 which has been sign posted by 167th Inf Bde and then only as ordered by the convoy commander for the convoy as a whole. Other halts are strictly forbidden.

5.  Maintenance convoys will run North and South daily according to the following schedule:

0730 hours    Depart POLA
1130 hours    Arrive 133 FMC, TRIESTE
1600 hours    Depart 133 FMC, TRIESTE
2000 hours    Arrive POLA

6.  There have been several "incidents" along this route arising mainly through misunderstandings. It is however specially important that no such incidents should recur in the future which may give the Yugoslavs grounds for complaint or counter charges to offset unauthorized restrictions that may again be taken by their road posts.

XIII.  ARREST, INTERNMENT, AND [illegible]

1.  In general the power of arrest will be exercised with maximum caution. It will be essential to ensure that solid grounds for arrest exist before action is taken.

2.  All civilians committing security offenses will be subject to arrest. They will be tried before A.M.G. courts.

3.  Persons not chargeable with security offenses but who are considered to constitute a potential danger to Allied Security or Public Order on the grounds of their background, record, sentiments or personality, will be dealt with as follows:

(a)  Yugoslav nationals will be expelled from the area and handed over to the Yugoslav authorities.

(b)  Italian nationals, whether of Italian or Slovene origin, will be evacuated to the Allied internment camp at TERNI.

(c)  Other nationals will be treated in the same way as Italian nationals.

4.  Military personnel committing security offences will be handed over to their own unit for disciplinary action, or if this is not possible to the nearest representative of the Army to which they belong.

5.  Temporary detention pending investigation will be permissible as in ITALY.

6.  Any espionage agent employed by the Yugoslavs to secure information concerning the Allies who may be discovered in the area will be arrested, expelled from the area and handed over to the Yugoslav authorities with a full statement of the case.

7.  No Allied security or counter-intelligence activity will be carried out in VENEZIA-GIULIA, East of the MORGAN Line.

XIV.  MISCELLANEOUS

1.  Severe conditions in the winter, including scarcity of food, fuel, and employment, coupled with adverse propaganda probably following on civil disturbances in the industrial areas of Northwest ITALY, may provoke sympathetic disturbances in this area.

BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL BOLTE

JOHN D. FORSYTHE
Colonel, GSC
Chief of Staff

OFFICIAL:
s/ Warren C. Chapman
WARREN C. CHAPMAN
Lt. Colonel, GSC AC of S, G-3

INCLOSURES [not included in this online rendition]
Overlay #1
Overlay #2
Appendices A to L, incl.

Source: Personal Papers Collection of Charles L Bolte, then Major General, CG 34th Infantry Division
Archived at the Military History Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks PA

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