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Trieste (Political Freedom)

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, what facilities have been allowed to political parties, of all shades of opinion, to hold meetings and to express their views in the Free Territory of Trieste.

As the answer is necessarily long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Would my right hon. Friend give us some information? Is he aware of the fact that whilst freedom of expression is allowed in the Anglo-American zone quite the contrary situation exists in the U.S.S.R. zone?

I regret that that is the substantial conclusion. For example, during the period I examined in preparing a response to the Question, we permitted 191 meetings by Communists and Communist sympathisers in our joint zone, but no meetings were permitted to opponents of Communism in the Yugoslav zone.

Following is the answer:

In the Anglo-United States zone of the Free Territory Allied Military Government have, while keeping a proper control over activities aimed at disturbing the peace, permitted the inhabitants full rights of association, of free speech, and of the Press. During the period between 15th September last, when Italian sovereignty ceased, and 10th January the following meetings of all kinds were authorised:

Communist and pro-Slav groups191
Independent parties16
Italian parties141

Applications for meetings which were refused during the same period were:

Communist and pro-Slav groups12
Independent parties1
Italian parties 5

By contrast, during the sane period no single meeting of a party opposed to Communism was permitted in the Yugoslav zone of the Free Territory.

In the Anglo-American zone there have been no prosecutions against newspapers since 15th September, although the Communist Press has conducted a campaign of vilification and abuse of Allied Military Government, British and American forces and the Civil Police. In October last the circulation in the zone of a newspaper published in Fiume was prohibited on account of an article calculated to incite violence and disorder.

In the Yugoslav zone no journal not subservient to the wishes of the administration may be put into circulation.

An officer of the Yugoslav Military Administration stated in December at a Press conference that the reason why two journals were not permitted to appear in the Yugoslav zone was because they attacked the Yugoslav army and made propaganda for another war.