Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Statement on Naval Armistice with Austria-Hungary

     Delegates of the Allied Navies and the Navy of the United States, held a meeting in Rome November 26, 28, 29, 1918, with Admiral Thaon de Revel, Chief of Naval General Staff, presiding with the purpose of establishing the conditions of the execution of the naval clauses of the armistice with Austro-Hungary.

     The Naval Attache at Japanese Embassy at Rome was present at the meeting.1

     The Committee of delegates after having discussed the various questions of the application of the Armistice, unanimously decided on the following:

     The directives established by the three Admirals representing Great Britain, France and the United States at the meeting held in Paris November 5, are entirely accepted by the Italian representatives; and all the delegates are also in accord on the conditions of the subsequent telegram addressed by M. Clemenceau to the President of the Italian Council2 in that which concerns the preceding directives. Copies of this telegram and the reply of M. Orlando are attached to the present verbal process.3

     All the ships of war and naval and aerial material of the former Austro-Hungarian Navy shall be divided between the three ports of Pola, Spalato and Cattaro, where they will be guarded by the Allies and the United States.4

     From these ships, there shall be debarked what remains of the former crew as well as such explosives as shall still be found on board. The time and means of carrying out these orders are left to the discretion of the Chief Commander of the Allied Navies,5 or of him of the United States in guard of the ships in each port; but these orders must be carried out as quickly as possible.After concentration in the afore mentioned ports, it will be necessary for practical reasons to have these ships guarded by the personnel made up of Allied Marines, or of the United States. The Italian Navy shall guard the ships at Pola; the Americans at Spalato; the French at Cattaro.

     The English delegate stated that the British Admiralty desires no occupation either of large ships or of groups of small ones.

     These disarmed ships will carry the flag of no nation.

     All the war ships and naval and aerial material deriving from the former Austro-Hungarian Navy shall be concentrated in the designated ports; those which will be found between the Italian frontier and Cape Planka, and in the Islands occupied by the Italian troops, will be united at Pola under the care of the Italian Navy; those which will be found between Cape Planka and the Island of GIUPPANA6 will be concentrated at Spalato under the care of the American Navy; those which will be found between the Island of GUIPANNA and ANTIVARI7 (exclusively) or which shall be found on the Lake of SCUTARI and la BOJANA8 will be concentrated at Cattaro under the charge of the French Navy.

     Each Navy will have to make an inventory of the material cited above; Representatives of the other Allied Navies shall assist and concur in the establishment of this inventory.

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     The Italian Navy shall proceed to sweep the mine fields and remove all obstacles in the Adriatic except in the part comprised between the Island of GUIPPANA and ANTIVARI (exclusively) where this task shall be carried out by the French Navy.

     The sending of a letter to the Allied Maritime Transport Committee at London, and the sending of a radio-telegram to the Allied Chief Commanders and of the United States in the ports of the Adriatic. (Copies are attached to the present verbal note).9

     The present committee shall bear the title of “Naval Committee for the Adriatic”, and all communications shall be addressed to that committee through the intermediary of the Minister of the Italian Navy and Naval Attaches at Rome.

(Signed)  W. H. G. Bullard

          E. A. Kiddle

          L. Fatou

          Di Revell.10

Source Note: TDS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 679.

Footnote 1: The editor was unable to identify this individual.

Footnote 2: French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau; and Prime Minister Vittorio E. Orlando.

Footnote 3: These documents have not been found.

Footnote 4: These are the present-day Pula/Pola, Croatia; Split, Croatia; and Kotor, Montenegro.

Footnote 5: VAdm. Dominique-Marie Gauchet. Although Gauchet was officially the commander-in-chief of all Allied naval forces in the Mediterranean, in practice, the Italians distrusted the other Allies (the feeling was mutual) and the British managed to secure an effectively-independent command of anti-submarine forces under Adm. Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe. Halpern, Naval History of World War I: 391-393.

Footnote 6: “Giuppana” is the Italian spelling for Šipan, Croatia.

Footnote 7: Now known as Bar, a coastal town in southern Montenegro.

Footnote 8: Also known as Lake Skadar, Scutari is located on the border between Albania and Montenegro. Bojana is a river that originates at Lake Skadar and flows into the Adriatic Sea.

Footnote 9: These documents have not been found.

Footnote 10: RAdm. William H. H. Bullard, Commander, United States Naval Forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, RAdm. Edward B. Kiddle, British Naval Representative, RAdm. Louis Ernest Fatou, French Naval Representative, and VAdm. Paolo Thaon di Revel, Commander-in-Chief, Italian Fleet, and Italian Naval Chief of Staff

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