Twentieth Century

The Fiume Question (1905-1924)

October 4, 1905: The Rijeka Resolution

[This translation of the Rijeka Resolution of 1905 is from R.W. Seton-Watson, The South Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Co., 1911. The pagination of the original has been retained.]

[p. 393]


In view of the political position into which the Monarchy has fallen as a consequence of the crisis in Hungary, the Croat deputies met together for the purpose of defining their attitude towards this situation and determining the direction of the political work of the Croat nation in the questions which are undisputed and common to all, and which do not prejudice the theoretical standpoint which they uphold in parliamentary life, whether as members of the Club or as individuals.

The Croat deputies hold that the public events of to-day in Hungary arose in consequence of the struggle which aimed at gradually securing for the Kingdom of Hungary complete State independence.

The Croat deputies regard these efforts as justified by the very fact that every nation has the right to decide freely and independently concerning its existence and its fate.

The Croat deputies are convinced that the two nations, the Croatian and the Hungarian, not only in view of their historic relations, but still more in view of the fact of direct neighbourhood and the real needs of their life and mutual aid are thrown upon each other, and that therefore they must avoid every cause and ground for mutual friction.

Starting from the premisses, the Croat deputies consider it to be their duty to fight side by side with the Hungarian nation for the fulfilment of all constitutional rights and liberties, in the conviction that the said rights and liberties will be of advantage to the Croatian and Hungarian nations: and thus will be laid the basis of a lasting understanding between the two nations.

These aims - namely the mutual advantages defined above - having been attained, there is laid down as a condition the speediest reincorporation of Dalmatia in the Kingdoms of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, to whom it already falls both virtually and lawfully.

 With a view to approaching to the realization of the reincorporation of Dalmatia, it is necessary that an end shall be put as soon as possible to the present intolerable parliamentary and constitutional political conditions in Croatia and Slavonia, and that such [p. 394] conditions shall be introduced as shall correspond to the needs of civilized countries and to the claims of constitution and liberty, to the guaranteed liberal constitutional institutions, such as, for example:

An electoral law such as will render possible and assure the elections of such national representatives as shall be the true expression of the unhindered and free national will;

Compete press freedom, with the abolition of objective proceedings and the introduction of juries for political and press offences;

Freedom of Assembly and Association and free expression of opinion;

Realization of judicial independence, the guarantee to every judge that he cannot be removed or held responsible for his judicial acts;

Organization of the special institution of a court of constitutional law for the protection of the interests and political rights of the citizens against the arbitrary action of the authorities;

Organization of a special court for the criminal responsibility of all public officials for violation of the law.

The Croat deputies are convinced that a lasting understanding between the Croat and Hungarian nations can be most speedily attained by the punctual and strict fulfilment of the rights of the Croatian nation, as contained in the existing Croato-Hungarian Compromise, and by the alteration of the relations which belongs to the sphere of affairs which are to-day common alike to Croatia and Hungary, and to the Western half of the Monarchy - in such a way that an independent political, cultural, financial and general economic existence and development may be assured to the Croatian nation.

As a natural consequence of events, every advance made by the people of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia will exercise a favourable influence upon the condition of those of our race who live in other lands, particularly at the most exposed point, namely in the sisterland of Istria.

With a view to examining and, previous to realisation, revising the principles, aims and demands here enunciated, a committee of five deputies has been elected, who will have the further task of advancing a preparing for decision those questions which are common to all our countries or are of advantage to the general national wellbeing.

From the meeting of Croatian National deputies

Fiume, October 3, 1905 

April 26, 1915: The Treaty of London (Extracts)

[Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, London, 1920, LI Cmd. 671, Miscellaneous No. 7, 2-7. The Treaty of London was signed on April 26, 1915. Its provisions were to cause some difficulty during the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919.]

ARTICLE 1. A military convention shall be immediately concluded between the General Staffs of France, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia. This convention shall settle the minimum number of military forces to be employed by Russia against Austria-Hungary in order to prevent that Power from concentrating all its strength against Italy, in the event of Russia deciding to direct her principal effort against Germany....

ARTICLE 2. On her part, Italy undertakes to use her entire resources for the purpose of waging war jointly with France, Great Britain, and Russia against all their enemies.

 ARTICLE 3. The French and British fleets shall render active and permanent assistance to Italy....

ARTICLE 4. Under the Treaty of Peace, Italy shall obtain the Trentino, Cisalpine Tyrol with its geographical and natural frontier, as well as Trieste, the counties of Gorizia and Gradisca, all Istria as far as the Quarnero and including Volosca and the Istrian islands of Cherso and Lussin, as well as the small islands of Plavnik, Unie, Canidole, Palazzuoli, San Pietro di Nembi, Asinello, Gruica, and the neighbouring islets....

 ARTICLE 5. Italy shall also be given the province of Dalmatia within its present administrative boundaries....

 ARTICLE 6. Italy shall receive full sovereignty over Valona, the island of Saseno and surrounding territory....

 ARTICLE 7. Should Italy obtain the Trentino and Istria in accordance with the provisions of Article 4, together with Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands within the limits specified in Article 5, and the Bay of Valona (Article 6), and if the central portion of Albania is reserved for the establishment of a small autonomous neutralised State, Italy shall not oppose the division of Northern and Southern Albania between Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece....

 ARTICLE 8. Italy shall receive entire sovereignty over the Dodecanese Islands which she is at present occupying.

 ARTICLE 9. Generally speaking, France, Great Britain, and Russia recognise that,... in the event of total or partial partition of Turkey in Asia, she ought to obtain a just share of the Mediterranean region adjacent to the province of Adalia....

 ARTICLE 11. Italy shall receive a share of any eventual war indemnity corresponding to their efforts and her sacrifices.

ARTICLE 13. In the event of France and Great Britain increasing their colonial territories in Africa at the expense of Germany, those two Powers agree in principle that Italy may claim some equitable compensation.... ARTICLE 14. Great Britain undertakes to facilitate the immediate conclusion, under equitable conditions, of a loan of at least 50,000,000 pounds....

 ARTICLE 16. The present arrangement shall be held secret.

The Fiume question

Post-World War I controversy between Italy and Yugoslavia over the control of the Adriatic port of Fiume (known in Croatia as Rijeka)

Although the secret Treaty of London (April 26, 1915 - extracts above) had assigned Fiume to Yugoslavia, the Italians claimed it at the Paris Peace Conference on the principle of self-determination. Ignoring the suburb of Susak, which had 11,000 Yugoslavs and 1,500 Italians, they claimed that the rest of Fiume had 22,488 Italians against 13,351 Yugoslavs and certain others. On Sept. 12. 1919, the Italian nationalist poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, who had mustered a body of men near Trieste, occupied Fiume and proclaimed himself the "commandant" of the "Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro." The Italian government, however, on concluding the Treaty of Rapallo (Nov. 12, 1920) with Yugoslavia, resolved to turn D'Annunzio out of Fiume. Giovanni Giolitti, the Italian premier, ordered the battleship "Andrea Doria" to shell D'Annunzio's palace only, predicting that the surprise would cause the "commandant" to escape at once - as indeed it did. Riccardo Zanella, the next premier, supported Count Carlo Sforza's solution of the problem, namely a free state of Fiume-Rijeka with an Italo-Fiuman-Yugoslav consortium for the port; and such a solution was approved by the Fiuman electorate on April 24, 1921. But when the Fascists gained power in Italy, the Rapallo Plan for a free state came to nothing. Pressed by Benito Mussolini, the Yugoslav government yielded, and a new Italo-Yugoslav treaty, signed in Rome on January 27, 1924, recognized Fiume itself as Italian while Susak became Yugoslav.

See also:


  • H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine, Hapsburg Discussion Network - The Rijeka Resolution, October 4, 1905 -
  • World War I, The Treaty of London -
  • Encyclopedia Brittanica - The Fiume Question - (this URL is no longer available as a free online service)

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