Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Rogers) of a Conversation With the Yugoslav Minister (Pitamic)

The Minister of Yugoslavia called and made an oral statement of their position in regard to the application of the debt suspension plan to them. He left the attached Aide Mémoire, but stated also roughly as follows:

His Government had instructed him to repeat to us the reservations on their acceptance which had been already made. He understood our idea was to transfer the settlement of these matters to the London Conference.29 If this was the plan, he wanted it understood that they were facing a serious budget situation which would upset the progress made towards the stabilization of their currency unless some limitations were placed on the operations of the plan. He said they were unwilling to leave these to a London conference to which they had not been invited and where they would have no voice; that if this conference proposed a solution which was unsatisfactory to them, they would not consider themselves bound by it and would, if necessary, appeal to the Hague Tribunal on the ground that no settlement could be made without their consent. His attitude was friendly but intended to be firm.

I told the Minister our present plan was to ask that these problems should be settled in the spirit of the President’s proposal by a European Conference in which they had a voice and would have an opportunity to participate; that so far the machinery there had not been set up but that we assumed that the proposed conference of the major powers would lead naturally after the settlement of their major difficulties to some appropriate machinery to hear the troubles of the Balkan States, including his own; that if that machinery did not, as we anticipated, evolve naturally in London with such encouragement as we could give to the idea through our representatives there, we would then have to determine what our next step would be towards arriving at a settlement. For the moment we were not discussing either the merits of their representations to us or in what direction we would turn if the London Conference failed to develop a proper vehicle for the settlement of these questions, but that in any case we had no thought that they ought to be settled without participation by them.

The Minister pressed the idea that they could not be settled without their consent, and I repeated that we had no thought of having them settled anywhere without an adequate opportunity for them to be [Page 233] heard. I said we had given the same message to Greece and Bulgaria and we were planning to inform Mr. Gibson of the attitude taken by Yugoslavia and the other States who had similar problems, and ask him to promote an appropriate means for their settlement by a Committee of Experts or some other conference or tribunal.

J[ames] G[rafton] R[ogers]

The British Government has called for the 17-th of this month a conference of financial experts to determine the definite modalities of the proposal of the President of the United States of America, to which the Yugoslav Government is not invited to send its representative. By the order of the Royal Government, the Royal Yugoslav Legation has the honor to inform the Department of State that the Yugoslav Government considers that, at this conference, only the rights and interests of those powers will be discussed among which a definite agreement has been reached on the proposal to postpone the payments. In any event, the Yugoslav Government considers it necessary formally to repeat the reservations which it has made, when the intention of the President of the United States of America to make the aforementioned proposal was communicated to it, and to declare that, for the Yugoslav Government, only those decisions will be binding which it will have been previously offered an opportunity to discuss and to which it will have given its consent.

  1. See pp. 164 ff.
  2. Filed separately under 462.00R296/4622.