Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, Volume I
The Chief of the Division of
Southern European Affairs (
to Mr. Walworth Barbour, of the
Division of Southern European Affairs
Frangeš called yesterday and brought up the following:
1. A memorandum which he said CWC1 had asked for. I have sent a copy to CWC.
. . . . . . .
developments in yugoslavia since the crimea conference
In the communiqué on the Crimea Conference specific provisions were made concerning Yugoslavia and Poland.3 Both countries are facing an extremely difficult political problem which is fundamentally the same.
Although historically, the developments in Poland have been different from those in Yugoslavia, the issue is the same in Poland as in Yugoslavia. As a matter of fact, it is the same everywhere in Central and in Southeastern Europe. Each of these countries like Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria are predominantly agrarian countries. By different means in each case, these countries have been provided with a government which is completely under the influence of Soviet Russia. In each of these countries the governments are actively engaged in creating, by various means which are not at all disguised, a situation which must ultimately bring a change of the present social structure and establish a social structure identical to the one now existing in Soviet Russia.
In the case of Yugoslavia, the provisions of the Crimea Conference are as follows:
- That the Agreement made between Marshal Tito and Dr. Šubašić 4 be put into effect immediately;
- That the new government be formed on the basis of that Agreement;
- That the Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation be extended to include members of the last Yugoslav Parliament, those forming the body to be known as a Temporary Parliament;
- Legislative acts passed by the Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation will be subject to subsequent ratification by a Constituent Assembly.
In addition to these specific stipulations concerning Yugoslavia, three is a previous paragraph in the communiqué on the Crimea Conference entitled, “Declaration on Liberated Europe”5 where the principles of the Atlantic Charter,6 the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live, are reaffirmed. It is further stated in this paragraph that the Government[s] of the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Russia will immediately concert together on measures necessary to discharge the joint responsibilities set forth in this declaration, if in their opinion conditions in any European liberated state or former Axis satellite state in Europe makes such action necessary in order to foster conditions in which the liberated peoples may exercise their right:
- to establish conditions of international peace;
- to carry out emergency measures for relief;
- to form government authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population, pledged to the earliest possible establishment, through free elections, of governments responsive to the will of the people;
- to facilitate when necessary the holding of such elections.
It is common knowledge that in Yugoslavia not one of these provisions have been carried out until now.
In the Agreement between Marshal Tito and Dr. Šubašić of November 1, 1944, there is a paragraph which reads as follows:
“The new government will publish a declaration proclaiming the fundamental principles of democratic liberties and guaranteeing their application. Personal freedom, freedom from fear, freedom of worship, liberty of conscience, freedom of speech, liberty of the press, freedom of assembly and association will be specially emphasized and guaranteed; and in the same way the right of property and private initiative.”
According to all reports received up to now from Yugoslavia, there is no indication that any of these provisions have been carried out. They read today as a farce and a mockery.[Page 833]
The part of the Agreement between Marshal Tito and Dr. Šubašić which concerns specifically “Elections for the Constituent Assembly” reads as follows:
“Elections for the Constituent Assembly will be decided upon within three months of the liberation of the whole country. The elections will be held in accordance with the Law on Elections for the Constituent Assembly which will be enacted in good time. This law will guarantee complete freedom of elections, freedom of assembly and speech, liberty of the press, franchise for all and a secret ballot, as well as the right of independent or united political parties, corporations, groups or individuals—who have not collaborated with the enemy—to present lists of candidates for the election. All those whose collaboration with the enemy will have been proved, will be deprived of both the right to elect and to be elected.”
The situation in Yugoslavia since the formation of the new government on March 7th, which is less than four months, has nothing but rapidly deteriorated, measured by any standards commonly used in the Western Hemisphere. The entire administration has been taken over by National Liberation Committees. These Committees are organized for the cities as well as for the smallest communities and villages, which in turn elect among themselves representatives for the county Liberation Committee and from there on for the district and the provincial Liberation Committee, exactly according to the pattern of elections practiced in Soviet Russia. All committees exercise full power in matters concerning the administration. They also have full powers in handling juridical cases and sit as a court on [or?] tribunal and they pronounce decrees and regulations entrusted usually to a legislative body. National Liberation Committees acting as courts of justice do not apply the civil code or the criminal code. Those laws have been put out of force by the Central Committee of National Liberation. They pass their judgement “according to their conscience”. The prevailing conditions can hardly be called conditions of internal peace, as the action of these committees is mainly aimed at breaking down any resistance to the newly introduced organization and terrorizing the population and declaring everyone who is not in accordance with their procedure to be a Fascist and a reactionary. Fascists and reactionaries have to be exterminated and their resistance broken.
It is further evident that this newly established administrative organization in Yugoslavia can hardly carry out any emergency measures for relief because all these emergency measures have to be arranged so that it suits this new administration with sharp and purposely made discrimination as to party followers and those who do not follow the party line, Partisans or not Partisans. They have even established three kinds of ration cards: one for Partisans and fighters; [Page 834] another for heavy-working laborers and the third for the rest of the population. The amount of rationing obtained being in the ratio of 1:2:3, the Partisan obtaining three times as much as the regular citizen. Urgent projects for solving relief problems can not be fulfilled for lack of organization. Only one-third of the land usually cultivated, has been cultivated this year, and the coming winter will be the worst yet during this entire period since 1940.
There is no government authority broadly representative of all the democratic elements in the population, nor have any preparations been made for holding elections on a basis where all democratic elements could be freely admitted to the polls.
The fundamental principles of democratic liberties mentioned in the Agreement between Marshal Tito and Prime Minister Šubašić of November 1, 1944, are completely ignored. There is no personal freedom, freedom from fear and liberty of conscience under a regime of a political police known as the “OZNA” which strikes out incessantly to destroy the reactionaries and Fascists. There is no liberty of the press, as the press is entirely government controlled, and foreign press representatives are not admitted. There is no question of the right of property and private initiative, as all enterprises are, directly or indirectly, under government control, and even the few owned by American citizens have been put under the control of Yugoslav Government authorities in spite of the fact that American management was available for these enterprises.
On March 9th the new Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Marshal Josip Broz Tito broadcast from Belgrade a declaration of the policy which the new government of Federal Democratic Yugoslavia will follow, where it is stated that the new Government will try to rally all those not compromised by collaboration with the invader and their servants. Later on in his speech the Prime Minister said: “Those democratic rights won by the masses of our people during the war of National Liberation, as basically outlined in the structure of the peoples’ administration, must be safeguarded and extended as far as possible”. This refers to the administration as described above and consisting in the functioning of the Liberation Committees.
In his speech he further stresses that “The economic destruction caused by the war is so great that a planned intervention of the state in organizing and carrying out of economic reconstruction, including the regulation of the entire economic life of the country, imposes itself as an interconditional law” [sic]. This is being fulfilled. A government’s guarantee for complete freedom of private initiative mentioned in the same speech is completely out of question.[Page 835]
Recently the Prime Minister delivered an address to the first congress of Anti-Fascist women of Yugoslavia which was held in Belgrade on June 17th. The Prime Minister speaks of the great tasks which face them, the most important of which is “the consolidation of our peoples’ authority,” meaning evidently the functioning of the National Liberation Committees. He said further: “We have in our country not a few friends who in various ways seek to hamper the development of our political life, not only to hamper, but also to threaten the achievements of the great struggle which has cost our nation so many sacrifices. Unfortunately these, our internal enemies, also have help abroad: they are helped in foreign countries by people of their ilk”. He urges the women of Yugoslavia to bestow all their attention and all their power upon the question of the consolidation of the government[’]s authorities. “It is necessary that these authorities work as those who perished for the cause would wish them to work. There are many people who commit faults out of ignorance but there are also people who do mischief and are a nuisance. These people must be mercilessly cleared out. They cannot be bearers of the peoples’ authority”. He is asking the Yugoslav women to be “vigilant” thus helping to consolidate the government[’]s authority by clearing out those who hamper their consolidation and by helping those who commit faults out of ignorance. “I must admit”[,] says the Prime Minister, “to you openly here that the great achievement won by this bloody strife is in danger if we permit jingoism to develop”. At the same time he calls [to] the attention of the Yugoslav women that there were enemies of the peoples’ authorities, Chetniks in Serbia and Ustashi in Croatia, and fanatical guardists in Slovenia, and admonishes them that they should not think that they have reconciled themselves with fate. Finishing his speech after emphasizing different aspects of equality, silencing the Fascists, fight for unity, etc., etc., he said: “Long live our new Federal Democratic Yugoslavia which was born from so much blood and sacrifice of our people. Long live our great Ally, the Soviet Union with its leader, our genius Stalin. Long] live the heroic Soviet women. Long live the brotherhood and unity of the Balkan nations and of all the Slavs. Long live our Allies, England, America, Bulgaria, Albania and all who wish to live in peace and peaceful cooperation of [sic] our country.”
This speech was delivered on the 17th of June. The next day the Marshal went to visit several towns in Serbia accompanied by the Soviet Ambassador to Belgrade.7 In the town of Mladenovac a gathering of more than 10,000 people cheered him. Speaking first of the country divided in federal states, the Marshal continued to say: “Our country is faced with great difficulties. First the greater part [Page 836] of our most able brothers and sisters are still in the army. But what can we do? We cannot send them home yet because they must keep guard.” Further, he continued, “In 1941 we entered the struggle in order to preserve our honor. Our great Ally the Soviet people and the invincible Red Army fought against the greatest power in Europe and defeated it. We however, armed more with our firm will and spirit than with weapons, fought because we believed that victory would be on our side because we had an Ally like the USSR. The USSR, headed by great leader Stalin gave us moral and material support and is still giving it today in full measure so that we can be assured that we shall carry out our duty in completely settling and reconstructing our country.” No mention has been made throughout the speech of any help coming during or after the war from any of the Western Allies. The Marshal continued further to admit the unfavorable results of his new administration by telling, “Our new Federal Yugoslavia has not yet been able to give anything to the peasant, not because it did not wish to do so, but because it has not yet had time, because it has not yet been able to do so.”
But if nothing specially was done to the peasant, things have been done to agitate the peasant. The Overseas News Agency has a telegram from Belgrade dated June 14th which is as follows:
“ONA 2 Belgrade reform Belgrade, Yugoslavia, June 14 (ONA)—The Yugoslav National Liberation Front, the ruling political movement in this country, demands that the government subject certain private properties to agrarian reform so they may be divided among poor farmers unable now to own any land of their own.
“At mass meetings held throughout the country, the Liberation Front has asked the Government to turn over to these farmers the lands of monasteries and of all estates belonging to persons who are not cultivating the land, suggesting their owners divide the crops with the peasants, or that these uncultivated estates be leased to them.”
CON[SE]QUENCES OF THE RUSSIAN POLICY IN EASTERN EUROPE, CENTRAL EUROPE AND ON THE BALKAN PENINSULA
concerning relations between the united states and russia
It is evident that all efforts have been made to improve relations and stabilize relations between the United States and Russia. In spite of all efforts in this respect: economic assistance to Russia, sacrifice of principles of policy, influence on press and publications—this goal will not be achieved if Russia does not consent to changing its attitude toward the nations in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe.[Page 837]
The national states in this region are predominantly agrarian in their population. Nothing less than what was being done to the agrarian population in Russia, will have to be done to the agrarian population of these states. This means extermination of whole classes of the population and establishment by force of a new social structure. To do this, it will take 20–30 years. It can not be done sooner because the resistance of the population to adapt itself to the new ways will be extremely strong.
During this long period of time, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union will remain tense in spite of all efforts of the United States Government. This for the simple reason that in the population of the United States, there are many millions of Poles, Czechoslovaks, Yugoslavs, Rumanians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Lithuanians, Latvians, Finns, who—although they have proved to be loyal citizens of the United States—cannot see with complete indifference what is going on with their brothers, cousins, parents or other relatives, in their home country. They will, even without wanting it, move public opinion in the United States and make it sensitive toward the policy of Soviet Russia in their National States. There will be no way of preventing this. It will be too human and too spontaneous. It will be a constant cause of tension just as well as if Soviet Russia would try to impose by force a communistic social structure on Ireland and expect to have at the same time a good press and good relations with the United States.
Furthermore, there is no need for Soviet Russia to enforce such policy in the States of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe. The security of Soviet Russia will never be threatened by those States, individually or collectively. Germany is under Allied occupation. The United Nations Charter has been signed in San Francisco. In none of the States of Eastern, Central or Southeastern Europe can there ever be formed a government which would be in opposition to the legitimate foreign political aims of Russia. Consequently, there is not the slightest necessity for Russia to continue her present foreign policy toward these National States if consolidation, peace, security and prosperity are the aims of Russian foreign policy.
If Russia insists on the continuation of their present policy, it is inevitably [inevitable] to reach the conclusion that Russia must have different political intentions: breaking down the social structure of the States of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe, which is difficult because the population of these States is predominantly agrarian and clinches [clings?] to private property of farmland; after this has been done and these States are transformed into communistic States, the next and much more easy step is to introduce communism in the remaining parts of Europe—Western and Northern Europe. The [Page 838] population of Western and Northern Europe is predominantly industrial. If the barrier of agrarian States of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe falls, there will be nothing to stop the advance of communism in the rest of Europe. No financial assistance, no economic concession, no measure to improve the social standard can help, because communism will be imposed on the population and not desired and wanted by the population. Communism spreads by force and violence and fear.
concerning future international position of united states
The fact that the agrarian population of the Eastern, Central and Southeastern European States will put up a strong resistance against Bolshevism should not bring too much comfort. It will be crushed in due course of events. When this is achieved, the future of Europe will be dark indeed. There will be no natural barrier to check it. The rest of Europe will follow inevitably.
There is no reason to believe that Russia will not shape its policy in the Far East on the same line. China will offer a good ground for it, as well as a completely defeated Japan. India may be successfully approached. Iran, Iraq, the Arabian States, have already felt the Soviet influence.
Europe without Russia has over 350,000,000 inhabitants. China has 400,000,000, India 300,000,000 inhabitants. Should Russia be allowed to control ultimately the Continents of Europe and Asia, the accumulated strength in manpower and resources will be such that it will outnumber the American and British resources in manpower at a rate [ratio?] of 1:10 and in natural resources it will also be vastly superior. Furthermore, there are no questions of wages, living standards and personal hardships to be considered in a totalitarian state or agglomeration of totalitarian states, problems to be coped with seriously in a democracy.
It is so much easier now to stop the expansion of communism backed by force than it will be ever again in history. If it cannot be stopped now when the resistance of the population in the agrarian States of Europe is strong, it will never be stopped in the future.
It is inconceivable that the United States should follow a policy of unconditional appeasement to Russia at the moment when the United States are at the peak of their strength, with the largest army, strongest navy, best air forces in the world; a policy of appeasement and sacrifice of the principles of democracy for which this war was fought; a policy which will ultimately and inevitably bring Russia into a dominating position with an enforced totalitarian system of government under her control and leadership which will constantly more and [Page 839] more endanger the very existence of whatever is left of democracy in the world.
what requests should be made at meeting in berlin
The fulfillment of the Yalta Agreements, concerning democratic elections and representative government is the basis of any solid political development in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe.
This is also the only realistic basis for future good relations between the United States and Russia. If this condition is not fulfilled, there is no prospect of good relations in the future in spite of every possible effort of the American Government.
Effective control by American Government in regard to how elections are being prepared and supervision of elections. This request to be based on Yalta agreement: …8 “to concert together on measures necessary to discharge the joint responsibilities … to form governments … through free elections … responsive to the will of the people … to facilitate when necessary the holding of such elections.” Only if the responsibility for free elections is shared by American Government will the United States be able to engage in large scale economic assistance. Economic assistance can be granted only to countries which have reached a reasonable degree of political stability through democratic free elections.
In countries like Yugoslavia the present government is discredited in the population to such extent, that control of elections by the Allied Governments is imperative.
Broadcast this line of policy over short wave radio to Yugoslavia. Have BBC in London broadcast on the same lines.
- Cavendish W. Cannon, a member of the United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference.↩
- This memorandum bears the following manuscript notation: “Secret for CWC from Yugoslav Chargé in Washington”.↩
- See vol. ii, document No. 1417, sections vii and vi , respectively.↩
- See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 251–254.↩
- See vol. ii, document No. 1417, section v .↩
- Executive Agreement Series No. 236; 55 Stat. (2) 1603.↩
- Ivan Vasilyevich Sadchikov.↩
- Ellipses in this paragraph are in the original.↩