860h.01/1–2945: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

189. On Saturday afternoon the British Embassy handed us a memorandum48 reporting that Stalin would like to see the Tito-Subasic agreement go into force at once with recognition by the three principal Allies with “no reservations of any kind” and asking us to instruct Patterson to do something helpful “in deciding King Peter to play his part.” Winant telegraphed in the evening49 that Eden had asked Cadogan50 to call to say that they both very much hoped we would join the British and Soviet Governments in recognition of the united Yugoslav Government and that they were troubled by our suggestion of provisional representation at Belgrade. (ReDeptel 141, January 23, 1945),51 Cadogan said he felt that the possibility of a rift between the United States on the one hand and the British and Soviet Governments on the other was an influence in King Peter’s holding out against the agreement.

In a telegram to Patterson52 we had said that since he had seen to it that both Subasic and the King have a clear understanding of our attitude and intentions, it is neither necessary nor desirable for him to take the responsibility of trying further to influence decisions on major Yugoslav political questions now in discussion in London.

In a telegram to Winant53 we said that we felt we had gone a long way to meet the position that the British had taken with respect to the new governmental authority in Yugoslavia, and that our position had the President’s approval. We said that in the light of the President’s message to Congress54 it would be difficult for us to foreclose [Page 1191] our position with respect to the expected developments in Yugoslavia by a commitment at this time which might be at variance with the declared policy of this Government toward liberated countries in general; that the President’s message had won public approval here and we did not believe the American public would support our going out in advance of the developments before we know what the circumstances are.55 We said that it did not seem to us that there was any possibility of interpreting our actions as a rift between us and the British and Soviet Governments56 as we have stated our willingness to send our diplomatic mission to Belgrade on the assumption that the agreement between Tito and Subasic would be carried out and Ambassador Patterson had received orders to hold himself in readiness to proceed to Belgrade upon the transfer of the Government to Yugoslavia. Both the King and Subasic had been informed in clear terms of our intentions.

We have today telegraphed to Patterson as follows:57

“We have today handed a memorandum58 to the British Embassy stating that in the light of telegrams received over the weekend and the conversations relative to the Embassy’s aide-mémoire of January 27 a brief restatement of our position in the present Yugoslav crisis may be helpful (reDeptel 10, January 27),58 This memorandum says that we understand from the agreement between Marshal Tito and Dr. Subasic that the proposed united Government of Yugoslavia is to be set up for the interim or transitional period pending the holding of national elections in which the will of the Yugoslav people may be freely expressed. We would expect that the new Government would make a public declaration to this effect. We would be prepared to accredit our Ambassador to a government set up within Yugoslavia on this basis.

Please inform both the King and Dr. Subasic of the foregoing and make sure that this telegram comes to Mr. Winant’s attention.

The Embassy at Moscow is being requested to inform the Soviet Government of the foregoing.”

[Page 1192]

Please inform the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the substance of this last telegram to Patterson.

Sent to Moscow, repeated to Ampolad, Caserta.

  1. Aide-Mémoire dated January 27, 1945, not printed.
  2. Telegram 977, January 27, 1945, 8 p.m., not printed.
  3. Sir Alexander Cadogan, British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Sent to London as Yugos 8, January 28, p. 1187.
  5. Telegram Yugos 10, January 27, 1945, not printed.
  6. Telegram 677, January 27, 1945, not printed.
  7. In his State of the Union message of January 6, 1945, the President said in part: “We and our Allies have declared that it is our purpose to respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live and to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them. . . . During the interim period, until conditions permit a genuine expression of the people’s will, we and our Allies have a duty, which we cannot ignore, to use our influence to the end that no temporary or provisional authorities in the liberated countries block the eventual exercise of the people’s right freely to choose the government and institutions under which, as free men, they are to live.” Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1945, p. 27.
  8. In a conversation with the British Ambassador on January 27, 1945, Acting Secretary of State Grew replied to the suggestion that all three of the great powers should grant the Yugoslav government the same degree of recognition by saying: “. . . our position is that we must wait and see what happens after that government is set up and what commitments it makes. . . . we would like to go along with the British just as far as possible but that in our thinking this is a pretty serious matter to go into blindly when we have to consider the Atlantic Charter and the way our people feel about it and I was afraid we wouldn’t be justified in commiting ourselves. . . . to go ahead and recognize it as a provisional government even without any restrictions at all is a serious matter to us. I didn’t believe we could go to that extent” (860h.01/1–2745)
  9. When, in his conversation with the Acting Secretary, the British Ambassador wondered whether this might not be considered as a divergence of view between the United States and Great Britain if it became public, the Acting Secretary “inquired whether this need come out to the public and the Ambassador thought not.” (Ibid.)
  10. Telegram Yugos 11, January 29.
  11. Not printed.
  12. Not printed.