860H.7962/4–946: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Yugoslavia (Shantz)


244. Reurtel 400 Apr 9.50 Reply to FonOff note of Apr 2 should be made along following lines:

Dependence of American elements of Allied Control Council for Hungary and Rumania as well as Amembassy, Belgrade, upon air supply service provided by means of air communications channels, which were delimited in cooperation with U.S.S.R. Govt, renders it essential that U.S. aircraft continue to enjoy utilization of Zemun Airdrome, which is essential link in above mentioned air communications system. Use of Zemun is in turn dependent upon continued maintenance by American personnel of navigation aids installed by them.

U.S. Govt fully recognizes understanding reached with Yugo authorities whereby U.S. agreed to turn over to Yugoslavia without charge navigation facilities installed by U.S. at Zemun at such time as efficient operation of such facilities by Yugo nationals proved feasible, and U.S. Govt takes this occasion to reaffirm its intention of fulfilling its obligations at such time as terms which were agreed upon have been fulfilled. On this point, however, there unfortunately appears to be a disparity in views. It is considered opinion of qualified American technicians that efficient operation must of necessity include maintenance and operation of a homing beacon and of air-to-ground communications by voice in English during daylight hours and maintenance and operation of point-to-point communications [Page 889] between Belgrade and Budapest and between Belgrade and Bucharest. (At this point additional or amended specific conditions arrived at with local ATC commander may be inserted.) U.S. Govt is prepared to continue its assistance to Yugo Govt in training its nationals to assume this responsibility, and, at such time as desired standards are attained, American equipment installed at Zemun will be turned over to Yugo operation.

However, until such time as adequate service for flights of U.S. aircraft can thus be provided, American aircraft will continue to require services of American technicians at the airdrome. Furthermore, conditions governing service in U.S. armed forces require replacement of personnel from time to time. Failure of Yugo Govt since last autumn to grant necessary permission for entry of replacement personnel has seriously threatened continued maintenance of necessary air navigation aids at Zemun. U.S. Govt is certain that clear understanding by Yugo Govt of these difficulties will be sufficient for it to assent to continued work of American personnel assigned to Zemun and to their replacement on a man-for-man basis as circumstances may require.51

For Emb info: Continued operations by ATC after May 1 will be exceedingly difficult unless these points are cleared up at once and above reply should be presented concurrently with forceful oral representations.

Repeated to Bucharest as Depts 258, to Budapest as Depts 408, to Sofia as Depts 118, to Bern as Depts 1042, to Berlin as Depts 921, to Ampolad, Caserta as Depts 120, and to Amembassy Paris as Depts 1764.

  1. Not printed (860H.7962/4–946); it suggested the text of a reply to the Yugoslav note of April 2, substance of which is contained in telegram 399, April 9, p. 885.
  2. In telegram 463, May 6, from Belgrade, the Chargé reported that he had presented a note, together with strong oral representations, on April 25 to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry pursuant to the instructions contained in this telegram (860H.7962/5–646).