860H.7962/5–2946: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Harriman)


4412. Urtel 5570, May 29.61 Retaliatory measures suggested by Brit seem to us likely to be ineffective as Yugos planes could fly Soviet zones Germany and Austria and Soviet planes could transport most Yugos officials freight and mail throughout Europe. It is Dept’s view that preferable approach to matter would be for US Emb Belgrade to deliver to Yugos FonOff note along following lines, similar parallel representations being made by Brit Emb there

“With reference to Yugo note of May 24 requesting withdrawal of ATC personel at Zemun airfield by June 1 and grounding Emb aircraft on same date,62 Yugo Govt no doubt recalls that over a year ago (i.e. in April 1945) US Govt addressed note to Yugo Govt containing certain proposals re civil aviation but that as yet Yugo Govt has not seen fit to reply to that note. Yugo Govt should also recall that in its note of April 25, 1946 US Govt pointed out that AmEmb Belgrade as well as American elements of Allied Control Commissions for Hungary and Rumania were dependent upon use of Zemun airdrome [Page 896] by American aircraft.63 Yugo Govt has likewise not replied to that note.

Yugo Govt in its note of May 24, 1946 (which, it appears relevant to point out, was not received by AmEmb Belgrade until May 27) demands that Embs remaining air link with its Govt be severed on date arbitrarily set by Yugo Govt without replacement by any Amer civil air service. Peremptory nature of Yugo note and its statement that Emb aircraft cannot be used in Yugo after June 1 strongly suggests that Yugo Govt does not wish to discuss a matter which US Govt considers of vital importance to efficient functioning of AmEmb Belgrade. US Govt has assigned number of aircraft to its diplomatic missions abroad without question having arisen as to use of such planes. Contrary to opinion expressed by Yugo Govt, US Govt considers that use by AmEmb Belgrade of Emb aircraft is particularly necessary for at least so long as adequate US civil air facilities are lacking. In absence such facilities Emb is dependent upon its own aircraft for communications and transport of its official supplies and personnel.

Attitude of Yugos Govt this matter cannot but, in US view, be said to fall short of that wholehearted cooperation which the US on its part desires to exercise. In recognizing and establishing relations with present Yugo Govt, US Govt proceeded on assumption that there are no unsurmountable obstacles to maintenance of cordial and mutually profitable relations between US and Yugo provided there exists mutual good will and willingness to settle disagreements by frank and friendly consultation. Good will of US Govt and people towards Yugo has been manifested in many ways, not least of which has been major contribution of US to UNRRA activities in Yugo, a contribution of which Yugo Govt is fully aware.

US Govt hopes that Yugo note under acknowledgment does not reflect an intention on the part of that Govt to render impossible the proper functioning of AmEmb Belgrade. US Govt will welcome assurances in that sense and with view to mutually satisfactory solution this matter proposes that negotiations be undertaken between the FonOff and the US Emb Belgrade without delay in regard to all aspects of general question of US-Yugo aviation, with particular reference to US civil aviation in Yugo and operation Emb aircraft. US further proposes that such negotiations take place before the end of the current month and requests that, pending outcome of such discussions, Yugo Govt defer the demands contained in its note of May 24. It is the US hope that this problem will accordingly be resolved in that spirit of cooperation which can alone contribute to mutually beneficial development of relations among states.”

Emb Belgrade would also be authorized inform FonOff orally that pending satisfactory solution this and other problems presently outstanding in US-Yugo relations Dept thinks Amb-designate Kosanovic [Page 897] should defer departure for US.64 US Amb Patterson would similarly postpone return Belgrade.65

Brit comments on foregoing will be appreciated.

Sent London, rptd Belgrade, Caserta, Moscow and Bern.66

  1. Not printed; it reported that unless the Yugoslav Government expressed willingness to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement on the use of the Zemun airfield, the British Foreign Office was considering the desirability of retaliation in the form of forbidding the flight of Yugoslav aircraft over British territory and British zones of occupation, as well as the forbidding of the movement of Yugoslav officials, freight, and mail by British aircraft (860H.7962/5–2946).
  2. The substance of the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry’s note of May 24 was transmitted to the Department in telegram 528, May 27, from Belgrade, p. 894.
  3. For substance of American note presented to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry April 25, see telegram 244, April 19, 6 p.m. to Belgrade, p. 888.
  4. Telegram 559, June 5, from Belgrade, reported that the Chargé had submitted the note to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry as prepared by the Department, but he had not informed the Foreign Ministry orally as suggested in this last paragraph (860H.7962/6–546).
  5. Ambassador Patterson was on leave in the United States.
  6. Repeated to Belgrade as 342, Caserta as 154, Moscow as 1006, and Bern as 1313.