860H.5018/4–1447: Telegram

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

secret   urgent

378. Embtel 360, April 9.1 Local American correspondent informs me that Marshal Tito in interview granted local News Chronicle correspondent stated that American Chargé d’Affaires had told news correspondents of exports of pigs to Switzerland and that I “seemed to be following in the footsteps of Ambassador Patterson who resigned.” He added that the responsibility was that of Petrovich Minister of Foreign Trade who had authorized the exports contrary to Tito’s instructions.

Since Marshal Tito has again led with his chin in the food question, and I am sure to be asked to comment, I suggest Dept might authorize me upon publication of interview to issue following statement:

“Marshal Tito is correct in stating that I informed the news correspondents of the official Swiss statistics showing that there had been exports of pigs to Switzerland in January and February of this year, since it is the Embassy’s policy to keep correspondents fully informed of pertinent facts. I greatly appreciate Marshal Tito’s cooperation in making it clear that his earlier accusations against the US were based on erroneous information.”

Alternatively, Dept might on publication of interivew consider issuing somewhat stronger statement itself, the theme line of which might be the following:

“Since Marshal Tito prefers to feed the Yugoslav people fables rather than food, the Dept is very sorry for any people who may go hungry but the responsibility must be his.”

I believe that a public statement in this matter is by exception justified since Tito has been caught in so many inaccurate statements, has already revealed so many facts to the Yugoslav people and has consequently found himself involved in an increasingly embarrassing situation. Even though some risks are involved, I think the opportunity of driving home the facts to public opinion throughout the world is one which should be seized.2

  1. Not printed.
  2. Telegram 223, April 16 to Belgrade, not printed, stated the Department’s view that official comment on the remarks attributed to Tito was not desirable “at this time”. (860H.5018/4–1547)