711.00/3–1648: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Yugoslavia 1


122. In appraising US policy in respect to Sov Balkan satellites in light progressively accelerating intensification aggressiveness and hostility those regimes toward US and increasing disregard of fundamental freedoms for which US stands, Dept has reassessed, against long-term objectives, position in current situation as reflected reports and recommendations missions those countries.

Ultimate US objectives toward Sov Balkan satellites—Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary—may be summarized as establishment those states as democratic independent members family of nations, under conditions guaranteeing peoples’ effective enjoyment human rights and non-discrimination against US interests and interests of other peace-loving states. In essence present situation is that Soviet indirect aggression, in form support to minority totalitarian regimes has thwarted democratic will of majority of peoples, infringed independence and sovereignty and subjugated them to domination of Moscow within concept totalitarian Soviet Balkan hegemony. Practically complete disregard by Sovs and satellite regimes of US representations in line Yalta obligations and in case ex-enemies provisions of peace treaties and vilification US by public officials and official press threatens US prestige and emphasizes US inability exert effective influence.

Dept has considered advisability in circumstances of withdrawing US representation from satellites or, alternatively, while maintaining representation there, minimizing occasion for further rebuff by ceasing to express US condemnation totalitarian actions those regimes. However, [Page 313] after due reflection withdrawal representation rejected. Withdrawal essentially negative course, would deny us access certain info concerning developments there, and prevent our further endeavoring to protect American interests in the Balkans except by reprisal against available Balkan assets in US. In addition, step would further polarize division between east and west and might in some degree adversely effect commercial exchanges between Eastern and Western Europe envisaged in European Recovery Program. Preferable polarization this sort not result US initiative. Discontinuance policy expressing US views in condemnation of developments as they occur in Balkans likewise rejected. Dept believes such course would suggest abandonment peoples those states, temporarily at least, to Sov totalitarianism and, while US expression, through US representatives in Balkans and by public statements, of US condemnation totalitarian aggression against fundamental freedoms and violation of international commitments by Balkan authorities, has not radically affected course of events, Dept feels such representations and statements have alerted world to responsibility those regimes for their aggressions against peace-loving humanity.

Accordingly, in reaffirming US long-range objectives toward Soviet Balkan satellites, Dept has decided current US policy toward attainment those objectives will continue envisage maintenance contact regimes those countries and forceful, dignified expression, to those governments and publicly, of US condemnation of acts or statements for which they bear responsibility, which abridge the exercise of fundamental freedoms and are hostile to US and its principles.

Foregoing transmitted as background on Dept thinking this time. Specific instructions in line therewith in regard to various steps which have been recommended by missions will be forthcoming subsequently.

Sent to Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest and Budapest, rptd Moscow, Rome, Paris, and London.

  1. A somewhat more detailed exposition of the policy set forth in this telegram was the subject of a memorandum, dated February 16, 1948, from John D. Hickerson, Director of the Office of European Affairs, to the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of State. That memorandum was approved by the Secretary. (711.00/2–1648)

    Telegram 1163, March 22, from London, reported that British Foreign Office views were exactly in line with the thinking outlined in this telegram. The telegram added:

    “Foreign Office officials also believe UK and US should express to satellites in forceful and dignified manner condemnation of their acts, but feel there should be no requests for action by the satellite governments in cases where such requests would merely lead to rebuff.” (711.00/3–2248)