740.0011 EW (Peace)/4–548: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Hungary 1


358. Dept and Service Depts considering revision SWNCC 244/72 which has been basis US approach for last six months for implementation military clauses of treaties. Aside from fact we now have demonstration in Bulg and Hun of futility of attempts to obtain military info through diplomatic channels and both Dept and Brit FonOff legal advisers reluctant to dispute satellite subterfuge requiring concerted action or risk eventual arbitration, the overriding reason for proposed reversal previous policy is situation in Italy where for your secret info security considerations of national interest to US prompt maintenance maximum safeguards against Soviet efforts embarrass Ital Govt re implementation military clauses Ital treaty. We feel to establish now any precedent in Balkans involving recognition of right to inspect or obtain info unilaterally would substantially weaken our position in supporting Ital Govt in event Sov attack on its performance under military clauses. Contrariwise should we now agree to acting in concert in Balkans Sovs can hardly interpret same clause differently in Italy, thus making Sov actions latter subject to US concurrence.

In Bulg and Hun where govts have carried issue to present stalemate, we therefore intend convoking meeting Heads of Mission for purpose of asking concerted action re military info and inspection Greek-Bulg frontier as well as smoking out Sov position. We would say that in view Sov and satellite attitude we are abandoning US [Page 318] position for time being and seeking info and action on military clauses through concerted request. In event subsequent unilateral request by Sovs in Italy, we would thus be in position of maneuverability depending on nature info desired. Moreover, should Sovs veto US–UK proposals concerted action by one means or another, onus for frustration implementation US–UK treaty obligations will be correctly placed and present satellite front for Sov policy disclosed. Value future publicity is thus enhanced.

This tel for info only. Revision of SWNCC paper when approved will be forwarded soonest3 as well as instructions re convocation Heads of Mission meeting in Budapest and Sofia and guidance therefor.4 Brit Emb here is consulting FonOff with view to aligning US–UK policy.

Sent Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest and rptd London for FonOff, Moscow and Rome.

  1. This telegram was also sent to Sofia as 227 and to Bucharest as 244 and was repeated to London as 1168, to Moscow as 367, and to Rome as 954.
  2. Dated September 10, 1947, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, p. 21.
  3. See telegram 451, May 3, to Budapest, p. 330.
  4. See telegram 450, May 3, to Budapest, p. 329.