Memorandum by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)


Subject: Eight disquieting developments in Yugoslavia

I believe you will be interested in the following eight suspicious activities during the last few weeks on the part of the Yugoslav Government, the purpose of which is not yet clear.

Protests over alleged violations of Yugoslav territory by American aircraft
Cancellation on April 7 of all Yugoslav domestic and international civil aviation flights
Withdrawal from operation of automobiles assigned to many Yugoslav civilian and military officials
Establishment of ten-mile closed frontier zone, but with 54–mile depth on Greek border
Curtailment of civilian freight movements; reported increase of guards near homes of highest officials; and rumors of Tito meeting Hungarian Prime Minister and of the Yugoslav Secret Police chief visiting Budapest and Moscow
Shortage of various staple foods in local markets possibly indicating increased food stockpiling by military
Refusal to permit U.S. Embassy airplane to be based within Yugoslavia
Requested reduction in size of Zagreb Consulate staff

Comment on these eight developments is given in the attachment1 to this memorandum. These developments may be considered in the light of Paris’ telegram 2054 of April 18,2 which indicated that the Kremlin had instructed European Communist Parties to avoid extreme actions and tactics at this time and to consolidate and extend Communist and Soviet interests by “mass action” of a legal and “peaceful” nature.

This memorandum is for your information only and does not call for any action by you at this time.3

John D. Hickerson
  1. The attachment and the accompanying file of telegrams is not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The decision not to forward this memorandum and its attachments to Under Secretary Lovett was explained in an attached memorandum by Robert G. Barnes, Chief of the Policy Registry Branch, dated April 26, in part as follows:

    “This file of eight ‘suspicious activities’ may presage very alarming developments or may be more or less coincidental manifestations of internal problems. The presentation of the file without an effort at interpretation makes this rather meaningless.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    “To me this all adds up to one of two things: 1) the Yugoslavs are facing acute economic problems as a result of general dislocation of European trade, or 2) they are preparing for some more direct move, either in Greece, Trieste, or with the Soviets in central Europe.”