860H.00/6–3048: Telegram

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

top secret

799. Following prepared in consultation with MA and NA. Please pass to Defense. Defense pass to European Commands. Situation now clarified to following positive extent (Deptel 336, June 29):1

Tito has decided to stand firm. Yugoslav CP statement last night2 not only specifically denied every Cominform charge but challenged Soviet CP itself on its own organizational democracy, anti-party activity, and Marxist doctrine. Today draft Yugoslav CP program was published for party congress July 21 and each policy under fire from Moscow was reaffirmed.
Utter calm continues locally. Neither government nor public displaying nervousness. No new public security measures apparent. International Telephone and Telegraph circuits open. Road blocks not increased and only normal checking limits free movement. Train schedules kept. Air force units at Zemun3 not visibly affected. Local garrisons do not appear reinforced. Perhaps there are even fewer soldiers on streets.
There have been no government changes announced. Tito on good evidence is now in Belgrade and his political position seems entirely stable. Thus far he has carried Politburo, Central Committee, and Peoples Front with him and no splintering has been discernible.
Tito still firmly controls all military, para military, and police organizations and may be presumed to have neutralized all known pro Soviet opponents therein.

We hazard that nothing short of Soviet-supported armed insurrection or open invasion can presently dislodge Tito. We know of no [Page 1078] sign of such revolt at this time and believe any armed opposition to regime is as local and scattered as heretofore. No indication of immediate Soviet military action. We believe Yugoslav military and security organizations would remain loyal to Tito against Soviet invasion, although if improbable revolt of national scope could once get started with emergency leader who could rival Tito, these forces would partially disintegrate. We consider evidence of western readiness to support Yugoslavia as UN member will strongly influence Soviet course. Tito could not, of course, withstand Soviet invasion with [out] major help from west.

Important to emphasize whole matter being treated party affair with no acknowledged advance to diplomatic or government levels. No indication yet formar eastern European relations will be affected. Tito’s stand today is essential for national Communism and the autonomy of the Yugoslav CP. His claim to independent leadership built on party he has organized and mastery he has won is as basic issue as could confront Kremlin. Temporization is possible; compromise is not. Today Tito seems master in his own Communist house and Stalin cannot oust him quickly without war.

In all this eruption one fact predominates. No event could be more momentous for the attainment of our foreign policy objectives than the permanent alienation from the Soviet of this key regime.

Sent Department 799, Department pass Moscow 151, repeated Trieste 79, London 137, Paris 120, Borne 126.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 2, p. 1076.
  2. For the text of the statement by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, June 29, 1948, see Documents on International Affairs, 1948–1949, pp. 397–404.
  3. Airfield at Belgrade.