860H.00B/7–148: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


1221. Cominform resolution, which Yugoslav Communist Party has now rejected, indicates first really serious crisis in the new “family” of Soviet states erected since war’s end and will be a God-send, to our propagandists.

Statement provides final proof, for those to whom such proof is still necessary, that the reorganized Comintern permits its members no more freedom than was the case within the old organization. It demonstrates fallacy of much-advertised freedom of the “people’s democracies” in eastern Europe and confirms completeness of Moscow’s intention to rule. Its discussion of basic agrarian objectives should enlighten the beneficiaries of the so-called “land reforms” carried out in Soviet zone Germany and various satellite countries as to their ultimate fate.

One of the most interesting questions at the moment is the degree to which specific criticisms given in Cominform resolution actually cover the differences which have arisen between the wayward child and its parent, mother CPSU. Though only speculation seems possible for the time being, the following possibilities might be mentioned: proposed Danubian, and particularly Bulgar-Yugoslav-Albanian Confederation, which Tito evidently never actually disavowed and which seems still to be objective of his ambitions, support of Markos, practical worth of which Yugoslavs may have already decided against in contrast to their Soviet brothers, differences, especially trade with western world and possibly as regards ERP participation; and apparent ambition of Tito to play dominant role in Balkans, together with his vanity and strong personality. Apparent differences of opinion regarding site of Danube River Conference presumably a result rather than cause of the rift which has now developed.

Both text of Cominform declaration and prompt reaction from Belgrade suggest this rift had reached such serious proportions that Kremlin felt it could no longer be kept secret, possibly fearing Yugoslavs would themselves make some public statement if Cominform did not do so first. Cominform statement thus represents last minute attempt rally world Communist forces including the faithful within Yugoslavia, against first member who had temerity to challenge Moscow authority.

Though western powers should obviously do everything possible encourage the rebellious child, it is questionable if he can hold out [Page 1083] for long against Soviet-Communist efforts which must now be made to cleanse the Yugoslav Party, although it is to be hoped he will be successful. Situation may well become one which we can exploit by more propaganda. Will comment fully on Moscow press reaction.