761.00/2–1949: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kohler) to the Secretary of State


419. Extremely interesting analysis contained Belgrade’s 161 to Department February 16,1 suggesting Moscow’s current strategy Greece shifting accordance necessity liquidate Tito, raises question whether similar considerations not also affecting Kremlin tactics, both Trieste question and Austrian treaty discussions.

Soviets willingness approve Flueckiger for governorship Trieste (mytel 411, February 192) contrasts 1947–48 impasse this question. In addition desire for withdrawal British-US troops and other factors recently suggested Belgrade Embassy (Depinfotel January 6, 8 a. m.3) seems to us this new Soviet position may be based local CP [Page 500] power relations, especially domination Trieste CP by Cominform faction evidently attained some months ago. From this angle, establishment special Trieste regime under SC-appointed governor might present additional opportunity undermine Tito, with hope Stalin-true CP would spread into both zones and with both Western and Yugoslav troops withdrawn, constitute effective base against Belgrade regime.

From same viewpoint, suggest that even if Yugoslav’s moderate demands on Austria (Depinfotel February 14, 1 p. m.4) this may not much promote Austrian treaty settlement. For as indicated mytels 2216, October l4 and 200, January 27,4 Moscow’s defense Yugoslav claims not due Kremlin’s liking for Tito but rather to promote Stalin-tern position Yugoslavia. In fact, if Yugoslav Government now indicates willingness settle for less in London, Soviets might all the more maintain their previous position, thus accusing Tito of selling out his nation’s interests. Must say that course London discussions thus far suggests to us Soviets not particularly interested Austrian settlement at this time. Besides factors mentioned mytel 200, Kremlin presumably anxious prevent Tito from settling his outstanding political differences with West.

Sent Department 419, repeated Belgrade 8, London 47, Vienna 15, Trieste 3, Athens 5.

  1. Not printed.
  2. In this telegram, not printed, Kohler summarized the Tass account from New York as it appeared in the Soviet press dealing with the Security Council’s meeting of February 17 in which Malik expressed the agreement of the Soviet Union for the nomination of Flückiger as Governor of the Free Territory of Trieste (501.BC/2–1949).
  3. In this telegram, not printed, the Department of State summarized recent reports from Belgrade suggesting that the question of the appointment of a governor might again be raised by Yugoslavia and that the Soviet Union might support such a proposal and agree to a nominee of the Western Powers. Such a course, the Belgrade Embassy suggested, would accent the Soviet Union’s stance of adherence to treaties; would exert pressure for the withdrawal of U.S. and U.K. forces from the FTT; and block the Allies’ proposal for reincorporation of Trieste in Italy. (800.00 Summaries/1–649)
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.