711.4027/4–849: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy


689. View further developments since Depcirgram Mar 14, 19491 and in light Belgrade’s 329, Mar 29,2 Dept believes in implementation US civil aviation policy toward USSR and Satellites (Depcirins Jan 5, 19493) some distinction might now be safely contemplated between air operations Yugo and other satellites, far as Italy concerned. (Urtel 1025 Apr 8.4) Emb therefore authorized inform FonOff, provided Brit Amb perceives no objection, US, mindful Itals somewhat specialized relations vis-à-vis Yugo, sees no present reason why Itals shld not proceed discuss with Yugos, in prelim and non-committal manner, possibilities exchange of commercial air rights on limited and strictly reciprocal basis; that since Yugo situation, as Itals well aware, still highly fluid, US suggests Itals move with caution and refrain from definite commitment to negotiate and indicate only willingness listen to Yugo proposals.5

[Page 196]

Info addressee missions only, instrs contained Deptcirgram Mar 3, 19496 not affected by foregoing.

Sent Home, rptd Belgrade, London and Bern by cable.

  1. Not printed. It stated that the Department of State had carefully studied the proposal that Italy might be encouraged to differentiate between Yugoslavia and the Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe in aviation matters. The Department concluded that, in view of the continuance of a large Soviet interest in the joint Soviet-Yugoslav state airline JUSTA (Yugoslav-Soviet Civil Air Transport Joint Stock Company), Yugoslavia should continue to be regarded in the same category as the satellites with respect to aviation matters. The Department promised to re-examine the matter when there was evidence of a decrease in the Soviet interest and control in JUSTA (711.60H27/3–1449). In late February the Italian Government stated that it was entirely in accord with the objectives of the United States civil aviation policy toward Eastern Europe.
  2. Not printed. It reviewed available information on the status of JUSTA. JUSTA ceased to exist as a scheduled air carrier in September 1948, although some unscheduled JUSTA flights occasionally made and inactive Soviet-built JUSTA aircraft remained at Belgrade. The few current scheduled Yugoslav commercial flights were conducted by the Yugoslav state airline JAT (Yugoslav Air Transport Company) using American-built aircraft. The Embassy concluded that it was impossible to establish any large Soviet interest in the Yugoslav airline and believed that the Soviet Union was in no position to exercise control over Yugoslav civil aviation (860H.79661/3–2949).

    The Yugoslav Government proposed the liquidation of JUSTA and other Yugoslav-Soviet joint stock companies in a note of March 16, 1949, to the Soviet Government. The Soviet Government promptly agreed, and measures for the liquidation were agreed upon at meetings in early June 1949 between Yugoslav and Soviet representatives.

  3. See editorial note, p. 184.
  4. Not printed. It reported that the Italian Government had recently received a Yugoslav request to negotiate a bilateral civil aviation agreement. The Italian Foreign Ministry wished to know the Department of State’s latest views on civil aviation policy toward Yugoslavia (760H.6527/4–849).
  5. Telegram 1339, May 6, from Rome, not printed, reported that the British had no objection to Yugoslav-Italian discussions along the lines defined in this telegram (711.4027/5649). Telegram 1546, May 25, from Rome, not printed, reported that the Department of State’s views had been communicated to the Italian Foreign Ministry (711.4027/5–2549).
  6. Not printed. It informed the Embassy in Rome and 21 other missions that the revised United States economic policy toward Yugoslavia would not involve any modification of American civil aviation policy toward Yugoslavia and that there would be no relaxation of the restrictions against the export of aviation equipment to Yugoslavia (660H.119/3–849). For documentation on the revised economic policy toward Yugoslavia, see pp. 854 ff.