800.00B Communist International/12–349: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union


904. Although Dept agrees gen thesis urtel 3004, Dec 3,1 that Malenkov speech marks strongest postwar show of confidence and [Page 55] reflects more than simply desire reassure faithful, Cominform communiqué appears at most indication Sov decision continue present strategy, particularly intensification “peace” drive as means rallying fon support and perhaps developing ideological basis possible future Communist action Western Europe. Malenkov’s confidence obviously reflected over-all improvement Sov world position as result atomic developments and Chinese Commie successes. Fact of Cominform mtg and nature Cominform instrs, on other hand, indicate Moscow still aware of and concerned with continuing areas of weakness in Europe:

Present inability to overthrow Tito. Sov decision press all-out peace campaign as basic world line makes embarrassing for USSR any resort to direct mil action against Tito and tends confirm gen estimate that USSR does not plan invasion Yugo near future and even large-scale guerrilla action unlikely this winter. Cominform appeal for internal Yugo revolt appears admission that present prospects poor for overthrow Tito by outside pressure, short of invasion. All this seems indicate that while continuing press on all fronts to depose Tito, USSR resigned to his continuation in power for some time with consequent unfavorable repercussions for Sov position.
Sov apprehension that Titoist heresy of natl communism may spread. Cominform stress on “internatl duty” of all Commies fight Titoist elements as “worst splitters ranks of workers and democratic orgs” presages stepped-up effort smear Tito ideologically and weed out elements suspected of actual or potential waverings. Although from Sov point of view this campaign appears largely preventive in character, Cominform emphasis gives credence reports Kremlin actively concerned over potential impact of Tito’s defiance on world communism. Possibility cannot be excluded that charge of Titoist deviations might be used by Kremlin as convenient pretext for conducting purges in all parties.
Present polit sterility Western European Commies. Cominform instrs for united front from below and use of peace slogan as main appeal to working class tantamount open recognition that Western European Commies, despite mass parties and control over substantial part of labor force in France and Italy, no longer capable of effective polit action by themselves.

In light these factors, Emb conclusion that Soviets “are mobilizing all forces to reap maximum revolutionary harvest expected as sequel to World War II” appears to us at most applicable to Far East. Commies in Europe appear have their maximum postwar harvest already in the barn. While their Far Eastern comrades are now beginning to reap, European Commies must await Western econ crisis before new crop possible. In this connection noteworthy that Sov fon propaganda references oncoming Western econ crisis, despite Malenkov speech, continue far below top volume of last July.

[Page 56]

Rptd London, Paris, Frankfurt and Belgrade.2

  1. Ante, p. 39.
  2. Repeated to London as 4403, to Paris as 4734, to Frankfurt as 3246, and to Belgrade as 778.

    Telegram 4989, December 15, from London, not printed, reported that the British Foreign Office opinion on the Cominform Communiqué closely paralleled the thinking set forth here. The Foreign Office felt that full-scale Soviet military action against Yugoslavia most unlikely currently and by early summer 1950 the USSR would have to choose whether the danger of Titoism outweighed the risk that open miUtary suppression would precipitate World War III. The British doubted that the USSR would have much success in the ideological sealing-off of Yugoslavia but believed that Titoism in other satellite countries would be kept down by purges and the continuation of the current reign of intimidation (800.00B Communist International/12–1549).