860H.00/5–2049: Airgram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kohler) to the Secretary of State 1


A–517. Reference Belgrade’s stimulating, comprehensive analysis of Titoism and its causes, contained despatch 162 April 25.2 Embassy [Page 891] particularly impressed by cogency Belgrade’s study of CPY’s organizational background, nature and status as explanation of how and why Titoism (i.e nationalist deviations) successfully emerged in this hitherto leading Soviet satellite.

At risk over-simplification, Embassy suggests basic single cause Tito-Cominform break to be found in refusal Yugo Govt and Corn-party—i.e. the Tito leadership produced by the specific Yugoslav conditions so well described in the reference despatch—to admit “leading role of Sovunion in the international communist movement”, which has been fundamental tenet of Marxism as interpreted by Soviets ever since establishment Comintern following World War I (see Emb’s A–447 May 3 and despatch 276 May 103 re current Bolshevik emphasis this principle). Thus latest Yugo charges included Pijade’s May Day tiration [sic] (Belgrade’s 476 [478] to Dept. May 74) presumably state essence of dispute both accurately and succinctly, when he accuses Sovunion of attempting to “dominate and exercise management over other parties and socialist countries” and of holding no other communist party equal CPSU and no other socialist country equal Sovunion. In fact, Kremlin’s concept of organization and relationship of both communist parties and states which they dominate may be described as one world communist movement organized on Lenin’s principle of “democratic centralism”, with CPSU leadership and Sovunion at its apex. This is evidently the concept which Tito attacked in vague general terms in his January speech at Congress Serbian Communist Party (page 21 of Belgrade’s despatch5) terms since expressed much more clearly by Pijade.

Precise points over which Soviets first became aware of Yugo opposition and refusal to accept their leadership still unclear, though as suggested in Sov letters to CPY published summer 1948 (Belgrade’s despatch 665 August 66) there is reason to believe differences arose as early as 1945 when Yugoslavs had to be induced withdraw from Trieste as Sovunion not then prepared for war with the West. More critical, decisive differences presumably developed later, one being [Page 892] Tito’s refusal permit Sovs establish control over Yugoslavia’s Army, eventually culminating withdrawal Red Army advisers. Once Kremlin began to realize its hold on Tito was in doubt, its attitude on such questions as South Slav Federation and Yugo-Albanian relations quite naturally changed.

Similarly, Cominform accusations that CPY was not pursuing active enough agrarian policy and was in danger of submerging itself in People’s Front may be interpreted as application standard, well-tried Bolshevik tactics of charging deviations from Marxist-Leninist principles in order discredit CPY leadership. Emb agrees with Belgrade’s judgment that Yugo’s record in building socialism is certainly as good, if not much better, than that of any other satellite (see for example Belgrade’s 120 to Dept. Feb 47). Thus we regard as most probable suggestion (page 30 Belgrade’s despatch under reference) that these unjustified Sov demands were “advanced with deliberate intention of weakening a Party which gave signs of becoming too enterprising an associate”.

Finally, Emb agrees fully Belgrade’s conclusions regarding prospects for emergence of Titoism elsewhere in Soviet satellite system. Kremlin has undoubtedly been just as surprised as western world over Tito’s successful rebellion and will presumably devote every effort toward guarding against recurrence this tumor of the body communist. Nevertheless, postwar satellite developments to date suggest serious defects and shortcomings in Moscow’s “management of empire” which Sov mentality and methods as yet incapable of solving. Emb continues to feel that vigorous coordinated western policies in fields of propaganda and trade regulation may help exacerbate this situation.

It is suggested that the Dept transmit a copy of Belgrade’s reference despatch to the American Embassy Nanking to which a copy of this airgram is being sent.

  1. This airgram, which was drafted by Brewster H. Morris, First Secretary of the Embassy in the Soviet Union, was also sent to the Embassies in Belgrade, Rome, Prague, London, Athens, Nanking, Paris, and Warsaw and to the Legations in Bucharest, Sofia, and Budapest.
  2. Ante, p. 886.
  3. Neither printed.
  4. Not printed; it reported on a May Day eve speech by Moša Pijade which formulated the theoretical nature of the dispute between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Pijade affirmed the Yugoslav position of equality between the Communist parties of various nations and he strongly condemned the “nationalist deviation” of the Soviet attitude (860H.00/5–749).
  5. The portion of Belgrade’s despatch 162 is not printed. Regarding the Tito speech under reference here, see footnote 2 to telegram 101, January 31, from Belgrade, p. 857.
  6. The despatch under reference is not printed. The texts of the March–May 1948 correspondence between the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is printed in Margaret Carlyle (editor), Documents on International Affairs 1947–1948, issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press. 1952), pp. 348–387.
  7. Ante, p. 862.