668.0024/3–1849: Telegram

The Ambassador in Greece (Grady) to the Secretary of State

top secret

516. Embtel 511 March 17.1 Pipinelis in discussing US economic policy toward Yugoslavia ventured suggestion that our hope of bringing about gradual and lasting change in Yugoslav policy toward Greece might be realized more rapidly than anticipated. He had in mind particularly two developments which he regarded as significant. First, Yugoslav Consul Salonika has had further conversation with Greek official re Salonika free port (Embtel 345 February 242). Meeting of two officials took place by accident and they walked together through free port area. When asked by Greeks why Yugoslavs do not repair their part of free port, Yugoslav Consul replied to effect that this does not worry them since it can be easily and quickly done. What gives Yugoslavs concern, he said, is few kilometers of railway in Greece just out of Yugoslav border which partly destroyed by and under constant threat of guerrillas. Yugoslavs would have to bring about change in this situation if goods to be shipped through Salonika. He added that minerals from Trepca mines now going to Czechoslovakia may soon be deprived of that last foreign outlet and could then be exported profitably only through Salonika. Consul indicated that more formal Yugoslav approach to Greeks on free port might be forthcoming shortly.

Second and more important occurrence is Yugoslav feeler to Greeks on possible “entente” between two countries. Yugoslav Communist agent (Pipinelis states Communist intelligence organizations here are now definitely split into pro-Tito and pro-Cominform groups) approached intelligence officer to inquire whether Greeks would be [Page 268]interested in discussing with Yugoslavs general question improvement relations two countries. Greek officer (whom Yugoslavs regard as person of confidence and do not know as Greek intelligence officer) after receiving instructions from Pipinelis replied in affirmative after which he was received at Yugoslav Legation by Chargé and one Martinovitch recently arrived from Belgrade. He was handed typewritten paper written in French which now in possession Pipinelis who read it to two Embassy officers. The document proposes that Greeks and Yugoslavs appoint representatives to meet on neutral soil to discuss possibility of “entente” between two countries. No conditions or agenda been suggested. Document emphasized necessity of keeping matter highly secret. Pipinelis intends bring matter attention Tsaldaris, Papagos and British Ambassador only, after which he expects give affirmative reply through same channel and endeavor expedite proposed meeting. He intends appoint Greek representative who will not be known as official.3

Pipinelis related further incident which he felt indicates imminence Cominform action against Tito. He said Greek representative in Berlin approached by person who desired put member Bulgarian cabinet in touch with Greek representative. Greek representative designated unofficial Greek to meet with Bulgarian official who held forth on imminent destruction Tito and suggested that Greeks and Bulgarians get together for mutual advantage. At end conversation he handed [apparent omission] map suggesting partition of southern Yugoslavia by giving Bulgars wide corridor to Adriatic including Durrzzo. Part of Yugoslavia and Albania below this corridor would be given to Greece while Greek Thrace would be left intact. This map has been forwarded to Athens and Pipinelis will show it to Embassy Officer when it comes back into his possession. He has, of course, no intention making reply of any kind to Bulgaria.

Sent Department 516, repeated Belgrade 26.

Grady
  1. Not printed; it reported that Ambassador Grady had conveyed to Permanent Under Secretary Pipinelis the salient features of American economic policy toward Yugoslavia as instructed in telegram 288, March 2, to Athens (660H.119/3–1749). For text of the latter message, see vol. v, p. 876.
  2. Not printed. It reported that the Yugoslav Consul in Salonika had approached a Greek official regarding the possibility of opening the Yugoslav section of the Salonika free port (668.0024/2–2449).
  3. In his telegram 646, April 4, from Athens, not printed, Ambassador Grady reported that the Yugoslav authorities had responded favorably to the Greek proposal and had empowered Veselin Martinović, Secretary of the Yugoslav Legation in Athens, to meet with a high-ranking officer to be designated by the Greek Government for the purpose of determining the place, conditions, and personalities for a meeting of the governments (668.0024/4–449). Subsequent messages from Athens and from Belgrade reported on Yugoslav press denials of rumors of Greek-Yugoslav negotiations and the continued delay in the scheduled meeting of Greek and Yugoslav representatives. In telegram 799, April 21, from Athens, not printed, Pipinelis informed Grady that contact was still being maintained between Greek and Yugoslav agents but that no progress had been made. Pipinelis asserted that the Yugoslavs claimed to find it difficult to carry on negotiations as a result of statements by Foreign Minister Tsaldaris on the possible improvement in Greek-Yugoslav relations (668.0024/4–2149).