IO Files

Minutes of Sixteenth Meeting of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly, Paris, November 21, 1951 1


[Here follows list of persons (46) present. Ambassador Warren R. Austin, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and Chairman of the United States Delegation, was in the chair.]

Ambassador Austin called upon Mr. Stein to present the Yugoslav item to the Delegation. Mr. Stein began by recalling the rise to power of Marshal Tito2 during and after World War II; the expulsion of Tito from the Cominform in 1948, and the consequent open call for revolution within Yugoslavia by the Cominform states. The White Book published by Yuogslavia documented the campaign which had been waged against Yugoslavia by the Soviet Union and its satellites ever since. The Yugoslavs had now placed on the agenda the charge against the satellites and the Soviet Union of a system of aggressive pressures being directed against Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav memorandum on the item sets out the various counts being alleged: economic blockade, a compaign of incitement “unequalled in international relations”, terroristic activities, deportation of Yugoslav minorities along the satellite borders, withdrawal of Soviet and Satellite Ambassadors from Yugoslavia, isolation of diplomatic practices, abrogation of some 46 commercial and other agreements, and violation of the peace-treaty limits on armaments of the ex-enemy satellite-states. The Defense Department had verified the last count above: Rumanian and Bulgarian forces were three times the limits set out in the peace-treaties, Hungarian forces twice the limit.

Yugoslavia charged that these actions were violations of the Charter, and asked the General Assembly to note them and seek to ameliorate conditions. The Yugoslav Ambassador in Washington had asked for the Department’s views on bringing this matter before the United Nations and had received encouragement from the Department. Later in Paris, the Yugoslav Delegation had talked with the United States Delegation about this matter. The Yugoslavs hoped to realize various aims in making this charge. Since they were members of no bloc within the United Nations, and since they were about to lose their Security Council seat, they felt the need of an expression [Page 508] of solidarity from the United Nations for their position vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and its satellites. This expression of solidarity, it was hoped, would come through speeches and votes on the Yugoslav item. They themselves planned to deliver a very tough speech, to be followed by General Assembly adoption of a mild resolution. They proposed this as a one-shot operation, not to be followed up as a recurring matter for General Assembly consideration.

The position proposed by the Department was generally to give support to the Yugoslavs. There were good reasons for the Department’s suggested position. First, the Yugoslav army was the best in that part of Europe outside of the Iron Curtain countries. Every effort should be made by the United States, acting in its own security interests, to prevent the reabsorption of this army behind the Iron Curtain. Yugoslavia’s strategic location was also important. Secondly, furthering the split among the Communist governments of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union would give added incentive to a possible extension of “Titoism”. Thirdly, the debate on this item should demonstrate that it was not enough for a country to have a Communist system in order to get along with the Soviet Union; absolute subservience was required by the Soviets. Fourthly, support of this item would assist in showing up Soviet “peace” propaganda in general for the spurious thing that it was. We must, however, avoid a position of all-out backing of all Yugoslav charges in every detail since it would be unwise to support charges which might be shown later to be false. We must also avoid any impression of taking sides in a family fight between two Communist factions. The U.S. support for Yugoslavia should be based on the proposition that Yugoslavia, as any other state, was entitled under the Charter of the United Nations, to be free from aggressive pressures.

Mr. Stein then turned to the draft resolution offered by the Yugoslavs, as set out in Delga 190. He pointed out that in the preamble they sought a finding that the situation had been created by the Soviets and satellites. It made reference to Charter provisions. The General Assembly would note the willingness of the Yugoslavs to make all efforts to end the state of tension. It would recommend that the hostile attitude be modified, that relations be normalized, and that mixed border commissions be established to regulate the border regimes and settle border disputes. It also had a somewhat meaningless clause asking that all other means of settling disputes peacefully be used. Messrs. Cooper and Cohen had suggested to the Yugoslavs that it was up to them to present a factually convincing case. The answer to this had been a reference to the White Book which, they said, had been given to other delegations. The Yugoslavs did not want any fact-finding body established and were opposed to using the Peace Observation Commission. In consequence, Messrs. Cooper and Cohen had told the [Page 509] Yugoslavs that the resolution should not speak in terms of findings or conclusions of fact. They also suggested that the recommendations be addressed both to Yugoslavia and the Soviet group. It was suggested that the resolution indicate that the situation constituted danger to international peace and security. Bebler (Yugoslavia) was not impressed with either of these suggestions, but said he would take matters up with his Foreign Minister. It had been made clear to the Yugoslavs that this item was their own, and they would be responsible for full presentation of facts and for the initiative on it. (See Delga 264, Daily Classified Summary # 15, of 21 November, page 1.)3

Senator Cooper said there would be some differences between the U.S. and the Yugoslavs on the manner of handling this item. With regard to the hostile acts alleged, and the threats to Yugoslav independence charged, the U.S. would want to show great concern. A suggestion that the General Assembly be asked to condemn the Soviets and satellites for this aspect of their behaviour, however, had received a negative response. The Yugoslavs feared untoward provocation from such a course. Thus, their approach was to have the General Assembly adopt a weak resolution. Other parts of the Yugoslav charges and portions of the resolution referred to the abnormal condition of diplomatic relations, and made proposals that these be regularized. With such matters, Senator Cooper felt, the U.S. should not be so concerned. Asked by Ambassador Austin as to what these terms really meant, Senator Cooper and Mr. Cohen both said that it was better not to talk in such vague terms, and rather to speak of the general standards of international relations.

Ambassador Kirk remarked that Mr. Stein’s presentation of the charges made by Yugoslavia had been borne out by the actual events of the last few years. He added that many people thought this was a personal feud between Stalin4 and Tito which could never be resolved by a return to normal diplomatic relations. “Regularization” in such a case would be very difficult. As for the question of troop concentrations, verification of such allegations would also be difficult. But the charges of treaty violations of a commercial nature were a clear matter of record.

Admiral Badger spoke briefly on the views of the military on this question.

Mr. Cory said that talks would be had with various delegations about the mass deportations involved in the Yugoslav charges, as being perhaps the only chance of a discussion of Human Rights violations by the Soviets during this Assembly Session. He alluded to the fact that the Department had earlier given consideration to the possibility [Page 510] of sending a POC team to Yugoslavia to keep an eye on the situation there. This idea had been dropped when the Yugoslav reaction had been received as a firm negative. He referred to the violent reaction the Soviets had shown to Yugoslav charges in the General Committee and predicted that there would be an equally violent one in the Ad Hoc Committee. Mr. Cory’s final point was that the draft resolution contained in Delga 190 was still in a fluid condition and would be the subject of further consultations.

Mrs. Roosevelt commented on a conversation she had had with Mr. Dedijer5 of the Yugoslav delegation in regard to the Zagreb conference. She warned him that although the United States would support the Yugoslavs in many things, they should not forget that as a whole the people of the United States still thought of Yugoslavia as fundamentally a Communist state. He had answered that the U.S. must not forget that the Yugoslavs are moving toward a greater democracy. Mrs. Roosevelt felt that when, in the draft resolution or in other places, the Yugoslavs referred to regularization of their relations with other states, it came from a feeling of need on their part to establish closer ties both with East and West, neither of which could be foregone. She felt that we ought not to overlook the changes within Yugoslavia that are occurring, and that, perhaps faced with the necessity of living with some Communist states in the world, Yugoslavia was one of them with which we could more easily live.

Mr. Lubin asked whether the Delegation had available any information on the truth of the Yugoslav charges of commercial treaty violations by the Soviets and Satellites. He recalled that in ECOSOC, the Poles had come up with the statement that the Yugoslavs had been the ones to break the treaties. Mr. Cory answered that we lacked any real information thereon.

Ambassador Austin called for a statement on the relationship between this item and the Greek case. Mr. Cohen said in this connection that the POC subcommission on the Balkans to be set up in the Greek case would be available, according to present plans, to go any where in the Balkans where requested. This of course would include Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavs did not want them to come in now, but were not against the idea in principle, and might well support the creation of this POC subcommission in the General Assembly.

In commenting on the Yugoslav draft resolution, Mr. Hyde saw an implicit admission therein of all the Yugoslav charges. He further feared that it could be a two-edged sword, one that could be turned against Yugoslavia and the West by the Russians, either by amendment or by a companion resolution which would call upon the Western [Page 511] countries to regularize their diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and other countries of similar persuasion. Senator Cooper said Bebler had explained what this referred to. Yugoslavia in the past had participated in “mixed border commissions” with good results and hoped for equal success in this case.

Ambassador Kirk expressed agreement with Mr. Cory’s estimate of the violence of Soviet reaction to be expected in the Ad Hoc Committee on this item.

Mr. Nolting wondered whether this draft resolution was supposed to have a deterrent effect upon the Soviets and satellites in their plans for military aggression, or whether it was intended as an aid to domestic consolidation within Yugoslavia. Senator Cooper said that it was hoped the resolution would have a deterrent effect. He also thought it would help the internal situation. He added that the U.S. should decide whether to keep its attitude of support for the Yugoslavs in this matter on the broad basis of opposing aggression and hostile activities, or whether to support the Yugoslavs in smaller detailed parts of their particular case, especially with reference to economic matters.

Ambassador Jessup returned to the point made by Mr. Nolting. He said that the USSR was our chief antagonist in the world today. In our relations vis-à-vis the USSR we often behaved differently in different places, as a result of strategic considerations. Thus we were seeking to make peace in Korea. In another place we would be hitting them very hard. Our general strategy throughout the world should be coordinated, even if for various reasons we followed different tactics. He had no concrete ideas to offer on this particular problem, but was merely suggesting that this need for global coordination of strategy must be taken into account.

Ambassador Austin suggested that, if there were no objection, the Delegation not take final action on the matter under discussion, but rather postpone a decision till a later date. Ambassador Gross asked how the matter would be presented again for Delegation consideration, and specifically, whether it would come up in the form of a new resolution negotiated with other delegations and the Yugoslavs. On reconsidering, Ambassador Austin suggested adding this matter to the next day’s agenda for the Delegation meeting.

Mr. Winslow cautioned the Delegation that a French Communist demonstration on the Champs Elysees was scheduled for 6 P. M. that night, in alleged protest against the rearming of Germany. The police, he said, were fully alerted, and would doubtless have matters well in hand.

Charles D. Cook
  1. For information regarding the composition and organization of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly, see pp. 210 and 3744.
  2. Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Generalissimo Iosif Vissarionovieh Stalin, Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, and Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
  5. Vladimir Dedijer, Member of the Yugoslav Delegation, Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Yugoslav National Assembly.