No. 825

768.56/1–551: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 2

top secret

3566. Dept is today informally giving Brit Emb following comment on FonOff views contained in Deptel 3443 Dec 27 to Paris rptd London 3175 Belgrade 599.3

1. Dept does not believe that three western countries shld make offer of eventual military aid to Yugo at present time or that despatch of team of Allied service experts to Yugo to conduct on-the-spot investigations of Yugo requirements shld be proposed.

2. Tito has seized every opportunity to make publicly clear fact he has not requested arms aid from West and has hitherto taken position that it would be neither desirable nor politically feasible for him to request such aid unless attacked by USSR. Recent information (Belgrade’s 803 Dec 29 to Dept rptd London 46 Paris 1164) indicates Tito’s position in this regard remains unchanged. Additionally, Dept considers account must be taken of present fact avail mil equip needed for urgent requirements of NATO and other MDAP countries is too severely limited to justify initiation at this time of action by West which would entail assumption additional mil equip supply responsibilities, as well as of political desirability [Page 1678] in any case of avoiding any appearance of pressing unrequested mil aid on Yugo.

3. Because of commercial nature of proposed Fr sale of arms to Yugo and its relationship to financial settlement involving pre-war debts and nationalized properties, as well as character of items involved and presently advanced stage of negots, Dept does not believe this transaction shld in any case be utilized as basis of any tripartite approach to Tito. US Govt accordingly remains prepared, to extent that items do not essentially duplicate matériel being supplied under MDAP and urgently required by Fr or IC and do not represent significant requirements in other NAT countries, to interpose no objection to sale (Deptel 3370 Dec 20 rptd Belgrade 570 pouched London5).

4. Dept believes nevertheless that US and other western countries shld endeavor to place themselves in position promptly and effectively to meet Tito’s emergency arms needs in case of Soviet or satellite attack.

5. Brit Emb is being requested obtain Brit FonOff views on foregoing and you shld meanwhile endeavor inform Dept re Fr views.6

6. Second para London 3656 Dec 29 to Dept (rptd Belgrade 26 Paris 1233)7 and third para Belgrade’s 803 re desirability loosening export control in favor Yugo will be subject of separate telegram.

  1. Drafted by Cloyce K. Huston of the Office of Eastern European Affairs and cleared with Reinhardt, Bonbright, S/MDA, WE, RA, BNA, and MD. Repeated to Belgrade and London.
  2. Telegram 3443, printed in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, p. 1513, set forth the position of the Department of State with respect to the purchase of military equipment by Yugoslavia in France.
  3. For text, see ibid., p. 1514.
  4. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, p. 1511.
  5. On January 13, Lord Jellicoe of the British Embassy informed the Department of State that the British Foreign Office agreed with the Department’s position that a tripartite offer should not be made at the present time and that a team of experts should not be sent to Yugoslavia for on-the-spot investigations. (Memorandum of conversation, January 13, 768.56/1–1351)
  6. Telegram 3656 reported, in the second paragraph, that the British Foreign Office still sought U.S. concurrence in the proposal that the United States, the United Kingdom, and France approach the other members of the OEEC for a modification of the ban on exports of strategic materials to Yugoslavia. (768.5–MAP/12–2950)