No. 837


Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright)


Subject: Food Assistance for Yugoslavia1

Participants: Mr. Vladimir Popović, Ambassador, Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia
Mr. Milenko Filipovic, M.P., Economic Counselor, Yugo. Embassy
Mr. Bonbright, EUR
Mr. Higgs, EE
Mr. Truesdell, EE

At the request of the Department, the Yugoslav Ambassador called today and was handed first an Aide-Mémoire outlining the program of foodstuffs and transportation costs which are being allocated under the Yugoslav Emergency Relief Assistance Act of 1950. The Aide-Mémoire listed the commodities planned for supply estimated to cost $34,200,000 and stated that the balance of the funds, namely, $3,600,000 was being allocated to meet expenses of ocean transportation and certain other expenses incident thereto. The Aide-Mémoire states that consideration has been given to the adjustments requested by the Yugoslav Embassy on January 10, 1951 and that certain other adjustments have been made as result of price increases since the presentation of the program to the Congress. It was stated that further adjustments may be necessary in the light of changing prices, availabilities and similar factors.2

The Ambassador stated that his Government welcomed those adjustments which had been made but wished to emphasize that there was a great need in Yugoslavia for additional sugar which was considered of first priority. The Ambassador was advised that while it had been possible to meet in part the Yugoslav request for increased fats it had not been possible to provide additional sugar at the present time. The Ambassador then asked if it might be possible to explore the sugar situation further. He was advised that the Department could not provide any further guidance at the moment in view of the present sugar market.

[Page 1700]

With respect to the question of “other adjustments” which might have to be made in the program, the Ambassador was told that this language referred to possible further price increases or decreases which would affect the commodities supplied in view of the limitation of available funds. In response to a question by the Ambassador as to when shipments would start, the Ambassador was advised that the Department of Agriculture hopes to begin shipments possibly next week. The Ambassador stated that representatives of the Embassy would contact the Department for further details on the program.

The Ambassador was then handed a note which made reference to this Government’s Aide-Mémoires of November 22, 1950 and January 26, 19513 concerning the provision of foodstuffs to Yugoslavia. The note stated that this assistance was intended to prevent human suffering and any impairment of the ability of the Yugoslav people to defend themselves against aggression. The note went on to state that in view of the traditional friendship between the two countries the people of the United States are concerned that both the Yugoslav people and Yugoslavia as a nation should enjoy freedom and that accordingly the Government of the United States “wishes it to be clearly understood that the provision of assistance for purposes stated above should not be interpreted as implying endorsement of measures undertaken by the Government of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia suppressing or destroying religious, political or economic liberty in Yugoslavia.”4

The Ambassador commented by asking why it was necessary to include the latter statement in a note when it had already been included in the Bill. He said that he thought Ambassador Allen had already brought this to the attention of his Government in the agreement executed in Belgrade. The Ambassador was told that this note had been presented to him as required by the Act and that it was believed that this subject had not been included in the agreement negotiated in Belgrade. The Ambassador stated that he thought this might have a harmful effect on the Yugoslav people. In response he was told that while we appreciated his point of view there was no alternative under the Act but to notify the Yugoslav Government. The Ambassador closed this matter by stating his regret that the United States Government was obliged to mention this matter in this connection.

Before taking his departure, Ambassador Popovic referred to his conversation with Mr. Perkins of yesterday and his promise to provide certain data and information or give a comprehensive picture [Page 1701] of the economic condition of Yugoslavia.5 He presented to Mr. Bonbright a folder containing the following information:

Balance of payments for 1951–1953.

Capital goods imports, with a summary.

A summary of the import program for machinery and equipment proposed to be financed by the IBRD.

The Ambassador stated that this information was the essence of the material presented by his Government in connection with negotiations with the IBRD.

J[ames] C.H. B[onbright]
  1. Concerning the Yugoslav Emergency Relief Assistance Act of 1950, which allocated $37.8 million for the purchase of foodstuffs to help relieve the effect of the drought in Yugoslavia during the fall of 1950, see Document 826.
  2. The aide-mémoire summarized here, dated January 26, is in file 768.5–MAP/1–2651.
  3. Neither printed.
  4. No copy of this Yugoslav note has been found in Department of State files.
  5. Ambassador Popović called on Assistant Secretary of State Perkins on January 25 to offer whatever information might be helpful in connection with Perkins’ prospective visit to Yugoslavia in February and to discuss in general terms the current status of the Yugoslav financial deficit. (Memorandum of conversation, January 25, 868.00R/1–2551)