No. 840

740.5/1–2651: Telegram

The United States Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council (Spofford) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

Depto 457. Political WG yesterday produced following draft agreed minute on Yugoslavia2 (Depto 4393) for discussion by CD February 54 after consideration by governments: begin verbatim text.

“I. As result discussion held 22 January 1951 general agreement was reached by CD on following points:

“(A) Breach between Government of USSR and Government of Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito now so wide as to be virtually unbridgeable.

“(B) Strategical advantages deriving from this breach are considerable. Its continued existence is also matter of political importance to Western Powers, as example successful national resistance to Soviet imperalism.

“(C) Soviet Government can be expected to continue, and probably intensify, economic pressure on Yugoslavia, and in particular to attempt to capitalize effects serious drought on Yugoslav economy. In addition to direct economic pressure Soviet Government will undoubtedly continue employ all other forms cold warfare against Tito Government.

“(D) Tito Government is at present in effective control of international political situation. This control might however be prejudiced either by deterioration in economic situation or by too rapid reorientation Yugoslav foreign policy.

“(E) Most desirable that Western Powers give economic assistance to Government Yugoslavia to best their ability. But in order avoid embarrassing Yugoslav Government would be preferable for Western Powers to await specific requests for economic assistance from Tito Government rather than to take overt initiative in offering such assistance.

“II. Preliminary exchange views took place on question of giving military support Yugoslav Government in advance any open attack, either from Soviet Russia or satellite states.

[Page 1705]

“UK deputy placed on record view his Government that Yugoslavia constituted one of danger points for 1951. Information received that as result Soviet action, strength and efficiency armed forces neighboring satellite powers had recently been built up to such effect that military superiority Yugoslavia previously enjoyed vis-à-vis her neighbors had been progressively reduced. In view British Government direct attack by Soviet Russia unlikely. Also unlikely that attack by one or more satellite powers could be launched until after completion 51 training season.

“This information re relative strengths respective armed forces confirmed by information received in other countries. In US view, Yugoslav armed forces would put up strong defensive fight against satellite attack but external support in equipment and supply would be necessary if fighting prolonged.

“In order prepare for possible eventualities view was expressed:

“(A) That steps should be taken to remove any existing formal barriers to export to Yugoslavia of strategic raw materials, equipment and supplies.

“(B) That would be desirable to facilitate procurement by Yugoslav Government such raw materials, equipment and supplies.

“(C) That in certain circumstances might be necessary reach rapid decision as to whether would not be to advantage NATO powers as whole to make available to Yugoslav Government these raw materials, equipment and supplies, even if this might result in some delay in completion their own rearmament plans, provided over all defense plan NAT powers was not thereby placed in jeopardy.5

“(D) That would be useful for NAT Governments to have estimate probable requirements Yugoslav armed forces to deter or meet satellite attack, and to give consideration to steps that might be taken to meet these requirements.

“(E) That NAT Governments should give consideration to steps which might be taken by them in event of open attack on Yugoslavia.

“III. Agreed there should be further discussions both on points on which general agreement reached and points on which only preliminary exchange views has taken place, after each deputy had had opportunity consult his government”.

1. Incident of interest occurred during discussion paragraph II (C) when it became obvious French representative was not thinking in terms extending military assistance to Yugoslavia in grant form. [Page 1706] He did not interpose objection to inclusion this paragraph but was afraid it might be misconstrued by some governments to mean that suggestion being made to reapportion US aid, resulting in gain for Yugoslavia and loss for NAT countries. All representatives present seemed satisfied with explanation that only possible effect on NAT defense effort might be temporary slow up in deliveries rather than depletion supplies and equipment for NAT countries. Do not know whether line of thought of French representative is local view or in fact reflects French Government thinking. Paragraph II (E) was proposed by Italian representative who had in mind steps further than those which might be taken by UN.

All agreed special security precautions should be taken to prevent leaks to public or any other governments re NAT discussion Yugoslavia.

While above naturally reflects lowest common denominator of views we believe it incorporates basic elements of US policy as given in Deptel 3470.6 Despite informal and presently unbinding form of paragraph II lettered paragraphs therein reflected views which each working level representative thought his government could substantially accept. Unless seriously watered-down by governments, paper should reflect considerably wider area of agreement than we would have expected.

[ Spofford ]
  1. Repeated to Belgrade, Paris for General Schuyler, and Rome.
  2. The draft paper under reference was subsequently circulated as document D–D(51) 29.
  3. Telegram Depto 439 reported that the Council Deputies, at their meeting on January 22, agreed to discuss a working group paper on Yugoslavia at their next meeting. (740.5/1–225)
  4. The discussion of the paper under reference apparently did not occur until the 9th meeting of the Council Deputies on February 12; see telegram Depto 502 from London, Document 859.
  5. In telegram 3648 to London, February 3, the Department of State noted that the draft minute covered a commendable area of agreement and requested that when it was time to approve of the minute the U.S. Delegation should state that the conclusion may soon become inescapable that, in the interest of North Atlantic area security, the NATO governments should recognize the necessity to make provision in their rearmament programs for meeting critical Yugoslav arms requirements and should also ready themselves for immediate action in the event of Soviet or satellite attack on Yugoslavia. (740.5/1–2651)
  6. Document 834.