No. 842

868.03/1–2751: Telegram

The Ambassador in Yugoslavia (Allen) to the Secretary of State


982. Your 721.1 Have discussed with Yugoslavs manner in which they propose to meet needs peasants outside ration system and believe they are making honest effort to distribute supplies equitably. Assume “equitably” does not imply each person receive equal supplies. There is no question but that industrial workers need more food in winter months when peasants are comparatively inactive.

Government has 3 ways of providing for peasants in need:

When welfare investigations established fact they have less than sufficient for their needs.
Peasants often take employment during winter months in which they are given ration cards.
Peasants sell surplus products and are given coupons to buy flour, corn, sugar, fats, dried eggs or beans, et cetera at controlled prices.

Investigations to date do not reveal widespread suffering among peasants, nor show their needs are not being met. Peasants have always lived on low subsistence level, and in this period of scarcity apparently are receiving their share of scarce supplies. In view of fact smaller quantity sugar being furnished than the acknowledged need (Deptel 693, Embtel 9792), we would not be in strong position press question concerning distribution of quantity available to peasants.

[Page 1709]

Yugoslav pressure for collectivization had already relaxed before US aid program started, due to realization by Yugoslav Government that it was over-extended in this direction. US program has not had any appreciable effect on long-range Yugoslav Agricultural policy, nor is it realistic to expect Yugoslav Government to make any major change in its collectivization policy because of our aid program.

  1. Telegram 721 to Belgrade, January 24, requested the Embassy’s views and comments on the progress of the Yugoslav emergency food assistance program. The telegram observed that Congress was primarily concerned with the effects on the food situation of the Yugoslav collectivization policy and other factors such as the shortage of consumer goods which reduced the incentive for peasants to produce foodstuffs. (868.03/1–851)
  2. Neither printed.