Memorandum by Egon Neuberger of the Division of Research for USSR and Eastern Europe to Michael R. Gannett of the Office of Eastern European Affairs
Subject: Meeting between President Truman and Yugoslav Ambassador Popovic1
In accordance with your telephone request of January 29, there are outlined below the main points of the meeting between President Truman and the Yugoslav Ambassador Popovic, held on January 26 in the Executive Offices of the President. Those present were: President Truman; Ambassador Popovic; Mr. Simmons, Chief of Protocol of the Department of State; Dr. Brunner, First Secretary of the Yugoslav Embassy, acting as interpreter for the Ambassador; and Egon Neuberger, acting as interpreter for the President.[Page 1713]
The meeting opened with an exchange of courtesies and general remarks on the history of the Yugoslav struggle for independence. The Ambassador thanked the President and the people of the United States for the assistance already extended to Yugoslavia in time of need. The President replied that it is our policy to help all people in need and to alleviate starvation wherever it occurs. The Ambassador then made a lengthy statement explaining why assistance has been needed and is still necessary. The two main points he brought out were: (1) the drought has very seriously decreased the food supply, and (2) Yugoslavia finds itself in the unfortunate position of being forced to support a large army which requires a diversion of funds and labor, with the consequent lowering of the standard of living. Nevertheless, Yugoslavia has built up an army of over thirty divisions, which is more than all the rest of Europe can muster at the present time. The Ambassador also asked the President to keep Yugoslavia’s need in mind, as the continued good will of the United States is necessary in the solution of Yugoslavia’s economic problems, including negotiations with the International Bank and Western European countries. The sense of the President’s relatively brief reply on this point was that he has a continuing interest in Yugoslav problems and that he is now considering these problems with the Secretary of State. This concluded the substantive part of the conversation. Both participants agreed that continuously improving relations between the two countries are desirable and possible, and the meeting was terminated with the expression by both of a desire to work for world peace.
- Regarding the steps leading to the scheduling of this meeting, see the memorandum from the Secretary of State to the President, Document 835.↩