No. 903

768.00/6–551: Telegram

The Chargé in Yugoslavia (Beam) to the Secretary of State 1


1825. Embtels 1814, June 4, 1822, June 5 and 1823, June 5.2 Rankovic and Djilas speeches and resolutions fourth plenary meeting CC (Central Committee) CPY have aroused greatest int foreign observers here as consolidating and formalizing trends last few months. First impression is they may produce some liberalization within CPY and police apparatus. Ostensibly will reduce obligatory adherence to indiscriminate party pronouncements, will permit freer discussion within party including consideration Western methods and will result refinement and relaxation police methods. Undoubtedly will not mean recognition of or cooperation with opposition groups outside party. Seems stronger resistance will be made to Cominform elements and Djilas statement also conveyed warning to organized church opposition. Reference new responsibility courts investigate criminal cases unclear but thought to mean that while a reformed police machinery will continue play major detective role, judges will be charged ascertain facts and truth by more detailed examination. Consensus opinion is new front and proposals partly inspired by mass unpopularity present regime due its internal policies and failure alleviate common lot. Considered [by] some fault unfair leaders placed main onus on police and bureaucracy who have been carrying out directives based on formerly approved lines. On other hand believed significant regime wld dare so bitterly criticize police who wld be main support if discontent actually threatened disorders near future or disaffection in event foreign attack. New proposals contain no guarantee against arbitrary [Page 1801] action by party state but if carried through may result in humanizing and popularizing regime with increased support for measures required sustain Yugo internatl position.

Manner presentation undoubtedly influenced by desire seize ideological initiative from Cominform and gain favorable publicity Western world through liberalization appeal. Continued Communist character of Yugo state and obedience to party decisions emphasized at all times however. Chief points of interest will be whether autocratic one party state can successfully liberalize itself without undue stress and how new concepts will be employed further aim assuming leadership non-Soviet Marxist world, as is doubtless Yugo intent.

  1. Repeated to Moscow and Paris.
  2. Telegram 1814 summarized Ranković’s remarks to the opening session of the Central Committee on June 3 concerning jurisprudence and legal practices (768.00/6–451); telegram 1822 reported on Djilas’ speech on the current situation in the international workers’ movement and its ideology (768.00/6–551); and telegram 1823 briefly summarized some of the resolutions passed during the fourth plenary session (768.00/6–551).