No. 171
The Chief United States Negotiator in London (Thompson) to the Counselor of Embassy in Yugoslavia (Wallner)
top secret

Dear Woody: I delayed answering your letter1 in the now absurd expectation that events would have overtaken anything I could write. I hope I never have to see your clients again if ever this exercise is over, but I am sure it has been worthwhile to have given them a fair hearing no matter how the business eventually turns out.

The idea of an appeal to Tito was never based on any assumption of a difference between Velebit and his boss, but rather that Tito could scarcely fail to be affected by a personal appeal from Mr. Dulles or the President, whereas it’s quite easy for them to go on making ridiculous proposals to me. I am still optimistic and read the Yugoslav tactics to mean they do wish to settle this question, but I must admit there are few signs of it so far. After five weeks of negotiation they are still asking for us to settle virtually every question they have ever had at issue with the Italians in their favor, as well as sticking on an impossible territorial solution. By about the time you get this it might be helpful if you would indicate that we have about concluded they are not serious in these negotiations. You can tell from our cables what the situation is. If we do get deeply into the economic field, it will be necessary to have all the material possible on the present status of Italo-Yugoslav economic and financial relations. All we have apart from your briefing book is one short despatch from Rome. Any background material on the status of the facilities agreement, Italian claims against Yugoslavia, etc., would be helpful. It is difficult for Rome to get this kind of material without revealing what is up.

[Page 378]

All the best to Jimmy and yourself,2

Llewellyn E. Thompson
  1. Reference is presumably to a letter of Feb. 23 from Wallner to Thompson, in which Wallner had commented on some of Thompson’s statements in his cables from London. Wallner had doubted the value of Thompson’s suggestion of making a direct appeal to Tito, saying that “these people work as a team, and there is no basis in human experience to expect the captain of the team to throw away the game.” Wallner had added that this did not mean that a fair but difficult proposal should not be brought directly to Tito for decision, but it did mean that Tito should not be expected “to swing at balls which the bleachers can see are high and outside, particularly if his teammates have wisely let them go by.” On another question, Wallner had said that he was unclear as to the meaning of Thompson’s references to new factors that had developed since Oct. 8 which had now made it less risky to implement the Oct. 8 decision. (750G.00/2–2354)
  2. In his reply of Mar. 16, Wallner did not comment further on the points Thompson had made. He congratulated Thompson for his patience and ingenuity in an extremely difficult job and indicated that the Embassy in Yugoslavia was “ready to get in the act whenever you wish, but not, of course, before that time.” (750G.00/2–1654)