750G.00/6–2154: Telegram

No. 212
The Ambassador in Yugoslavia (Riddleberger) to the Department of State1
top secret

1338. Limit distribution. While we here have always assumed that Italians would not buy May 31 agreement in toto and that at some stage Yugoslavs would be requested agree to some modifications thereof, recent telegrams from London and Rome indicate the possibility that these changes may be rather extensive and therefore we wonder whether time has not come to examine what the points are on which Yugoslavs are most likely to be tractable and those which will invite either outright rejection or impossible counter-demands. Having hammered out with great difficulty and after great pressure a tentative territorial settlement which is in effect our own proposal and approximates October 8 decision, I [Page 462] would think it highly dangerous to monkey with this contemplated London telegram 5832.2 Equally dangerous would be reopening of “provisional versus definitive” question. Department will recall what difficulty we experienced with this at end of Yugoslav phase of negotiations. Rome’s 4164,3 paragraph a seems to imply reopening of this aspect and that Yugoslav attitude has changed since May 31. We have no evidence to support any such belief.

If we are to add to above request that the autonomy provisions be made reciprocal and that the return of Slovene houses be subject to Italian goodwill, we must immediately consider what quid pro quos we will have in hand. The Yugoslavs will be quick to point out that all modifications requested are in Italy’s favor and not in Yugoslavia’s. In this connection there come to mind the six points raised by Bebler with Mallet and me on June 1 (Embassy telegram 1276 paragraph 44). Even if we are able to meet them all they will add up to very small change. There is also the question of additional aid to Yugoslavia (Embassy telegram 1297 to Department, repeated London 395, pouched to Rome5) which if granted would weigh in balance. Our actions and attitudes with respect to formulation of Balkan alliance in NATO Council and/or with Greek and Turkish Governments could indirectly but not inconsiderably affect Yugoslav attitude. Finally we note that Rome in its 4164 has suggested visits to Italy or invitations to visit US of certain prominent persons. While we doubt that time is ripe to invite Tito to US and do not believe that such an invitation need be equated to invitation to Scelba or Piccioni, a highly publicized visit by Admiral Radford to Italy which did not include Yugoslavia could have most unfavorable [Page 463] effect here. In this connection it should be recalled that since 1948 Secretary of the Army Pace is only US Cabinet officer to have visited Yugoslavia6 and that no State Department officer above deputy director of an office has as far as we can remember visited this country. While this has been normal in the past we now think time has come when prominent US officials should include Yugoslavia in their European itinerary.

  1. Repeated for information to London, Paris, Rome, and Trieste.
  2. In telegram 5832, June 18, Thompson reported that he believed that if the Italians were reasonable in limiting their demands for modification of other elements of the settlement, he and Harrison could obtain at least some modification of the territorial proposal. Thompson suggested that they avoid reaching any firm position with Italy on the territorial question and to go back to Yugoslavia and press for acceptance of the Italian proposal for modification of the western end of the boundary line. (750G.00/6–1854)
  3. supra.
  4. The six points which Bebler raised with respect to the May 31 agreement had to do with (1) the Yugoslav Government’s desire that a quarry located in Zone A near the boundary be shifted administratively to the Yugoslav area, (2) its wish to be informed when the talks with the Italian Government had reached a point where Italy and Yugoslavia could negotiate directly on the minorities question, (3) its desire to be informed by the United Kingdom and the United States regarding the Slovene credit institution, (4) its hope that some cultural buildings for Slovenes in Zone A could be made available before the settlement, (5) its wish that the United Kingdom and the United States encourage Italy to resume discussions with Yugoslavia regarding financial problems arising out of the 1947 Italian Peace Treaty, and (6) its interest in purchasing a house, currently occupied by the Yugoslav economic delegate in Trieste, which would eventually be used as the Yugoslav Consulate there. (Telegram 1276; 750G.00/6–154)
  5. Not printed.
  6. Regarding Army Secretary Pace’s visit to Yugoslavia Aug. 12–15, 1952, see Document 649.