With an impasse having been reached in the London negotiations, a proposal originated in Washington that Deputy Under Secretary of State Robert Murphy should be sent to Belgrade in an effort to break the deadlock. The origin of this proposal is unclear from documentation in Department of State files and at the Eisenhower Library.
Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Livingston T. Merchant suggested, in a memorandum to Secretary Dulles, Document 136, that Murphy be sent on such a mission, but the suggestion was not acted upon at that time. In his memoirs, Murphy recalled that at a [Page 514] dinner party at the home of New York Times columnist Arthur Krock, apparently at the beginning of September 1954, he had been seated next to Ambassador Luce. Murphy had told her of his amiable meetings with Tito during World War II. According to Murphy, Luce had exclaimed, “You are just the man we need to bring Tito around.” Luce had then said that she had an appointment with President Eisenhower the following morning and she would suggest to him and to Secretary Dulles that Murphy be sent to Yugoslavia. Murphy recalled that he had received instructions that same day to confer with Tito. (Diplomat Among Warriors, page 422)
There is no record, however, in Eisenhower’s appointment book for September 1954 of any meeting between the President and Ambassador Luce. Eisenhower had left Washington on August 30 for a trip to the Western United States and did not return until October 16. Moreover, Secretary Dulles left Washington August 31 to attend the Manila Conference and did not return until September 14.
The substance of a memorandum from Merchant to Acting Secretary Smith, September 2, infra , suggests that Luce, in light of Eisenhower’s and Dulles’ absence from Washington, may have called Merchant about her idea that Murphy should be sent to Belgrade.