No. 264
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Murphy) 1
top secret


  • Briefing paper suggesting points to be used in Belgrade conversations.

This paper sets forth briefly some suggestions regarding the line which might be followed in presenting the “crash compromise” on Trieste to the Yugoslavs in Belgrade.

In general, Mr. Murphy might wish to approach the matter of US-Yugoslav relations in the very broad terms of the mutual benefits to be gained from steady improvement of these relations. Within this framework he could, on the one hand, indicate our potential to exert pressure on Tito for a Trieste settlement by reviewing US military and economic assistance since 1948, as well as US political and psychological support on numerous occasions, and by bringing out at the same time the fact that thus far there have been no strings attached to our actions in Yugoslavia’s behalf. On the other, he could, along the general lines suggested in Ambassador Riddleberger’s letter to Mr. Merchant of June 23,2 develop the possibilities for further progress in Yugoslav-Western relations and the advantages to Yugoslavia which would unfold once the Trieste block had been removed. This combination of the screw and the carrot might have a good chance of success whereas either one or the other used alone would probably fail to turn the trick.

With this thought in mind, the following paragraphs simply state, without elaboration, the principal arguments which Mr. Murphy would have at hand in his talks with Tito and company. Briefing papers covering each of the four points in some detail are being submitted separately.3

[Page 526]
Economic Aid. The impressive record of US economic aid since 1948 and the consistent willingness of the United States to come to Yugoslavia’s assistance in times of emergency economic need. US agreement in principle (Mr. Merchant’s memorandum to General Smith of September 3 [2]4) to meet Yugoslav requirements for a three-year period for wheat, including its emergency needs this year, under ATDA (Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act). US readiness to enter into high-level talks with Yugoslav officials regarding their fundamental economic and financial problems as conveyed to Ambassador Mates by General Smith, August 26.5
Military Aid and Cooperation. The impressive record of past and continuing military aid. The progress made at the Tripartite-Yugoslav military talks (November 1952 and August 1953)6 in the field of contingent war plans and logistics. The Trieste deterrent to continuation of such talks. US recognition of the added desirability and urgency of further military cooperation between Yugoslavia and the Western Powers as a result of the Balkan Military Alliance.
Balkan Military Alliance. Firm US support and public approbation (Secretary’s press conference statement) of this valuable evidence of Yugoslav-Greek-Turkish collaboration in the over-all interests of Western defense which Mr. Murphy would warmly reaffirm. US desire to give further recognition and support to the Balkan Alliance as a contribution to peace and to do so through assisting in working out arrangements for the most effective relationship between NATO and the Alliance.
High Level Exchange of Visits. US agreement in principle with Yugoslav views, as recently expressed to Ambassador Riddleberger in Belgrade by the former Yugoslav Ambassador to the United States (Vladimir Popovich), as to the desirability of frequent exchanges of visits between high-ranking US and Yugoslav officials. Our attitude as demonstrated by General Smith’s remarks to Ambassador Mates re visit to US by Vukmanovich-Tempo, and most recently by Mr. Murphy’s presence in Belgrade. The possibility of a visit to Belgrade this year by the Secretary, implying that such a visit could take place only if there were a Trieste settlement. Caution: No intimation on our part of the possibility of an invitation to Tito to visit the United States.
  1. Drafted by Leverich and Thurston. The text is in the third, rather than the second, person because it was copied almost verbatim from a memorandum of Sept. 4 from Thurston to Merchant. (750G.00/0–454) The major change in the text dealt with Thurston’s suggestion that there be a hint of a possible invitation to Tito to visit the United States. Merchant had written in the margin of Thurston’s memorandum that the President was overbooked for the upcoming year and that the United States would go no further than a possible visit by Dulles to Belgrade in December. Presumably because of Merchant’s views, section 4 of Thurston’s memorandum was rewritten and the cautionary statement about a Tito visit added.
  2. Document 696.
  3. Copies of these four briefing papers are in file 750G.00/9–954.
  4. Document 254.
  5. No record of this conversation has been found in Department of State files.
  6. For a report on the tripartite military talks which took place in Belgrade in November 1952, see Document 675. A summary report on the tripartite military talks held in Washington in August 1953 is in file 611.68/8–2453.