668.82/6–652: Telegram

No. 309
The Ambassador in Yugoslavia (Allen) to the Department of State 1

top secret

1537. Turkish Ambassador called on me yesterday to discuss Yugoslav-Turkish-Greek relations. He said Deputy Foreign Minister Mates recently told him that while Yugoslav Govt did not feel in position to initiate talks with Turkey, Yugoslav Govt wld receive any Turkish approach “with great sympathy.” Mates indicated that Yugoslav Govt’s cautious approach was necessitated by reluctance of certain members Yugoslav CPY to initiate action which might appear to envisage formation of Yugoslav-Greek-Turkish entente.

When Turkish Ambassador reported foregoing to his govt, he received reply that American authorities did not think time was yet ripe for Turkish approach.

While I agree that caution shld be exercised lest Greeks or Turks step on each other’s toes or make too bold approach to Yugoslavs, it seems to me highly important to take advantage of present Yugoslav willingness to improve relations with both those two countries. We shld particularly avoid any impression that we are hesitant in principle about Yugoslav-Greek-Turkish rapprochement. Our best approach, it seems to me, is to avoid too close involvement in either direction and let Yugoslavs, Greeks and Turks work it out themselves to extent feasible. We do not need to be concerned about being kept fully informed.

Two or three reliable reports have come to me recently that Yugoslavs are not anxious to engage in direct strategic talks with great powers but are not afraid to talk with Greeks and Turks, whom they can meet on basis of equality. Inequality of Yugoslav-Soviet relationship is still fresh in Yugoslav mind.

Turkish Ambassador believes, and I agree, that any understandings which may eventually result among Turks, Greeks, and Yugoslavs shld be trilateral but that initial Greek and Turkish approaches might be bilateral. Some time must elapse and several preliminary stages gone through before atmosphere is ripe for serious understanding. Turkish Foreign Minister is said to wish to pass through Belgrade by train en route to or from Paris, when he cld take occasion, during two or three day stopover to establish contact [Page 595] with Yugoslav official. This seems useful approach which we shld encourage.

  1. Repeated for information to Ankara, Athens, Paris, and Rome.