768.5/1–653: Telegram

No. 316
The Ambassador in Turkey (McGhee) to the Department of State 1

top secret

826. Noforn. No distribution outside Department. In my first extended discussion with Foreign Minister since his return from [Page 604] NATO meeting in Paris2 and his subsequent visits to Rome, Naples and Athens, he summarized his views toward the developing rapprochement between Yugoslavia and the West as follows:

In Italy De Gasperi made many and strong complaints against Yugoslavs, including treatment of Italians in Yugoslavia-administered zone of Trieste, severing of Yugoslav relations with Vatican and Yugoslav characterization of De Gasperi’s regime as Fascist. Koprulu believes, however, that Italians really desire closer association of Yugoslavia with west, and that their present tactics are calculated to exact as their price for their agreement a solution for Trieste favorable to themselves. He believes too that an underlying Italian motive is to regain the prestige of their former position as principal outside power in the Balkans.
Recent Turkish military delegation to Belgrade3 was warmly received and shown military installations, factories, and schools, and an armored division. Information was exchanged on Soviet and satellite intelligence and it was agreed that such exchanges would be made regularly in future. It was also agreed, on a purely technical basis, that, in event of attack by Russia against one or both countries, neither should evacuate forces before attack but should initiate defense at border. In Foreign Minister’s view talks constituted an advance over recent meetings in Ankara,4 since Yugoslavs in Belgrade had been less conservative than Turks had been in Ankara. Foreign Minister believes however that nothing of concrete nature has been or can be achieved with Yugoslavs until more definitive political discussions are held. It is to sound out Yugoslavs on their political views that he plans, on invitation of Yugoslav Government, to visit Belgrade starting January 15 or 16.5
In Foreign Minister’s view time will soon be ripe to attach Yugoslavs to NATO, preferably by direct entry. He has impression, which he cannot document, that Yugoslavs desire such a solution and will be in position to accept admission into NATO in two or three months. Foreign Minister believes present Yugoslav tactics vis-à-vis Italy dictated, as are Italians, by desire force Trieste solution favorable to themselves. If United States and United Kingdom can persuade Italy to accept Yugoslav admission, Foreign Minister feels that other NATO countries, despite ideological opposition of various groups including Catholics, will ultimately agree. If direct entry into NATO is not possible, an alternative solution should be sought through creation of separate three-power alliance such as EDC, with reciprocal guarantees with NATO. Foreign Minister knows of no new approach by Yugoslavs to Greeks on an alliance between Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia (see Athens 2013 December 31 to Department,6 repeated information Belgrade 35, Rome [Page 605] 152, London 94, Paris 193, Ankara 65, which was not divulged to Foreign Minister) and does not in fact think Greeks have thought through any solution to Yugoslav problem.
Foreign Minister requested advice from United States, before he departs for Belgrade, on how to proceed with Yugoslavs. He pointed out that matter vitally affects NATO, and that Turks look basically to United States, and secondarily to United Kingdom, for advice in such matters. He considers that one of principal difficulties of west up to now, in its approach to Yugoslavs, was that its efforts had been “desultory”. The Eden and Handy visits, and the Greek and Turkish military discussions, had not been properly coordinated.

Comment: It would be greatly appreciated if Department would consider Foreign Minister’s request as matter of urgency and give me what guidance it can to impart to him before his departure for Belgrade on January 12. I hope also that Department will permit Ambassador Allen give Foreign Minister benefit of his views in Belgrade, and will authorize me so to advise Koprulu.

Evidence points to Yugoslav desire to associate itself in defense matters more intimately with West. If Foreign Minister correct in his analysis point would appear to be near for discussion concrete political means of achieving this objective, which could assume form of a three-power (or four-power) alliance, as Athens 2013 of December 31 would indicate has emerged in recent Greek-Yugoslav discussions, or direct entry of Yugoslavia into NATO as favored by Turkish Foreign Minister. Foreign Minister, as the next important visitor to Belgrade, could have an important influence on the course to be followed. He has sought our guidance and will, I am sure be happy to follow our lead if we are prepared to give it to him.7

  1. Repeated for information to Athens, Belgrade, Rome, London, and Paris, eyes only Chiefs of Mission and Senior Military Attachés.
  2. For documentation on the North Atlantic Council Ministerial meetings in Paris, Dec. 14–18, 1952, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 454 ff.
  3. See Documents 311 and 314.
  4. Presumably reference is to the visit of the Yugoslav military delegation under Yaksich to Ankara, Sept. 24–26; see Document 311.
  5. Köprülü actually left for Belgrade on Jan. 20; see Document 311.
  6. Document 314.
  7. In telegram 858 to Ankara, Jan. 8, the Department of State responded to McGhee’s request for advice by referring him to telegram 2143 to Athens, Jan. 7, repeated to Ankara as telegram 853, infra .