768.5/1–2653: Telegram

No. 319
The Ambassador in Greece (Peurifoy) to the Department of State1

top secret

2248. Noforn. Based on limited data at its disposal Embassy submits for Department’s consideration following summary Embassy’s tentative views re position US should adopt toward current Greek Turkish Yugoslav negotiations:

Full realization defense potential in Balkan area can only be secured through exploitation and integration Yugoslav military capabilities.

Contingent military planning while useful can achieve real significance only in framework of political understanding setting forth in general terms nature of mutual obligations of parties and circumstances under which military plans would be implemented.

Necessity for some type of political arrangement apparently accepted in Athens and Ankara while Tito has now even publicly stated that such arrangements would be feasible.

Article 8 NAT prohibits member governments from undertaking international engagements in conflict with NAT. Mutual security arrangements between Greece and/or Turkey and Yugoslavia would not seem fall within purview of Article 8. Were such interpretation to prevail in instant case, precedent with dangerous implications might well be created. Moreover, political repercussions of action by NATO preventing development or arrangements obviously in interest of Greek national security might be serious.

We consider dangerous assume that, because of Tito’s isolated position, increasingly close continuing Yugoslav collaboration can be insured without some type of reciprocal obligation either directly with the great powers or indirectly through nation or nations associated with the powers. Moreover, mutual security arrangements between Greece and/or Turkey and Yugoslavia would certainly be interpreted by USSR as having been undertaken with United States consent and to this extent would provide strongest possible deterrent effect.

We believe, however, integration Yugoslavia into NATO not necessary at this time and probably politically premature so far as popular attitude in United States and certain other NAT countries concerned.

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Consequently, Embassy considers that, in view apparent willingness if not eagerness of parties, Greece and Yugoslavia should be encouraged to reach political understanding. In order avoid conflict with NATO obligations such mutual political obligations should be drawn in flexible terms along lines of Article 5, by which attack on one country would be considered as an attack on both and which would hence obligate Greece and Yugoslavia to consider appropriate measures in the light of the circumstances then existing (presumably on basis previous joint military plans). It seems clearly understood (and desired) by Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey that military plans would in fact be coordinated with NATO plans.

It is our impression that neither Greece nor Yugoslavia will specifically inquire at this time what action would be taken by US and/or NATO in the event Greek or Yugoslav Forces were to be engaged in implementation of such an obligation. We interpret present attitude Yugoslavia and Greece as willingness accept implied support of US and of NATO without raising a priori difficult hypothetic conditions. However, in event question raised as to US attitude it would seem appropriate for US reply simply that US would of course, accept without hesitation all obligations incurred as member of NATO.

We tend believe it is unrealistic contemplate attack on Yugolavia which would not result in general conflict. We believe by encouraging flexible arrangement between Greece and/or Turkey and Yugoslavia, we put ourselves in best possible position to discourage such an attack or to repulse it if it does in fact occur. In view of general nature of obligations under Article 5 NAT we do not believe arrangements between Greece and Yugoslavia would be calculated make it more difficult to localize the conflict in event of an attack against Yugoslavia than it would in event of an attack against Greece itself.

Under circumstances Embassy submits that US position should seek to obtain British and French approval to advise Greek, Turk, and Yugoslav Governments that we have no objection to conclusion of bilateral or trilateral security arrangements with Yugoslavia, bearing in mind such arrangements must be made in light of obligations of Greece and Turk to NATO and that military planning involved would be subject to coordination with appropriate NATO military agencies.

  1. Transmitted in two sections; repeated for information to Belgrade, Ankara, Paris, Rome, and London.