668.811/1–2853: Telegram

No. 320
The Ambassador in Greece (Peurifoy) to the Department of State 1

top secret

2284. This morning Turkish Foreign Minister Koprulu invited British, French, and US Ambassadors to call upon him separately. Following summary my conversation with him which was devoted entirely to subject present Greek-Turk-Yugoslav negotiations:

During conversations while in Yugoslavia,2 Tito assumed initiative in proposing tripartite treaty of friendship between Greek-Turk-Yugoslavia. Tito explained such tripartite agreement would be extremely useful in conditioning internal Yugoslav public opinion and would also produce helpful psychological and propaganda effect internationally vis-à-vis Soviets.

Koprulu immediately replied Turkey would be prepared enter into such treaty providing conditions of treaty were in no way in contravention with Turkish obligations under NAT. He informed Tito that although not authorized speak for Greece he assumed Greece would likewise be prepared participate in such treaty under similar conditions. Koprulu informed Tito he hoped such a political arrangement would serve as intermediate step eventual Yugoslav membership in NATO.

Koprulu suggested to Tito that provision be made for eventual adherence of Italy and indicated he had certain sympathy for De Gasperi’s delicate position internally with regard Trieste prior to elections. After hesitation, Tito replied he thought Italian adherences could be arranged but added that root of Italian-Yugoslavian mistrust stemmed from latent Italian aspirations to territory along Dalmatian Coast. Trieste issue itself was capable of reasonably prompt solution.

Koprulu told me that inasmuch as proposed treaty would be extremely simple document he saw no reason why tripartite working level drafting party could not meet shortly in Athens, to be followed by return visits of Greek and Yugoslavian FonMins to Ankara for purpose of signing, and ultimately another meeting of three FonMins in Belgrade for purpose of depositing ratifications of their respective governments.

From my conversation with Koprulu, I am under impression that in his view proposed treaty would (a) involve no specific commitments [Page 614] or obligations, (b) Provide for tripartite consultation in event of threat to security of one of members, (c) Be so drafted as to make clear that none provisions proposed treaty would conflict with or derogate from obligations Greece and Turkey as members NATO. Am also under impression that Koprulu consequently considers that under these circumstances such agreement need not be submitted to NATO for ratification, nor is there any need await further views US, UK, and France before proceeding. Koprulu specifically said, however, US, UK and France and Turkey’s other (NATO) friends would, of course, be kept informed.

I was struck by Koprulu’s deep interest in obtaining eventual Italian participation and his eagerness assist in solution Italian-Yugoslavian dispute. He expressed great respect and admiration for De Gasperi who as PriMin is over- burdened by his responsibilities as FonMin. He believes, moreover, De Gasperi’s policy of attempting exert west pressure against Tito in his present isolated position in order insure an Italian solution to Trieste affair is unfortunate and miscalculated. He hopes, however, after Italian elections it will be possible persuade De Gasperi, assuming he retains power, take some steps which would reassure Yugoslavia with regard to Dalmation Coast and thereby pave way for early solution Trieste business and secure adherence proposed tripartite pact. Koprulu has called in Italian Ambassador here and frankly recounted his conversations with Tito so far as Italy was concerned.

In all, Koprulu appeared extremely satisfied with his progress in Yugoslavia and subsequently in Athens. He told me with amusement that when my British colleague expressed astonishment at speed with which he and Tito had reached their meeting of minds, he answered that both he and Tito were men of the people, frank and direct, and that were British policy also equally frank and direct, similar results might also be achieved.

In general, Embassy considers Greek-Turk-Yugoslavian negotiations, as outlined by Koprulu, have proceeded in most wholesome direction. I shall see Papagos shortly obtain Greek reaction Koprulu–Tito proposals.3

  1. Repeated for information to Rome for Unger, Paris for Reinhardt, Belgrade, Ankara, and London.
  2. Regarding these conversations, see Document 311.
  3. Telegram 2308 from Athens, Jan. 30, contained an account of a conversation between Peurifoy and Papagos in which the latter reported that the initiative for the tripartite agreement came not from Tito, but from Köprülü, who hoped to use it to facilitate Turk-Yugoslav military negotiations. (668.811/1–3053)

    In a memorandum of Jan. 29, Bohlen recommended to Matthews that the Department of State, on the basis of the information contained in telegram 2284, formulate a policy on the tripartite negotiations. He recommended that the negotiations not be impeded, and felt that the conclusion of an agreement, Köprülü’s intention notwithstanding, would not commit the United States to accepting Yugoslavia into NATO. (668.811/1–2853)