668.811/2–253: Telegram

No. 323
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Greece 1

top secret

2441. Eyes only Chiefs of Mission, Senior Military Attachés and specific addressees. Ref: London telegram 4258 and Paris telegram 4332.2 Ambassadors Athens and Ankara may now utilize Department telegram 4160 to Paris3 when speaking with Greeks and Turks regarding proposed Friendship Treaty with Yugoslavia. In so doing, they should add appropriate remarks along following lines:


Regarding relationship of treaty to UN, we have noted Popovic has spoken of proposed pact as a “regional arrangement” (Belgrade 10824) and Greek press has asserted treaty would be conformity treaty Article 52 UN charger [Charter] (Athens 23235).

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“Regional arrangement” is term under UN Charter used to describe arrangements coming within provisions Chapter VIII of the Charter which includes Article 52. “Regional arrangements” are primarily concerned with “pacific settlement of local disputes” (Article 52) and “enforcement action” (Article 53). It is clear that term “enforcement action” was not intended comprehend measures undertaken by states in exercise right of individual or collective self-defense, which are specifically recognized in Article 51, Chapter VII of Charter.

Under Article 54 (Chapter VIII) Security Council must be informed “of activities undertaken or in contemplation under regional arrangements for the maintenance of international peace and security”. While US interprets this article as not requiring any reports to UN concerning type of planning for defense to be carried on by Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia even if their agreements are considered as a regional arrangement, unfriendly states are nevertheless certain to claim failure to report is breach of Charter if the term “regional arrangement” becomes too closely linked with the agreements between Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

For foregoing reasons, we and other NATO nations have always felt it important to note that NATO is primarily a collective security pact under Article 51 of UN Charter and not “regional pact” under Article 52. However, proposed Greek, Turkish, Yugoslav friendship pact as we understand it, is not a collective security pact but a friendship treaty. In any case, it is definitely technically incorrect to describe proposed pact as a “regional agreement” under Article 52. Participants should take every precaution to obviate possibility of Article 54 thus being applied to contingent military planning, which should, of course, not be reported to UN.

If Yugoslavs, Greeks and Turks wish, as they may well do, publicly relate Friendship Treaty to UN Charter, this might appropriately be done with reference the general objective and principles of the UN set forth in the preamble and Articles 1 and 2 of the Charter.


Regarding continuing military contingent planning talks between Yugoslavs, Greeks and Turks, we are glad to note apparent intent of all concerned that contingent military planning continue on tripartite basis as matter separate and distinct from Friendship Pact. As we have made known on several occasions, we believe as much progress as possible in this direction should be made. Interjection of “political commitment” concept into problem of military talks had been one of principal difficulties encountered in our thinking regarding desirable direction for rapprochement between Yugoslavs, Greeks and Turks. We are particularly pleased at direction this has now taken since, no matter how carefully worded and [Page 621] notwithstanding strict interpretation of terms Article 8 NAT, geographic situation of Balkan area involved is such that exchange of commitments going beyond those outlined in Athens 22846 could result in hostilities which were initially directed solely against Yugoslavia, in fact embroiling Greek and Turkish forces and thereby possibly leading to invocation NAT and factual involvement of all NATO. By same token, present formula averts situation which might call for consideration of specific proposals contained last sentence section 1 Athens 22487 and last paragraph section 2 same telegram which would have serious implications for NATO as a whole.

Regarding Koprulu’s suggestion of US observer at Greek-Turk-Yugoslav military conversations, we are not prepared comment at this time. We feel that question coordinating Greek, Turk, Yugoslav military planning with our own cannot be separated from larger and more complex problem integration of military planning for Yugoslavia into Western defense structure, a problem which still requires considerable study by all concerned.

London and Paris should convey substance foregoing to respective Foreign Offices. Paris pass Reinhardt; Rome pass Unger; Belgrade pass Harmony.

  1. Drafted by Thurston and Marcy and cleared in RA, NEA/GTI, BNA, UNP, WE, EUR, and C. Also sent to Ankara as telegram 992 for action and repeated to Rome, Paris, London, and Belgrade for information.
  2. Telegram 4258 from London reported that the British were still uninformed as of Feb. 2 about the tripartite negotiations for the Balkan pact. (668.811/2–253) Telegram 4332 from Paris reported the French favored admitting Yugoslavia to NATO “in due course.” (668.811/2–453)
  3. Document 321.
  4. Telegram 1082, Jan. 31, transmitted a summary of the recent talks between the Yugoslavs and Köprülü as related to Wallner by Popović. (688.82/1–3153)
  5. Telegram 2323, Jan. 31, transmitted a press report on a statement by Stephanopoulos to the effect that the form of the tripartite pact was then under consideration. (768.5/1–3153)
  6. Document 320.
  7. Document 319.