768.5/9–1552

No. 650
The Secretary of Defense (Lovett) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to your letter of 26 August 1952,1 concerning the terms of reference and agenda for the conduct of the forthcoming tripartite military conversations with Yugoslavia.

Enclosed herewith are the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning the several matters raised by this letter and its accompanying enclosures. You will observe that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have also addressed themselves to the question of participation by Greece, Turkey, and Italy in future military planning with Yugoslavia, as well as notification to these governments concerning the presently planned conversations, in which General Handy is to be the tripartite representative.

These recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have my approval. It is my understanding that the initial tripartite diplomatic approach to Marshal Tito may be made during the forthcoming visit of the British Foreign Secretary in Belgrade next week.2 I trust that this will make it possible for the ensuing military conversations to be initiated at an early date.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett
[Page 1306]

[Enclosure]

Memorandum by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Bradley) to the Secretary of Defense (Lovett)

top secret

Subject:

  • Tripartite Military Conversations with Yugoslavia
1.
This memorandum is in response to your memorandum of 27 August 1952 on the above subject.3 The comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which follow are addressed to both your memorandum and its attached letter from the Secretary of State with enclosures.4
2.

The terms of reference for the Tripartite Representative, forwarded to you on 12 August 1952,5 had already incorporated the minor changes desired by the British, that is, the addition of the words “as appropriate” at the end of paragraph 1, and the omission of underlining.

. . . . . . .

4.
In order to mollify the French and to expedite initiation of the proposed talks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, as executive agent for the three powers, in transmitting to General Handy the implementing directive for the initiation of the military talks, should call the latter’s attention to the views of the French Government concerning subparagraph 5 b of the terms of reference and direct him, in the discussions, to take full account of the French viewpoint and phrase his approach accordingly.
5.
One proposal in the Department of State draft telegrams and draft memorandum on which the Joint Chiefs of Staff were requested to comment stems from the expressed desire of the French Government to include in the terms of reference for the proposed military conversations with Yugoslavia an item on the subject of Albania. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree in the position of the Department of State thereon, and further agree with the manner in which that Department proposes to present the United States position to the British and French Governments.
6.
There is also included in the Department of State draft telegrams to the British and French Governments a formal proposal [Page 1307]that the Greek and Turkish Governments be apprised of the fact that the United States, the United Kingdom, and France intend to conduct military conversations with the Yugoslavs, at the same time and in the same manner as the three governments are already agreed that such advice will be given to the Italian Government. The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur in this proposal. In concurring, they wish to express their hope that it will be found politically expedient to make the three notifications coincidently with the initiation of the talks.
7.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur in the view of the Secretary of Defense that the contemplated notification to Italy, Greece, and Turkey in the manner proposed may result in strong requests by these governments for participation in the military conversations with Yugoslavia. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are opposed to the inclusion of Italy, Greece, and Turkey in the initial phase of the military talks with Yugoslavia, but consider that those countries should ultimately be represented in the more detailed planning to follow. Initial participation by these countries would, in all probability, render it more difficult to lay a firm and favorable groundwork for military coordination between Yugoslavia and the Western Powers. It would also give a distinctive NATO color to the Allied approach which, in the light of the expressed aversion on the part of Yugoslavia to any military alliance with the West at this time, might seriously jeopardize the success of the entire project.

. . . . . . .

… Item 5 of the agreed agenda, “Procedure for Further Conversations,”6 has as its objective the reaching of agreement on a procedure for the continuous exchange of plans and information after the initial talks have been completed. . . .

10.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that the general tenor of the foregoing paragraph should be conveyed to the Italian, Greek, and Turkish Governments when they are notified of the initiation of the military conversations. This should serve to reassure those governments that their military interests will be adequately safeguarded in the initial conversations, and that, subject to the concurrence of the Yugoslav authorities, Italy, Greece, and Turkey will be invited to participate in detailed planning conversations at an appropriate time and should tend to dissuade those countries from pressing for participation from the outset. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are further of the opinion that the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, [Page 1308]as executive agent for the three powers, should, in transmitting to General Handy the implementing directive for the military talks, authorize him, if he deems it advisable, to notify the Yugoslav Representative of the intent of the three powers to inform Italy, Greece, and Turkey concerning the initiation of these discussions.
11.
In the light of all of the foregoing, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that you express to the Secretary of State agreement with the draft telegram and draft memorandum to the British Government and the draft telegram to the French Government, subject to incorporation of the substance of the changes appended to this memorandum.7
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley
  1. Not printed. (768.5/8–2652)
  2. On Sept. 2, representatives of the British Embassy in Washington informed the Department of State that Foreign Secretary Eden hoped that the military talks with Yugoslavia could be underway by the time he visited Belgrade on Sept. 17. At the minimum, Eden urged that the tripartite approach to Tito requesting the talks be made prior to his visit. These views and Department of State efforts to expedite Department of Defense consideration of the papers transmitted under cover of Matthews’ letter of Aug. 26 to Lovett are described in a memorandum from Thurston to Matthews, Sept. 2. (768.5/9–252)
  3. Not found in Department of State files.
  4. Presumably reference is to the letter of Aug. 26 from Matthews to Lovett, with enclosures.
  5. The terms of reference for the talks were sent to the Department of State as Appendix “A” to a letter from Lovett to Acheson of Aug. 20. (768.5/8–2052)
  6. The agenda for the tripartite talks with Yugoslavia was transmitted to the Department of State as Appendix “B” to Lovett’s letter of Aug. 20 to Acheson.
  7. The appendix is not printed.