Belgrade Embassy files, lot 56 F 149, “Chron. Files Sept.–Oct. 1952”

No. 656
The Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs (Barbour) to the Ambassador in Yugoslavia (Allen)

top secret

Dear George: By the time you get this letter I hope we will be well on the way to concluding the diplomatic approach to Marshal Tito on the question of the military talks. In the meantime, I wished to let you know that your thoughts as expressed by Jake Beam in his telegram 342 of September 12,1 and seconded by Condon’s telegram Yug 788 of September 13,2 have not been ignored.

While we recognize that the approach suggested by you represents a forceful and dynamic presentation perhaps more likely to appeal to the Yugoslavs in initiating military discussions with us, the formula set forth in the agreed terms of reference and agenda compiled by the Tripartite Military Meeting in Washington represents in essence a compromise of a number of conflicting views as regards the proper way to approach the Yugoslavs. As a compromise, it represents in our view the most far-reaching statement of our common purposes upon which it is possible for the United States, the United Kingdom and France to agree at the present time. Therefore, we feel obliged to concur with the view set forth in G–2’s reply to Colonel Condon,2 to the effect that it is not now desirable to try to amend the terms of reference.

Notwithstanding the above, and recognizing that you on-the-spot are much better equipped to judge the best tactical approach to the Yugoslavs, we envisage that General Handy will have considerable latitude in this discussion with the Yugoslavs. . . . We anticipate that in his presentation of the Tripartite position he will be guided by advice concerning the most effective line to utilize, not only from his British and French advisers, but also from discussions with you, General Harmony and US attachés. We cannot formally put this to the British and French of course, but it might well be appropriate for you to discuss it informally with your British and French colleagues.

[Page 1314]

Another consideration which has led us to believe that it would not be desirable to endeavor to amend the terms of reference at the present time, but which does not appear anywhere on the record, is one which has been and must continue to be taken into consideration in all matters concerning these proposed military talks with the Yugoslavs. . . .

Sincerely yours,

  1. In telegram 342, Beam reported that the Embassy had received neither the terms of reference nor the agreed agenda from any U.S. source, but had been furnished a copy informally by the British Ambassador a short time before. In the absence of Allen and Condon, Beam summarized the reservations which they had expressed to him regarding the terms of reference. (768.5/9–1252)
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. Not found in Department of State files.