768.5 MSP/2–1954

No. 689
Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Murphy)1

top secret


  • Recommendation for exchange of views with British re policies towards Yugoslavia.


As we now have a new policy paper on Yugoslavia (NSC 54062) this would seem an appropriate time to review our policies with the British and French. We have not undertaken such a general review since 1949–1950, although there have been annual negotiations in connection with tripartite economic assistance. Immediately following the rift between Yugoslavia and the USSR we consulted closely with both Britain and France, conveying to them the general conclusions and recommendations of NSC papers 18/2 and 18/4.3 That consultation resulted in the tripartite approach to Yugoslav economic and military problems.

While military assistance is now largely a unilateral US affair, the tripartite relationship established in 1949–1950 led directly to tripartite military planning with Yugoslavia. In this connection, the US, UK and France will shortly be faced with the necessity of reaching decisions on the recommendations of the Washington conference of last November. While we have no reason to believe that there is any divergence of approach on this military aspect between ourselves, the British and French, the issues involved are of such far-reaching importance that we believe a general go-around to assure that we are all seeking the same objective is desirable.

On the economic side, also, such a general review of policy would seem desirable to lay the groundwork for negotiations with both the British and French regarding economic assistance for 1955 which we will wish to open shortly. In the negotiations preceding [Page 1378] tripartite assistance for FY–53 and FY–54 the British and French evidenced a somewhat different approach from ours. The British and French, perhaps largely influenced by reasons of economy, primarily direct their aid towards making the Yugoslav economy self-sufficient in order to terminate the need for aid as soon as possible. While we recognize this as an important objective, our primary purpose is to bolster Yugoslavia’s defense capabilities and its will and ability to maintain its independence from the USSR, and exploit their dependence on us. There are also indications that the British and French may be reluctant to continue to furnish economic assistance in FY–55. A clarification of these issues is important since our present aid request to Congress is predicated on British and French participation in the program.


That you authorize EUR to obtain the necessary intra-Governmental clearances through OCB and to exchange views on general policy with the UK, setting forth the general conclusions and recommendations of NSC 5406 along the lines of the attached draft Aide-Mémoire (Tab A4). We have no firm recommendation at this time as regards a possible similar exchange with the French, but in any case would wish to obtain British views before doing so.

  1. Drafted by Marcy and Colbert and concurred in by BNA, WE, GTI, RA, S/P, S/MSA, E, and NEA. The source text bears the handwritten note by Murphy, “OK.”
  2. Presumably reference is to NSC 5406/1; see supra.
  3. NSC 18/2 is not printed. For text of NSC 18/4, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. IV, p. 1341.
  4. Not printed; the draft aide-mémoire varied only slightly from the text of the aide-mémoire as delivered to the British Embassy on Mar. 5. (768.5 MSP/3–554)