242. Memorandum on the Substance of Discussions at the Department of State–Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, Pentagon, Washington, April 15, 1955, 11:30 a.m.1

[Here follow a list of participants and discussion of unrelated subjects.]

2. Military Cooperation between Yugoslavia and the Free World—Interim Report

Mr. Murphy gave a brief outline of developments in the field of military cooperation between Yugoslavia and the West along the lines of the briefing paper prepared by Mr. Unger (Mr. Murphy subsequently gave a copy of this paper to Admiral Radford).2 He pointed out that after the conclusion of the Balkan alliance and the settlement of the Trieste issue it had been thought desirable to attempt to strengthen the military ties between Yugoslavia and the West. At the moment, it is expected that Ambassador Riddleberger will have a talk in the near future with Marshal Tito. The latter has promised to give the Ambassador Yugoslav thinking on the kind of relationship that might be established. Estimates of the probable Yugoslav attitude vary. The Turks feel the Yugoslavs are tending more and more toward a neutralist position. On the other hand, the Greeks believe that the Turks have been heavy handed in dealing with the Yugoslavs in staff discussions and that this Turkish opinion is not well founded. We feel a process of evolution is involved in Yugoslav thinking and recognize the necessity of re-examining the Yugoslav position in the light of recent developments. Before there is any general NSC review of policy toward Yugoslavia, which has been proposed by the OCB, the Department believes it desirable to await the outcome of Ambassador Riddleberger’s talks with Marshal Tito.

Admiral Radford stated he did not understand how we could give military aid to Yugoslavia, the total of which amounts to about $700 million, under the terms of our military aid legislation which requires defense cooperation from the recipient country.

Without answering this specific question, Admiral Carney said that there were a few stipulations in our military aid agreement with Yugoslavia. However, the philosophy behind the agreement was that [Page 637] it represented a means for orienting Yugoslavia toward the West. In the Balkan Fact discussions the Turks had been reluctant to have frank military discussions with the Yugoslavs. The Turks themselves, according to Admiral Carney, have no settled strategic plan for dealing with the principal probable enemy, Bulgaria. The Greeks have been ready to talk details but the Turks have been unwilling. The Greeks and Yugoslavs have a certain amount of common real estate which gives them a solid interest in joint defense planning. The barrier with the Turks was partially broken in the recent tripartite Balkan alliance staff talks by labeling them merely theoretical exercises. Admiral Fechteler has told Admiral Carney that he doubts there will be any real defense cooperation in this are until the Yugoslavs and Italians are prepared to set down together. Admiral Carney has tried to think of some way of bringing this about and even considered inviting Yugoslavia and Italian military representatives to the Naval Staff College and thus getting them in the same room together in hopes they might begin discussions. The problem is primarily political and Admiral Carney feels confident the Yugoslavs and Italians would agree on the military problems themselves, the principal one being the defense of the Ljubljana Gap.

Mr. Murphy noted that Bebler had recently indicated that the Yugoslavs would probably only join in four power talks which include the U.S., UK and France along the lines of the August 1953 discussions. It is doubtful that Tito will agree to the establishment of a relationship with NATO and this therefore makes uncertain the prospect of any Yugoslav-Italian relationship. Mr. Barbour added that some kind of tie with NATO, the exact nature of which we have not spelled out, would provide the best bridge for building a link with the Italians. Mr. Murphy noted that Tito may now be more difficult following his trip to India and Burma and recent gestures from Moscow and may feel he is better able to occupy a middle position between the East and the West.

Admiral Radford then inquired if we felt the situation was not good. Mr. Murphy said we would not go far although he did feel the position of Yugoslavia was perhaps somewhat more in flux at the present time, that while it was not good, it was also not bad.

Admiral Radford reverted to the question of whether we can legally give military aid to Yugoslavia at which point Mr. Allen stated he had signed the military agreement with Yugoslavia on behalf of the U.S. and that it contained three conditions: (1) Yugoslavia would use the equipment only for defense purposes; (2) Yugoslavia undertook not to sell or dispose of the equipment without our agreement; and (3) Yugoslavia agreed we would have the right to inspect its end use.

[Page 638]

The discussion on this matter concluded with Admiral Radford noting that the JCS now had a study under way with respect to the position of Yugoslavia3 and by Mr. Murphy pointing out that the general question of our policy toward Yugoslavia would soon be considered by the NSC.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

  1. Source: Department of State, State–JCS Meetings: Lot 66 D 70. Top Secret. A note on the source text indicates that this was a Department of State draft not cleared with any of the participants. In a memorandum to Murphy on April 6, Walworth Barbour stated that since Riddleberger was soon to meet with Tito to obtain an explanation of Yugoslavia’s increasingly neutralist position, the Department of State wished to delay re-examination of U.S. policy toward Yugoslavia. Barbour asked Murphy to deliver a progress report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Department of State’s efforts to secure Yugoslavia’s cooperation in military matters involving the West. (Ibid., Central Files, 768.5–MSP/4–655)
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. Not further identified.