243. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Yugoslavia1

857. Paris pass Reinhardt and Wallner. Following comments refer your 855.2FOA and Defense concur.


Endorse general line you propose take with Tito. Believe useful for you mention that what you will say not motivated by apprehensions regarding “normalization” but rather influenced by Yugoslav reluctance consider military coordination. Military considerations are major basis our various aid programs for Yugoslavia and if these vitiated there remains practically no justification for continuing aid in view of increasing Congressional emphasis defense criteria for European aid, even though there is continuing basis for friendly relations. Aid curtailment would follow from divergent US and Yugoslav estimates Soviet danger and resultant Yugoslav disinclination embark on effective contingent planning coordination with only operational forces in area capable providing support, viz. NATO forces. Tito should not fail understand difficulty US faces in providing aid throughout world in view tremendous requirements and limitations of funds.

Re inclusion of aid to Yugoslavia in congressional presentation for FY 1856 which made known in President’s aid message to Congress [Page 639] April 20,3 agree line your Tousfo 3014 that request is being made by Executive Branch for appropriation which will be utilized only if later developments indicate aid program desirable in furtherance US-Yugoslav common objectives. This will depend on having better idea Tito’s thinking and assurance he understands ours, for which additional conversations between you and him may be useful. It may be advisable leave him ponder on possible consequences certain Yugoslav positions on US policy with expectation that final Yugo position will be revealed in later talk, However we concerned that TitoRoberts conversation (especially cordon sanitaire and neutralized Germany concepts) reveals such unrealistic Yugoslav evaluation East-West position in Europe that we feel full exchange views and firm understanding on fundamentals of future Yugoslav military relations with West essential.5 Moreover present apparent Tito attitude on military relations not in keeping with recognition by Bebler of need for joint military planning reported Embtel 580 para 7.6

Although we strongly prefer some form of NATO planning tie, our position as to how military coordination to be achieved remains relatively flexible and we prepared consider Yugoslav proposals which meet mutual problems and do not add up to mere procrastination. If conversation becomes specific you may of course draw on past indications our position and in particular that contained numbered paragraph 3 of London’s 3502, repeated Belgrade 227.7 Attention also called to final paragraph your telegram 5488 which sets out basis for any consideration of renewal Tripartite talks Washington as strictly interim measure. While we recognize certain utility in technical talks mentioned by Tito to Roberts we feel they would be too [Page 640] narrow in scope and would focus first on “shopping list” and current aid problems rather than on more basic topics.

Department leaves to your discretion whether and how you use material concerning lack of cooperation in your interview with Tito.
Separate cable has given agencies’ decision re wheat.9 You may utilize as you see fit.
Washington estimate military importance Yugoslavia to US remains essentially unchanged. Basic US objective is assure as far as possible that substantial military manpower of Yugoslavia will fight on our side in event major European war, which is primary assumption our present aid programs. Yugoslav armed neutrality which denies territory to Soviet or Satellite forces with protection which this would afford NATO flanks in Greece and Italy would be useful, but seriously doubt whether would justify aid program unless coupled with advance understanding that Yugo defensive strategy designed continue protection these flanks as far as possible in event Yugo drawn into conflict. Our major objective at present is assurance that Yugo forces will protect Ljubljana Gap. Nevertheless Yugoslavia’s effective cooperation with Greece and Turkey can also make valuable defense contribution and any US reexamination of policy must also take this in account. If suitable, would suggest discreet exploration of extent to which Tito’s attitude re talks with NATO on strategic or tactical problems is also symptomatic of Tito’s attitude towards Balkan Alliance planning. In your view what concrete measures did Tito contemplate in his Ankara statement re link between Bled Alliance and NATO (para 3 Embtel 860)?10
Embtel 865 just received.11 Glad note near identity our views.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 768.5/4–1955. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Unger, David E. Mark, and J.L. Colbert. Repeated to Ankara, Athens, London, and Paris.
  2. In telegram 855 from Belgrade, April 19, Riddleberger suggested that if, in the forthcoming discussion between Sir Frank K. Roberts, British Ambassador to Yugoslavia, and Tito, Tito reacted negatively to the idea of joint military planning, the Department should consider using Riddleberger’s meeting with Tito to tell him that his attitude would have an impact on U.S. military aid to Yugoslavia. (Ibid., 768.5/4–1955)
  3. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1955, p. 404.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Telegram 864 from Belgrade, April 24, reported on Roberts’ account of his meeting with Tito. The telegram reads in part: “Tito said that he thought West should accept the fact that German unification was inevitable and that a reunified Germany could not be expected to associate itself exclusively with either East or West.” Tito questioned whether the West should continue to regard the German problem in military terms. “He advanced the idea that instead of thinking in terms of a defensive bulwark, consideration should be given to a cordon sanitaire consisting of Sweden, a reunited Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia.” (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5/4–2155)
  6. In telegram 580 from Belgrade, January 2, Riddleberger reported on a conversation he had with Bebler on January 19, during which a wide range of international issues was discussed. Paragraph 7 included Bebler’s remarks that the Yugoslavs understood the necessity for joint military planning if the arms they were receiving were to be used effectively. (Ibid., 768.00/1–2055)
  7. Not found in Department of State files.
  8. Telegram 548 from Belgrade, January 12, concerned the tripartite military talks. In the final paragraph, Riddleberger reviewed possible positions to be taken in discussing the resumption of talks with the Yugoslavs. (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5/1–1155)
  9. Not further identified.
  10. Telegram 860 from Belgrade, April 21, reported on the sixth General Staff conference on the Balkan Alliance. (Department of State, Central Files, 760.5/4–2155)
  11. In telegram 865, April 22, Riddleberger noted that “time has come to make plain to Yugoslav Government that its attitude runs risk of seriously affecting present military and economic cooperation between two countries.” (Ibid., 768.5/4–2155)