245. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Yugoslav Ambassador (Mates) and the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy), Department of State, Washington, May 2, 19551


  • US Attitude to Yugoslavia

Ambassador Mates said that he was leaving tomorrow on a two-week trip to Chicago, which will include Michigan and Minnesota. He was pleased to have this opportunity for a further exchange of views prior to his departure.

Referring to their conversation on April 29,2 Mr. Murphy said that he was now fully briefed on the TitoRiddleberger talks3 and could reaffirm that there was no change in our attitude toward Yugoslavia, although Ambassador Riddleberger’s talk with Tito had emphasized that some question marks had arisen. As Ambassador Mates well understood, we have an important economic and military [Page 645] stake in Yugoslavia. If our aid was to continue, Congress must know in which direction Yugoslavia was going. The same consideration applied where aid to other countries was concerned. The normalization process had given rise to some doubts in the American public as to the road Yugoslavia was taking. We were still not quite sure. Tito had given Ambassador Riddleberger the impression that Yugoslav independence, which had been our common objective justifying our military aid program, was now more or less secure, and the implication was that further aid was perhaps no longer desirable. At this juncture, we believe that joint military planning with the West must be a necessary accompaniment to further military aid. Although we are flexible on the form such planning should take, we feel that we cannot go ahead with any large military aid program without it.

Ambassador Mates replied that since his visit on Friday he had received a report of Ambassador Riddleberger’s recent talk with the Foreign Minister.4 The report had cleared up a number of misapprehensions he had formed on the basis of his initial impression of the TitoRiddleberger conversation. He was now more comfortable in his mind and assumed that further talks would occur in Belgrade. He said that Yugoslavia was not planning any switches, and that as for normalization, Tito and Popovic could give the necessary explanations. He understood that since the normalization process began, Ambassador Riddleberger had been kept regularly informed by the Foreign Office of all Yugoslav discussions with the Soviets.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.68/5–255. Secret. Drafted by William A. Crawford.
  2. During this meeting on April 29, originally scheduled to discuss Yugoslavia’s application for an Export-Import Bank loan, Mates had stated his belief that, as a result of the recent TitoRiddleberger meeting, there had been a change in U.S. policy toward Yugoslavia. Murphy replied that U.S. policy had not changed, but requested that the discussion be postponed until he received a full briefing on the Tito-Riddleberger meeting. (Ibid., 868.10/4–2955)
  3. See telegram 870, Supra.
  4. This conversation has not been identified. In telegram 885 from Belgrade, May 1, Riddleberger reported on a series of conversations he had had with the Foreign Minister and other Yugoslav officials on the issue of military planning. (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/4–3055)