247. Telegram From the Embassy in Yugoslavia to the Department of State1

900. Paris pass Knight and Wallner. Deptel 879.2

During Tito reception for Menderes3 last night Vilfan said Tito wished to speak to me and thus we had opportunity for short conversation. It followed directly after somewhat animated interview between Soviet Ambassador4 and Tito.
Tito commenced by expressing his gratification that US was able to provide more wheat to tide Yugoslavia over until next harvest. He was grateful that in spite of earlier difficulties we had been able to respond so promptly.
Referring to our conversation on April 25, Tito said he had been thinking over the suggestion he had made for a meeting to talk over how we appraised the present situation (Embtel 870, paragraph 7)5 and that from Yugoslav point of view a good time would be following the visit of the Burmese U Nu6 to Belgrade, now tentatively fixed for first week in June. He said that he thought Belgrade would be the best place and he would suggest utilizing the Ambassadors here for meetings with Yugoslav Government representatives. I replied that I was not yet sure what countries he had in mind and in particular whether his idea envisaged including Greece and Turkey. Tito replied that in his opinion it would be preferable to have a quadripartite meeting of the US, UK, French and Yugoslavs.
Bearing in mind paragraph (1) of Deptel 879, I said to Tito perhaps we could have another conversation after the conclusion of the Menderes visit which would give us an opportunity to discuss this suggestion in a quiet place. (Our conversation was held in the middle of one of the reception rooms at the White Palace where we were surrounded by guests. As we spoke German, I doubt however if our conversation was understood by anyone near us.) Tito agreed this would be a good idea and we left it at that.
Earlier in the evening Foreign Secretary told me that he realized Yugoslav Government had promised us a reply in few days on various matters including the tripartite démarche of February 107 and he apologized for the delay. This is clearly an allusion to what Tito had referred to as general staff proposals. He said however he was so taken up with the Turkish visit that it had not been possible but again reiterated Yugoslav Government intention to give response in the very near future. In thanking him, I again remarked that while the wheat problem had been solved there were still the urgent questions of the military aid program and that I hoped that Yugoslav Government responses would shortly be forthcoming.
Subsequent to these two conversations I informed my UK and French colleagues of their substance and Roberts told me that he had likewise had a short conversation with Foreign Secretary, following my conversation with Tito. Roberts asked Foreign Secretary how Tito proposal would fit in with reply which he had promised within a [Page 649] few day. Roberts told Foreign Secretary London was inclined to view favorably the idea of a meeting but had not made up its mind on timing, scope, etc. He asked whether Yugoslav Government would make proposals on the military problems and Popovic replied that Yugoslav Government could very well make replies on the military side as Tito proposal did not exclude technical military exchanges. Roberts later saw Vilfan and put the same question to him but did not obtain much information. Both Roberts and I had impression that neither Foreign Secretary nor Vilfan were fully informed respecting Tito’s conversation with me and that a certain amount of internal Yugoslav Government coordination will now have to be accomplished.
Tripartite Ambassadors have just met to discuss last night’s developments and we are each submitting recommendations along following lines to our respective governments.
We agree that we should not reject the idea of a meeting proposed by Tito.
On timing, the second week in June is perhaps acceptable and we believe it wise to have this meeting before the arrival Nehru in late June.
Tito’s proposal to have meeting in Belgrade certainly corresponds to Yugoslav policy at this point in that it would involve sending Yugoslav Government delegate to Western country and could probably be held with minimum of publicity. Three Ambassadors agree it would probably not be necessary to have agreed agenda but meeting, in the context of Tito’s original proposal to me, would probably discuss our respective estimates of the present international situation, Soviet policy and Yugoslav military policy including the urgent question of wider military coordination with the West and its relation to US military aid program.
As our respective Foreign Ministers will shortly be together in Paris they may be able to decide upon a common approach to the Tito suggestion.
It would be helpful if the three Ambassadors in Belgrade could have the initial reaction of their governments early next week, as we shall no doubt be talking to Foreign Secretary here after conclusion of Menderes’ visit.
None of the foregoing implies any let up on February 10 proposal nor on efforts by us to obtain satisfactory answers to pressing problems in US military aid program.
Separate cable follows re present situation on deliveries of military aid with our recommendations on suspensions.8
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/5–655. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris, London, Athens, and Ankara.
  2. Telegram 879 to Belgrade, May 5, instructed Riddleberger to see Tito again to discuss the military aid issue in view of the fact that an interagency review of U.S. aid policy toward Yugoslavia was due to begin shortly. (Ibid., 768.5–MSP/4–3055)
  3. Adnan Menderes, Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, began a 6-day visit to Yugoslavia on May 4.
  4. Vasiliy Alekseyevich Valkov.
  5. Document 244.
  6. U Nu, Burmese Prime Minister.
  7. Reported in telegram 654 from Belgrade, February 10. (Department of State, Central Files, 760.5/2–1055)
  8. In telegram 910 from Belgrade, May 7, Riddleberger advised the Department of State that General Peter C. Hains, III, Chief of AMAS, was recommending the suspension of certain military goods to Yugoslavia, but that both he and Hains suggested the postponement of an overall suspension in light of Tito’s willingness to discuss the military aid issue further. (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/5–755)