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

331. From Murphy. President Tito having indicated he preferred to meet today instead of September 28, I arrived in Belgrade last evening. After briefing with Ambassador Riddleberger, General Hains, USOM Killen and staff, Riddleberger and I made courtesy call this morning on Acting Foreign Minister Prica and then we called on Tito at White Palace. He was accompanied by Prica and Vilfan.

During course of conversation of over 1 hour Tito outlined his views on Soviet and European trends, a good deal of which has emerged from other conversations. He began by sympathetic reference to President Eisenhower, expressing his hope of prompt and full recovery which I promised to relay. He then launched into extensive review political situation.

Yugoslavia intends remain independent and retain its ties with the West.
Soviet change of attitude after death of Stalin generated by failure of Soviet policy to achieve positive results. “Russians found themselves in a blind alley” and were losing ground. They had internal difficulties but those not main reason for change. The change is substantial and long-term and not merely tactical. Internal changes are evidence of this. Conversations last May with Bulganin and Khrushchev did not elicit any proposals or result in any agreement embarrassing to Yugoslavia’s relations with the West. He said there were no commitments going beyond Belgrade declaration. The [Page 673] danger of war has definitely receded. Soviet leaders do not want war. Tito is confident Yugoslavia able to cope with present Soviet personalities and policies.
Germany now focal point of Soviet attention. Tito does not intend to recognize DDR East Germany, as he said this could lead to further complications at this time. Soviets unable accept reunited Germany in NATO framework but this is problem only time will solve. In Tito’s opinion Germany practically immune to Communism and he sees little if any risk for German Federal Republic in closer relations or eventual consolidation West and East Germany. He asserted Germany “would never go Communist”.
Tito brought up Balkan relations by chuckling over Bulganin’s cynical remarks to him to effect USSR “not opposed to Balkan alliance”. Russians planning active campaign to improve Soviet-Turkish relations. Soviets do not plan aggressive moves in Balkans. However, Yugoslavian relations with satellites have not improved. Conversations with Hungary have recently broken down because Hungarians utterly unreasonable insisting on settlement of Yugoslavian claims amounting to some $500 million by offer of about $20 million. These negotiations he said conducted without Soviet interference or pressures. Tito said Hungarian Government needed money and might resort to internal loan blaming necessity on Yugoslav claims. In reply to my question Tito said no negotiations with other satellites had been undertaken yet.
When he had finished I gave brief outline our views prefacing remarks with statement of friendly and cooperative attitude vis-à-vis Yugoslavia unchanged. I outlined essence Secretary’s thinking on Soviet trends, German and European security without divulging, of course, information re security plan. Emphasized importance attached to German unity as separate item requiring priority consideration. Described our satisfaction results Adenauer’s Moscow visit.2 (Tito said he agreed with our viewpoint.)
I said naturally there had been, as Tito knew, widespread speculation effect on Yugoslavia of Soviet changed policy and that his reassurances this point valuable.
I expressed our interest in Tito’s Balkan position, his relations with satellites, and said frankly that perhaps he would care to study possibility our eventual cooperation and help develop idea on promoting Yugoslovian type national Communism in satellites as distinguished from centralized system. This struck responsive chord and Tito became even animated. Tito said he wanted give question very serious study. He doubted present state public opinion would permit Yugoslavia offer food supply to Hungary but there might be other [Page 674] possibilities. He would talk to us after he had thought it over and said the idea appealed to him.
After lunch, during which he denied playing golf but said rheumatism prevented his swimming and tennis, said he would be delighted if the Secretary could visit him incident to Secretary’s stay in Geneva. We agreed to meet with Vice President Tempo this evening on economic questions and Defense Minister Gosnjak tomorrow on military matters.3Tito said after these meetings he wanted to see me again on September 30. I outlined our difficulties with heads military personnel and he promised to send word down the line to remedy the situation. He was confident difficulties could be eliminated.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.13–MU/9–2755. Secret; Limit Distribution.
  2. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer visited the Soviet Union September 8–13, 1955.
  3. The meeting with Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo is summarized infra. Murphy reported on his meeting with General Ivan Gosnjak in telegram 364 from Belgrade, October 1. (Department of State, Central Files, 110.13–MU/10–155)