119. Telegram From the Embassy in Yugoslavia to the Department of State0

1204. Department pass OSD, Paris pass DEFREPNAMA. Bruner submitted draft transmitted Embassy despatch 3941 as “suggestion” not [Page 311] something firmly espoused by Yugoslav Government. Draft had originally been prepared as memorandum of understanding (Department telegram 714)2 but Bruner readily agreed embody finally agreed language in exchange of first person notes.

Regarding abrogation of 1951 bilateral, this is “absolute political necessity” of Yugoslav Government and judging from firmness with which Bruner advanced it, there little point in arguing matter further. Formulation in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Yugoslav draft flows, according to Bruner, from same motivation. Yugoslavs prefer bilateral be canceled in its entirety and voluntarily assume obligations reported in paragraph 2 as something separate and distinct from relationship hitherto obtaining on basis bilateral. Latter connection, Bruner admitted omission of language in paragraph 2 regarding use of weapons furnished, etc., was oversight which should be corrected.
Regarding paragraph 3, Yugoslav still refused accept December 12 date. Bruner declined argue matter and claiming decision must be made by plenary session of negotiating commission. Yugoslav position remains that cutoff date is one of “technical details” which commission was established to negotiate and that since all issues are to be “negotiated”, actual details on which decision to terminate reached is irrelevant.
As regards paragraph 4, Bruner reiterated request for information concerning “details” which negotiating team is required to settle. It apparent from Bruner’s argumentation that Yugoslavs are prepared be adamant on entry of naval negotiating team in absence more persuasive argumentation than that contained Department telegram 731 [713]3 as to administrative and legislative requirements which must be met and “excessive details” which it would be necessary insert in termination document, Embassy is not in good position to insist. Embassy requests detailed clarification this point.
Yugoslavs insisted explicit statement of date by which AMAS will have left Yugoslavia (paragraph 7 of Yugoslav draft), arguing that they accepted maximum AMAS estimate (originally formulated as “60 to 90” days) and agreed without argumentation that it should run from January 1 rather than December 17, date of first negotiating meeting. Typical Yugoslav suspicions would be aroused by further effort eliminate date. Present formulation is designed permit some latitude by further agreement in event of absolute necessity.
Bruner insistent that Yugoslavs desired paragraph along lines their draft paragraph 8, advancing their understanding that US is endeavoring, on basis agreement to terminate military assistance, relieve [Page 312] itself of obligations previously undertaken to build Jadranski Put on grant basis. Pertinence of paragraph 8, so far as Yugoslav argumentation is concerned, is to hold US to such obligations as it has already undertaken in this regard without, however, increasing them. Embassy officer pointed out entire paragraph seemed irrelevant and of nature which would create difficult and time-consuming legal problems, but Bruner was insistent.
Original Yugoslav draft had paragraph relating to future military sales which Bruner agreed to drop without argument. He accepted with appreciation assurances on basis Department telegram 714 that matter receiving urgent consideration by Department.
Embassy’s comments and recommendations will be forthcoming when USOM and AMAS have had opportunity to study draft.4 Meantime would appreciate information requested paragraph (3) above.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/2–1758. Official Use Only. Repeated to Paris. Ambassador Rankin arrived in Belgrade on February 8 and presented his credentials to President Tito on February 19.
  2. Despatch 394, February 14, transmitted the Yugoslav draft of a note terminating the mutual defense assistance agreement. (Ibid., 768.5–MSP/2–1458)
  3. Document 118.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 118.
  5. Telegram 1220 from Belgrade, February 21, reported the consensus of USOM, AMAS, and the Embassy that until a number of substantive points were agreed upon, there was little point in negotiating the language of notes terminating the military assistance program with Yugoslavia. One of the most important points of disagreement was Yugoslav insistence that the effective date of the agreement be the date of the signature of the termination agreement. Acceptance of this date would significantly reduce the payments owed by Yugoslavia to the United States for the minesweepers it had ordered under MSP. (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/2–2158)