128. Telegram From the Embassy in Yugoslavia to the Department of State 0

1704. Rome for McSweeney, Vienna, Frankfort and Munich for PRU. Austrian Ambassador told me last evening Milutinovic “speaking personally” as is his wont, indicated Yugoslavs were beginning to be uneasy about possible military pressure on them. Two elements which Milutinovic mentioned to Austrian as contributory to this new concern [Page 338] were: (1) Timing of Nagy execution announcement,1 following other developments vis-à-vis Yugoslavia, suggests to Yugoslavs that they are [not?] faced with random ad hoc campaign but well-organized offensive with moves planned well in advance and (2) build-up of tension in Middle East with regard Lebanon, including possibility US intervention, and British military reinforcement of Cyprus.2 In latter connection Yugoslavs naturally would think of British use of Cyprus and coincidence of 1956 attack on Suez and Soviet military intervention in Hungary.3

Other than unevaluated report received several weeks ago by Air Attaché that Yugoslavs were concerned at troop movements in Bulgaria, above is first report we have had of Yugoslav concern at possibility military pressure.

As Department aware, Mulutinovic is responsible regime official and we are prepared accept his remark as evidence that regime is at least thinking along these lines. Hitherto, as reported, Yugoslavs tended believe international situation such that Soviets would not feel able employ military tactics against Yugoslavia. Perhaps on one hand Yugoslavs now have had eyes opened to callousness of Khrushchev and company to world opinion, and also foreseen possible period of crisis such as surrounded Suez-Hungarian events which might permit Soviet adventure in Yugoslavia.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 768.5/6–2058. Secret. Repeated to Moscow, London, Paris, Bonn, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Frankfurt, Zagreb, and Sarajevo.
  2. Former Hungarian Premier Imre Nagy fled to the Yugoslav Embassy on November 2, 1956, after the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolution. On November 22 Nagy left the Embassy under safe conduct by the regime of Janos Kadar. Nagy was later returned to Hungary and after a secret trial was executed on June 16, 1958. Nagy’s execution followed a series of attacks on the Yugoslav Communist Party for “revisionism,” that began when East European diplomats walked out of the April 22–26 Yugoslav Party Congress. The Soviet press launched a major attack on Yugoslav revisionism while the Chinese Party Congress condemned the Yugoslav Government in particularly harsh terms. Cultural exchanges between Yugoslavia and other Eastern European nations were canceled as was a scheduled visit to Belgrade of Soviet President Klement Voroshilov.
  3. A virtual civil war broke out in Lebanon in May between Christian and Moslem elements over the efforts of Camille Chamoun to secure a second term as President of Lebanon. The British had reinforced Cyprus to deal with a popular movement for that island’s independence that included widespread terrorism.
  4. The British used Cyprus as a military staging area for their October 1956 invasion of Egypt in cooperation with France.