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

756. Deptel 495, January 29.1 In discussion military aid termination agreement Bruner insists new formulation information paragraph no different from old, hence subject same objections voiced by Yugoslavs during October 22 meeting (Embtel 441).2 According his reasoning Yugoslavs in other subparagraphs paragraph 23 are undertaking certain “negative” obligations i.e., obligation not to do something. Furnishing information on extent to which Yugoslavs carrying out such obligations would be essentially meaningless he contends unless information requirement interpreted mean Embassy can request information at any time on any question relating to equipment furnished under US military [Page 369] assistance. Such sweeping requirement Bruner emphasized could not be acceptable his government.

Embassy officer observed Yugoslavs appear unduly suspicious our motives, that US only seeks reasonable right keep itself informed on Yugoslav implementation and that it would be absurd expect us preclude for ourselves any possibility raise questions with Yugoslav Government on matters relating implementation. Slovenija incident (ship stopped by French allegedly with Yugoslav arms of US origin aboard)4 provides case in point. Bruner expressed appreciation these factors but asserted right of inquiry of course understood even without proposed information paragraph hence paragraph could be omitted. In course further discussion however he expressed interest in idea for further delimiting requirement by substitution phrase “appropriate assurances” for word “information” in new subparagraph 2 (E) (D 441). Brunner stressed that this most informally suggested and added he not sure would be acceptable his superiors who prefer elimination entire subparagraph.

Comment: Negotiations appear for moment at least deadlocked on issues information and disposition surplus or scrap materials. We accordingly agree problems should now be raised high level foreign secretariat where we would point out unsatisfactory status current negotiations and disadvantages this has for both sides. In connection latter point moreover we believe it might be useful allude to current Yugoslav interest in purchase military equipment including most recently additional jet aircraft (Embtel 748)5 and suggest that while such interest regarded sympathetically by US, foreign secretariat will realize that inability break present deadlock creates certain confusion in US-Yugoslav military relationship which may have effect on our ability continue respond affirmatively to Yugoslav requests.

As Department aware Yugoslavs hitherto have been encouraged believe no legal impediment their purchasing spares and equipment exists so long as bilateral in force and we would not wish appear to be reversing this understanding. Moreover as stated Embtel 748 we continue believe US military sales Yugoslavia are in best interests US in present circumstances. We believe present dispute however over rights information and disposition surplus provide basis for expressing some doubts re future sales. Before making approach we would appreciate Department views on modification information paragraph as suggested above together with indication at least Department’s preliminary [Page 370] reaction inquiry re aircraft purchases (Embtel 748) and possibilities short term credit (Embtel 608).6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 768.5–MSP/2–1059. Confidential.
  2. In telegram 495 the Department of State instructed the Embassy to raise the termination of the military assistance program at a “high level” in the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry in order to speed its completion. The Department added that existing U.S. legislation prohibited further concessions to Yugoslavia. (Ibid., 768.5–MSP/1–2959)
  3. see Document 136.
  4. Reference is to text of a draft agreement transmitted in CA–1093; see footnotes 1 and 2, Document 136.
  5. On January 18 the French Navy seized the Yugoslav merchant ship Slovenija at sea and found a large shipment of arms. The French Government charged, and Yugoslavia denied, that these arms were being shipped to the Algerian revolutionaries.
  6. Telegram 748, February 5, reported that the Yugoslav Government desired to purchase F–84–G and F–86–E aircraft. (Department of State, Central Files, 768.5622/2–559)
  7. Telegram 608, December 15, 1958, reported on discussions between U.S. and Yugoslav representatives regarding the sale of military spare parts. (Ibid., 768.56/12–1558)