151. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Yugoslavia0

650. For Ambassador from the Secretary. Yugoslav Embassy very pleased with President’s press statement on MFN January 241 and Embassy official informed Davis Embassy has recommended to Belgrade meeting at this time between you and President Tito. Without exaggerating importance of occasion or results of such meeting I believe that it would be desirable. There is need to keep open line of communication with Tito and this appears to be opportune time for such effort in view of your return to Belgrade after consultations here and your meetings with President and myself, President’s press statement on MFN and Tito’s speech January 23.2

Suggest therefore you request meeting with Tito at which you would seek Tito’s views on present state and future development of our bilateral relations, after introducing the subject with following points: [Page 332]

US Government has noted expression of intention in his last speech to maintain and promote good relations with US and other Western countries as well as with all other countries regardless of different social systems.
President Tito’s Government has doubtless noted President Kennedy’s statement of intention January 24 about seeking change in MFN provision of Trade law.
US Government is of the view that these two actions occurring almost at the same time help to clarify a situation in our mutual relations that has tended to develop recently in a negative direction and make for better understanding which US Government constantly desires to improve and foster.

I think that your main purpose after making these points should be to try to draw Tito out in expressing his views. In course conversation it would be useful at appropriate time to suggest to Tito US does not consider that in order for Yugoslavia to have good relations with US it must have bad relations with the Soviet bloc but we hope that development of good relations with latter would not be at expense of relations with US.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.0041/1–2663. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Vedeler, cleared by Davis and Thompson, and approved by Rusk.
  2. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 94.
  3. In his January 23 speech, Tito affirmed his desire for good relations with the United States.