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

728. Embtel 1098.1 Department considers implementation Yugoslav decision described reftel will produce most serious consequences for Yugoslavia and for West. Believe Yugoslavs should be left with no doubt our views. Embassy should present through same channel in Foreign Office Department’s considered views along following lines making clear that presentation is on instructions.

In November 1962, a group of Croatian nationalists attacked the Yugoslav Trade Mission office in Bad Godesberg, firebombing the office suite. Yugoslavia, although without diplomatic representation in the Federal Republic, launched a strong protest of German handling of the incident. On March 12, 1963, the Federal Republic dissolved the Croat organization “Brotherhood of the Cross” as the agency responsible for the attack. Twenty-five Croats were tried and convicted for roles in the attack in June 1964.

Department appreciated Yugoslav consideration informing this Government in advance Yugoslav action. Yugoslav foreign policy, including policy toward Germany, is of course for Yugos to determine. Decisions, however, of such great importance and fraught with such dangers that we feel obliged as friend Yugoslavia most earnestly to urge reconsideration.

We recognize that Yugoslavia acting out of disappointment and frustration that its complaints against Germany have not yet been answered. Would hope however Yugoslavs would weigh carefully whether a policy of retaliation would contribute better results and whether Yugoslav interests in long term served by such policy. We feel certain Yugoslav interests would not be so served. On contrary, retaliatory policy regardless of true motives would be widely interpreted abroad as related primarily to Yugo-Soviet rapprochement and calculated serve Soviet objectives. Yugoslav position in US, in West and indeed in non-aligned world would suffer. And the greatest danger of all is that Yugoslav retaliatory policy can only serve to set in motion a series of actions and counteractions from which retreat may be difficult or impossible.

US has been sympathetic Yugoslavia’s problems and has worked actively in behalf of Yugoslavia both on bilateral basis and in various multilateral forums. US for example took lead in organizing financial [Page 336] support package in connection Yugo exchange reform. US was instrumental in facilitating Yugo presence in OECD and has urged EEC sit down with Yugoslavs to discuss problems in concrete terms. EEC has agreed do so. US has argued with FedRep on behalf Yugoslavia and not without results. We have taken these measures despite our awareness not only of Yugoslav complaints against Germany but also of German dissatisfaction certain Yugoslav policies. We are prepared to continue our efforts to facilitate and improve Yugoslavia’s relations with FedRep as well as with OECD and EEC. Yugoslavia cannot suppose however that the US could continue its efforts in the face of a new Yugoslav policy which certain to be interpreted in West not so much the result of aggrieved Yugoslav feelings toward Germany but directed against interests West.

It is our hope therefore that in common interests Yugoslavia and the US and in interest constructive Yugo relations with West generally that Yugos will reconsider carefully course of action. US for its part desires make further effort with FedRep and would appreciate being informed if Yugoslav decision is such as to make this appropriate.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL W Ger-Yugo. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Katz and Barnsdale; cleared by Vedeler, Tyler, Ger, RPE, and S/S; and approved by McGhee. Repeated to Bonn, Moscow, Paris, and London.
  2. Telegram 1098, February 19, reported that the Yugoslav Government had decided on a “retaliatory policy” toward the Federal Republic of Germany over its handling of the two states’ bilateral relationship. (Ibid., POL 7 W Ger-Yugo)