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

505. Mates asked me to call on him this morning and handed me aide-memoire, abbreviated text of which follows in my next message.1 His oral remarks accorded closely with tenor of aide-memoire. They had been particularly stung, I gather, by (1) our reference to their degree of unalignment as representing a judgment they felt US not entitled to make, (2) our reference to the role of Yugo at conference, and (3) what they felt was a lack of balance in our interpretation of their foreign policy. Our language, he indicated, had been offensive to them in some respects. They had been mindful of our status as a world power as related to their own size, and had not been able to escape impression that we had endeavored to put pressure on them. They could, he said, have [Page 208] made an issue of the language and held us to account for it, but they had decided against undertaking any polemic over language itself, and had therefore decided to reply as they did.

I said our government had had no intention of using offensive language or of putting pressure on them, and if anything in the aide-memoire had given them that impression, it was not intentional on our part. He said they resented particularly our attempt to define what constituted their unalignment and independence. Since “independence” was a word I had taken liberty of excising from Department’s original draft, I pointed out this had not appeared in aide-memoire. He said in their view unalignment and independence were identical. I explained this was not our view at all, that we had no suspicion Yugo policy was being dictated by outsiders; but that we could easily picture an independent nation ranging itself alongside one of the great powers in its foreign policy positions to a point where it could lose plausible claim to unalignment.

At close of our talk, I emphasized to him that while we concerned full right of Yugo Government to determine its own positions, the positions it had recently taken on some of great world issues differed very seriously from our own, and this was a circumstance we could not fail to take into account in connection with problems of Yugo-American relations.

My impression is that formal exchange should be allowed to rest here. If opportunities arise for informal talks with senior Yugo officials either here, in Washington, or in New York, I think we should not hesitate to repeat to them frankly and in detail our reasons for concern over positions Tito has taken.

I have been interested to learn, incidentally, that on eve of Belgrade conference, Tito gave Nehru same impression he had given us of intention to take moderate stance and Indians themselves were surprised by subsequent change in Yugo line. We are continuing our study of possible reasons for this change, and I hope to send more on this in some days.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–BE/9–1861. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Telegram 506 from Belgrade, September 18. (Ibid.) The aide-memoire was delivered in response to a U.S. aide-memoire, provided to Mates on September 15, that outlined U.S. concerns with Yugoslav actions at the Belgrade Conference. The Department of State transmitted the outline of this aide-memoire to the Embassy in telegram 323, September 13; see footnote 4, Document 96.