175. Telegram From the Embassy in Yugoslavia to the Department of State1

2055. Re Embtel 2015.2 Comment and observations on certain matters discussed with Tito June 18 follow.

Bilateral Relations: Tito left little doubt in my mind that he continues to regard good relations with US as significant element Yugoslav policy and hopes concrete ways can be found to give expression to mutual desire for continued improvement.
International Communist Meeting: Seems clear that Tito still feels would be better not to hold meeting under present circumstances, and that he told Khrushchev so. He has apparently helped to induce Khrushchev to delay, at least for time being, taking irreversible step of convening meeting but I was left with impression Tito may be unable judge for how much longer Khrushchev will be willing to wait. At this point I am inclined to believe that while Yugoslavs sincere in opposing meeting, if meeting convened they will attend on grounds that they could not exert useful influence otherwise.

Rumania: His remarks to me on this subject, and his subsequent frontier meeting with Gheorghiu Dej,3 appear to strengthen view that Tito is seeking to restrain Rumanian anti-Soviet and anti-Khrushchev polemics. As Embassy has previously tried to point out, we do not believe Tito has discreditable motive, nor do we believe Tito has in slightest degree abandoned his independence or become Khrushchev’s errand boy. I gathered from our conversation that he believes that Dej is taking undue risks by baiting the Soviet Union publicly; that Rumania should proceed to expand her international ties quietly and without unnecessarily exciting Soviet apprehension and animosity; and that if Rumanians continue to develop public anti-Soviet campaign dangerous consequences might ensue. These might include: Direct Soviet pressure on Rumania with setback this would represent to favorable trends in Eastern Europe; a hardened East-West confrontation, replacing trend toward [Page 470] accommodation on both sides which Tito believes exists and which he favors, upsetting relatively stable European situation; and discrediting, in eyes of Moscow and “the socialist world,” relatively peaceful policy of Khrushchev which Yugoslavs feel is infinitely better for themselves (as well as for West) than any foreseeable alternative policy that Moscow might adopt. All evidence here seems to indicate Khrushchev did ask Tito to intercede with Dej. If so, we believe Tito did so for motives entirely compatible with Yugoslav independence. To summarize, Tito does not object to Rumanian efforts to develop international ties beyond circle of socialist countries, but he obviously feels it is dangerous for Rumanians to do this in demonstrative anti-Soviet style.

Tito clearly thinks it would be mistake if we were to encourage Rumanians to continue baiting Khrushchev, or if we seek to exploit publicly Rumanian situation as Western triumph against Soviet Union. This, he feels would tend to incite Soviets to take counter measures that could have seriously unfavorable consequences.

Tito’s Condition: Tito impressed me with what seemed to be his excellent physical condition and intellectual alertness. He seems to be on top of major internal and international problems in which Yugoslavia involved, and is obviously actively and effectively engaged in effort to prevent developments in Eastern Europe from taking a turn that would in his opinion have unsettling and unpredictable consequence.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Yugoslavia, Cables. Confidential. Repeated to Bucharest, Hong Kong, Moscow, and Zagreb.
  2. Telegram 2015, June 19, summarized Elbrick’s June 18 meeting with Tito. (Department of State, Central Files, ORG 7 BELGRADE)
  3. June 22.