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

1843. Ref State 89175.2 For the Secretary. Subject: Call of Yugoslav Ambassador Crnobrnja.

It would appear from uncleared memcon covering your talk with Ambassador Crnobrnja on December 22 that latter attempted to place onus on US for stagnation of our bilateral relations in 1967. It is true that certain developments have caused Yugoslavs to sense in recent US policy a growing disinterest in Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, Crnobrnja must recognize that maintenance of good relations is not unilateral proposition and that course of our relations in year just ending cannot be disassociated from exceedingly hostile attitude toward USG and distorted picture of its actions and objectives which GOY, Party and press have presented on virtually every international issue involving vital US interests most particularly Viet-Nam, on which they have maintained well-orchestrated anti-US campaign. Tito himself used word “genocide” in describing US activities there. Good faith and integrity of US and President Johnson personally seeking peaceful and honorable solution in Viet-Nam are frequently questioned. Hostile, anti-US posture referred to above cannot help but be officially inspired or at least sanctioned and I have on various occasions stressed to Yugoslav officials the harmful effect of this to friendly public attitude on our bilateral relations and its incompatibility with their frequently expressed desire for better relations with US.
Given our long-range objectives, US administration has (rightly in my view) maintained steadfast course toward Yugoslavia despite differing views on international issues. Fact of matter, however, is that Yugoslavia’s antagonistic posture toward US policies and activities abroad has not gone unnoticed in Congress. Congressional concern with Viet-Nam, as well as Cuba, has inevitably affected Yugoslavia which does conduct a small degree of trade with Cuba and which is (to the best of our knowledge) sending only plasma and medical supplies and equipment to the North Vietnamese and, through latter, to Viet Cong.
Despite critical attitude and suspicions of GOY toward our policies and actions abroad, our bilateral relations have remained remarkably stable and demonstrated a good deal of forbearance on our part. During this year, for example, we have renegotiated a three-year cotton- [Page 502] textile agreement,3 extended a 40 million dollar CCC line of credit for importation of wheat and cotton, concluded an agreement on agricultural research projects,4 maintained exchanges on both governmental and private levels, initiated an exchange of correspondence between two Chiefs of State,5 and arranged visits by Chief Justice Warren, Governor Harriman and Asst. Secy Leddy.
For the immediate future, I believe that the most promising areas for an expansion and enrichment of our relations lie in fields of commercial activities, including private investment in Yugoslavia, and increased scientific, technical and cultural exchanges. We have already made effort to advance our commercial relations by exchange of trade delegations and it would be useful not [now?] to investigate possibilities of US private investment here as well as industrial cooperation between US and Yugoslavia business enterprises. At same time, I have advised appropriate Yugoslav officials that the attraction of American buyers and investors to Yugoslavia is responsibility of Yugoslavs themselves and they cannot depend on others to do their selling job for them.
I note that you may be seeing Crnobrnja again early in the new year.6 These observations are submitted in the thought that you might find them useful at such time as you may resume discussion of our bilateral relations.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 17 YUGO–US. Confidential.
  2. Telegram 89175, December 23, reported on talks between Secretary Rusk and Yugoslav Ambassador Crnobrnja aimed at improving U.S.-Yugoslav relations. (Ibid.)
  3. For text of this agreement, concluded with an exchange of notes at Belgrade on September 26, 1967, and entered into force on January 1, 1968, see 18 UST 2827.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. See Document 184.
  6. Rusk met Crnobrnja on January 5, 1968, for a discussion of Southeast Asia. The meeting was reported in telegram 94524 to Belgrade, January 6 (Department of State, Central Files, POL 17 YUGO–US)