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

4348. 1. Yugoslav-American, who over years has had good access to Tito and his Secretary-General Vlado Popovic, called on Political Counselor September 13 to report on “interesting aspects” of Tito’s remarks to [Page 514] him during two-day stay on Brioni (September 8–9). Among more important views attributed to Tito are following:

GOY will not ask for military assistance from US for time being. GOY has enough arms for present. Military threat is not immediate but of longer range. Soviet presence on Adriatic adjacent to Italy and Greece would be intolerable for West which will once again have to assist small socialist country against attacks from other socialist countries. Since GOY cannot read Moscow’s intentions but is convinced of its malevolence towards Yugoslavia, latter will have to remain in almost permanent state of military readiness for long time to come.
Military preparedness steps already taken and some yet to come are most expensive as also was assistance to Czech tourists granted by GOY. These expenditures have come out of funds set aside by GOY to implement economic and social reform. Tito very much fears Moscow’s method of retaliation against Yugoslavia will be via economic sanctions. Large proportion of Yugoslav textile and shoe industries heavily reliant on Soviet market. Almost all of rolling stock manufactured in Yugoslavia goes to USSR. Shipbuilding industry heavily reliant on Soviet orders. USSR owes Yugoslavia great deal of money, Tito said, lamenting fact it was not other way around. Some adjustments must be made. Objectives of economic and social reforms will not be abandoned, but pace of progress towards these objectives will be slowed down.
Yugoslavs will have to completely re-examine and reassess their positions (e.g., ideological, foreign policy, internal political and economic) in light of new situation created by Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. New era in international relations and relations among ComParties ushered in by WP invasion of friendly socialist country. New principles have been applied in relations between socialist and other states which are alien to principles and objectives of socialism. Some hope exists for future in light of almost universal condemnation by important ComParties throughout world of WP intervention. Role of Italian and French parties in this connection most important.
Tito is furious with UAR in general and with Nasser in particular because of lack of support from that sector. Doubts relations with UAR will ever be same because of “unprincipled behavior” in bowing to necessity to acquire arms from Moscow.
Yugoslavs are disillusioned and shocked by Soviet behavior and relations between GOY and USSR will never be same. There is no more trust. Yugoslavs would like to maintain relations with WP countries on “correct” basis for economic reasons but don’t know whether this can be done in dealings with irresponsible and unpredictable Russians.

2. At one juncture while having lunch with Popovic source noted presence of many Generals in next room, among them C/S Sumonja and Babic, Tito’s military advisor. Source laughingly observed that a NATO [Page 515] meeting must be in offing. Popovic laughed and in reply said, “no, not NATO, Balkan Pact.”2 Source said he trusted Yugoslav Generals would not get dust from treaty all over clean uniforms provoking laugh from Popovic. Source observed (probably reflecting own view) that Balkan Pact is “back door to NATO.”

3. Comment. We tend to regard this report as authentic and credible since much of it is substantiated by information at our disposal from other sources. However, this is first time we have had any intimation of Tito’s views on arms supply, strategic probabilities, and need for overall reappraisal.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 YUGO. Secret; Limdis. Repeated to Bucharest, Budapest, Moscow, Prague, Sofia, Zagreb, and USNATO.
  2. The Treaty of Bled, signed by Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia on August 9, 1954, established the Balkan Pact. For text, see American Foreign Policy, 1950–1955: Basic Documents, vol. I, pp. 1235–1239.