116. Letter From Secretary of State Rogers to Attorney General Kleindienst1 2

Dear Dick:

My purpose is to ask your views on how this Government can be most effective in combatting and preventing the promotion and practice of terrorist violence by Yugoslav emigre groups within the United States, to encourage your continued efforts to counter such activities, and to ask you to undertake a new investigation of these activities.

We want to be sure that the United States is doing everything possible to prevent the use of our country as as staging ground for terrorism, both to assure our continued good relations with Yugoslavia and to meet the urgent objectives set in the President’s directive establishing the Cabinet committee to Combat Terrorism on September 25.

We have always been concerned about the dangers of terrorist activities by such emigre groups within the United States, but the recent escalation of emigre terrorism worldwide has heightened our concern. Yugoslav emigre groups have been responsible for the assassination of the Yugoslav ambassador in Stockholm in January 1971; for the bombing of a Yugoslav passenger aircraft on an international flight in January 1972, killing all but one of the passengers and crew; for the hijacking of a Swedish airliner to Madrid in September, 1972; for the infiltration into Yugoslavia of an armed band of 19 men in June 1972 and for the ensuing deaths of 13 members of the Yugoslav police and army; and for numerous other acts of violence and killing, particularly in the Federal Republic of Germany and inside Yugoslavia.

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As you know, and as I’m sure Ambassador Granfil indicated in your recent meeting, the Yugoslav Government is concerned that these attacks have been supported and sometimes instigated from within the United States. It has also expressed reservations about the adequacy of our efforts to prevent this. On August 21, the Yugoslav Government submitted a detailed memorandum expressing its particular concerns about specific individuals and groups within the United States whose activities it regards as threateninng.

While this memorandum may not substantiate that violations of U.S. law have occurred, I strongly feel that it requires us to place a high priority on investigation and other appropriate action to assure that the United States is not being used as a base for terrorism. I would, therefore, appreciate your undertaking further investigation and study of such activities to determine if United States laws are being violated by Yugoslav emigres, or whether additional legislation might be desirable. For example, if it appears that funds raised here are being channeled into terrorism abroad, we might wish to consider legislation to prohibit this.

We hope that you can let us have your views as soon as possible about these problems. It would be helpful to us initially if we could inform the Yugoslav Government that the Department of Justice has the activities of Yugoslav emigre groups under investigation.

With best personal regards,

Sincerely yours,

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-8. No classification marking. Drafted by Director of Eastern European Affairs Richard G. Johnson and John R. Crook (L/EUR) on October 27 with concurrence by Russell, Brower, Baker, Armin Meyer, and Stoessel. An August 21, 1972, memorandum from the Yugoslavian Government was attached but not published.
  2. Rogers asked Kleindienst how the U.S. Government could prevent terrorist violence by Yugoslav imigri groups operating in the United States and asked Kleindienst to investigate these types of activities.