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New Yugoslavian policy of the USA of 1948-1949: sources and results

UDK 94 (410).08

A.A. Kostin


Change of policy of the United States in connection with the Soviet-Yugoslavian conflict of 1948 is investigated. Reaction of the American foreign policy establishment to Kominform's resolution and extent of understanding of split consequences by Washington between Stalin and Tito is characterized.

This article focuses on the 1948 turn in the US policy towards the Soviet-Yugoslav conflict. The author analyses the reaction of American foreign policy establishment to the Cominform resolution and the degree to which Washington understood the consequences of a split between Stalin and Tito.

June, 1948 became a turning point in formation of the Soviet bloc and development of the American doctrine of "control". The conflict between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia became one of the factors which influenced these processes. Marshal I. Broz Tito and the management of KPYu were accused of withdrawal from the Marxist-Leninist ideas and transition to nationalism positions, and the mode existing in the country is excluded from the communistic commonwealth [1, page 455 — 461; 2; 3].

Rather extensive scientific literature representing various points of view on the covered events is devoted to history of the Soviet-Yugoslavian conflict. The most informative domestic publications appeared in the last two decades in connection with introduction to scientific turnover of materials from earlier closed archives [1; 4 — 8]. To this day separate aspects of the conflict between Tito and Stalin continue to have debatable character. Most often the split problem between the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) and KPYu is considered or in itself, or in the context of formation and development of the Soviet bloc though the conflict between Moscow and Belgrade affected also the American strategy of "control". The Yugoslavian events influenced policy of the USA both on the balkano-Mediterranean direction, and concerning the USSR and contributed to development of all system of the international relations.

The gap between Tito and Stalin which happened in June, 1948 showed possibility of communistic nationalism in Eastern Europe and forced Washington to introduce considerable amendments in the American concept of national security. Department of Planning of Policy (DPP) immediately beginnings


Bulletin of the Baltic federal university of I. Kant. 2011. Issue 6. Page 147 — 153.


to analyze a situation, and already on June 30 its head J. Kennan submitted the report "The relation of the U.S. Government to events in Yugoslavia" which, according to the historian U. Miskembl, "defined the American policy in 1949" [11, river 190].

In the first part of the report Kennan allowed a possibility of further disintegration of the Soviet zone and indicated the need of use of the Yugoslavian situation for creation of a precedent of special relationship between the western countries and the states of the socialist block. Urging to work extremely circumspectly, the head of OPP warned that Yugoslavia still remains "the communistic state devoted to ideology of hostility and contempt for the bourgeois, capitalist world" [12, river of 1079; 13, river 317]. At the same time Kennan emphasized that the gap is of great importance: "The possibility of recreancy from Moscow, before improbable for communistic leaders of other countries, will be present at any given form in consciousness of each of them from now on" [12, river of 1080; 13, river 320-321].

Kennan considered that the American leaders have to avoid two extremes. First, it is not necessary "to beg" Tito about concessions to the West as Moscow will use it to excite "indignation in the international communistic movement and among colleagues there is Tito". Such policy will lead only to weakening of the position of the Yugoslavian leader and will create conditions for the revolution inspired by Councils destroying a possibility of liberation of Eastern Europe. "On the other hand — Kennan warned — if the Western world is too cold with Tito... it will be used by the Kremlin for confirmation that communists in other countries have no other alternative except how to remain with Moscow" [12, river of 1080; 13, river 318 — 319].

Kennan considered an optimal variant policy of moderation in the relations with Yugoslavia. The USA has to welcome independence of Belgrade, but it is necessary to emphasize separately to Yugoslavs that the internal political mode in their country "remains unacceptable for our people". If Belgrade begins to look for closer relations with the West, then the United States "will not interfere with it... provided that Yugoslavia is ready to take a position, loyal in relation to us, and to cooperate in the international affairs" [11, river 192; 14, river 37 — 38; 15, page 193 — 195]. The document prepared by the head of OPP got support of the Secretary of State J. Marshall and was transferred to National Security council as official opinion of State Department. Already on July 6 its provisions were approved by the directive SNB No. 18 and became the management to implementation of the Yugoslavian policy of the United States [12, river of 1079].

Nevertheless soon the American authorities called in question reality of the conflict of Stalin and Tito, having considered by his smart course the Soviet leader [11, river 193]. But fears of Washington were unfounded. By the end of 1948 the Kremlin began full-scale operation on Tito's discharge from the power. The promotional campaign on condemnation of "clique of the fascist Tito" was launched, concentration of ground forces along the Yugoslavian border and economic began

blockade of the country. The USSR stopped all supply of raw materials to Yugoslavia and forbade the countries of Kominforma to trade with it.

In November, 1948 the head of the European department of State Department J. Hikerson asked Kennan a question of a possibility of improvement of the American-Yugoslavian trade and economic cooperation [12, river 1117 — 1118]. Kennan supported more active support of the regime of Tito. In the document OPP No. 49 "Economic relations between the United States and Yugoslavia" of February 10, 1949 steps on weakening of economic restrictions against this country were recommended. Kennan was afraid that regime collapse of Tito will break hopes of nationalistically oriented communistic leaders in other satellite countries of USSR [16, river 14 — 24].

The head of OPP opposed any attempts to force Tito to loosen state and political controls in Yugoslavia, being afraid that it can undermine its power [16, river 18 — 20]. At the same time the United States should have tried to obtain the termination of the help to the Greek guerrillas from Belgrade. On the fourteenth of February, 1949 the State department discussed and supported these recommendations [17, river 863 — 868]. The National Security council and the president Mr. Truman approved a course towards mitigation of conditions of the economic relations with Yugoslavia [15, page 195 — 196].

By the end of 1949 the balancing between expansion of trade and economic relations and preservation of pressure upon Belgrade for the purpose of change of its Greek policy brought success. Tito kept the power, the Yugoslavian Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to oppose publicly the USSR, and the border between Yugoslavia and Greece was closed that was serious attack on positions of the Greek communists [11, river 38]. According to J. Iatridis, defeat of pro-communistic forces in Greece became result of a combination of internal and external factors, first of all the American support of the Greek government. Split between the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) and KPYu and the termination of the help from Yugoslavia also caused very considerable loss to communists in Greece [18, river 216 — 219].

The new Yugoslavian course of the USA developed in OPP was the most effective at this conjuncture. However Kennan exaggerated the prospects of expansion of the begun split. The assumption that cracks in the communistic world can amplify "to a point when there are two blocks oppositional each other — Stalin group and inakomyslyashchy fraction either free allies, or united under Tito's leadership" [17, river 42 — 54], looked too optimistically.

As showed further events, hopes for expansion of split were vain. More weighed judgment of consequences of the conflict in Kominformbyuro was presented to the CIA. In the memorandum "Relation of the satellite countries with the USSR and the West" prepared on November 7, 1949 the prospecting department reported to National Security council that the conditions which allowed Tito to disobey Stalin any more in Europe did not develop anywhere [11, river 207]. Analysts of the CIA analyzed features of establishment of control of the head of KPYu over the country, having emphasized that the Yugoslavian communists came to the power in many respects independently, in the course dli-


telny and dedicated fight against invaders in the years of World War II. Tito and his environment differed from proteges of the Kremlin in other countries of Eastern Europe freed from Nazism by the Soviet troops.

In State Department long time did not pay to these specifics of the Yugoslavian regime due attention. Still on October 22, 1946 Kennan expressed opinion of the American government, having compared Tito to "a hunting dog who is so well trained in team & #34; to ноге" that there is no need in a lead" [19, river 89]. As a result Tito's conflict with Stalin in many respects became for Washington surprise. Split between two communist countries, according to G. Mitrovic, caused deep shock [14, river 37]. According to J. Campbell, in the West this sensational message made an impression of the exploded bomb [10, river 19 — 20].

Nevertheless the American chargê d'affaires in Belgrade J. Ke boat in the report to the Secretary of State emphasized still on February 15, 1947: "It is important not to slam a door in the face of Tito and not to offend senselessly national feelings of Yugoslavs.... Our policy counting on long return has to be directed to inclining the Yugoslavian government to be susceptible first of all to desire and needs of people, but not to the Soviet directives.... Even in the existing government there are potential fractions which will apprehend this policy if we do irrevocably not alienate them" [20, river 763 — 764; 9, page 79]. The chargê d'affaires of the USA in Yugoslavia could see ambiguity of the relations between the Yugoslavian leader and Stalin. The Soviet head was never sure of Tito's poslushnost as the last, first, had courage to argue with Moscow and, secondly, came to the power independently [21, river 324].

One year prior to the conflict, June 7, 1947, Cabot warned Washington again that Yugoslavs "not always follow the Soviet instructions" [20, river 806 — 807]. Some days before emergence of the resolution of Kominform, June 18, 1948, the chargê d'affaires of the USA wrote to FNRYu R. Rimz about same to the Secretary of State J. Marshall [12, river 1073 — 1075]. And on June 28, when Komin forms condemned the Yugoslavian Communist Party, the State department obtained the evidence of existence of a crack in the communistic world.

Americans reacted to Kominform's resolution quickly and productively. The balancing tactics chosen by Washington between support and continuation of pressure allowed to keep Yugoslavia out of the sphere of the Soviet control and even to connect it to participation in implementation of the doctrine of "control". A result of policy of Administration of the President of Truman on the balkano-Mediterranean direction was entry of FNRYu into the military-political union with members of NATO by Turkey and Greece as a result of signing by these states of the treaty of friendship and cooperation of February 28, 1953. It became possible thanks to Soviet Yugoslavian conflict which had considerable impact on change of all American policy of "control".

Article is prepared by

within performance of research under the government contract No. P323 of the federal target program "Scientific and Nauchnopedagogichesky Shots of Innovative Russia" for 2009-2013

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About the author

Alexey Aleksandrovich Kostin — an edging. east. sciences, dots., Vyatka state humanities university, e-mail:

About author


Dr. Alexei Kostin, Associate Professor, Vyatka State University for Humanities, e-mail:

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