JULY 1, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—The very astounding accusations by the Cominform against Marshal Tito and the Communist party of Yugoslavia are hard to believe.
Marshal Tito has been one of the leaders whom I have felt acted from conviction and not from compulsion. I think Yugoslavs, as a whole are patriots and proved it in the war against Germany. They fought valiantly to protect their own land and that is the reason I have felt that following the Communist pattern was an act of conviction with them. I feel sure that many Yugoslavs believe their country will gain from the Communist economic system, and they must feel that close alliance with the Soviet Union is their best protection. I have felt fairly sure that Marshal Tito believed that a dictatorship, for the time being at least, patterned on the Soviet formula, was beneficial to his country.
We disagree with his theories and think that his ideas are wrong. But I, at least, believe they are honest convictions and I am surprised at the Cominform's accusations.
If the Cominform is going to demand a rigid pattern beyond anything which I would expect any free people to be willing to accept, these charges against the Yugoslavs may mean a permanent break in the protective ring that Russia has been building up. The possible results could be far reaching.
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The situation in Berlin is very serious. The fact that, following the General Clay and Marshal Sokolovsky conversations, transportation is to be allowed to enter the western part of the city, and that there will be increased transportation by air, still does not mean that there is a complete understanding. Cooperation between Russia and her wartime allies—France, Great Britain and the United States—is still something to be hoped for.
Difficulties have also arisen in Austria, and on every hand we realize that suspicion and bad feeling grows between the West and the East in Europe. The Marshall Plan would work much better if the whole European area were working in cooperation, because it is perfectly evident that the West needs trade to flow without restriction from West to East and East to West just as much as it needs world trade throughout the nations in both hemispheres.
Never before have we needed cooperation so badly and yet the Soviet Union seems to believe that perhaps its main interest lies in building a fence around itself, keeping as much apart as possible from everyone outside that fence.
This, of course, denotes insecurity. The Russians fear that perhaps contacts with other parts of the world will bring about less confidence in their own economic and political system. After all, however, we have to face the fact in every country that contact with one another allows us to learn from one another and perhaps to criticize some of the things within our own areas. This should be beneficial to all of us and eventually bring us closer together, instead of tearing us apart.
Should Yugoslavia think more independently, it may help the USSR to see the need for granting more freedom of thought and action in the countries that are sympathetic to her but may not want to be identical in thought and deed.