Oral History Interview with
Specialist Eastern Europe, State Department, 1942-46; secretary U.S. delegation, political advisor Council of Foreign Ministers, also Paris Peace Conference, 1946; political advisor, U.S. delegation Danube Conference, 1948; officer in charge of Balkan affairs, member Policy Planning Staff, State Department, 1949-55.
John C. Campbell
New York, New York
June 24, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate
the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened November, 1979
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
John C. Campbell
New York, New York
June 24, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie
MCKINZIE: Would you begin by telling a little of your background and how you got into Government service?
CAMPBELL: I was trained for a teaching career. I had begun teaching at the University of Louisville in 1940, at the time of the second reelection of President Roosevelt. The coming of the war had a good deal to do with turning me from teaching to Government service.
Teaching jobs were not available at that time, and there was this tremendous series of
world events. As one who had been in the field of modern European history, I found history taking place at the time.
I'd spent two years in Europe during the thirties. I had tried to get into the State Department after finishing my graduate work, but without success; they didn't have room for a Balkan expert, and the State Department had not begun its wartime expansion.
After finishing my temporary teaching job in Louisville, I came here to the Council on Foreign Relations on a fellowship to work on contemporary international affairs. It was natural that I would be open to any chance to go to Washington.
I had talked to Laurence Duggan, who was Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. (Duggan also worked on Latin-American affairs here at the Council.) This was not my background, but one couldn't go to Europe in 1940. (A large
number of scholars had migrated to Latin America to become specialists in that field.) I undertook a study in nationalism in Latin America, because I had been trained in nationalism in Eastern Europe. I came to know both Duggan and his principal assistant, Harley [Arthur] Notter, who, with Leo Pasvolsky, had begun the study of postwar problems in the State Department. The conclusions of their study convinced Mr. [Cordell] Hull and Mr. [Sumner] Welles that this kind of study should be conducted inside the Department rather than outside, as in 1918 with Colonel House's inquiry [a project by President Wilson to enlist the aid of professional experts]. They were assembling a staff, and they were interested in me for work in European affairs. My old colleague, [Philip] Mosely, had already agreed to join Pasvolsky's staff and it was through his intervention that I was brought in there during the summer of 1942. So, it was during the latter Roosevelt period that I came into Government service.
No one really thought of going back to teaching as long as the war was going on, but most of us hadn't made up our minds to stay in Government service after the war. There was a large influx of academics both into the State Department postwar planning divisions and the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS. Both of them were filled with students of history, political science, and so on, just out of the graduate schools.
MCKINZIE: Did you have the feeling there was a kind of new mentality about the Department as a result of this influx?
CAMPBELL: Well, there was obviously a difference between the old-line Foreign Service officers and these university people who were brought in to "plan the peace," so to speak. There obviously was a different outlook, a different experience, and so forth. We had, from time to time, a few
Foreign Service officers assigned to our division, then called the Division of Special Research. (It later was broken down and got different names. A few Foreign Service officers became accustomed to some of the university ways of looking at problems, and we began to learn a good deal about the operations of active day-to-day conduct of foreign relations. Of course, the war was a special period in which we didn't have normal day-to-day operations, particularly in dealing with Europe, which was then occupied by the Germans. We dealt with the future of Europe. So far as there were official relations, they were with exile governments which were not in Europe. We were dealing with the possibilities of eventual liberation; in some cases, where there were or would be no recognized governments, we would have to discover somebody with whom to renew relations and sign agreements. We were also dealing with the possibilities of getting agreements with the major allies, the British
and the Russians particularly, as to what the shape of postwar Europe was to be. In that respect, the career Foreign Service officers had a good deal to offer, just as the scholar types had different kinds of knowledge and ideas to offer. I spent two years there (we were across the street, we weren't in the main State Department Building) writing more or less theoretical papers about what the postwar map of Europe would look like, where the boundaries ought to run, what kind of arrangements should be put into armistice and peace agreements, and so forth. Much of this must have seemed quite academic to the people who were sitting on the desks for Soviet affairs or Polish affairs. Nevertheless, we did establish a kind of continuing working relationship with them, both directly and through the major committees, which Mr. Welles organized. Isaiah Bowman, who was President of Johns Hopkins and had been in the old Inquiry group, really took
charge of that whole operation. Our papers were prepared for these committees, on which Mr. [Adolf A., Jr.] Berle, other Assistant Secretaries, and people who were intimately involved in the ongoing affairs of the Department would sit. So, we were not operating wholly independently, as the Inquiry had been in 1917-18 without much contact with the actual operational officers.
As the Russians approached Europe from the East, all these problems began to arise in actual diplomatic contacts with the Soviet Union, Eden's trip to Russia in '42 and Anglo-American discussion on how to raise questions connected with Eastern Europe in dealing with Stalin. Finally it came to the point where in Moscow in '43 there was the first tripartite conference really devoted to postwar problems. We had a great deal to do with the preparations for that conference. Phil Mosely, from our staff, attended the conference and advised Mr. Hull on various points which came
up in connection with the future shape of the peace. From that time on we were more and more drawn into the actual decision making process, and were going more into operational matters. Our division began to break up into a new organizational pattern as the war went on, in a way that would allow us at least to look forward to the actual facing of these problems at the peace table. We still thought that there would be a big peace table like Paris in 1918-19. We didn't realize that there never was going to be a peace conference in the classical sense, so we were all ready for that. We had all the papers and we had positions on where we would stand on the Hungarian-Rumanian frontier, what we thought about the South Tyrol, what should happen to East Prussia, and all such territorial questions. None of the papers was really of a great deal of use when it came to actual decisions, because those decisions were made, some of them anyway,
under the stress of military situations which arose on the Continent of Europe. Others were simply never made because they were postponed; there never was any German peace treaty. They were just postponed indefinitely and dealt with in other ways. There's a great mass of these documents, some of which have been published in the Foreign Relations series, though I'm sure there are much more in the Archives which historians should look at someday. We had all kinds of detailed studies, more than we needed. Just to take an example, we thought we might have a major role in Hungary after the war. The victorious allied powers would have to do something about the feudal regime in Hungary, which obviously would go down with Hitler. We had rather detailed schemes of land reform for Hungary: modern agriculture, land for the peasants, and what not. However, the land reform for Hungary that was put in effect was drawn up in Moscow by Imre Nagy, who later became Prime Minister of Hungary, and we had absolutely
nothing to say about it. That was an example of one of the problems, where we had a young fellow wasting six months doing a detailed paper on land reform in Hungary. It was one of the ironies of our work.
MCKINZIE: You may be aware of some of the revisionist consequences of that work. There is a school of thought which says that the people who were doing that postwar planning were doing it with particular zeal; that they were, indeed, building a world modeled on the ideals of Cordell Hull and Will Clayton. These revisionists contend that this would have benefited the only industrial power left after the war, the United States, and that there are economic overtones in this kind of planning. Was there a kind of feeling that you were rebuilding the world according to American ideas of decency, human equality, and political democracy?
CAMPBELL: I think this is so, without any thought of
the way it's often presented in revisionist literature that our main concern was extending an American-dominated economic system or making the world over to fit the economic needs of America and other capitalist countries. It seemed to me that the prevailing approach which we had was to attempt to improve on what had happened the previous time, not to make the mistakes of the Wilsonian effort at peacemaking. This was largely the President's philosophy and, I think, one of the main reasons for the President's and Mr. Hull's insistence on not making secret treaties or setting frontiers or making political decisions on Europe's future by prearrangement before having a full discussion of the issues at a peace conference. We wanted to make a more democratic peace, one which would really apply self-determination better than it was applied at the time of the post-World War I settlement. All our studies on boundaries and territorial
questions were directed to make what we would have called a more just, more fair, and more stable set of relations among the countries of Europe. Of course, in Eastern Europe they'd all been put under the Nazis, briefly under the Soviets, and then under the Nazis again. We felt that if there was to be built a peace which had any promise of stability and would not repeat the problems of the twenties and the thirties, we would have to do better. We would have to reduce the number of minorities living under countries of a different nationality, have treaty arrangements which would work better than the treaty arrangements in the inter-war period, and make sure that aggression would not pay. We wanted a territorial and a political settlement which would produce a peaceful Europe, and a peaceful world, if you look at it on a larger scale. While it's quite true that we thought there must be trading arrangements that are not
discriminatory, we were also thinking of all the principles which later came to pass more or less in the Bretton Woods system on the financial and trading side: the World Bank, UNRRA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration], and stable monetary arrangements. To say that this was somehow an idea of either preventing the Russians from enjoying security or having a position to which they were entitled as one of the great victorious powers, seems to me, something which was not a part of our thinking and our approach.
We were looking, particularly in the case of Eastern Europe, at the possibilities of Soviet domination. The Soviets had taken some of these territories in 1939 and 1940, and we knew that there probably wasn't very much that we could do about the Soviet return to roughly the frontiers which they had had at the time they were attacked by Hitler. Still, we wrote papers
about this, saying that it would be desirable if we could have a compromise in Poland and they wouldn't keep all of that territory that they'd taken. It would be desirable if they would be gentle with Finland and make a peace which would not deprive the Finns of obviously Finnish territory. We were clearly not going to make a big issue with the Soviets about their western border as approximating the border of June 22, 1941, but when it came to the question of what kind of a government was going to exist in Poland or Czechoslovakia or Hungary and so forth, we took a rather idealistic line. Somehow there was a right on the part of those peoples who had been overrun by Hitler to exercise self-determination. We began thinking along the lines of free elections, provisional governments which would be broadly representative, and all these things which eventually found their way into the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe. In a way
that document was a kind of a distillation, if you like, of much of the thinking that had gone into our approach to what would happen when Europe was liberated. In what ways should we go about trying to establish a peace settlement and give the peoples of Europe a share in that peace settlement? We should not just have it dictated by three outside great powers which were not European powers (except if by definition you include Russia in Europe) so far as the central core of European nations were concerned. That was, I think, a basic approach.
Reading the revisionist literature later, it sometimes strikes me as being an utterly new and invented interpretation of what people were thinking at the time. I know that some of them have been able to go back and find something Mr. Acheson said at one time and create a whole history on it. But by just trying to recapture some of the atmosphere in which we were working
at the time, unless you define as American imperialism what really was continued Wilsonian approach to the problem of reorganization of world peace, one can see that the theory doesn't apply.
MCKINZIE: Did this commitment to Wilsonian ideals seem to dominate the people with whom you worked in this postwar planning unit?
CAMPBELL: Well, it was there. We didn't write papers saying, "Here is the philosophical basis on which we think the peace should be built." The fact was that we divided ourselves into roughly two branches of research and activity. One was world organization, in which Mr. Pasvolsky was most interested. Harley Notter, Durward Sandifer, and many others were all involved in this to write the United Nations Charter, to create a new League of Nations in effect and make it better than the old League of Nations. This was
obviously a question of how to improve specific institutions. Once you had the basic decision (which it was rather clear that Congress would go along with this time) that the United States would participate in a world organization, then we could go about trying to write the best charter we could think of, something which would work and on which we might have some chance of getting the approval of the other Allied powers, including if possible the Soviet Union.
The other half of the operation was called political and economic studies. We broke down the political part into territorial and other studies. The work of this division, in which I was, was all directed towards the nature of the territorial and the political settlement.
MCKINZIE: It was a kind of modern day Inquiry?
CAMPBELL: That's right. It was an attempt to create what we would call a system of states, in which
all the members would have full sovereign equality but, nevertheless, a cooperative relationship in over-all world organization designed to keep the peace. In order to minimize the number of conflicts which might arise to threaten the peace, we tried to look toward relationships between nations which would have some permanence and stability. This was why we kept looking at the map trying to figure out how we should throw the weight of the United States
We didn’t presume that the United States was going to dictate the shape of the map, but we knew that it would have a great deal of influence, as Wilson had had in 1918. Therefore, we were prepared to use whatever the American voice was worth in favor of the arrangements which seemed to us the best. So far as the internal affairs of other nations was concerned, the degree to which we would influence what would happen within France or Hungary wasn’t really clear.
Perhaps, we overstepped the bounds of what we would be likely to be able to do. Nevertheless we felt that, at a time when the map was blank and when Hitler was in occupation of the whole of Europe, we at least had to look at the political forces. We did any number of papers on political forces, in France, Belgium, Austria, Yugoslavia, Poland, and so on, in order to determine what we were to be faced with; what kinds of parties, what kinds of movements, and what kinds of groups would be coming to the fore.
In the case of the French, of course, the main question was that of the relations with the de Gaullist movement and with those who followed [Henri Honore] Giraud. Much of this was in the realm of current policy and really wasn't so much the concern of postwar planning as it was of how to deal with De Gaulle and Giraud in the politics of French North Africa in 1942 and '43
The President was deeply involved in that. Nevertheless, we were visibly writing papers about these things and about how government would be reestablished in France; how resistance committees, the Gaullist provisional government and other forces would fall into place. The problem was with whom the United States would be dealing at the time, because we had not yet recognized De Gaulle as a provisional government. This kind of problem may have perhaps gone beyond what we could logically have taken as our mandate, but it seemed to us that at least we could draw the horizon on a very wide basis, because we didn't know what the future held. We felt that the President and State Department should at least be as well informed as possible and able to make whatever choices had to be made between different groups. It was an attempt to foresee, as best we could, what kind of decisions we'd have. I have used France here just as an example. We had the same
task for many countries.
MCKINZIE: You dealt with such matters as the colonial holdings of France and colonial holdings of Italy in the postwar period? Of course, you had over you the Roosevelt predisposition to dismantle all colonial holdings. Were you consciously influenced by the knowledge that the President wished to end the colonial holdings as soon as possible?
CAMPBELL: Generally there was the same disposition in our divisions. I wasn't intimately connected with all those questions, but we did have a dependent areas section and looked at the future of the various colonial territories. Many of these also had been overrun by the enemy, mainly in the Far East. Generally, I think that academic people -- most of us were academic -- tended to be rather anti-colonial, as compared to the career Foreign Service officers who had been Europe
oriented. This difference of view and difference of approach carried on all through and long after the war. For example, the successor to our research division which dealt with international organization and dependent areas problems became what was later the UNA, the United National Affairs Bureau in the Department. Some of these people carried over from that wartime period, and generally they were in conflict with the views of the Bureau of European Affairs, which had to be concerned with relations with the Dutch, the French, the Belgians, and the British. There was, I think, an inclination which was similar to the President's about the colonial areas. Now, one would have to go back and look at the specific papers we did on Indochina, for example. It might be an interesting thing to look at -- I suppose somebody has -- to see what some of our experts said about what should be the future of Indochina, Indonesia, and the other colonial
countries. These conflicts were fought out later within the Department and involved, after the setting up of a Bureau of African Affairs, the same kind of conflict between those involved with the Europeans and those concerned with the Asians and the Africans.
MCKINZIE: You had done some work on Rumania. Were you able to continue those studies in the Department?
CAMPBELL: Yes. Actually, I was brought in to work on Eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans. We had a group there of about four or five who were dealing with that area, and I did most of the work on the Rumanian and Yugoslav questions. We had Cyril Black, who is now a history professor at Princeton, and his experience was with Bulgaria, and we had a few others who dealt with Hungary, Poland, and so on. I was talking about how in 1944 it came time to break up some of these
research divisions. As individuals, many of us went over to the operating geographical divisions of the State Department in roughly the spring of 1944. I and Cyril Black went over to the Division of Southern European Affairs, of which the Chief was then Cavendish Cannon, later Ambassador to Yugoslavia and a lot of other places. I worked with him through 1944 and 1945. This was a fascinating time because the map of Europe was beginning to change. The Russians came into Rumania in about April, 1944. We then had negotiations for armistice agreements which were carried on with the British and the Russians. We had, in the Department, drawn up our own draft armistice which more or less had to be discarded, because it didn't fit the kinds of drafts the Russians were producing. Since they were the operating military force in that area, obviously they had a veto on what the armistice terms might be.
Nevertheless, there were genuine negotiations for the three armistice agreements with Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary carried on in late '44. This became a central part of my activities at the time, because I was the drafting officer for all the communications back and forth to Cairo for the negotiations on Rumania. The Rumanian opposition had sent people out to Cairo to negotiate with the Allies, and the American, British and Soviet Ambassadors in Cairo were the negotiators. Our communications were between Washington and Ambassador Lincoln MacVeagh in Cairo. He was accredited to two governments in exile (Yugoslavia and Greece). The Bulgarian one was somewhat different but also ended up in Cairo, because they sent emissaries out who first went to Turkey and then later went to Cairo. Cyril Black handled those negotiations. Again, I should say that our responsibilities were on the drafting side; policy decisions were for those higher up.
One thing that struck me at the time, however, and strikes me also in looking back to it, was the level at which these fairly important negotiations were conducted. They involved the terms under which these countries would be occupied and what rights the occupying powers would or would not have. Although there was, I think, some occasional pro forma clearance with Mr. Hull, for the most part it was Mr. [James Clement] Dunn, who was then Assistant Secretary; Doc [H. Freeman] Matthews, his deputy; and Mr. Cannon who made the decisions on all our outgoing telegrams to Ambassador MacVeagh. All this was pretty much done on what I would call a working level in the Department, in BUR, because larger things were happening on the international stage. The terms on which the Axis satellites, as they were then called, came out of the war was not considered of the utmost importance. The United States Government didn't really, at that time, make a big issue of these things, partly because the war was still
going on. If these Axis satellites wished to get out of the war, well, they could surrender unconditionally. We really couldn't face the issue of what was to be the political future of these countries in the armistice negotiations, even though some of us knew that this was actually happening. This was evident in the role which the Russians took; the way in which they cast aside some of the proposals made by the British and the Americans in these armistice terms; and the way in which they insisted on certain specific reparation payments in the armistice terms, not waiting for the peace settlement. We made strong arguments to eliminate those clauses from the armistices, saying that they were proper for the peace settlement but not for the armistice agreements. Armistice should be cease-fire and terms of occupation, and we should set up an Allied Control Commission and wait until the peace settlement before dealing
with these other things such as territorial problems and reparation. The Russians put a settlement of the Rumanian-Hungarian territorial problem into the Rumanian armistice terms, which we opposed but they wouldn't yield. Finally we had them add "subject to confirmation at the peace settlement." They accepted that and this saved our theory, so to speak, but actually it didn't change the de facto situation. The armistice agreements, in that sense, did settle some of the permanent parts of the postwar status of these countries. We were not in a bargaining position, we felt at that time, to do anything about it. I think that perhaps the decision was made by Mr. Dunn and Doc Matthews not to try to involve the Secretary in making any plea to the President to take a different line than we did; we decided at the Assistant Secretary level, more or less. We may well have checked with Ben Cohen, who was then Counselor. I remember being struck at the time that very
important agreements involving the position of the Soviet Union in the former allies of Nazi Germany were being decided in a rather casual way. We were handicapped, I think, from that time on. The Russians saw that we deferred to them and gave them a preferred position; there was no question that they were going to have a preferred position. I don't think they really expected we had any right to take a stronger line or to tell them how much they should charge the Rumanians in reparation for what the Rumanians had done by way of devastation in the Soviet Union. They said they were being very modest, as a matter of fact, and it was very difficult for us to disagree. I remember that one time Mr. Cannon said, "Well, we don't like this reparation clause in the Rumanian armistice and we've tried to get the Russians to eliminate it or to cut it down, but, after all, the Rumanians did fight a kind of a private war with the Soviet Union." They were also technically
at war with us, but they didn't do much to us. They had gone along with the Germans, raised hell in the Soviet Union, and destroyed Soviet cities. They had occupied the province on the other side of the river from Bessarabia, governed it, and despoiled it. It was very difficult, from a political and moral view, for us to say to the Russians, "You can't ask these Rumanians not to pay for the fact that they were invading the Soviet Union and were allies of Hitler." We found ourselves not in a position to take a very strong line. We thought it was a question of principle that matters like reparation should be dealt with in the peace rather than the armistice, but it wasn't a question which you would go to President Roosevelt about and say, "Stand up to Stalin on this." The decisions were made in the Department to yield on some of those points.
MCKINZIE: What did it do to the tenor of opinion in the Department regarding future Soviet actions? Would you say that Mr. Dunn, Mr. Matthews, and yourself, were at all apprehensive as a result of these Soviet insistences, or did you believe that there were legitimate Russian concerns in Rumania, which, once satisfied, might lead them to take more compromising positions later on?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think we tended to give them the benefit of the doubt. It seemed to me to follow from the fact that they had carried the burden of the war there and logically would be the major occupying power in these countries. Since the war with Germany was still going on, these territories would become part of their military areas for operations. When they came into Rumania, Molotov made a statement saying, "We're not going to dominate or change the internal situation of Rumania, this is for the
Rumanians," and so on. This was obviously a declaration that they had no intention of living up to. Nevertheless, at this time the President was trying to establish the basis for the best possible relations with the Soviets in dealing with European and world problems. It didn't seem to us that we should expect the worst, though some of us did. We had some people in the Department who had been in the Soviet Union and had had experience in the Soviet field.
[Elbridge] Durbrow, then an the Polish desk, was the fiercest anti - Soviet fellow, and still is. I just saw some quotes from him the other day. Chip [Charles] Bohlen was, I think, more judicious in his thinking, but nevertheless felt very strongly about it. Norris Chipman, who had been in our research division, had also served in Moscow and had no faith in the possibility of Soviet moderation in Eastern Europe. There was a great cynicism about the Soviets and a fear that the President didn't know how to deal with them.
This view was quite prevalent in EUR. Some of us agreed with that, although, again, it seemed to me that there was a kind of idealistic or hopeful streak, in some of us who'd come out of academic life, in dealing with the particular set of issues with the Russians in 1944. At least, we tended to believe that the resistance forces in Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, though led by Communists, represented the masses of people, and that the exiled governments should have less to say about the future of those countries. There was a tendency, both in the OSS [Office of Strategic Services] and in the research divisions of the Department, staffed largely by academic types, to hope for the best, to think the best, and generally to support Roosevelt and at least go along with the idea of cooperation with the Russians until it was proved otherwise. I think that in the light of history this was probably what the U.S. Government had to do. The whole Yalta experience
was that kind of experiment.
MCKINZIE: You said just a moment ago that you were afraid that the President wouldn't know how to deal with it. This raises that very foggy issue about just what part the State Department did expect to play. I read periodically that people in the State Department were quite demoralized; even Cordell Hull is alleged to have thought about resignation because his views and the views of the Department were either not considered or taken rather cavalierly by Roosevelt. Of course, Cordell Hull was never invited to any of the top kinds of conferences. As you were doing this kind of postwar planning and dealing with the Soviets on the matter of the armistice in Eastern Europe, did you anticipate that the Department was really going to have any important influence? How were you advised about White House thinking as the war moved across Eastern Europe?
CAMPBELL: Well, we would occasionally get echoes of the fact that Mr. Hull was not able to prevail on this or that point. I think we gradually came to think that Mr. Hull was not going to have any substantial influence. As long as Sumner Welles was there, we felt that he would have some influence with the President, but he left in '43, I think. Mr. Welles, in a way, had been the one who set up our whole operation. By the time I'd moved over to the operating side of the Department, he was gone and [Edward] Stettinius had come in as Under Secretary and in late 1944 became Secretary. Nobody had any particular regard for him as having any knowledge of foreign affairs. He was just, in a way, an object of jokes, including one which maybe I can put on the record.
At the time of San Francisco we'd been unable to settle the Polish question. The Polish Ambassador in Washington, [Jan] Ciechanowski, was just beside himself at the inability to get
the State Department to come down on his side, because this business was going on and on as to how the Yalta decisions on Poland were going to be carried out. The Russians were just sticking firm, in effect, with the Lublin regime, and we weren't able to get the democratic Poles added to that regime. It was a total deadlock on the thing. The Polish Ambassador came in to see Secretary of State Stettinius. The Secretary was always a rotarian type, and with a big smile he slapped the Polish Ambassador on the back and said, "Well, Ambassador, I hope you send a fine big delegation to the San Francisco Conference."
And the Ambassador said, "But Mr. Secretary, that's just the question."
We got some echoes, and it was obvious that the President was in charge in ways which tended to leave the Department out. There was a famous instance of the proposal for spheres
of influence, the proposals that the Russians should play the hand in Rumania and that the British should play the hand in Greece.
MCKINZIE: This is as a result of the October meeting between...
CAMPBELL: No, this is before that; it was made in July and it finally came to Mr. Hull, and Mr. Hull tells about it in his memoirs. He objected to it, but he discovered that the President had already told Churchill that it was okay. Churchill had proposed it to the Russians and the Russians, surprisingly, had said, "Well, let's see what the Americans say and what President Roosevelt says about this." President Roosevelt, meanwhile, tentatively agreed with Churchill, and Mr. Hull finally came into the picture. I remember Cavendish Cannon showing me the telegrams. I was the desk officer, and generally this kind of great high level thing didn't get down to that level. He said, "Well,
we’re going to have to tell the Secretary to fight against this. We don’t like any of this and this has to be all left over to a peace conference.”
Finally Hull persuaded the President to tell Churchill that we’d agreed to it for three months as an experimental arrangement. About the time the three months expired, Churchill went to Moscow and had the famous October agreement. It was a matter which Hull felt very strongly about; this business of spheres of influence, agreeing on them secretly, and precluding the peace conference from having all the issues to be dealt with properly and openly.
The President had, in a cavalier way, just agreed with Churchill, and the Department had to fight very hard to get him to modify the position which he took. This was an instance where we felt that the Department might not have a full
say and that things would be happening, possibly by presidential decision, where it didn’t make any difference how many papers we’d written; somehow they wouldn’t get to him. There was some suspicion of Harry Hopkins on the part of all the boys in the Russian field. “’Harry the Hop,’ what does he know about Stalin and how can he possibly deal with the Russians without knowing the nature of their strategy and what they were trying to do?” There was certainly a feeling of isolation from the top-level decision makers. Yalta was later. We worked very hard to prepare all the black books for Yalta, and they were never looked at.
MCKINZIE: At the Tehran Conference and then at Yalta, what preparations were you able to make for the delegations?
CAMPBELL: I remember that we were set to work writing background papers and position papers
for the Yalta Conference. We had to do the same thing for Potsdam and the same thing for the London Conference in September '45. It’s not entirely clear in my mind what subjects we dealt with, but I can recall that we sent a large number of our old research papers on Eastern European questions. We had a series of papers on developments within Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary; how the armistice agreements had been negotiated, what the Russians had done as occupying powers, and particularly the way in which our representatives had been cavalierly and badly treated on the Allied Control Commissions We had representatives that had just gone into Hungary, because the Hungarian armistice was signed January 20, 1945. The Rumanian and the Bulgarian armistices were signed in September and October '44, and we had had some months of experience there in which the Russians had paid no attention to our people at all. They had just gone about giving orders to the Rumanians
and Bulgarians and maybe or maybe not reporting it to the British and American representatives on the Allied Control Commissions. Of course, the Russians said, "We're the high command here; read the armistice agreements." The armistice agreements make reference to the orders of the Allied (Soviet) High Command. We took that phrase, when we negotiated, to mean that the military command there just happens to be a Soviet general, but it doesn't mean that they do everything without regard to the wishes of the other two members of the Control Commission, the British and the American generals. All these different things had arisen in a number of instances, and, of course, we were being bombarded in the Department and the Pentagon by cables from our people saying, "What kind of an Allied Control Commission is this? We don't have any say about anything. The Russians are running the whole show." Of course, I don't think that the Russians ever intended anything different.
They felt that these countries were in their field of military operations, and they knew what had happened in Italy. They were represented on the Allied Council for Italy, but they hadn't had any real authority. The British and the American military command had run the whole show and monopolized relations with the Italian Government. The Russians were just going to give it back to us by acting in the same way, but we were somehow very indignant about it. I can recall how we felt; it was outrageous that our representatives there were not even consulted about the way in which the Russians dealt with the local authorities. Then they kicked out an OSS mission from Bulgaria. They had really, in a way, shown that they were moving into Eastern Europe, and we detailed all this before the President in the Yalta papers which we prepared. Much of our effort, we felt, was successful in the outcome, even though the
President handled the Polish affair in a strange way, and the bargain he made on Yugoslavia was just a confirmation of a bargain which had already been made. There wasn't much we could do in diplomacy to prevent Tito from taking over that country. The Declaration on Liberated Europe, we felt, was a big thing for us. I t did contain principles on which we thought we could stand in dealing with attempts by the Soviets to interfere and put the Communists in power in Eastern Europe.
MCKINZIE: Would it be incorrect to say that the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe was an attempt to recoup some of the losses of the armistice agreements?
CAMPBELL: Yes. I think it was. We appeared to be closer to the end of the war and some of these territories were pretty far behind the front. After all, Bulgaria was no longer
involved in the war, and at that time the Soviets didn't need Bulgaria or Rumania for any reason for operations against Germany. We felt that the time had come where these rights and opportunities ought to be clarified. It was desirable to get the Soviets committed to principles in which we could see some chance of reasonably representative regimes in these countries. This battle went on for a long time, well into the Truman period. This was just the beginnings of it really. I'm trying to think of when we first attempted to make something of the fact that the Soviets were dominating Eastern Europe. It was really after Yalta. Before Yalta, on the working levels of the State Department, we had all these things which made us uncomfortable, and we felt that we were really up against something which might lead to Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. On the other hand, until after the Yalta agreement the Soviets never really took
any such drastic actions that we felt that they were challenging the whole basis of Allied cooperation. In the earlier period, before '44, one could have said, "Well, you know they're just moving in. We do have some armistice agreements. Maybe we can get them to be more forthcoming and to interpret the armistice in a way which is more proper." It wasn't until after Yalta, where we had what we felt were open and clear violations of the principles which they had then agreed to, that we began to feel we had a real public issue which should be dealt with at the highest level. We never really got up to the high level before about February or March of 1945. So, Mr. Truman really came in at almost the beginning of a whole series of things which had been developing, things which we had never really brought to President Roosevelt except at the very end. A combination of the Polish affair and the Russian conduct
dealing with the surrender of the German armies in Italy brought President Roosevelt to the point where he was apparently going to take a strong position with Stalin. Then he died and Truman came in to face an accumulation of issues in which we felt that the Russians were acting as enemies rather than as Allies.
MCKINZIE: An interesting comment you made was that President Roosevelt was apparently going to take a strong stand regarding these issues, the Italian and Polish issues on which positions were taken by the Soviets. Was that a rumor in the Department or do you have some harder evidence of that? The reason I bring it up is that I've never seen it documented that he really intended to do that. There's always a question about what Roosevelt would have done.
CAMPBELL: I'm trying to think back as to whether Chip Bohlen came and talked to some of us at
that time. He was then liaison with the President. He was taken out of his line-of-command job and put into a special White House job. Bohlen says it very clearly in his memoirs, but, of course, there's no documentation there, and I'm not sure that I could, point to anything. It was just considered common knowledge that the President was terribly annoyed and was going to raise the whole question of the nature of the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Of course, he did react to Stalin's charges in connection with the German surrender in Italy. He made him take it back in effect, saying, "If your advisors are telling you this, I just can't believe that you would tolerate such advisors. This whole thing is unacceptable. These charges are unacceptable to the United States." There's no question that Roosevelt reacted rather strongly to that, but what he would have done about the
Polish thing is another question. I don't really think there is much on the record, if anything, to show that he was going to make a basic issue of the way that the Russians dealt with Poland on the basis of Yalta.
MCKINZIE: How did you come to understand Harry Truman's ideas on foreign affairs and what were your assessments of his leadership in the very beginning? Do you recall being apprehensive about it?
CAMPBELL: I think we were all apprehensive about Mr. Truman as President, not knowing anything really except for his prominent role in the Senate Investigating Committee. Roosevelt had been so much the President, 100 percent of everything, for so long. We thought we were facing the unknown in a way, and nobody had given any thought to it. It's surprising, perhaps as you look back. People look at Roosevelt's
Yalta pictures now and say how he was a dying man and so on, but nobody had really thought at the time that he might not live through his term and we'd have Mr. Truman as President. Certainly, working level people never gave any thought to it. We thought, in all our dealings with the Soviet Union and the peace settlement in Europe, that it would be Roosevelt that would be determining American policy. Our job really was to see whatever we could provide him with in the way of guidance, background, and recommendations. Still, as I mentioned before, we were not entirely happy with the way in which he handled the Russian question.
Again, to repeat, there was a difference with the professionals who had dealt with Soviet affairs. They were a specially-tempered group with respect to the Russians. Their experience in Moscow in the thirties, I think, left an indelible impression on these people. Take
Chip Bohlen; if you read his memoirs today, what he says is absolutely unchanged almost from the impressions he got about the Soviet Union at that time. When he talks about Mr. [Averell] Harriman, President Roosevelt, Hopkins, and others, he says, "Yes, they dealt pretty capably with Stalin, Molotov, and so on, but I had the feeling that they never really understood what ideologically motivated these Soviet leaders." He says that again and again. I've heard him say it orally here and in Washington any number of times; till the time of his death he never really gave ground on this. George Kennan is different in this respect. At this particular time he was in Moscow, and he was sending his famous long telegrams and warning very much about what was in store. Kennan has a more flexible mind than most of the others who were trained in that group. They were very capable people who were trained in the business
of dealing with the Soviet Union, but Kennan was always looking to the future, not just to the past.
To get back to Mr. Truman, he was simply an unknown quantity. Of course, everything happened so quickly that his positions came to be known fairly soon to all of us. Generally, I think that we were impressed by his performance. I didn't really hear about, or I don't recall clearly, the famous meeting where he told off Molotov, who was on his way to San Francisco. I guess I heard about it sometime later. Certainly, there was a feeling in the State Department that, in dealing with the Russians, Mr. Truman would be pretty steady and pretty firm in handling these questions.
The difficulty was, we felt, that he didn't have an experienced Secretary of State and that he came into office at a time when nobody had any particular faith in Stettinius.
I remember Cavendish Cannon coming and telling
me, "Well, we have to write some papers for Mr. Byrnes. He’s been to Yalta, and he's taken shorthand notes for the Yalta Conference and seems interested. I've got a suspicion that the President’s going to name him as the Secretary of State." I've forgotten what the date of Byrnes' nomination as Secretary was, but it wasn't very long after Mr. Truman had been in office. There again, we felt we were dealing with somebody who was quite new to the business of foreign relations. With a new President and with a new Secretary of State, neither having long experience in the diplomatic wars, we felt that we were in a somewhat difficult position. Perhaps the professional side of the Department might be listened to more but perhaps not. We simply didn't know.
All these things happened rapidly. Of course, the Potsdam Conference was coming up, and we again had to go to work and prepare things
for that. We simply updated the record, so to speak, on European affairs. I was not really dealing with Germany. Germany was the big question at the time and this was not within our division, but in the Central European Division of the Department. I was involved in cataloguing the sins of the Soviets in Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Since we were very close to the people dealing with Poland and Czechoslovakia, I was also kept very much up-to-date on that. In a way we lived from one of these summit conferences to another, trying to see how the President, the Secretary, and the other high officials who attended those conferences would deal with the questions developing in Eastern Europe, which seemed to be getting worse and worse all the time. We were trying, in our preparation for Potsdam, to recoup what had been lost since Yalta. In preparing for Yalta we were trying to compensate for what
may have been lost in the armistice agreements or the activities which had taken place since then. There was a whole series of papers which we wrote for Potsdam having to do with the conduct of the Allied Control Councils in Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. We had made a special point of putting into the Hungarian armistice agreement, and the Soviets accepted it, the provision that after the surrender of Germany there would be a new system. We made a distinction between the period when the war was still going on and after it ended. The Soviets, during the war, might be expected to exercise greater authority of their own, and unilateral actions might not be so easily protestible on the part of the others, but after the war there would be a second phase. After the surrender of Germany it was simply a question of occupation as not being required for military reasons anymore, but merely to hold the line until there was a change in the legal
status of that territory through a peace treaty. We tried to get that arrangement into the Potsdam Agreement, to make it work in Hungary and to apply it to the others. We did get some satisfaction in the Potsdam Agreement about the governments in these countries, with whom we would then undertake the preparation of the peace treaties. We got enough so that we felt we had, at the time, done quite well. I haven't gone back to look at the Potsdam record to see just how these questions were dealt with. As I recall it, we just had an oral report from Jimmy Dunn as to what had happened, what the President had said, what the Secretary had said, and so on. But we felt we had done pretty well in the Potsdam Agreement, even on the question of reparation. Still, from our point of view, we had given way on reparation in Eastern Europe, because what we had tried to do was to keep them from taking everything in Western Germany, giving them what they were
going to take anyway on the other side of the line. That was the nature of the settlement. They had already taken so much from all these other countries that we had given up any chance of limiting the Soviet confiscation of property of all kinds from Eastern Europe. It had just simply happened. I think that Mr. Byrnes finally came to the conclusion that if you can get anything for this as a bargaining maneuver, get it. There was nothing we were going to be able to do diplomatically or in any other way to prevent the Soviets from setting their own economic terms and imposing them on Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. They were acting the same way in Czechoslovakia and other Allied countries as well.
MCKINZIE: Byrnes made an appeal, or injected into the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, the proposition that there should be equality of economic opportunity in all of the Eastern
European countries. This was much later. than the period you're talking about right now, and he had to withdraw it because it was immediately opposed by the Soviets.
CAMPBELL: Yes. It was an interesting point. In early '46, we were negotiating treaties in London. It was half a year or more after Potsdam; things had continued to go down hill, and we had already had some bitter exchanges. Byrnes, as a matter of fact, had made the cause of the free elections in Rumania and Bulgaria his own, at the London Conference in September of '45. We were really surprised at the way in which the Secretary of State was willing, in effect, to break up the conference on the issue of free elections in Rumania and Bulgaria. Of course, we thought that he had really taken a very strong stand, but the December meeting in Moscow, I think, was a kind of watershed. After the disillusionment of that agreement, we felt,
that cause was pretty much lost. I can remember having a conversation with Jimmy Dunn in London, where we were deciding what we should do about some of these economic clauses in the satellite peace treaties. I was trotting out the old arguments on how we could put some limits on restitution, reparation clauses, and all that they've taken under the guise of German property, in order to prevent an economic relationship which could only result in domination. The Soviets had an economic grip on these countries through reducing all their assets and then being the sole provider of aid. It raised the whole question of whether the United States and, presumably, any other Western powers were interested in still trying to save something of the economies of these countries so they might be able to stand on their own feet against the Russians. Dunn just waved it aside and said, "We're not interested in that anymore.
If we can get clauses in the peace treaties, let's make sure that the American property. which has been lost during the war or taken by Germans somehow is protected. We can make sure that we're able to trade with these countries and not have Soviet interference. That's all we're looking for. We're not really attempting to see how the economic clauses of the peace treaty are going to contribute to maintaining the independence of these countries."
This was a sign to me that we, in effect, had given up. All he really wanted, and I think he was reflecting Mr. Byrnes' opinion at the time, was to get through with these satellite peace treaties now and not make an issue of all the things that we had been worrying about in the past. I've forgotten now what Mr. Byrnes himself said, if anything, on this question.
Mr. Dunn's attention was really fixed on Italy. It wasn't just that he wanted to be
Ambassador of Rome, which he later was, but he felt that Italy was in the Western World. I think he felt that Bulgaria and Rumania were not and that we had made whatever attempt we could; we had made the Yalta agreement, we had tried to get something more at Potsdam, so forth, and so on. In the last analysis, we had exerted our influence as far as we could be legitimately expected to do, and maybe we had better look forward to getting a peace settlement. I think maybe this view begins in December, '45, but somehow it seemed to me to come more and more into the picture during early '46. I felt that the Secretary, and Jimmy Dunn along with him, really believed that the important thing was to get peace treaties for the East European states. For Italy, we had to get a peace treaty which preserved our position, which preserved the position of the Italian non-Communist parties, and which didn't give the Soviets a handle through reparation and other
means to dominate the future of Italy. Whether there was some idea in it that there was a bargain here -- that if we didn't make an issue of every damn point in the Balkan treaties, the Russians would reciprocate and not delay the Italian treaty -- was never discussed. I did get the impression from the way in which they handled the Balkan treaties that the fight about free governments in those countries was not going to be carried on indefinitely to the point of blocking the conclusion of treaties. We'd already had the agreements where, supposedly, after the Moscow meeting in December of '45, certain non-Communist politicians were going to take part in the Rumanian and Bulgarian governments. This was the compromise agreement which was to settle the issue, but really didn't work. On the other hand, during the year of negotiating in Paris on the satellite peace treaties, I felt that the outcome was going to be that if we got treaties, they would
not be treaties which we could point to and say, "We have saved the principle which we have talked about before." It finally came down to the human rights clauses of the peace treaty. We said, "Well, that's a kind of a catch-all thing. We can always protest against this or that under the human rights clauses."
History showed that this wasn't the answer. Nevertheless, it looked fairly good on paper. Even then, I think, on the higher levels of the Department there was just not the intention to make great issues about the satellite peace treaties. I think that Mr. Byrnes came to feel that we couldn't do anything in those countries as long as Soviet troops were there and that the conclusion of treaties presumably would pave the way for the withdrawals of Soviet troops. Then, possibly, we could get some sort of normal relationship, and maybe these countries would be able to be more independent than otherwise would be the case. Of course, the only place where this
was applied was in Bulgaria, as the Soviet troops didn't get out of Rumania and Hungary. We didn't make a big argument to get them out.
MCKINZIE: Byrnes was obliged to show up in London in September of 1945 with proposals, and it was a disastrous first Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. What kind of briefings did he get? How did you perceive his coming to grips quickly, or not coming to grips so quickly as the case might be, with the problems of negotiating, of establishing some kind of rapport with other diplomats?
CAMPBELL: I would like to go back and look in the files on this, because I prepared draft treaties with Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. I consulted other divisions of the Department; we had military clauses, disarmament clauses, and all the rest. These were rather elaborate treaties, which, I think, were never put on the table in the London
Conference. Whether they never got fully cleared all the way up to the top, to the Secretary, I don't know. We did do them in a hurry, because we didn't have a great deal of time. This was largely in August of ‘45 and we had to slap together total peace treaties which included all kinds of political and economic clauses, financial clauses, restitution of property, and all the rest. We had one for Italy, as well, which was done by either Walter Dowling or Johnny Jones, who was then the Italian desk officer. At any rate, there was intensive effort to produce treaties which the Secretary could either table, speak from, or whatever.
I didn't attend the London meeting, but what happened was, I think, that the British introduced some draft heads of agreements as they called it, for the Italian treaty. That was the basis on which the discussion took place. We never presented anything in the way of the Balkan
treaties because Mr. Byrnes had brought up, right at the beginning, the question of the nature of the governments in Rumania and Bulgaria, and all hell broke loose on that. There was never any serious negotiation of treaty clauses on the Balkan treaties at London, because they just didn't get down to it, as I recall. They had rather long discussions on the Italian treaty about Trieste and about the colonies. This was the center of interest, no doubt about that, for Mr. Byrnes. John Foster Dulles was there as well; he was interested in Italian colonies above all. He invented this thing about trusteeship for Libya, as I recall, and surprised everybody with it.
So, we did do intensive preparation, and I'm sure along with the draft treaties we had a lot of memoranda about what happened in Eastern Europe, particularly Rumania and Bulgaria. Mark Ethridge had been out there in the meantime.
Of course, he had been Jimmy Byrnes' special friend, and he'd been chosen because he was a journalist and not one of the diplomat types. In a sense it was a mission at least to confirm the positions which we had been taking. I think that Mr. Byrnes may have felt that he was going a little bit out on a limb on these questions if he wasn't absolutely sure that he had the backing of all the facts and could point to the report of a respected journalist. I remember wondering about his motive at the time. Ethridge came into the Department and we were given the job of briefing him about the situation and the countries where he was going to visit (Rumania and Bulgaria) to see how much civil liberty existed; freedom of the press and all of that. We told him what we could, and one of our colleagues, Cyril Black, went along with him as his principal assistant. Black knew Bulgarian and could interpret in Bulgaria for
him, as well as providing political background for him. I remember, when the telegrams came back, one of my colleagues saying, "Well, here it is. Ethridge agrees with everything which Maynard Barnes and Burton Berry said." He spent about two or three days, at most, in each capital, talked to the leading members of governments and the opposition parties and, of course, talked to our Foreign Service people. It didn't seem to me that he could have come away with any other conclusions than those he reached. At any rate, somehow it satisfied Mr. Byrnes' questioning as to whether he was getting a totally unbiased situation report from his own diplomats in those countries. I think Mark Ethridge knew what his job was. He was a veteran newspaperman, a wonderful guy, and has since had several other public assignments of similar or greater importance.
To get back to the London Conference of
September 1945, there was a lot of preparation that went into that, and I was surprised at the way it worked out. I think that perhaps :it was the strength of the American position on the Balkan states there that turned the Russians against the whole thing. In effect they broke up the conference on a procedural issue, or they provoked us into postponing it. The atmosphere had become so bitter and uncooperative, likely through that Balkan issue. The Trieste issue was a difficult one, too, but it didn't seem to generate as much strong talk on both sides.
MCKINZIE: You said it surprised you when you heard of Byrnes' position. How did you hear of it? Secretary Byrnes has been pilloried by historians for not having informed either the President or the Department, and there's that joke about how the State Department fiddles while Byrnes roams. Do you recall the extent to which there were telegrams and what information you received while
the conference was going on?
CAMPBELL: It's hard to recall. I think we must have been getting information telegrams summarizing the meetings. They may not even have gone up to get Mr. Byrnes' signature. They may have been sent by one of the officers of the delegation. There was this delegation series which went back and forth from London to Washington and gave us the trend of the meetings. I imagine that probably only after the people came back at the end did we have the full story of it.
Of course, we had no idea about the degree of communication or non-communication between the Secretary and the President. The whole business of Mr. Byrnes' standing with the President never came out at all until much later. I suppose it was known on some of the higher levels, but not to us.
MCKINZIE: What kind of a position did that put you in, after the conference was over and Byrnes had taken this extremely strong stand on the composition of government in Bulgaria and Rumania? How did one soften that position?
CAMPBELL: The thing was just in limbo for a while. We in our division did not want to soften the position. But I think that about late October there were some second thoughts elsewhere in the Department. I think they came largely from Ben Cohen, who wanted to get the peace treaty machinery started again and was looking around for ways to do it. Just when the Moscow meeting in December was set up, I don't know. I suppose it was set up in early December. I think there was re-thinking being done on the higher level; Cohen talking to the Secretary and to Jimmy Dunn as to how to get out of this impasse. I don't think they wanted to face the idea that the peace treaty negotiations had broken down
for good and that all we could do was to wait for the Russians to. come around and say .they were wrong, an unlikely happening. Actually, it had broken down on a procedural question, technically -- participation in the treaty negotiations by states (China and France) which had not been at war with the enemy states in question -- and this didn't seem to Cohen to be an adequate reason for not going on. After all, we had to carry on and get the world to the point where the U.N. could begin to function, the peace treaties could somehow be negotiated, and other settlements could be reached. I think that behind this re-thinking was a feeling that the grounds on which the London Conference had broken down were not ones on which we wanted to stand before history; either the procedural question or the question of Bulgaria and Rumania. So, while I don't have any personal recollections of this reconsideration, I had at
least heard that Ben Cohen had been talking to the Secretary about the question of the Council of Foreign Ministers and that we somehow had to get it back in business so that we could get a peace treaty for Italy. This was a large part of the reason for it. We wanted to get a peace settlement with Italy. We didn't want to have an unsettled situation there, because we wanted normal relations with Italy.
MCKINZIE: You called the Moscow meeting a watershed a few moments ago.
CAMPBELL: Yes. It seemed to us that there the Secretary really adopted a face-saving thing on Eastern Europe which was taken by the Russians to mean that this fight was over, so to speak, and they had won. The whole issue of free elections, representative government, and so on was not going to hold up peace treaties or affect their position in
Eastern Europe, at least in the former enemy states. Maybe some questions to do with Poland and elsewhere were still unsettled, but so far as this long controversy over the former Axis satellites, which had gone back to the armistices and the Yalta Agreement, was concerned, I think that this was the end of the road. Again, it leads me to think that Secretary Byrnes knew what he was doing. I assume that he wasn't just taken in and thought that the agreements he made on Rumania and Bulgaria were really going to be arrangements which worked and gave those people a free choice. I was surprised later when Averell Harriman came from Moscow to London early in ‘46 and said, "Well, things aren't so bad. Somehow we'll get some kind of government there and we'll get the non-Communist parties represented. They'll negotiate the peace treaty with us," and so forth. I think it should have been clear to the Secretary,
to Ambassador Harriman, and to all others that this was a climb-down from our position in London, very distinctly so. We were just accepting a formula which had been really proposed by the Soviets, a way of meeting the appearances of our position while not meeting it in fact. The arrangements for Bulgaria was that Vishinsky would go to visit Bulgaria and tell the Bulgarian Government, "Well, the three powers hope you'll have a free election." The arrangements for Rumania were for two insignificant people from the major non-Communist. parties to take posts in government and make at a coalition government; the people who really might have had some influence or prestige were not allowed to take part in it. Incidentally, I have a letter from a fellow in South Carolina who was writing the book on Mr. Byrnes, the Secretary of State, in that series, U.S. Secretaries of State. He asked me about whether the
Russians had vetoed a particular individual whom we wanted to have in the Rumanian Government. I couldn't remember whether this had actually been the case, whether the Secretary proposed specific individuals. In any case, the representatives who were in fact agreed upon were deliberately chosen as ones who would not raise the question of the inclusion of the real leaders of the non-Communist parties; they were ruled out by the Russians.
MCKINZIE: What was your own feeling about this? You had spent four years coming up with ideal situations for Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, and here suddenly you've not got ideal situations. All that work had not come to much reality in treaties.
CAMPBELL: We felt a strong disappointment. On the other hand, one had the sense, certainly at that period, of the limitations of ideal solutions
and of what one can do from a working level position. In a way, I regarded the situation as one in which you went on to the next step. We proceeded. The United States was not wholly eliminated from Eastern Europe and we had peace treaties to negotiate. It was terribly interesting work, even if some of the things were not going so well.
In Washington, I think, one tended to feel less strongly than the people in the field. I had occasion to know what the sentiments were of our people who were there in Bucharest, Sofia, and elsewhere, and in many cases this was a searing experience for them. I know Maynard Barnes, who was our Minister in Bulgaria (he had the title of Minister although he was just the "political representative" of the United States). He was really attempting to save the West from Soviet domination of the Balkan Peninsula and he was out there on the front line,
he felt. He got the Bulgarians, just by force of his own personality, to postpone an election, doing so without instructions to do so from the Department of State. I can remember the consternation in our division when we got Maynard Barnes' telegram saying that the Bulgarians had postponed their election because he told them the United States was going to do this and that.
He was disillusioned. That was his last important assignment. Although he wasn't really at retirement age after he came back from Bulgaria (he may have been somewhere close to it), he didn't again get a diplomatic assignment. He was used around the Department for a few years and then he retired.
Burton Berry was in Rumania and had the experience of going through Vishinsky's visits there in February and early March, 1945. Vishinsky dictated a new Rumanian Government,
forced it on the King, and refused to see the American representative. Berry was chasing him all around town trying to invoke the Yalta declaration. He came close to the point of resigning when he was out there, when he and his staff were going through the experience there. I remember that he had two young Foreign Service officers on his staff, Roy Melbourne and Charles Hulick. They were all so much involved in what they thought was happening against the interests of the United States that they were thinking of presenting a triple simultaneous resignation. They finally talked themselves out of it after about two days consideration, but it was an indication of how, in the case of people in the field, it was much more a personally difficult experience. It led some of them to think of resigning, because they felt that they were let down by the Secretary, by the President, or by the people sitting on
the desk who were actually drafting the instructions which came to them. I can remember being really astonished when they told me later that they felt as strongly as they did.
MCKINZIE: If I might use a cold war term, it sounds that you were "reconciled to the loss" for Western Allied political purposes of, at least, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania.
CAMPBELL: That's true, in a way. I think we still thought that Hungary might possibly be somewhat different for various reasons. So far as Rumania and Bulgaria were concerned, it seemed to me that we were losing ground successively with each passing month, and this was certainly confirmed by the whole process of the peace treaty negotiations in 1946. Even there, I was trying to do certain things which harked back to what we were doing two years before, vainly trying to get a better territorial settlement
between Hungary and Rumania. If Hungary and Rumania were both going to be Soviet satellites, presumably it shouldn't have mattered a damn to the United States just where the boundary ran and whether a particular Hungarian town near the border would be better off with Hungary because the people were Hungarian. Nevertheless, this had been our Wilsonian position and so I tried to pursue it. And Hungary was not quite a Soviet satellite yet. I remember a telegram we sent to the Department from London in about March of '46, saying, in effect, "Look, the Department has no position on this boundary of Transylvania between Hungary and Rumania. Our wartime studies have indicated such and such, and we think that it would be a much more just boundary between the two countries if some of this solidly Hungarian territory were, in the peace settlement, allowed to go to Hungary."
Meanwhile, of course, the armistice agreement
had given the whole thing to Rumania, subject to confirmation at the peace settlement. We worried around on this awhile and the Department finally called us off on that and said, in effect, "We really don't care that much. We're not going to make an issue of it. You can bring it up with the Russians, get them to refer back to Moscow, and see if there's any disposition to change."
Soviet Ambassador [Fedor] Gusev sat there at the table and said, "There is no change in the position of the Soviet delegation," and Jimmy Dunn didn't want to press it any further. Of course, it was interesting that, after we finished our draft treaties and presented them to the Paris Peace Conference which met in July, the Hungarians and the Rumanians came in, and the Hungarians were incensed. They said, "You've settled these territorial questions without even asking whether we have something to say about it
or could give you some maps and background information."
We said, "Well, it's a free peace conference; you'll be heard at the peace conference."
So, we went through this charade at the Paris Peace Conference, where the Hungarians came in with maps and the Rumanians came in with maps, and all made their arguments on where the frontier should be. We, the Russians, and the British had all been committed to leave the boundary where it was, unless somehow this decision would be voted down by the rest of the Paris Peace Conference (which it had no chance of doing).
Even then, I couldn't resist at this time talking to the Australians, because the Australians were anxious to make a show at this conference. Herbert Evatt, a real showman, was the head of their delegation. I pointed out to them some of the clauses we were not very happy with, saying, "We're bound by our agreements
with the Russians on these clauses and we have a gentlemen's agreement to support them at the peace conference, but other people don't have to support them. If you have any ideas about how you can correct the Rumanian-Hungarian frontier to make it a fairer frontier from the point of view of ethnic distribution of the population, we'd be happy to listen to your point of view."
So, the Australians came in on a number of points where they took positions which we had abandoned in the previous negotiations. It really wasn't entirely the proper thing to do, and it didn't work. Nevertheless, it was not an unsound idea that the world ought to know that we made some bad bargains.
MCKINZIE: Could you describe your own involvement in the issues with which you dealt in that period? That's very complicated when you get into not only the council meetings but the conference itself.
CAMPBELL: Of course, we first met after the Moscow Conference of December 1945 at the level of the Foreign Ministers, in London in January 1946. We were working against a kind of deadline, because the Council of Foreign Ministers was going into session, and we had to have draft treaties ready for them to talk about. On the other hand, there was no sense of urgency on the part of the Soviets, and I think that this was one of the first times where we had this endless stonewalling process in negotiations with the Russians. We had many, many instances of it later on. The Austrian treaty talks, in particular, went on for hundreds of sessions before it was finally signed. But all the meetings up to this time had been generally rather abbreviated, high level meetings, and the Council of Foreign Ministers had met only a couple of weeks in London in September of '45. Now for the first time we were settling down to negotiations on what obviously were going
to be very complex documents, peace settlements for five countries, Finland in addition to the three Balkan states and Italy. We had a limited time to do it and we felt a sense of urgency, because that's just the way the Americans looked at things; we had a few months in which to get draft treaties ready. The Soviets just sat there day after day and repeated the same things, saying that the Soviet delegation cannot agree to this and that for such and such reasons. Then we'd say, "We'll wait and give you a chance to communicate with your government." Then we'd come back three days later and the statement would be that the position of Soviet Government is as it was. We argued about reparation and restitution endlessly, until we were just sitting there at the table drawing pictures, writing poems, and all kinds of things while this went on. We must have spent a full week trying to set the terms of the commission which
was supposed to go to Triest, Istria, and that area to report on the sentiments of the population and recommend a boundary. The idea that somehow you could send a four-power commission at that stage that would sound out the wishes of the population, and come back and give a report which would convince any government to take any different position than it had taken, was ridiculous. Nevertheless, from the Western point of view this was what one should do. You should have an expert commission to see what the situation is on the ground. We spent a full week in London discussing what this commission should do, and there was a question of where it should go. The Russians wanted it to go all the way north to a place called Tarvisio by the Italians and Tarvis by the Austrians, which was in the northern-most part of the Venezia Giulia area way above the Adriatic. We saw absolutely no point whatsoever in having commissions go up there. It’s only a little bit
of territory; we knew who lived there; we knew where the railroads ran; and we knew what its importance was. Nothing any commission did there was going to have any effect on the nature of the peace treaty. The Russians still said that they should go there too, and finally Mr. Dunn said, "Well, the commission can go there if time permits. I just want to add those three words to the terms of reference for this commission."
The Russians couldn't agree to include the words "if time permits," so that for days we argued about whether these three words should be included in terms of reference to the commission. We were making up songs called "as time permits" to the tune of "As Time Goes By.”
This, of course, wasn't a revelation, because the question of how to get agreements with the Soviet Union had already been proved
to be a very difficult proposition. Still, we really had an initiation into the absolute disregard for a sense of time to get anything done. We had a feeling that the Russians were willing to sit there forever, and we knew that we didn't have this kind of a Secretary of State; he wanted to get ahead. This was the whole reason for the Moscow agreement (of December 1945) to get ahead with peace treaties. We had the feeling that Stalin and Molotov had sent [Fedor T.] Gusev to London (he was the Ambassador there) with instructions just not to agree to anything. They had certain positions on reparation. They wanted reparation from current production in Italy and we didn't. So, we sat there and found different arguments to support our respective positions. Gusev had a little speech about what the Italians had done in Russia, as the Rumanians had. They sent a division, I guess. As soon as this question of reparation came up
each time Gusev would launch into his speech. The Mussolini government sent the such and such division to Voronezh in the Soviet Union, and it took part in this campaign and that campaign. It destroyed so many villages, and so on. This was a long and very unfruitful negotiation, and by the time we got to Paris in April for the Foreign Ministers to meet, we had very spotty treaty drafts for them to consider. I would say that all the questions of any importance were still left to be decided. Whatever Mr. Byrnes had anticipated I don't know, but this meant that he was going to have to sit there, the Secretary of State of the United States, for week after week and month after month. He did, from April until October 1946, with a couple of trips home to report to the American people. He was negotiating things which a Secretary of State really shouldn't have to be concerning himself with. This was a crucial year in which things
were happening in a lot of places. Fortunately, he had Dean Acheson as Under Secretary in Washington. Nevertheless, this was an early instance, it seemed to me, of how a Secretary of State should not allow himself to become bogged down in a long negotiation abroad at the expense of running the foreign policy of the United States from Washington.
Of course, in a way, he was imprisoned, once he got there, because the other Foreign Ministers were there. Molotov was prepared to sit there and give the Soviet position at great length, as Gusev had. Some of these logjams were broken and some agreements were made, but there again it was not so bad as at the deputy's level, because at least at the Foreign Minister level you had people who could make some decisions. We were surprised, however, that Molotov seemed to be sending everything back for clearance. Stalin apparently had a very
close rein on him. There were occasions where he made a mistake, agreed to something which he hadn't intended to agree to, and later had to try to shift back again. That was something of a revelation to us, to see the degree to which even the second man in the Soviet Union had to refer back to the first man.
Jimmy Byrnes never felt he had to keep reporting to the President. Generally speaking, I think the Secretary ran the show at Paris. There weren't issues, in those particular negotiations, in which I would imagine the President would have had the greatest interest. They weren't crucial. They weren't the German issues, they weren't the Japanese issues, they were Italy and the Balkans. That was what it amounted to. The Balkans were already gone, and for Italy it was mainly a question of getting a settlement that would enable that country to recover and to maintain a close
association with the West, though of course it would lose its colonies and lose some territory to Yugoslavia. We were especially concerned with what the nature of the reparation and the economic settlement would be, but the Trieste business was the key, really, to the Italian peace treaty. Once we got a compromise on that, there was little doubt the treaty could be concluded.
MCKINZIE: You said in this book, The U.S. in World Affairs, that the Trieste thing was important because it had become, in world opinion, a test place for East-West relations, a U.S.-Soviet confrontation over the issues. Ethnic composition or the precise boundaries were not so important as one side or the other being able to claim some kind of victory. Did you have that feeling at the time it was all going on?
CAMPBELL: We did have that feeling. It was not there so much in the beginning, but it was by the time the Foreign Ministers began negotiating about it. Of course, the Council of Foreign Ministers was a kind of public conference. These were not really secret negotiations,
because each delegation told the press after the session roughly what had happened. This is what Chip Bohlen did at those meetings. The Secretary gave him a great deal of latitude to talk to the press after each meeting. The press never got into the Council of Foreign Ministers meetings, but there was considerable leakage on everybody's part.
MCKINZIE: I heard that there was an attempt at one point to cut down on the size of the meetings, instead of meeting with 10 or 15, to cut down to about three or four?
CAMPBELL: Yes, there was. When they finally made the Trieste decision, it was something like two or three on each side; each Foreign Minister and two advisors. It was very much cut down, because they had come to the conclusion that maybe they could make some progress that way. It was a very unwieldy thing when everybody came in with his full panoply of advisors, subordinates, and press people. I think that all of them, Secretary Bevin as well as Molotov, finally felt that they would
gain more if they cut down. I think it was an American proposal that they cut it down, because we were getting impatient with the lack of progress. So, there were times where they went into these executive sessions and other times where we had the whole show. I kept the notes of the meetings where we were all allowed in; I sat behind Mr. Byrnes, made the record, and then dictated the record at the end of each day. We sent it back to Washington and at the same time sent a telegram which summarized it.
MCKINZIE: Did Mr. Byrnes approve these every day?
CAMPBELL: No, I think that they were glanced over by Jimmy Dunn or Cavendish Cannon. I don't think Mr. Byrnes looked at them; I may be mistaken, but I don't think he did. They were, in effect, factual summaries, and didn't propose to say what his future strategy would be, or why he took a particular line. Of course, he had much of the Department there with him, all the top officers concerned with Europe except for the Under Secretary, who was running
the show in Washington. I don't know the degree to which he sent back messages which he drafted or signed personally to the President and the Under Secretary. We would have seen these, I think. I am trying to recall whether we had available a book of all telegrams incoming and outgoing, and I think we did. My own recollection doesn't remind me of anything between the Secretary and the President. There may have been some in a series, "Sec-del" and "Del-sec," which were the names of the telegrams that went back and forth. I'm sure there were some, because other people were sending things besides my factual report each time. All these questions that were coming up were part of getting the information and part of getting the line straight between what was going on in Washington and what was going on in Paris. The odd thing was that you didn't have to get instructions. You had the Secretary there with you on the delegation, and it was a different position from what every Foreign Service
officer in the field was always in, where you've got to go back and get instructions. All you had to do was to write the telegram yourself, say the policy is or should be so and so, and get somebody to sign it "Byrnes." Washington was on the receiving end. Of course, one of the tricks was to go back and forth; to send yourself a telegram, go to where the Secretary was and draft another telegram answering it the way you wanted the answer, and then come back and act on it. But you had to have travel orders which coincided with the way in which things were run. I remember that Reinstein was able to do this because he was going back and forth fairly often. Sometimes you couldn't get an answer to one of your telegrams asking for instructions and you'd say, "Well, damn it, I'll go home, write the answer, and then come back."
MCKINZIE: By this time you must have known Mr. Byrnes,
at least Mr. Byrnes’ technique and his ideas, fairly well. How did you assess him as a Secretary of State? You indicated earlier that he was an unknown quantity when he came in, and these were crisis times if there ever were crisis times. He was at that point, apparently, calling the shots as much, or more, than the President.
CAMPBELL: I was impressed by Jimmy Byrnes as secretary of State. Of course, I saw him only in this particular operation as an international negotiator on a variety of questions. I was impressed by his quickness and the way in which he wasn’t fooled by negotiating tricks on the part of his fellow negotiators, or his opponents, however you want to look at it.
I was impressed also on a number of occasions by his ability to state an American position, not just the American diplomatic position, on a particular international issue. In a way, he
was interpreting American attitudes and views to these other people; whether they learned anything by it that they didn’t know about America, whether they dismissed it as a political or propaganda statement being given to the press or for the benefit of Senator Vandenberg and Senator Connally, or whatever, I don’t know. Nevertheless, it did seem to me that there were several occasions on which Mr. Byrnes felt the time had come (it was largely in arguments with the Soviets rather than with the British or French) where he had to explain American positions in terms of the American ethic, American history, and such issues as freedom of the press or the nature of self-determination. It seemed to me that he was a very good spokesman for these particular occasions, where he was dealing with the top statesmen of other countries, particularly the Soviet Union. I felt that he was a good representative of this country. This may have helped give him added authority in the way he
carried on his diplomatic assignments. It seemed to me that he combined the American politician and the international negotiator in a way which served his country well in those particular negotiations. I was not always happy with the way in which he dealt sometimes with particular issues, but, of course, you can't win on all the issues.
This was a trading negotiation, where we traded off certain things and the Russians finally made concessions. When the time came for them to make concessions, they did so. I think that having perhaps won on the basic substance of the nature of their position on Eastern Europe, they finally were able to give way on some of the aspects of the Italian treaties. They gave way on agreeing on a free territory of Trieste rather than insisting on its going to Yugoslavia. They also gave way on other things, but they didn't give way on anything
which really hurt them very much. They gave way on things which they couldn't do very much about. They had a claim for a base in the Dodecanese Islands which they could not make good but which they hung onto saying again and again, "We won't agree that these islands should go back to Greece." All they did was by a negative vote to deny full international sanction to the islands going to Greece. It was a bargaining position. Finally, when the time came to make this concession, Molotov made it. He just said, "Well, we don't maintain that position anymore." He made the concession at the same time Byrnes was giving up something else.
There were times, those times when they had argued for a long time, that obviously there had been consultation by Molotov with Stalin to make a concession, which would bring a concession on the other side. There were a couple of days there, I remember, when it was
quite a jolly atmosphere. One side was giving something, the other side would give something, and Byrnes would say, "Well, what's next? Why don't you change your position on the Italian colonies?"
There was just laughter and no positions were changed, but some of the things were settled in ways which indicated the realization on both sides that horse-trading had to be done. I thought Mr. Byrnes came out fairly well in that. All of them were tired of the Trieste question which had become a matter of international prestige, where you couldn't afford to lose on it but maybe it was okay if you didn't win. That was what finally developed, in a way. I don't know all the inside story; these were closed, limited sessions where they worked that out. I remember it was worked out, and then they called a larger session. [Georges] Bidault was the one who said,
"I now have a proposal to make," as if he'd invented the thing. He said, "Well, we've got a situation where there doesn't seem to be any way out except by creating some kind of independent free port area. Since somebody has to break the ice, I'll take it upon myself to make the proposal." Then he proposed the French line, which is the one which surrounded what became the free territory, and the others nodded their heads and agreed. So, it was a very statesmanlike proposal, and had been worked out in a prior Soviet-American-British-French smaller session.
The Russians were desirous, I think, of having a settlement, even one which denied them a lot of things they had originally tried to get: part of the Italian Navy, big reparations, and other things they'd asked for. After the months and months they came eventually, at the end of the year, to the acceptance of a treaty
which didn't come anywhere near meeting their earlier positions and claims. We didn't know, at the time, their relations with the Yugoslavs, which the Yugoslavs have since told us were not so good. There was even a public speech, which I think we missed completely, made by Edvard Kardelj in the middle of the Trieste affair, warning great powers that they'd better not deprive Yugoslavia of its rights to territory to which it was entitled by all the laws of history, self determination, and everything else. This was actually directed at the Russians, because the Russians were about to sell them out, give up advocacy of the full Yugoslav claim, and accept this concept of free territory which meant the Yugoslavs would never get the city. The Yugoslavs knew that from that time on, if they didn't know it before, that they never were going to get Trieste. Their allies had, in effect, abandoned them. They knew what had happened to Fiume after
the other war. The free territory of Fiume was absorbed by Italy. At any rate, Trieste was still a big Italian city, and even if it was called a free territory, it would be in effect an Italian city and not a Yugoslav city. They resented very much the fact that the Russians left them on that issue, but we didn't know anything was going on between the Russians and the Yugoslavs behind the scene. We regarded the Yugoslavs as being the toughest pro-Soviets of all the Eastern European governments. This was at the time that they shot down two American airplanes. Our own relations with Yugoslavia were so bad, and they were treating our Embassy so badly in Belgrade, everything was wrong with the relations with Yugoslavia. I can recall that we hardly spoke to the Yugoslav people who were there when we met at the Paris Conference. We regarded them as worse than the Russians, as being more anti-American and tougher, even
though we regarded them as servants for the Russians and really just as pushing Soviet interests. They didn’t choose to tell us and we had no idea of some of the things which were going on. The antagonisms already were there in Yugoslav-Soviet relations, and had been there during the war.
MCKINZIE: In discussions of this period, there have been contentions that as 1946 progressed, Secretary Byrnes became less and less patient. You can make a case for that, if you look at what happened in the very early part of the year; the council of Deputies, and then the foreign Ministers’ meeting before the Paris thing, and then his Stuttgart speech in October of 1946. Is that really a matter of losing patience? A lot of people feel that as he dealt with the Soviets he got more and more hostile.
CAMPBELL: I think the experience of that year’s
negotiations tended to make him hostile. I don't know how it could be anything else. This frustrating, day-after-day negotiating wasn't the type of negotiation you would have with a Western democratic-type government. It was a tough contest, and the language wasn't always so polite. I think this experience must have made an impression on him and must have led him to question, at times along the way, if this was really worth it. Are we really getting to peace settlements, and if we get them, will they be worth anything? I can't remember any discussions with the Secretary, but I remember delegation members often saying, "Well, we probably aren't going to get any peace treaty out of this. We'll be stuck with the kind of indefinite situation in which we'll be living under the armistice arrangements. We'll just have to make whatever we can of this on the Western side, and certainly we won't have any
voice on the Eastern side. We'll just continue making protests."
Well, of course, this is what happened in the case of Germany. We had an indefinite situation of no peace settlement, to which people adjusted in their own ways. Sometimes I've heard those who look back and say that it was a mistake to make the peace treaties. Why did we make the Balkan peace treaties? We would have been better off just to tell the Soviets, "Well, you're there by force, we don't approve any of it and we'll maintain our position." It's an argument that can be made. But I think, looking back on it, that Mr. Byrnes was probably right, as long as he felt that he wasn't going through a travesty in their negotiation, erecting some kind of a system which would ill-serve rather than serve the interests of his own country and of Europe. I think he would have abandoned it. I think he felt that, by slugging
away and going through these endless sessions, eventually the Russians would have to decide whether they wanted to make some compromises which would be acceptable to our side. I think the thing finally fell into place in the fall session, in New York, of the Council of Foreign Ministers. I was not any longer with the delegation then, but the Secretary finally got the agreements on the Danube (not that the Danube clause was worth anything), on the free territory and the colonies, and the other things which had been held up so long. He did it with some rather tough tactics, forcing the Russians to put up or shut up, and I think that he felt that maybe his patience had paid off. I don't know to this day whether he felt that those treaties were really satisfactory. I'm sure that in many ways they were unsatisfactory. When they were all signed February '47, it was almost unnoticed. It really wasn't much of a
peace settlement. Nobody was very proud of it, but the treaties came into force, and we at least were able to bring Italy into the community of the Western nations on the basis of a legal peace treaty accepted by the Russians. Although the Trieste settlement, the planned free territory, never worked out, nevertheless, in effect we got Trieste for Italy by virtue of the long negotiation, and all we had to do was wait.
I have just edited a book on the Trieste settlement and negotiations of '54. It's really a book made up of interviews with the negotiators, and all I've done is write the introduction and the conclusion, along with conducting the interviews. One of those was with Vladimir Velebit, who negotiated for Yugoslavia in '54, and one of the questions was, "When did you really think you lost Trieste?" And he said, "April, 1945." Once their troops were kicked out, he said that he knew they would never get them back in. Despite all the peace treaty negotiations and so forth,
he felt that the Allied troops would never get out and give in to Yugoslavia. So, they had a sense that possession is that much of the law. They tried to get possession, but for once the Western Allies reacted and gave them an ultimatum to get out. They did and they never got back.
MCKINZIE: You'd left the State Department shortly after the Paris Conference. I wonder if there was any particular reason? Was the State Department running out of challenges?
CAMPBELL: Not really. Of course, this was a time when a lot of people were making decisions to leave the Government and go to universities; almost all of these people had been brought in from universities. My colleague, Cyril Black, left the Department in '45, I think. I worked very closely with Philip Mosely ever since I went into the Government in '42. He had been in many of the high level negotiations, and he
had helped me along a good deal. He went to the Moscow Conference in '43, to Potsdam, and to London in September of '45, and he and I were together through '46 until about this time. I think he left just before the Paris Peace Conference, and I stayed through it. He left to come back and become one of the founders of the Russian Institute on Columbia. I had a long talk with him and he said, "Well, you'll have to face this same kind of decision."
I forget whether at that time I had already received an invitation to come here and write the annual survey for the Council, which was an attractive offer. It had previously been written by Walter Lippmann, when it started, and by Whitney Shepardson, and they were going to revive it. I had not thought about leaving and was much interested in a Government career, but I can remember Mosely saying, "Well, don't forget that the career Foreign Service officers will
always get the choice over you when the time comes. You'll probably be disappointed; even though you think you're deserving of such and such a post you'll probably lose out on it." He wasn't talking about any particular job; he was just stating his general view. Maybe this happened to him one way or another. His view was that without having the Foreign Service background from the beginning of the career it would be hard sledding to go to the top. So he advised me to come here. As a matter of fact, he recommended me for the job here. I had long talks with Doc Matthews and Jimmy Dunn, who tried to dissuade me from leaving Government.
In the end I decided to change, but not with the idea that I was changing forever. I think that this was perhaps part of the tradition that was growing up then -- it really began with the war -- in the foreign affairs field. It began with the New Deal in internal affairs with shuttling
back and forth, so to speak. One either went into the Government or left it with the idea that it was always open to go back where one came from. This is perhaps easier in an institution like this, the Council on Foreign Relations, which doesn't have all the rigidities of the university and the university career; tenure, grades, ranks, and all the rest.
Also, we were a lot closer to the Government here in that we were in continuous contact with the people in the State Department. Even though one was no longer in Washington, all the personal connections remained. This appeared to me a good place to be from the point of view of either being out of the Government or going back in sometime. I finally did go back and then, again, left. This has been a situation where one doesn't have to make a permanent choice. Of course, on both sides you tend to lose the continuity of career, which brings you added
promotions with the number of years spent, and the ability to stay in one place long enough to impress people. Here it doesn't make any difference, because there's not much of anywhere to go. You're here as a senior member of the staff and that's what you are. In the Government it's very much the business of how fast you get promoted, where you are, or what grade you are. At any rate, I came here, wrote these books, and was in the process of writing a third one when I went to Washington and saw Cavendish Cannon, my former boss. He was back from his post in Belgrade recruiting a delegation for the Danube Conference, and he said, "Why don't you come along?"
I said, "Well, I don't work for the State Department."
He said, "Well, we can get you in from the outside." He made a request and I actually joined the Department again with a regular
appointment, even though it was only to last about six weeks. I went to that conference, which began in late July of '48 and lasted till late August. I think that I was back here again by mid-September. This was a rather unusual and welcome experience, because it was a possibility which I wouldn't have otherwise had, getting to Yugoslavia at the time of the fifth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. This was where Tito openly made his long speech in defiance of Stalin, and the country was in the midst of a terrible crisis, transition, and self-examination, with possibilities of invasion from the Soviet Union or from neighboring states. Certainly, the pressures were beginning. The leadership in Yugoslavia, although it wanted to hold onto its position of independence against Soviet pressures, was not sure that it was going to be able to do it, was concerned about its relations with all the Communist states, and was not yet in a mental frame of mind to establish
any kind of decent relations with Western countries, even though they knew they might have to do so at some later time. In a way it was a period of special historic interest, in that something absolutely unprecedented had happened which was not fully comprehended by anybody, the Russians, the Yugoslavs, or the West. Opinions on all sides were yet to be formed, and that's one reason why the milieu at that time was tremendously interesting.
The Danube Conference itself was obviously less interesting. The question of free navigation on the Danube, which President Truman had originally brought up at Potsdam, had become something of an article of faith with us ever since. We regarded it as important in itself, from the point of view of the international law precedents -- the fact of the Danube's status as an international river for a hundred years -- and because the President had made this important
statement at Potsdam which we were going to try to put into effect insofar as we could. Yet, the arrangement at the time of the peace treaties said only that there would be a subsequent conference on the Danube and listed the states which would be there. It didn't say anything about procedures, voting rights, or any of the other things. So, actually the conference was not a serious conference. It was supposed to draft a treaty on the navigation of the river, the control of navigation, and the rights of riparian states and navigating states, and such matters. But the conference, when it met, made its decisions by majority vote, a curious way to negotiate a treaty; but of course we had had such voting at the Paris Conference too.
At any rate, on our side were Great Britain, France, and the United States, chosen according to the peace treaty deal, presumably because they, along with the Soviet Union, were
great powers which were members of the Council of Foreign Ministers. The British and French were also historically connected with the previous regime of the Danube, and the United States was too big to be left out. The rest were all countries which were riparian countries on the Danube, including the U.S.S.R., which bordered on the Danube by virtue of the territory it had taken from Rumania; and also, for no good reason, the Ukranian S.S.R., by virtue of that same territory. It just so happened that, because of what had happened in Eastern Europe over the past three years, all the participants, save the three Western powers, were, more or less, in the Soviet camp. This was one conference (in contrast to what was happening in the United Nations ever since its founding) where the "automatic majority," as Vishinsky liked to call it, was on the Russian side. So Vishinsky himself came there to represent the Soviet Union and this was a big Vishinsky show in which he was demonstrating to
all of Eastern Europe, to the world at large, and to the United States that here was a conference where they could dictate the terms. Nobody else sent people of the same stature. The three Western powers were represented by their Ambassadors in Belgrade and the so-called satellites were represented by their foreign ministers, generally. They had, according to law, the same status as Vishinsky, but he was giving the orders and they were making speeches which echoed his own.
We were treated to this travesty of an international conference, in which nothing we said had any effect. We made statements, we dragged out all the principles of international law, and we reviewed the history of the Danube. We had on our delegation a maritime lawyer from some firm out in Cleveland who'd made his reputation in the laws of the Great Lakes and the rivers of the Middle West. He didn't know anything
about the Balkans, the Danube, or contemporary international affairs, but we had to have a delegation which would show that we were dealing with maritime law. We had a sizeable delegation of people who had nothing to do. The only people who had much to do were Mr. Cannon himself, who was the spokesman, and two representatives from the transportation division of the Department of State. One of these was the deputy representative, Walter Radius, who'd been in Pasvolsky's division during the war, and the other was Jack [John W.] Tuthill, who later became Ambassador to the EEC and to Brazil. We had a Soviet expert, Francis Stevens, who presumably was going to tell what Vishinsky was up to, and myself, who came because Mr. Cannon brought me along for Balkan experience, I guess, and because I'd worked with him before. We reported at length on this whole conference. I again had the job of drafting the telegram each night to the Department
to tell them what was going on.
There are a couple of interesting sidelights which might be put on the record now, because I haven't written about them. One of those was the way in which the United States played the role that it could play there. We knew that we could not change the outcome at all, but because of what had happened within the Soviet camp, so to speak, among the East European states (the Yugoslav affair), Ambassador Cannon tried in every way he could to bring up questions and issues in ways which would embarrass either the Yugoslavs, the Soviets, or any of the others; to emphasize the way in which the whole course of the conference was being ruthlessly dictated and carried through by Vishinsky. Vishinsky, in a way, was at his best or at his worst, because he was a fellow of tremendous intellectual capacity and considerable forensic capabilities. He had a great vocabulary, a sense of humor, was
fond of proverbs and other ways of spicing up his speeches, and also could be terribly cutting and insulting to other delegates. In a way, this put us at a disadvantage; no other delegation had anybody with comparable abilities. But he overplayed his hand in a way. We tried as best we could to show what was happening, to illustrate the domination of the East European states by the Soviets, and to show up some of the weak spots in the Soviet claim to be a Danubian power. We tried to put the Yugoslavs on the spot, to see if there would be any way in which they would assert themselves against the Soviets. It was interesting that their representative there was doing quite the opposite. He was trying to be more Russian than Vishinsky, to show that on foreign policy questions they were still loyal. Tito was making speeches, at that very moment that we were meeting in the conference hall, telling Stalin that Yugoslavia was going to insist on
its own independence, but that on foreign policy questions, of course, the Socialist world had to see that the imperialists didn't get any footholds in the Danube Valley.
One would have to look back at some of the speeches, but even beyond the speeches, in corridor conversations and even in gestures, there were ways in which our Ambassador was cutting a kind of strategy at that conference which was not very apparent to anybody else. I had several long conversations with him about it, because we worked late at night in the Embassy to discuss what to say the next day, to get the speeches ready, and to send back to the Department the record of what happened on that particular day. Sometimes, it would be 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. His Embassy car had gone home, and he would walk home in the early morning hours, two or three miles to his house out in the suburbs.
As he put it, "I'm trying to break up the Soviet bloc." By that time nobody was fighting the battle anymore for free elections, and we knew that there was a Soviet bloc; the Soviets had subservient regimes in the East European states. But Cannon was already, as a result of what happened in Yugoslavia, seeing that there were new possibilities of weakening what appeared to be a solid Soviet front. At that meeting, you had all these supposedly loyal Communist representatives. Ana Pauker was there from Rumania, [Vladimir] Clementis from Czechoslovakia, [Erik] Molnar from Hungary, Gheorghiev from Bulgaria, and these were all presumably loyal spokesmen for the Soviet point of view. Yet, we didn't know really how much influence the Yugoslav events might have upon the East European countries and their leaders. Even at this early date, within a month after the break, Cannon was trying to test this idea out, trying to
play upon the fact that there was disunity in the Communist camp. It's interesting that, later, Clementis was one of those who was executed for Titoism. Even though he probably wasn't guilty of it, he was executed for it. The themes of nationalism and national communism, which later appeared and developed in ways which certainly could not have been foreseen at the time, were at least foreshadowed at this early stage. That was one reason why it was a particularly interesting time.
One other angle which, of course, will never appear in the record, was that Cannon also had to keep the Western delegates together. There were times during the negotiation when particularly the French wanted to give up on this whole business of maintaining, explaining and defending a common Western position, just cast negative votes all the way through and let it go at that. The French Ambassador was not much interested in the
Danube, and he was not interested in engaging in verbal jousts with Vishinsky or with the Yugoslav Government, to which he was accredited.
The French were not very keen on carrying through with really consistent Western policy towards the end. The British weren't so much either. It struck me that at the time that Charles Peake, who was the British delegate, was rather more spectacular at some of the sessions in being disrespectful to Yugoslav hosts and to Vishinsky by bringing his lunch and ostentatiously eating his lunch there at the negotiating table while the speeches were going on. Nevertheless, he had no particular ideas or any strategy; he was rather bored with the whole thing and was being very British about it. Our group, and particularly our Ambassador, at least were continuously trying to hold the Western powers together to make sure they stayed through to the end and kept a consistent position. Then, after all this, no matter what happened in the future, we
would be able to say that the position taken was such and such, our view on the legal status is so and so, the international rivers should be governed by conventions accepted by all the powers which have a proper role in using the river systems, and so on. I remember Cannon coming back to me after a visit to the French Embassy saying that he had found the French Ambassador in a funk. He had to rally him and to keep him going, so that we wouldn't find the French either not showing up for any more of the meetings or maybe trying to look for compromises, and in the end breaking the line which we felt had consistently had to be followed through to the end. So, there were instances all the way through that conference where something important happened, even though on the surface there was not a newsworthy event in sight. Much of this didn't come through the telegrams to the Department, because Cannon didn't have any instructions from
the Department on how to handle this kind of thing. There were several occasions where he told me of things that had come up, both at this time and of somewhat earlier. He said, "Oh, I didn't report that to the Department. I told the Yugoslavs this or that, but I didn't report that to the Department. It would just cause a lot of trouble."
What do you say without specific instructions to say anything? But this is, I suppose, in the nature of diplomacy. Some resourceful diplomats take their chances on what they can do on the spot, without having very specific and precise instructions as to what they are allowed and what they are not. He was particularly, I think, bold in that respect, although he didn’t have that reputation generally in the Foreign Service. He was a regular Foreign Service officer who had come to that embassy very late in his career. I think he'd given up any hope of being an
Ambassador. He said, "All I want to be is first secretary in Lisbon; I've had enough of the Balkans," and so on. He was first secretary in Lisbon when the call came. We had very poor representation in Yugoslavia with Ambassador [Richard C.] Patterson, who was his predecessor, and suddenly, Doc Matthews and Jack Hickerson persuaded Secretary [George C.] Marshall that Cannon was the one man who ought to go to Yugoslavia to handle the situation in which we then were there. It wasn't a prospect that offered very much, because our Embassy was under siege, more or less; all the local employees were being persecuted, and we weren't able to do anything in negotiations. We had the worst possible relations with Yugoslavia. So, they must have decided in Washington, it was no place for a political appointee, and nobody who was a political appointee would want it.
They wanted a career person there who really could handle the situation and deal with tough
problems. So, they sent Cannon there at a time when it looked as though nothing would come out of our relationship with Yugoslavia, and he just happened to be there when the break came. He had an excellent staff, and they followed those events and even had some premonition of what was going to happen before June 28, 1948. I think this is one of the high points in the performance of some of the American Foreign Service people abroad; it has always stuck in my mind. I don't have a wide basis for comparison, but it seemed to me that in the way in which our diplomatic people handled the situation in Yugoslavia -- and that includes not just relations with Tito and Yugoslavia, but Yugoslavia's position in the whole complex of Eastern Europe, and relations with Italy and the effects on global East -West relations -- that particular group of people, when Cannon was Ambassador, performed a really tremendous service to the country. The
Danube Conference in a way was an incident in that general performance.
MCKINZIE: You've written elsewhere that at least not until early -- 1949 did Washington adopt a policy based on the conclusion that Yugoslavia's break was real and that it was in the interest of the United States to see it continue. Why were they so slow to realize this? Obviously Ambassador Cannon had some intuitive sense of it.
CAMPBELL: Yes. The Embassy was convinced, particularly Cannon. The other key men were Bob [Robert B.] Reams, who was his Deputy Chief of Mission, DCM; and Bill [William K.] Leonhart, who was political reporting officer. I think they were convinced within a matter of weeks that this was a break, this wasn't a show, but it was terribly difficult to get anybody in Washington to move on this. Particularly Chip [Charles E.] Bohlen (I guess he
was counselor, I'm not just sure what position he was in at that time) was very skeptical of a break between Tito and Stalin. He said roughly this: "The thieves fall out. Okay, let's just keep an eye on it. It doesn't concern us, and it's not our business to get involved in it in any way or to predict how it's going to go." There was just inertia; it was difficult to get the Department to do anything.
It wasn't clear, of course, what we could do, because the Yugoslavs were not running to us. They were maintaining that their foreign policy was unchanged, and they made a great point at the Danube Conference of saying, "We are loyal to the Soviet Union's foreign policy." All the strife and the quarreling was presumably over doctrinal questions of how to interpret Lenin and what the Yugoslavs were doing in agricultural policy or various other internal policies; whether they were right or not. Many of the
aspects of the quarrel which had to do more with state relations and especially economic relations between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia hadn't come out in the open yet. It wasn't easy for the United States to see how anything we could do or any pronouncement we could make would be useful to anybody. We simply had to wait until we got some indication that the situation was one which could be exploited in some way by the United States. But there was a tendency in Washington not really to think of it even in those terms.
On the other hand, one can see it now in the Foreign Relations of the United States for '48, which obviously isn't complete on all of this. I just glanced through it, and you don't find much there until about the turn of the year. There was a famous telegram which the Embassy sent back saying, in effect, "How long is the Department going to sit around? Here we have the
greatest heresy since Henry VIII, and Washington doesn't seem to know it yet and to take account of it." That telegram, I think, did stir some action, and the NSC then took up the question. The first paper which came out, NSC-18/2, was the paper on easing trade restrictions for export to Yugoslavia. This was a very minor action, but the symbolic importance of it was considerable because this was the beginning of the whole thing. That was the time when I came back to the Department. I'd been negotiating to go back and I was going down and talking to people in that division in Washington before I actually went back. I talked to Leonard Unger, who was an economic officer for Southern European affairs, now the Ambassador to Taiwan, and he was saying, "We've got to look at this Yugoslav balance of payments. It's really in terrible shape, and NSC has just made a decision." He showed me the NSC paper, which he wasn't entitled to do since I hadn't yet come on the payroll. He
said that just to give the Yugoslavs a more legitimate position with respect to trade was not going to make any real difference economically, because they would be cut off from their trade with the East, as was already happening. He said they would have to turn to us, as they would not be able to come anywhere near meeting the balance-of-payments deficit. Their exports to the West at the time were almost nonexistent.
So from the time I came back in March, the Department had begun a review of the Yugoslav situation based on a study of the Yugoslav economy. They had asked the Yugoslavs for some statistics, just to see. There was at that time a beginning of the concept that the United States did have a role to play in the Yugoslav-Soviet relationship and it must be economic.
MCKINZIE: An economic role involves appropriations from Congress, and the State Department did manage for quite some time to avoid going to
Congress for authorization for such aid. Wasn't that a part of the considerations in early 1949, when you came back?
CAMPBELL: Once that original NSC decision had been made, we began to look at Yugoslavia's economic situation. I've forgotten just when the Yugoslavs first made inquiries about loans from Ex-Im Bank, but they went to private banks first. I remember that they approached the Irving Trust Company and other private banks and got some rather positive response, but they couldn't get loans of the size that they felt they needed. Sometime along the summer of 1949 they, in effect, applied for Ex-Im Bank loan, and we set about telling the president of the Ex-Im Bank that there were sound political reasons why this loan should be given. The announcement of the loan said that it was an entirely commercial business and that the idea was to facilitate Yugoslav trade with the United States for the benefit of American
exports. We did everything to play down the political importance of that loan, because, again, the Yugoslavs didn't want to play up the fact that they were turning to the West in any political sense. They were under tremendous pressure in the summer of '49, from the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc countries, which was taking all kinds of forms; the breaking off of all their defense treaties, the organizing of infiltration across the borders, plus all the economic pressure. They felt very much under the gun, but they also didn't know whether some obvious turns to the West might be just enough provocation to bring about an attack on them, without any assurance that there would be any support from the West. And in fact it is very doubtful that there would have been any support from the West at that time. It was interesting (and I'm not sure of the dates here) that from almost the time when I came back to the Government we began working on a new NSC paper for Yugoslavia
which looked to be a broader provision of economic support and put in stronger terms the interest of the United States in maintaining the independence of Yugoslavia.
MCKINZIE: You were working with the policy planning staff at that time?
CAMPBELL: No. I was with the Southern European Affairs, which became Southeast European Affairs after the Balkans, on the Department’s organization chart, were divided from Italy. Wally [Walworth] Barbour had been chief of that division. He was then sent off to Moscow, I think, and I became acting chief of Southeast European Affairs and had the responsibility for at least initiating and drafting. I had a Yugoslav desk officer in the division. We worked on these things to produce a paper for the NSC. The paper was also worked on by S/P, the Policy Planning Staff. A fellow named Bob [Robert P.]
Joyce was in on this whole development of policy toward Yugoslavia because of his own personal interest in Yugoslavia. He’d been there before the war, was in the Legation when the Germans attacked, and took part in the flight from Belgrade through the country to get out and not be captured by the Germans. He later went into the OSS and dealt with infiltrating agents into Yugoslavia during the war. He knew a lot of Yugoslavs and maintained a tremendous interest. I think eventually he wanted to be Ambassador to Yugoslavia but never was. While he was in S/P, of which George Kennan was the Director, he was in charge of Yugoslavia and he was the fellow I was to deal with on all these questions in drafting NSC papers, and looking at the CIA material. He was also the liaison with the CIA for the Department.
MCKINZIE: Was there talk of a trade-off in the sense of allowing Spain to have a new status
if Yugoslavia received American support? The minute it got into Congress that issue was raised.
CAMPBELL: Well, McCarran and others were always bringing up Spain, and we in the Department, or we in the executive branch, were really a bit afraid of the Congress on this whole Yugoslav issue. There was very little contact with the Congress, and nobody in Congress really was informed of these NSC papers, so far as I know. We were talking policy decisions in the NSC which went pretty far. One which I worked on in '49 was 18/4, the successor to 18/2. It really laid out the question of economic aid, I think it even posed the question of military aid, although I may be wrong. It may not have been until 1950 that we did that, because the paper was revised again in 1950 and at that time we were, having given two or maybe three Ex-Im Bank loans, running out of economic
instruments and had to look to ways of providing both economic and, possibly, military support.
We were not prepared in early 1950 to go to Congress on these questions, and I remember we used every way around and through the existing legislation, none of which directly authorized aid to Yugoslavia. We got grain and other goods, which had been shipped to Italy, transferred from Italy to Yugoslavia. We got Butch [Adrian S.] Fisher, who was the Legal Adviser, to interpret the Military Defense Assistance Act in a way which would enable us to get food under that act on grounds that it was good for the Yugoslav army. Then, presumably, other stocks would be made available for the civilian population. This was a very dubious legal interpretation, I think, but, nevertheless, we were willing to take the chance, if Secretary [Dean] Acheson at that time approved of it. He too was willing to take the chance.
Finally we came to the point that we discovered there was such a terrible situation in the food supply to Yugoslavia in the summer, 1950, that we were going to have to go to Congress. I remember that I was sent out to Eastern Europe in the last week in July, 1950 to visit our missions in Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, and others. I remember going through the cornfields of Hungary and Yugoslavia, and our agricultural attaché in Belgrade was out there saying, "Somebody's got to do something about the corn crop in this country." It was then August and it was obvious that the whole thing was going to burn up. I came back, and messages then began to come back from the Embassy that the Yugoslavs faced a disaster and that the political effects of this might be that Tito would not be able to withstand the economic pressure. So, after trying these other methods, I think that the Secretary, Mr. Acheson, and
Willard Thorp, who was Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs; they all got together, along with George Perkins, the Assistant Secretary for Europe. At any rate, their decision was that we were going to have to go to the Congress, which meant we were going to have to go to the President and put it up to the President to call a special session of Congress, after the vacation for election. As I recall it now, there were two reasons that Mr. Truman gave for calling Congress into session. This was one of them, and I've forgotten what the other one was. I think it was some question of domestic policy, but anyway the President's decision on Yugoslavia gave us a tremendous lift. We'd been trying to get this policy for Yugoslavia in a position in which it had general acceptance in the government and could not be labeled as a conspiracy on the part of a few officers from the State Department to get aid to Yugoslavia. We saw that a broadly
supported public policy was useful as a means of keeping Yugoslavia out of Soviet hands and, of course, this meant a whole new approach. It meant going public and explaining to individuals, important Congressmen, what the situation was.
MCKINZIE: Did you yourself have to get involved in any of that?
CAMPBELL: Somewhat, but not too much. I was so much in the middle of what we were doing in the way of day-to-day drafting, but I was sent up to talk to some of the House committee chairmen. I remember talking to Representative [Clement J.] Zablocki and Representative Edna Kelly from Brooklyn, who was against the whole thing because she was Catholic and Archbishop Stepinac was still in jail in Croatia. I talked to [Abe A.] Ribicoff, I remember, who was Representative from Connecticut. We all did some of this, but, of course, the Congressional Relations Bureau
of the Department did most of it. I remember they talked to John Voorhis of Ohio, and people whom they thought might help rally support and at least convince some of the Congressmen who were either against or indifferent that this was important from the point of view of the United States. Then at the same time we brought Ambassador George Allen back from Belgrade and had him make some public speeches. He was very good at this because he had a southern accent, and he went around to the hinterland and said, "I told Tito that we don't like his system and we know he doesn't like ours, but we are together on one thing; we don't want the Russians to take over control of the Adriatic. It's strategically important for us. There are so many Yugoslav divisions which are standing there between the Russians and the Mediterranean." George Allen, as we say, used to take those twenty Yugoslav divisions and parade them up and down all over the
United States in order to persuade people there was a reason for our policy. Of course, he had to deal with the argument of, "Why should we help a Communist? We've been fighting communism; we're fighting a war now in Korea and a cold war everywhere else all over the world. Now you come and tell us to give special aid and send our food to keep Communists going."
The whole thing became pretty much a public issue, but one thing that struck me was the fact that we didn't really have a knock-down fight on this. The Congress, by sizeable majority in both the Senate and the House, voted the Yugoslav aid bill. We had a considerable number of strategy sessions in the Department about how to play it, and we decided that the best line with the public was the humanitarian one. There was a serious drought, people were going to starve, and Yugoslavia was cut off from supplies which it might get from other parts of the world.
Only the United States would be able to provide the urgently needed food. This was the line, generally. One could go back and read the President's message to the Congress, which was drafted in the State Department, in proposing the legislation. At any rate, with what I thought was a minimum of public debate, since it was aid to a Communist country at the height of the cold war, the Congress, "the do-nothing, 80th Congress," passed the Yugoslav Food Relief Bill for fifty million dollars in food aid to Yugoslavia.
Well, it happened that we'd used up some of it, and we had to take some of that fifty million and replace the amounts that we'd taken away from other sources under some of that other legislation. Nevertheless, this was an important start, and what it did was tide us over to the point where we could put Yugoslavia under the regular Marshall plan or ECA program, under which we then had to negotiate an economic
aid agreement with them. But this was the big hurdle, getting congressional action on the food bill so that Yugoslavia was no longer a special case. It now had the approval of a congressional vote, and thereafter there was no great objection, except by some few people in the Congress, to including the Yugoslavs under the ECA legislation for the next few years, and even to providing military aid for them.
We made them ask for the aid we gave them. We thought if their situation was as they and our own observers said it was, they should ask for it. Although they made some preliminary soundings before making a formal request, we knew that when we went to the Congress we would have to do so on a basis of a request. So, the Yugoslav Ambassador was told that he would have to submit a formal note to the U.S. Government, and he did. I remember he came in and submitted a letter to Willard Thorp, Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Economic
Affairs, and that was the formal request. I've forgotten the date, but I think it was early fall of 1950. By that time there had been a considerable evolution of relations, and I think I would date it from the fall of '49 when the U.N. General Assembly met, but I've forgotten what stage of the U.N. session that was. For the first time, and this was over a year after the break with the Russians, the Yugoslav Foreign Minister, then [Edvard] Kardelj, got up in the General Assembly and made an independent statement of foreign policy, saying that Yugoslavia's foreign policy was "made in Belgrade," in effect. He said it was based on Yugoslav interests and explained what they were. It might be taken as the first nonalignment speech from a Yugoslav high official. They had told us ahead of time that such a speech would be made, or they told us that Yugoslavia would surprise the world when they came to the U.N. General Assembly in '49.
From that time on, I think, they began to figure that there wasn't any point in maintaining publicly the fiction that somehow this was a temporary thing, that Stalin would change his mind.
After all, Stalin organized a new meeting of the Cominform in '49, which really invited the Yugoslavs to throw out the Tito regime. In effect, all the bridges were then cut. There was much less reluctance on their part to turn directly to the West and say, "We need support from you." It took a bit of urging to get them to put it on paper, because it was hard for them after years of defiance and telling us off to come, in effect, begging, "We need your help against some other Communist country." But they finally did put it in writing. By the fall of 1950 they were really looking for a much closer relationship with the West, particularly with America. Before they got economic help from us,
they'd had some revision of their trade treaties with the British and they had got favorable treatment in London as well. By this time they weren't as backward about their relations with the West.
They were still under threat of military action in 1950, and the Korean war had just started. (How much the Yugoslavs knew about the Soviet role in starting the Korean war, Heaven knows. I don't think we know yet about it.) At any rate, Washington was concerned that the Korean pattern might be repeated in Yugoslavia, because at the time I came back from Belgrade, in the summer of 1950, I found that our division had been asked to provide every week a new assessment of the possibilities of Soviet attack on Yugoslavia, where all the divisions were, what statements had been made, and so on. Our people, the White House and the Pentagon, I think really expected an attack on Yugoslavia. How far the Yugoslavs themselves expected it by that time, I don't know. In that period from '49 to '50 they
felt very much in danger and, therefore, were willing to be much more open about asking us for support.
The first request for military support, and this isn't on the public record anywhere although I think I may have hinted at it in my book on Tito, came at the end of 1950 when they sent Velebit over to see whether we could give them some arms. This was all hush-hush. The message came through the CIA and we got it through Bob [Robert P.] Joyce. He came around to us and said, "They're sending a fellow over here." We didn't even know what his name was at the time. He showed up and he had private conversations with Fred [George F.] Reinhardt, who was then my boss and in charge of East European Affairs in the Department. They had several private conversations outside the Department somewhere. Then the agency arranged for a shipment, to go out of the Delaware River, of arms that
somehow were going to a Yugoslav freighter which put in there. There was no publicity anywhere about anything, in the rest of the Government or anywhere else. The Pentagon knew about it, I guess, but nobody else in the State Department except a handful of people knew about it. It was one freighter full of some old guns; I don’t know what kind of stuff it was. At any rate, those arms weren’t going to protect Yugoslavia if they were attacked by the Soviet Union.
But the psychological effect of our being willing to supply military equipment to Yugoslavia at that stage was tremendously important. Whether the Yugoslavs somehow let the Russians know that the United states was prepared to supply and was actually supplying something in the way of military equipment, I don’t know. Even if they didn’t, for their own morale it was very important for them to feel sure at least that there might be more where that particular shipment came from. Later, after the passage of the food bill
and the negotiation of the ECA agreement, military aid could be granted openly; George Allen negotiated a military agreement in November 1951 (I may have the month wrong). At any rate, this first shipment in early 1951 was entirely covert and the idea was that it would just indicate to the Yugoslavs that if they were somehow pushed back and forced to go with guerrilla war or whatever, supplies would come to them from outside. I've always felt that that had a considerable significance in breaking the ice on the question of military aid. Of course, Yugoslavia is the only Communist country that we've ever given any military aid to.
MCKINZIE: Did anyone at that time raise a criticism that, by being supportive of Yugoslavia, the United States was forcing the Soviet Union to take a stronger stance against Titoists in the rest of the satellite countries and thereby intensifying the cold war?
CAMPBELL: I don't think so. I don't recall it. I think it was considered that if we could sub-tract one country from the Soviet bloc, even though the screws were tightened on the others, it was justified, even though it was a price paid by people in those countries rather than by the United States. At the same time there was the feeling that this maybe was something which would have a longer term result throughout Eastern Europe which would be favorable. At the time we had supportive arguments which we made to our own higher officials, to the Secretary and the President, and which we as the Government made to the British, to the French and others whom we were asking to cooperate in these policies. We had a number of arguments that this would change the strategic situation, that it would have an effect on the whole idea of Communist solidarity and would tend to undermine Soviet authority. Once you get a Communist government which defies the
central fount of authority in the communist world, this is necessarily a tremendous advantage for the free world. The fact that there might be and inevitably would be tightening up elsewhere in the Communist bloc was, I think, considered a factor, but not a major one.
I recall that there was at that time, mid-1949, a review of the policy toward Eastern Europe which George Kennan either was asked by Secretary Acheson to do or decided on his own to do. At any rate, he assigned John Davies the task of thinking up some brave new approach to the question of what we do about Eastern Europe. The basic reason for it, the initiative, came from the fact that the Marshall plan seemed to be a fruitful idea for Western Europe, but for various reasons we had been unable to extend it to Eastern Europe. The Russians had prevented the East European countries from taking part in it, and what we were doing through the
Marshall plan was really helping to freeze the division of Europe and did not help the situation at all in Eastern Europe.
What was there that might be undertaken in a way of a new idea? This was the job of S/P, to produce new ideas, so the idea which John Davies came up with was "Titoism." In a way it was merely a codification of what we had already decided to do with respect to Yugoslavia, but it was an attempt to generalize and to propose at least the thesis that if this happened in Yugoslavia it could happen elsewhere in Eastern Europe and that something could be done from the outside to encourage it. What you did for Yugoslavia presumably might give encouragement to other satellite regimes or other regimes in the Soviet bloc to see that there was an alternative. If they had the courage to do what Tito did, they might look to the West for support in maintaining that kind of position. So, John Davies worked out, in a very eloquent language, a Titoist policy
paper for the NSC.
I can remember we had really rather extensive and sometimes bitter arguments in the Planning Staff. I wasn’t on the Planning Staff then but was called in. The geographic divisions were called in when the paper was discussed because of their interest in the issues. Some of their officers objected to the paper because it seemed to accept that Communism was okay for Eastern Europe, basically. Being heavily engaged in fighting the cold war, and this was at the height of it you know, they were saying, “What kind of a policy is this? It’s not trying to take account of the interest of those people, their freedom, the Yalta Declaration, the whole business of self-determination. Are we trying to fasten Communist regimes which just happened to be anti-Stalinist? where does freedom come into this particular picture?
So, there was some question as to whether this was right for the United States. Would it be a good public position? Would it be a good thing for a document of this nature to become public, saying that we are really in favor of people who were oppressing their fellow citizens in Czechoslovakia and Poland, as long as they would just be a little more independent of the Soviet Union. It raised the whole basic question of what we are really after in Eastern Europe, autonomy and diminution of Soviet control or free elections and governments which are responsible to their own people? Although the NSC document was modified in some respects, to say that eventually we want to see some freer governments in that part of the world, basically the approach which was a Titoist approach was adopted. Still, we did not find it easy to do anything with it, other than to keep aiding Yugoslavia. We’d review it in succeeding years
and say, "Now, what about the implementation of this document?" We didn't get very far with that maybe until 1956 when we tried to do it with Poland. It was interesting that officially, insofar as an NSC document is an official statement of views of the Executive Branch, we adopted a pro-Titoist policy for Eastern Europe. We never made this public; all the public statements were still about liberation and all the rest. Nevertheless, both the Truman administration and Mr. Dulles under the Eisenhower administration essentially followed that policy in supporting Yugoslavia, in giving aid to Poland, and would have followed it in the case of other countries, if we had much chance of doing anything about it.
The year '56 was the only break, where at least for a while, Poland was semi-Titoist. I just mentioned this incident partly because that argument in the Planning Staff, about the morality of the Titoist policy and whether we really are for freedom or just for the power
politics which will cut down the Soviet position a bit, wouldn't be on the record anywhere. It was just a conversation among people who were there in a kind of extended discussion of this particular paper. As I recall from working on the later versions of that paper in the NSC even as late as '51 and '52, there was still no comparable extended discussion of the morality and the philosophical and theoretical basis for it as there was in that early series of discussions.
MCKINZIE: What thoughts do you have about the visit of General J. Lawton Collins to Yugoslavia in October 1951?
CAMPBELL: I'm trying to think of the origin of that visit. My recollection is that it probably came from his own initiative or from that of the Pentagon's officers involved with NATO and with aid to Yugoslavia, although I'm not sure. Once we had started the military aid program with a mission out there, this meant that high levels in
the Army and Air Force became interested and wanted to see how the materiel was being used. I think Collins made his trip out there to see some maneuvers. I remember his report when he came back. He was terribly impressed with the Yugoslavs and the show they put on. I don't recall the details of it, what kind of maneuvers they were, or to what extent there was partisan warfare (I think none). I think they were using their best equipment and putting on the kind of military exercise that would be comparable to what they would do if they were attacked by the Soviet Union. All our military people concerned with the NATO plans for defense wanted to be sure that the Yugoslavs used their American equipment at points where we wanted to have them use it, that is, where Soviet forces would be threatening the northern Italian plain and also in the south, where the Vardar River Valley goes down into Greece. If the Soviets
were going to move either into Greece or into Italy, the Yugoslavs would play a part in NATO strategy and U.S. strategy. I think the Yugoslavs probably fooled us a great deal on that. I don't think they ever intended really to use all the equipment we gave them just for the purpose of aiding NATO strategic plans. But they certainly made a very good show about it and told us that three divisions were being equipped for the Ljubljana Gap. Whether Collins was shown these particular divisions and this equipment, I don't know. I do remember the degree of his enthusiasm when he came back saying that this is the best use we can make of our military equipment; the Yugoslavs know how to use it; they are fighting people and have shown it; they hate the Russians, and they'll do anything to defend their country. He became really a convinced advocate of the idea of aid to Yugoslavia, in spite of the fact that our military mission had a hell of a lot of
trouble. They had obstacles put in their way; they couldn't see this and they couldn't see that, couldn't get into air fields, and so on. Collins himself, who was right at the top, Chief of Staff of the Army, was all for it.
Our whole approach to the military program was, first, that its principal purpose was to increase Yugoslavia's defensive strength; second, that somehow it was a very important beginning for the association of Yugoslavia with Western defense in general. I've mentioned the way General Collins looked at this. Certainly from the point of view of the Pentagon, if they were supplying military equipment to the Yugoslavs and there was going to be war, they would want to see that the Yugoslavs were helping to defend the right places and not retreating to the mountains to defend themselves alone. So, there was, in the backs of the minds of many in the United States who were concerned with Yugoslav policy,
the idea that somehow we would gradually bring the Yugoslavs to a closer association with NATO. The Balkan treaty negotiated by Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey in '53, which was called the Balkan Entente at that time because it wasn't a real alliance treaty, was really intended to pave the way for closer relationships among those three countries and, we hoped, with Italy as well. It was followed by an alliance in 1954 between Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey. This lasted a few months and then fell into disuse because of the Cyprus crisis between the Greeks and the Turks and the change in policy between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. We began to think much less about the association of Yugoslavia with NATO.
So, it really was only a very brief period, around '52 and '53, that we were thinking seriously about some kind of closer relationship of Yugoslavia to NATO, and in a way that was a
transition. This was, however, the period of the height of our military aid to Yugoslavia, and it was largely because of the developing military relationships that we began to think perhaps beyond the actual possibilities of the situation. Of course, there was some question, too, about the desirability of closer and closer Yugoslav association with the West from our point of view. One of the presumed great benefits from Yugoslavia's defection was the fact that it would stand as an alternative Communist state with an attractive power for other Communist states. The more Yugoslavia became a part of the Western grouping and the more it lost its character as an independent Communist state, then presumably the less drawing power it would have for Communist rulers in Poland, Czechoslovakia, or somewhere else. This was rather a theoretical question and never came up where it had to be decided as a matter of policy, because the Yugoslavs themselves limited the degree of their
association with the West. But it was a theoretical, in a way a philosophical, point as to what the primary purpose really was and what we would hope to gain over the long run from Yugoslavia's position of independence from the Soviet Union. In the same way this question affected how we looked at the internal situation of Yugoslavia. Most of the people in Congress and the American public who were concerned about help to a Communist government were pushing us to have insistence on greater freedoms within Yugoslavia, easing up the most repressive aspects of the regime against their own people. We did occasionally bring into play American views that we didn't like the police state and the various aspects of control of the population which existed in the Yugoslav regime. Without making conditions on aid we, nevertheless, sometimes talked in the same conversation about
the fact that aid was going to Yugoslavia and the fact that the American public was disturbed about the imprisonment of Archbishop Stepinac or about the denial of human rights.
There was a natural concern about the internal situation in Yugoslavia, and again it raised this philosophical question of what we really wanted the Yugoslavs to do. If you're trying to change them into a more democratic state and bring them more into affiliation with the states of Western Europe, that's one thing. Sure, that's presumably a victory for the free world, if you like. Or, do you want them really to be a more effective Communist state, in which case you do better to leave them alone? Let them be as independent as they like, run their own Communist system, prove that they can have a socialism which is a better socialism than the Soviet variety? That possibly will have more of an effect on what the Rumanian, the Hungarian, or
the Czech regimes think in their relations with the Soviets and with Yugoslavia than if we some-how seem to be taking the Yugoslavs into camp. It gets back again to the same question of to whom you're making your appeal, whether to the people of these countries or to the regimes.
MCKINZIE: I gather that your own position was the latter, but that it never came to a full discussion within the Department?
CAMPBELL : Only in those discussions we had in 1949. In practice we tried to have it both ways. We didn't really take positions so much as we tried to be aware of what the consequences would be. Sometimes, the more you might succeed in getting some concessions which made the Yugoslav regime appear to be dependent on the West and less of an independent Socialist regime, there was a certain price to pay in its possible influence on other Communist regimes in Eastern Europe.
On the other hand, one didn't want to ignore the fact that in general, from the American outlook on the world, liberty that you can help to foster or encourage in states whom you are aiding with your economic and other support is desirable in itself. One couldn't entirely ignore American opinion on this question, and certainly American opinion was quite vociferous on some aspects of what was happening in Yugoslavia. In fact there was a general easing of the regime's use of police methods, because it wanted to get the support of the people. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of criticism from the United States officials and public, particularly from the Catholic Church and other organized groups which were strongly against communism as a question of doctrine. We were always cognizant of the possibilities of criticism coming from the American public for not being concerned enough about human rights in Yugoslavia.
MCKINZIE: For the most part, U.S.-European foreign policy during this time was considered to be bipartisan. Mr. [Arthur] Vandenberg contended that he had gone along with the Marshall plan and had been properly consulted. There were conspicuous exceptions to this policy of bi-partisanship during the Truman years. John Foster Dulles was the resident Republican in the State Department. Do you recall his having made pronouncements on Yugoslavian policy? He later took such a strong public stance for liberation. You have alluded to his operational policies of pursuing a Titoist kind of thing.
CAMPBELL: Well, he did when he came into the office and he actually went to visit Tito in 1955. In all the campaigning for liberation in 1952, as I recall it, he said almost nothing about Yugoslavia one way or the other. He made such a campaign about the other countries which were to be liberated, but I think he very carefully
avoided saying that Yugoslavia had to be liberated. As far as I know, that was not an issue at all during the '52 campaign. Dulles was, I think, rather careful in that respect. One can condemn the whole liberation thing as an exercise on hypocrisy, as it has been condemned. But I think he would have accepted the idea of further defections, even of Communist regimes, without assuring their people of having full freedom without their own countries. Of course, in 1950-1951 he was engaged in negotiating the Japanese peace treaty, so that he wasn't around the Department on European Affairs from 1950 on, as far as I can recall. He really didn't come into the picture of policy toward Yugoslavia then. He was named to the Senate in '51. He spent six months or something like that as a Senator, at which time he had no position with the Department. I had little contact with Mr. Dulles, even though he'd been very prominent in this organization here, the
Council on Foreign Relations, and there might have been reason for me to come into contact with him. He had written the preface to my first book, but that was more or less negotiated by others without my personally having much to do with it. So, his views on Yugoslavia never came to our attention and didn't have any real role, I think, in the way the Department looked at it.
There's only one more episode in the whole business of aid to Yugoslavia which I think we might put on the record. In 1951 after we'd more or less regularized this business of annual aid to Yugoslavia, so that it would then be within the ECA annual program, the question still was how much they should get and to what extent it should be a common Western policy to assist them. We had supported from 1950 onward the idea that we didn't want to have just an American policy of aid to Yugoslavia
but one in association with Western Europe. This meant the French and British.
In 1951, even before our own military agreement was negotiated with the Yugoslavs and before they got on our regular MDAF program, we were trying to meet with the British and the French and scare up arms supplies which could go to Yugoslavia as soon as we found means of doing it. We tried to get the Canadians also to participate in this; I remember conversations with them. In a way, the United States took the lead in trying to rally a kind of Western consortium for arms support to Yugoslavia, generally just trying to find surplus World War II stuff which existed in France and England or captured Russian things from Korea. We didn't have any other use for this kind of equipment. After the offensive in Korea at the end of 1950 we did capture a lot of Russian stuff, some of which we shipped to Yugoslavia as early military aid. In the beginning of 1951
we decided with the British and French to have a regular tripartite economic aid program for Yugoslavia.
I went over to London and we negotiated there, with British and French representatives, a regular aid program. This was the first time that all three Western powers had sat down together and looked at Yugoslavia's economic situation. We sat down with a World Bank representative present there at the table, except that he didn't come to those sessions where we fought among ourselves as to how big the respective shares should be. But we had the representative of the World Bank there, because they were not willing to extend further aid to Yugoslavia. I've forgotten whether they had made their loan; I guess they had made one loan, but they were not ready to give further aid to Yugoslavia until they knew there would be a certain amount of grant aid going to Yugoslavia from the governments of the Western powers. So, we tried to agree with the Bank
and with the British and French Governments on what the problem was, how big the balance-of-payments deficit would be, what we should try to urge the Yugoslavs to do in their own economic policy, and how much grant aid there should be.
For the first time we tried to have a much more worked-out, studied, rational, and coordinated policy on Yugoslav aid, because we didn't know how long Yugoslavia's need, and thus the aid program, were to continue. A11 of the early steps, because of the famine in '50 and the difficult situation which led to the first Ex-Im Bank loans, were just for the present. Our outlook was: "Let's see whether it takes care of the situation; we'll look further later on." Now for the first time we began to say, "We don't want to be stuck with Yugoslavia forever, you know. Let's look a certain number of years ahead and see if we can estimate the size of the problem; how much the Americans, the British, the French and the World Bank can provide. Maybe we'll be able
to deal with the Yugoslav problem in other than a hit-and-miss way." In a way this was a recognition of a long-term problem on the part of all three powers and the World Bank. It was a common question for the West. "Let's deal with it in a way which we can do it as economically and effectively as possible."
We were going to set up special economic missions in Belgrade, all three of us, as we did. The basis of that was the negotiation we had in London in the spring of 1951. It was a very tough negotiation partly because we had some disagreements about what the Yugoslavs needed and what they ought to get, and partly because we had to divide up the obligation to provide grant aid. The British really weren't in the business of giving much grant aid outside the British Commonwealth. We dealt with a very tough guy named Sir Francis Mudie from the British Treasury, because the Treasury took
precedence over the British Foreign Office in this kind of thing. The foreign policy objectives were not so clear to Sir Francis as they were to us. He had a certain leeway, I think, to negotiate to provide "x" million pounds -- not very many, probably two or three million. He obviously wanted to put most of the burden on the United States. We realized that we should have the biggest share of aid to Yugoslavia, of course, but didn't want it to be so over-balanced that the others didn't have a proper and substantial share in it. Not just because we were trying to save money for the U.S. Treasury; we felt that if it was a truly Western policy, there should be more than a token contribution on the part of the British and the French. We were arguing with them to make a substantial contribution of their own, even though they were on the receiving end of the Marshall plan aid, of course. In a way it might seem they were taking money from a pocket we had just filled and then handing it on to
At any rate since we were friends who were getting together to decide to give charity to a third party, the bitter disputes conducted by our respective heads of delegation of this particular negotiation were surprising and not very edifying. It went on and on for about six weeks when we had counted on spending about two. It was an indication of some of the difficulties, because there wasn't any comparable program anywhere in the world, I think, where we had tried to get a Western group at this time to give aid to a country in the position of Yugoslavia. We kept that tripartite-type aid going until the British and French had difficulties carrying it on. I negotiated it the next year, in the spring of 1952, and I think it went one more year. It faded out because the British weren't prepared to carry on with it anymore. Nevertheless, there was no basic difference of policy on
the part of the Western governments. It was merely a question of how much they should dig into their own pockets to do something about it. Basically, I think the Western Europeans felt that the Americans had so much more in the way of resources for this kind of operation. They certainly wanted to be in on all the planning and all the arrangements and to share equally in contact with the Yugoslavs. But they felt that, given the state of their economies at that time and the state of our economy, it was quite proper that the shares of aid to Yugoslavia should be roughly in accordance to the GNP [Gross National Product] of the respective nations. This of course would have been just an American aid program with token British and French participation. But this was an experiment in tripartite aid, which I guess was about the first one, and as such it had political significance.
We later had consortium agreements for Turkey,
Pakistan, and several other countries.
We later had consortium agreements for Turkey, Pakistan, and several other countries. But this was a special one, because it was a truly political purpose. We all helped Yugoslavia for a specific political reason, which was maintaining its independence against Soviet pressure, and we wanted to have the British and French on record not only as favoring such a policy but actually participating in it in a way which carried some conviction, because they would be using resources which otherwise they would use for themselves.
MCKINZIE: Did Yugoslavia provide the information which you requested in good humor? Quite often the OEEC [Organization for European Economic Cooperation] demanded a lot of information about the internal workings of the economies of Western European countries when ECA aid was to be granted. There were a few incidents where people said that
this constituted a kind of intervention in internal affairs. Did you have any of that sort of difficulty with the Yugoslavs?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think there was always a different situation because of the kind of government it was. Economic information was always regarded as intelligence, in a way, from their point of view. Nevertheless, I think we probably were pleasantly surprised by the degree of cooperation they showed in providing economic data. Where they held back or where they didn't satisfy our demands -- and we tended to make the same kinds of requests of them that we made of other countries with different kinds of government -- it was often that they simply didn't have adequate information. They didn't have good enough statistics, didn't have good enough trained people, and so on. We sent a special economic mission, from the time we started the ECA program really, when George Allen was over there. We sent
another fellow named Richard Allen to be the economic officer, and he conducted a kind of independent mission there which built up to a considerable size. They had contacts with the Yugoslavs at a great many levels. Our agricultural attaché and people also connected with the aid mission went all over the country. I think they got all the cooperation they could get and could do their own observing later out in the field. It was a contrast to what we got from the Yugoslav military people. They obviously did not give more than a minimum of information that we wanted to get about the use of our equipment. We had incidents that created ill feeling and contributed to bringing the military program to an end within a few years, whereas the economic program went on well into the sixties before it was terminated. So, I think we found that the Yugoslavs were willing to modify their customary ways of dealing with Western countries in providing economic
information because (a) we were tough enough about indicating the relationship between information and what we could do to help them and (b) because there was a change in the nature of their system as the years after 1948 went by.
There was a relaxation and a chance for their officials to be less afraid of party repercussions or disciplinary repercussions of their being forthcoming with Americans and Europeans. There developed, I think, a new kind of Yugoslav Communist official. Some of these people dated back to the pre-Communist regime and tended to reappear and to blossom forth a bit. They found that life was changeable after all and, in some ways, tended to revert to former ways of doing things.
The Yugoslav picture was never static, never frozen into a particular mold. Of course, there were times where for various internal reasons the information tended to be less available than at other times. But for the
most part there was a rather steady progress toward their ability to deal with Westerness, to provide material of one kind or another, particularly at a time when they were abandoning many of their own plans. The five-year plan was junked and all the new industrialization projects simply had to be abandoned when they found they couldn't get financing from us for some of the pet projects that they had, like aluminum in the northern region (Slovenia) and copper which they had in the eastern part of the country. These were not regarded by our Ex-Tm Bank or ECA officials as really economically viable projects. They just had to give them up and there was a good deal of economic bargaining power on our side, because they had to ask for specific kinds of assistance and it wasn't just a handout, an "x" number of dollars which they were free to spend anywhere. All these things were worked out rather carefully.
I must say if you look back at the record of how the aid program to Yugoslavia worked, it certainly served our purpose since what we wanted to do was keep the Yugoslavs going, and we did that. It probably also served their purpose as well; they got a much more rational development program out of it, even when they had to be denied certain pet projects of their own. In the long run their economy probably profited a good deal by that discipline which this whole program imposed on them, at least so far as that part of the economy directly affected by foreign aid was concerned. There is a certain heritage from this experience, too. I think that relations with Yugoslavia today still show the favorable effects of the kinds of relationships which were built up in a period when we were providing them with aid. We had a certain influence on them, and we somehow got across the idea that we were not imposing
anything on them which would affect the nature of their system or their power. We were imposing certain conditions having to do with the rational development of their economy and what we would have thought to be an uneconomic use of resources which we gave them, because that affected the level of resources which we gave them.
But generally speaking, I think that they did, by having to yield to some of our arguments, come out with a rather more favorable economic situation by the mid-1960s than might have been the case otherwise. By that time they were again back in the business of getting aid from the Soviet Union as well as from the West; they had more choices and they probably spent money more foolishly than at the time we were holding something of a rein on me. But it's amazing that while they were proud people and sensitive on the issue of socialism and dealing with the capitalist West, they still took a good deal of our advice, and not just because they were in a
desperate situation. There was a certain recognition that grew up over time that we were not trying to distort their system, we were not trying to push them back into a colonial type of economy. They had a lot of early fears of this kind of thing, particularly when the British were telling them to go back and put their money into agriculture and stop thinking they can have big industries. This they interpreted as imperialists telling them to go back to a semi-colonial economy. I think that on the American side we seemed to get over that kind of hurdle and were able to convince them at least that we had a reasonable view of what they could do and should do for their own economy.
MCKINZIE: In short, when the U.S. declined to fund the development of aluminum ores by refineries and then the copper business in the other part of the country, this was not taken by the
Yugoslavs to mean that the United States was trying to deny them industrial development?
CAMPBELL: No, because we had done other things with respect to other industries which supported their development. We tried to tell them that this copper plan, for example, was simply not worth the huge investment that it would require. Their economy wouldn’t benefit sufficiently and the money would be spent better in other ways. We did help them to set up a steel industry in Bosnia, which is still there, still working. So, they didn’t feel that we had any kind of general theory of preventing their industrial development. They disagreed with us on many points and they would have liked us to fund a great many more projects which had been favored projects, but I don’t think the relationship was spoiled in any way by the fact that we tried to exercise a certain amount of discipline.
We tried to find a balance. There were some decisions that certainly were open to criticism; maybe we were too easy with them in some ways. Those of us who were concerned with the political aspects of it were not immediately involved in which project would go this way or that way. We were involved in the end results. And we did not want the relationship to break down over specific economic disagreements.
There is one other point I'd like to mention with respect to the food program of 1950. For some reason, perhaps accidental or because there was nobody else around, the State Department undertook the actual administration of the food program of 1950 to Yugoslavia, which actually went into operation in 1951. We had other agencies of the Government, the Agriculture Department, ECA, and others, but this was not ECA aid and we could not throw it into ECA without various legal problems. This money was just voted by the Congress to be given to Yugoslavia and we put
into the legislation, because we couldn't figure any other way to do it, that this should be the responsibility of the Department of State. In effect we set up, within the Office of Balkan Affairs, an Aid to Yugoslavia Economic Unit. We got people from the economic offices of the Department, we took on a few new people and we got some Foreign Service officers who were floating around. From there, with this handful of people, we were dealing with companies who were selling beans or lard; with ship owners to transship this stuff; with others to find out when it would arrive in the port of Rijeka, where most of it entered Yugoslavia; and with complaints, when some of the food wasn't satisfactory, on the other end. I wasn't dealing with the details of this but I was one of those responsible for this program, which was an entirely new kind of operation. Of course, we wanted to get rid of it once we got through with that particular aspect and turn the
whole thing over to ECA. But it was a unique operation and it developed a kind of an esprit de corps among our people in the Department, who mostly were pretty much amateurs in the business of shipping food across the ocean and getting it to starving villages before winter. We had to get a lot of this stuff over there before it got so cold that distribution would be much more difficult and effects of the famine in Yugoslavia might take effect. We really had a totally new kind of operation and responsibility in one of the political divisions of the Department of State. I just mentioned it because it's probably not in the history books anywhere and because it was an interesting personal experience.
MCKINZZE: You did the procurement and the distribution?
CAMPBELL: We did everything. We had advice from ECA, we knew people who could help us, but we had to do it all, using our own telephones, planning out
where we could locate the food and how we could get it over there. Some of it was in Europe anyway, and all kinds of emergency arrangements could be worked out. It was very much an Emergency Food Administration, put together quickly. We developed an enthusiasm for the whole operation from the very time that somebody decided we'd have to go to Congress and get special legislation. We followed the debates and the votes on the bill with the closest attention and interest, and then went to work,
I think there's probably not much else. I left the Department in the summer of 1952 to go to the War College. There was only one other affair which perhaps might be worth mention and that was breaking of relations with Bulgaria, which went almost unnoticed in the public press. In this period, 90 percent of my attention was taken up with Yugoslavia. I was in charge of the Balkans but the other 10 percent was just the
bottom point of our relations with all the other Eastern European countries.
That trip which I made to Eastern Europe in the summer of 1950 was partia1ly just to attempt to keep up some morale and show that Washington was still interested in the "forgotten legations" in Bucharest and Budapest, places which we then considered more or less the end of the line. They had practically no business with the local governments, they were more or less under siege by the local security apparatus, and they had no contact other than with the diplomatic corps (what there was in the diplomatic corps: a few French, Italian, and British diplomats). The relations were simply maintained, and we didn't know for how long. We thought perhaps that the Russians were building up to the point where they would force those countries into the status of Soviet republics, that then there would be no diplomatic relations at all. We had some debates in the
Department at that time about whether we should be maintaining those relations, and why. Some felt the whole thing was just a shell: "They're not really independent states, so why have our diplomats there?" I can recall reading some policy memoranda to the effect that these were not independent states and that we should treat them as what they actually were, provinces of the Soviet Union. On this basis we might have a consulate in Bucharest or Budapest or Sofia but not give it the dignity of being a capital of an independent country. They were not yet in the U.N., so that we didn't have that problem to deal with. All we would do was withdraw our embassies and not dignify these states with American recognition. I argued against this, as several others did, on a number of grounds: we had to show the flag; we had to show the people that the United States was still aware of the existence of these nations, whether our relations with
their governments were good or were not; we had to take account of their right to independence, even though it was limited at the time. Who knew what would happen in the future? We thought that things were hopeless with Yugoslavia until '48, and who knew when a similar situation might come somewhere else? We didn't want to show to the Soviets we had, in effect, assigned this area to them and regarded these as provinces of the Soviet Union. Our whole public position had been that they deserve to have their own governments; whether they were wholly independent governments or not at that time was another question.
There was no question that relations were bad and close to rupture even in the absence of a general U.S. policy decision. 1949 was the year of the Mindszenty trial in Hungary and the Rajk trial also. Our Minister, Selden Chapin, was kicked out of Budapest after the Mindszenty trial. In 1949 also, there was the Kostov trial
in Sofia. There again the local authorities implicated our Minister, Donald Heath, saying that he had some contact with Kostov, who was condemned and executed as a traitor. Therefore, they asked for Heath's recall. Of course, we had no choice but to agree to that, but the question was whether merely to withdraw him and send somebody else or leave a charge there, or to be tougher than that and break relations with the Bulgarians. We in EUR felt that they had pushed the United States and its representatives around to the point where maybe we should do something other than just bring our Minister home because they called him non grata.
The whole thing was complicated by the fact that we had in the attic of the Legation in Sofia, a local employee named Michael Shipkov who had been captured and tortured by the Communist regime's police and then let go. He had come back to the Legation supposedly without their
knowledge. Nobody else except the officer in the Legation supposedly knew that he was up there hidden in the attic. We didn't know how to get him out or what to do with him, because if he just went out publicly he would be nabbed again and probably killed. A previous local employee had been caught and killed so that we knew that we were dealing with a young man's life in this case. Besides which, when he did come back to the Legation he gave us the whole story of how he had been tortured. The Bulgarians knew that he probably told that story, although we did not know whether they knew he was in the Legation. Nobody said anything about this. At any rate, there he was, and we couldn't break relations without somehow dealing with this problem, as we would have to withdraw our American staff and leave him there. It was a bizarre question, because here were high affairs of state, the question whether diplomatic relations between
two states would be maintained or broken, depending on how our Legation could cope with this individual case. The man was not an American, but he had worked for us and put his trust in us. We had an obligation to him. We worried about what we could do and how we could do it. Finally a plan was hatched to try to sneak him out of the country within the 24 hours before we handed them the note saying we were breaking relations with them. I can remember long conferences with Dean Rusk, who was then Deputy Under Secretary; George Perkins, who was then Assistant Secretary of State; Fred Reinhardt, Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs; the Tommy [Llewellyn E.] Thompson, who was the Deputy Assistant Secretary, as to how we were going to handle it.
I recall that we agreed on the plan and cleared it with Heath in Sofia; then we called in the Bulgarian Minister or Charge, whose name
was Voutop, and we had Jim [James E.] Webb, who was Under Secretary, read him the riot act. Webb said that they couldn't push the United States around this way and that all these charges against our Minister were wholly unfounded. He really let Voutov have it with all barrels, hardly giving him a chance to sputter a reply. It was the funniest incident, because Mr. Webb didn't have any of the background of this business; I don't know whether he even knew where Bulgaria was. At any rate, before the meeting, after reading our briefing paper, he said, "Well, is this what I'm supposed to do? I'm supposed to tell this fellow off? All right, I'll speak my piece."
So, as soon as Voutov arrived and was seated, Webb went right through one point after another in the most severe, almost offensive language, insulting this poor guy and blaming him for all these unspeakable things his government had done. Then he asked him for certain apologies and assurances
from his government, and showed him the door. In effect, this was the preparatory step to breaking relations with them. As expected, they didn't give us a satisfactory reply; so a few days later we called Voutov in. Tommy Thompson and I had drafted the note which suspended relations with Bulgaria. It had been decided to "suspend" rather than "break," but the difference was not important. We called this poor fellow in, handed him the note, and said that we found, because of their conduct, that we had no choice but to do this. I remember that just after Voutov went out to communicate this note to his government, Thompson turned to me and said, "Well, that's the first time I've ever broken relations with any country." He was just kind of priding himself on this particular role, even though he had already done many more significant things in his diplomatic career. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; it wasn't the Secretary of State or anybody
else. Bulgaria wasn't worthy of an Assistant Secretary, even, to break relations. So, we did it at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level.
There was an escape route laid out for the guy in the Legation attic. The instructions were given to him on how to get him out of the country. He was supposed to go first to such and such a place, a safe house. He got away from the Legation, all right, without being picked up right away. He went to a house where he was supposed to spend the night, I think, but he got scared and in the middle of the night he left. I guess he thought maybe he might be found there, and he didn't get to the place where he was supposed to be picked up by somebody else to get him over the border. The security police came and caught him. This was a terrible letdown to us because we thought his chances were good and we knew what would happen to him if caught. He had told us while he was still
in the Legation that if he were caught at any time he knew he'd be tortured anyway and that we should publish his statement of his previous torture. So, we debated that after he was caught. We'd broken relations, and our Minister and our whole staff were back. We were out of Bulgaria.
We had this long debate in Washington as to whether we should, on the basis of what he had said, publish and publicize this example of Communist torture and the fact that the local employees and ordinary citizens of these countries were subject to torture because of their association with Americans or their desire for freedom. We finally decided to go ahead with it and we worked up this pamphlet, called "Breakdown," giving his story in his own words. Radio Free Europe published it, went to
town and broadcast it all over Eastern Europe and everywhere else. Some of us had some second thoughts about this. It might be his death warrant. Actually, Shipkov was not killed. I'm sure he was tortured again, but he was kept in jail and years later I was informed somewhere that he had been freed. He never left Bulgaria but he had been freed from confinement; it was easily 15 years later. I think of what that man went through. One can only imagine, because this again is one of the stories that's not in the history books.
MCKINZIE: You said you had some second thoughts about it?
CAMPBELL: Well, one has to. When we published that all over the world it was a propaganda move in the cold war, obviously, in order to show everybody, in Western Europe and Eastern Europe, that we knew what the Communist governments were doing to people.
This guy had given us a weapon in the cold war by his testimony, and much was made of the fact that this was first hand testimony. It was explicit in describing what they did to him. They stood him up against the wall and beat him with belts and sticks, deprived him of water, and broke him down physically and mentally. It was the whole story of what happened to many people in those countries under torture. It was all so explicit that it was very difficult for them really to answer. It was a great thing in the cold war, so to speak, for our side's propaganda. But for having given us this weapon this fellow was in their hands. Anything that they could do to him, one would have thought they would have done. We were sitting safely in Washington without the police looking at us with a bright light shining in our eyes, subjecting us to anything in the nature of that kind of treatment. So, someone had to have second thoughts about it. But we made
the decision and nobody resigned from the Government.
Some of these aspects. of Government service were the kind of thing that was very difficult for me to deal with. If you're in an intelligence service playing this game all the time and one of your agents gets caught or something, that's just it; he pays the price, whatever it is. The main thing is whether the general cause is advanced one way or another. I always had some doubts about certain things we were doing in Eastern Europe at that time. We're talking now about the years around '49 into the early 1950s. We were running operations into Albania and into Bulgaria, trying to stir up opposition and give support to potential opposition. We had agents there. They were, all of them, endangered whenever they were caught, and sometimes they were caught. Yet, what did we offer these people? We did not have any means really of supporting a revolt which might break out. I think we were responsible
for the loss of some good, patriotic people from those countries because we gave them money and instructions. We said, "We'll help you if you can establish a network of one kind or another." Naturally, in the Department we didn't know all the details.
MCKINZIE: Who did know the details?
CAMPBELL: People in the agency. We talked to them in general, but as a regular political officer of the Department I was not closely involved and was not a regular liaison man with the CIA. I recognized that it was part of the game to create trouble for the enemy. Albania and Bulgaria, since they were accessible from Greece, which was Allied territory, were the ones which generally were chosen for this kind of operation. Well, we had activities also in Hungary and we had them elsewhere too. When you look back on it you wonder if certain human lives were lost which probably shouldn't have been lost. This
was the game as of that time.
MCKINZIE: By 1952 you again felt the mission was completed and another opportunity presented itself which seemed to you more attractive than staying on in Eastern European Affairs?
CAMPBELL: Well, what happened was that every year a group was chosen for War College and I had been in that particular slot. I was acting as Deputy Director for Eastern Europe, but there was a new Deputy Director coming in and it was a good time for me to go to War College. This was an opportunity, because supposedly it was an honor to be chosen and a step toward promotion and better jobs in the future. So, I welcomed the chance to do that. Then when I came back, the election had taken place, President Eisenhower was in office, and he had a new bunch of people everywhere. There was a new director of the Planning Staff and he was looking for people to be
on the Planning Staff to work with the NSC. So, I met Bob[Robert R.] Bowie and I went to work for him for two years and continued to work on aid to Yugoslavia, on the Trieste dispute, on policy papers for Eastern Europe, plus some Middle East work. That’s when I first got into dealing with the Middle East.
After a couple years of that, along came Henry Wriston and the so-called “Wriston plan,” and everybody who was not a Foreign Service officer had to be “Wristonized” or had to refuse Wristonization. It was interesting to me, ironic perhaps, that I refused Wristonization and came to work here at the Council on Foreign Relations. It was at the time the Council was building up its staff and Phil [Philip E.] Mosely had agreed to come here from Columbia. Who should come to Washington to talk to me about a job but Henry Wriston who happened to be the president of the Council of Foreign Relations? So, I was
Wristonized in another way. I was here for a long time, '55 to '67, then went back to the Department, on the Policy Planning Council, in the late Johnson era. But that was only for a year. That was all except for consulting jobs. I haven't been on the State Department's regular roll since that time,
MCKINZIE: I thank you very much, sir.
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
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List of Subjects Discussed
Albania, and U.S. relations, 206, 207
Allen, George, and U.S.-Yugoslav relations, 145-146
Allen, Richard, 183
Australia, and postwar European treaties, 82-83
Barbour, Walworth, 138
Byrnes, James, 66-74, 88, 89, 91, 94-96, 97-99, 101, 105-106
Barnes, Maynard, 76-77
Berry, Burton, 77
Bidault, Georges, and Trieste issue, 101-102
Black, Cyril, 23, 24, 25, 66-67
Bohlen, Charles (Chip), 50, 93
Bowie, Robert R., 209
Bowman, Isaiah, 6
Cannon, Cavendish, 24, 26, 29, 51, 114, 121-124, 127
Chipman, Norris, 32
Cohen, Ben, 70, 71, 72
Collins, General J. Lawton, 161-164
Colonies, postwar, and U.S. policy toward, 21-23
Council on Foreign Relations, 2, 112-114
Danube conference, 108, 114-127
Davies, John, 156-157
Duggan, Laurence, 2
Dulles, John Foster, 171-173
Dunn, James Clement, 26, 28, 58-60
Durbrow, Elbridge, 32
Postwar boundaries, planning for, 7-9, 11-15
Ethridge, Mark, 65-67
Postwar treaties, 61-68, 70-71, 72-83, 106-107
and Soviet domination, 40-43, 44-45
and U.S. diplomatic relations, 193-197
Evatt, Herbert, 82
Fisher, Adrian S., 141
France, postwar, and U.S. plans for, 19-20
Great Britain, and Yugoslavia, aid to, 177-179
Gusev, Fedor T., 81, 88
Harriman, W. Averell, 73, 74
Heath, Donald, 197-199
Hopkins, Harry, and U.S.-Soviet relations, 39
Hulick, Charles, 78
Hull, Cordell, 34-35, 38
and armistice agreement, 54-55
Postwar, U.S. plans for, 9-10
and Romania, boundary dispute, 79-83
and U.S. covert operations in, 207
Italy, and postwar treaty, 60, 64, 65, 88-89, 91, 99
Joyce, Robert P., 139, 152
Kennan, George, 50
London conference of Foreign Ministers in 1945, 84-89
Matthews, H. Freeman, 26, 28
Melbourne, Roy, 78
Molotov, Vyacheslav, 90-91
Moscow conference of 1945, 57-61
Mosely, Philip, 110-112
Notter, Harley, 3
Pasvolsky, Leo, 3
Patterson, Richard C., 129
Poland, and U.N. charter conference, 35-36
Reinstein, Jacques, 96
Reparations, postwar European, 55-56
Roosevelt, Franklin D., and Yalta conference, 39-48
Rumania, 23-32, 40-41, 59, 61, 63, 65-67, 70, 71, 73, 74-75, 77-78, 80-82
Soviet Union, as viewed by U.S. State Department in 1945, 44-45, 49-51
Spheres of influence, and postwar Europe, 36-38
Stettinius, Edward, 35-36
Thompson, Llewellyn E., 201
Trieste issue, 86-88, 92, 99, 101-104, 109-110
United Nations charter, planning for, 16-17
Velebit, Vladimir, 109
Vishinsky, Andrei, 118-121
Webb, James E., and statement to Bulgarian Charge, 200
World Bank, and Yugoslavia, 175-177
"Wriston plan," 209
Yalta conference, position papers on, 39-48
and postwar treaties, 103-105, 109-110, 123-124
and Soviet Union, 115-116, 129-137, 149-151
U.S. economic and military aid for, 129-149, 153-170, 173, 181-192
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