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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1980

SOVIET BRIEFING ON THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN TITO AND BREZHNEV

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    This document reveals correspondence between Brezhnev and Tito. Tito expresses his worries about international politics relating to NATO's decision regarding long/medium range missiles, and advocates for Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Brezhnev emphasizes the ideological and pragmatic importance of Soviet involvement in the Middle East, and discusses the role of NATO in Europe.
    "Soviet briefing on the correspondence between Tito and Brezhnev," 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of Hungary (MOL), M-KS 288 f. 11. Translated for CWIHP by Attila Kolontari and Zsofia Zelnik. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112498
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The correspondence between Tito and Brezhnev

Maltsev, the first deputy of the foreign minister, gave information about the correspondence between Tito and Brezhnyev to the leaders of the missions of closely co-operating socialist countries:

President Tito gave expression to his worries concerning the unpleasant developments in the international situations in his letter written at the end of last month. He thinks one should look for ways to improve the situation. With reference to this, he mentioned the Soviet-American relations and that it would be reasonable to find solutions through the talks that would make it possible to continue the politics of easing. He disapproved of the NATO's decision about the American medium-range missiles. He dealt with the march of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, which met with negative reactions both in the international and Yugoslav public opinion. Tito thinks one should find a way to withdraw the Soviet troops as soon as possible. He approved of the changes in Iran, her joining the list of non-aligned countries and he criticized the American leadership for its interference in the internal affairs of Iran. As for the European situation, he thought it desirable that the Madrid conference should have positive results in November. Finally, he dealt with the Soviet-Yugoslav relations and pointed out that Yugoslavia wished to consolidate them in the future as well.

In his reply, Comrade Brezhnyev stated that the CPSU CC had studied the letter and interpreted it as an exchange of experience between the two parties and countries, which was very useful because it provided an opportunity to get to know each others point of view and excluded the possibility of misunderstanding. We understand the worries that could be felt from the letter because of the strained international situation. The letter says that we should put end to the practice that certain countries may interfere in other countries' internal affairs. It is unnecessary to prove that the Soviet Union wishes the same, but to realize this, we should, first of all, look for and do away with the origin of negative tendencies that made the international situation strained - wrote Comrade Brezhnyev in his reply.

He stated that the present government of the United States does its best to suppress the national liberation movements, she wanted to prevent the peoples from attaining their freedom. It can be understood that the person who loses his head because of his fear of the peoples' revolution and who does not like easing cannot make his own the peoples' right to self-government and will interfere in other countries' internal affairs. The Soviet side regularly informed the international public opinion and its partners about the imperialist endeavors, and did its best to safeguard the achievements made in the seventies concerning the extension of relations between the countries. The Soviet Union, at the approval of the member states of the Warsaw Treaty, took a one-sided step too in the interest of easing, it withdrew one part of her troops from Europe and suggested talks to prevent the location of American medium-range missiles in Europe. The USA and the NATO countries ignored this suggestion. The Soviet Union was ready to carry on talks even now if the NATO changed its resolution or at least suspended its execution. This was the way to achieve that the talks should not be carried on from the position of power but based on the principle of equal rights.

All this showed that the Soviet Union had a constructive attitude toward the improvement of Soviet-American relations and she was not responsible for the deterioration of these relations. It was not the Soviet Union that delayed the ratification of SALT II and it was not the Soviets who blocked the economic relations between the two countries. Neither this, nor the boycott of the summer Olympic Games disheartened the Soviet Union, but it was beyond doubt that these measures would have a bad influence the relations, would undermine the confidence, deteriorate the atmosphere, make the solution of the complicated international questions more difficult.

They spread all over the world that the deterioration of international relations was due to the events in Afghanistan. In reality, it was Washington, which exported the arms to the enemies of Afghanistan and the counter-revolution to Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had always maintained normal, neighborly relations with Afghanistan. It used to be like that in the era of the monarchy as well and when Afghanistan stepped on the path of socialist development. The Soviet side could not but hurry to help when the people of Afghanistan were threatened by outside danger from the USA, Pakistan and China. The Soviet Union also had to consider the prevention of the appearance of a new hotbed of fire on its Southern borders. The Soviet Union did so on the basis of the Soviet-Afghan treaty of friendship, which corresponded also to the contents of the UN Charter. The Soviets have never kept it a secret that she sympathized with the nations fighting for their freedom and socialist development. At the same time, the Soviet Union has also declared it publicly that it was ready to start the evacuation of its troops from Afghanistan if the United States and the countries neighboring Afghanistan undertake to guarantee the ending of external interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union has no reason to station its troops in Afghanistan in its own interest, but it will not withdraw them until the causes making the support necessary do not cease completely.

Comrade Brezhnev mentioned in his letter that Yugoslavia had a great prestige in the movement of the non-aligned countries and therefore it could do a lot concerning the Afghan issue. It could influence the Pakistani leadership to persuade it not to support the reactionary forces and not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union approves of the fact that Iran's non-aligned character should be preserved. The Soviet side has supported this endeavor of the Iran people from the beginning. At the same time, they oppose the idea of American control in the area of the Persian Gulf. The Soviet Union has not forgotten Mossadek yet. The movement of the non-aligned, using all their power and prestige, could do a lot to stop the unlawful demands of the USA.

Finally, Comrade Brezhnev's letter touched upon the fact that the present situation in the world was not simple, but the Soviet leadership was optimistic concerning the future because the forces of peace were great and there was no doubt that they would further grow in the future, they would be able to overcome the imperialist endeavors. But the favorable development of the world will not take place by itself, to achieve this, all countries have to be active. The Soviet Union is preparing for the Madrid conference in this spirit and desires to develop its cooperation with Yugoslavia in the different matters of international life and concerning the bilateral relations on this basis.

Some Western circles try to achieve the deterioration of Soviet-Yugoslav relations. The Soviet side does its best to develop these relations in a favorable direction. The Soviet Union does not disturb the development of the Yugoslav people, it wishes that Yugoslavia became stronger and the union of its peoples was consolidated.

Finally, Comrade Brezhnyev expressed his gratitude for Tito's good wishes, wished him recovery to be able to work for a long time to the benefit of the Yugoslav people and for the flourishing of Soviet-Yugoslav relations.