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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 01, 1963

TELEGRAM FROM J.N. KHOSLA AMBASSADOR ON THE 52ND CONFERENCE OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION IN BELGRADE

This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation

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    This report focuses on President Tito’s visit to the Americas.
    "Telegram from J.N. Khosla Ambassador on the 52nd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade," October 01, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, File No. HI/1012(59)/63. Obtained by Ryan Musto. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/133948
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DATE: October 1, 1963

From: J.N. Khosla, Ambassador

TO: Foreign Secretary, MEA

SECRET

The 52nd Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union took place from the 12th to the 20th of September, in Belgrade. It was attended by over 500 Parliamentarians, representing 59 Parliaments – a record number both for the delegates attending and for the number of the Parliaments represented. The Pakistanis had been suppended with the suppression of their parliament by President Ayub Khan.

This session has been regarded as one of the most successful sessions. The participants were a motley crowd, representing a great variety of experiences and background; some non-aligned, but most with bloc affiliations; some, like the British, Swedes and the Indians representing democratic traditions; others, like the French, creaking under dictatorships; some, like the Pakistanis and the Indonesians emanating from pseudo-democracies; many, like the Russians, Yugoslavs and the Algerians, proud of their proletarian one-party systems. Yet the work of the Conference proceeded in a spirit of harmony and cooperation. This was partly due to the Moscow Test Ban Treaty, which had infused optimism and hope for the future of humanity amongst all sections of the Conference, and partly to the fact that the parliamentarians assembled could freely pass platitudinous resolutions without committing their governments…The conference passed six resolutions, three of them dealing with the problem of the maintenance of peace…

Tito’s Visit to the Americas

President Tito left for a five week tour of the Americas on the 16th of September. His itinerary included Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Mexico, to be followed by a brief visit to Washington on the 17th of October, where he is to meet President Kennedy. Later the Yugoslav President will also address the UN General Assembly.

The Visit to South America has long been overdue. Not only has Tito received repeated invitations from many of the Latin American countries, but the Yugoslavs regard this region as a potentially non-aligned area, and, therefore, to be assiduously cultivated. Tito’s visits to Asian and African countries have given him peculiar influence among them, as well as in the international sphere. This visit is expected to add to this influence. This was one of the reasons, it is commonly believed, why Khrushchev chose to visit Tito just before the latter’s departure for South America. Khrushchev would like to project his own influence in that continent through Tito.

Another very important aim of Tito’s visit is to promote Yugoslav trade with these countries. Despite trade agreements with many of the South American countries, the Yugoslav trade, except with Brazil, is insignificant. Tito is expected to give impetus to this trade through offers of credits and technical assistance. As mentioned above, Tito’s visit to South America includes only four countries. Some months ago, when the preparations for this tour were started, several more names were being mentioned. It is obvious that with the recent instability in several of the Latin American States the recrudescence of military coups in some of them, either more invitations were not forthcoming, or Tito did not consider it wise to accept them. It would not be correct to say that he did not have enough time to visit more South American countries during his tour. He has had to prolong his say in Mexico to 10 days only because President Kennedy cannot receive him earlier than the 17th October at Washington.

In fact, there was lot of opposition to his visit even in Brazil. Actually, two of the Brazilian State Governors refused to receive him and Tito therefore could not pay visit to Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo, as has been customary to do for visiting heads of state. On the eve of Tito’s arrival in Brasilia, Mr. Goulart, the Brazilian President, faced an abortive coup against his regime. Even the person designated as the Brazilian ambassador to Yugoslavia, for whom it is said Belgrade had already accorded its agreement, was not approved by the Brazilian Senate. The atmosphere in Brazil being far from propitious for his visit, there was much speculation as to whether the Yugoslav President would not postpone his trip to Brasilia. Tito, however, showed determination and kept to his schedule.

It is significant to note that Tito is the first President of a Communist country to be invited to pay State visits to some of the South American countries. It is interesting also to observe that Tito’s itinerary is confined to the South American States which have diplomatic relations with Cuba. Except for Senor Lopez Mateos, President of Mexico, none of the Heads of Other States have paid a visit to Yugoslavia. But with all these four countries Yugoslavia has concluded a series of agreements relating to economic, scientific, technical, cultural, and other kinds of cooperation’ in addition, a considerable number of visit have been exchanged by prominent personalities and delegates and useful contacts have already been established.

From the reports received here and widely published in the Yugoslav Press (mainly from the Correspondent of the Tanjug who has been touring round these countries and interviewing leaders amongst them regarding his visit) extensive preparations have been made in the capitals of these countries to welcome the Yugoslav President.

President Tito, on the eve of his departure, expressed the view that through the social systems, the living standards and the historical circumstances in which these countries developed were different from those in Yugoslavia, there was much in common between the peoples of Yugoslavia and those of the Latin American countries, such as, for instance, in regard to ideals of peace and of international cooperation. It is obvious that during his talks the President would lay stress on the disarmament problem, the liberation of the world from vestiges of colonialism and the question of speedier economic development of the under-developed countries.

Tito, for years, had hoped to receive an invitation for a State visit to Washington. But this did not materialize because of anti-Communist feeling in the United States and partly because the Americans have never felt very certain about Tito’s non-alignment. The Kennedy regime, however, has been politically more sagacious if not much more tolerant. Recently, Tito too has shown greater keenness to cultivate with the American Administration. All this made an exchange of visits of Koca Popovic and Dean Rusk possible. Only a few days before Rusk’s arrival, Tito sent to President Kennedy a personal message which was favorably received at Washington and to which the American President replied in very cordial terms. Later this summer a number of other high American officials – including Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and Governor Brown of California – visit Yugoslavia and were received by Tito. The generous help by the United States to Skopje and the promise of granting Most Favored Nation treatment to Yugoslavia also created a wholesome atmosphere, in which it seemed Tito’s State visit might after all come off. Actually, however, President Kennedy has invited the Yugoslav President for an informal and personal exchange of views and the visit is not going to have the character of a State visit. Tito would welcome even this opportunity because it would balance his position in regard to bloc politics, create better understanding between his country and the United States and materially add to his international status.