Letter to Committee Chairmen on the Decision To Furnish Military and Economic Assistance to Yugoslavia.
My dear Mr. Chairman:
As you know, the United States has for some time been supplying economic assistance to Yugoslavia in order to strengthen the defense capabilities of that country. Part of this assistance has come from funds appropriated for the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949, as amended, and on each occasion when such funds were to be used, your Committee has been notified in accordance with the requirements of that Act.
Yugoslavia is being subjected to continued and increasing pressure by the Soviet Union and its satellites. Particularly during the past year, steps have been taken by the Soviet Union to augment the size and effectiveness of the armed forces of the Soviet satellites bordering on Yugoslavia. To meet this situation, there is an urgent need to strengthen the Yugoslav armed forces which, as you know, both from the point of view of numbers and training, constitute a significant obstacle to aggression in Southeastern Europe. Yugoslavia has been unable to manufacture locally, or to fill from outside sources, many of its requirements for military equipment. The situation has become so acute as to jeopardize the combat effectiveness of the Yugoslav armed forces. As a result, the security interests of the United States and also of the free world now require that we undertake to provide military assistance to Yugoslavia.
Our security interests also require that we continue to provide economic assistance to Yugoslavia in order to enable that country to sustain and increase its defense capabilities. The extent of the Yugoslav defense effort has made very heavy demands upon the country's resources. In addition, the Cominform economic blockade and last year's serious drought have added to the strain. Without such economic assistance, essential production in Yugoslavia will be curtailed and the ability of Yugoslavia to defend itself will be dangerously impaired.
In view of the foregoing and in accordance with Section 101 (a)(1) of the Mutual Security Act of 1951, I have determined that Yugoslavia is a country which is of direct importance to the defense of the North Atlantic area and that the increased ability of Yugoslavia to defend itself is important to the preservation of the peace and security of the North Atlantic area and to the security of the United States. Military and economic assistance will be furnished to Yugoslavia as a result of this determination in accordance with concrete programs developed in terms of materially increasing the ability of that country to defend itself.
This letter constitutes the notification required by Section 101 (a) of the Mutual Security Act of 1951.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Richard B. Russell, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the Honorable James P. Richards, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Tom Connally, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Honorable Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services.
For the statement by the President upon signing the Mutual Security Act of 1951, see Item 250.
Harry S. Truman, Letter to Committee Chairmen on the Decision To Furnish Military and Economic Assistance to Yugoslavia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231273