US-Yugoslav Relations under Kissinger

Luka Orešković ; Harvard University Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Cambridge, U.S.A.

Fulltext: pdf (293 KB), English, Pages 77 – 98

The relationship between the U.S. and Yugoslavia is traditionally interpreted as
having been at its pinnacle during the years of President John F. Kennedy and
his successor Lyndon B. Johnson. However, on a substantial level, Kennedy,
Johnson and their Administrations did not excel at maintaining relations with
the Yugoslav leadership despite recommendations from the State Department
that saw the relationship as an important geopolitical element. In contrast, the
Nixon and Ford Administrations with Henry A. Kissinger as their chief foreign
policy strategist, are usually interpreted as having reduced interest for
ties with Yugoslavia. However, the Nixon-Ford Administrations made substantial
efforts to maintain relations at a constant, following the State Department
line emphasizing the relationship with Yugoslavia. Their efforts with Yugoslavia
should also be viewed in light of their other geopolitical goals, such as the
rapprochement with China and the détente with USSR. Furthermore, despite
Yugoslavia’s repeated “balancing acts” of anti-American rhetoric and even
action (the Cypriot assassination plot, Yom Kipur War, etc.), there were notable
improvements such as Nixon’s visit to Yugoslavia, the first U.S. President
to do so. The constancy was due to Nixon-Ford Administrations’ adherence
to policy set by Helmut Sonnenfeldt and Art Hartman – under Kissinger’s tenure.

International Relations History; U.S. Foreign Policy; Yugoslavia; Diplomatic Strategy; Henry A. Kissinger