From For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!
No. 22 (49), October 14, 1949

Enslavement of Yugoslavia by Anglo-American Capital

Antonin Gregor
Member, Central Committee,
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

In 1947, Tito pompously declared that the Yugoslavia Five Year Plan would be completed in 1951. But none of the conditions necessary for the fulfillment of the Plan had been created in the country. The Plan contained unreal, astronomical figures and, in general, was framed in such a way as to break economic relations with the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies, and to subordinate Yugoslavia to the capitalist countries.

It is quite obvious that the main targets of the Yugoslav Five-Year Plan are totally unreal. For example, by the end of the Plan, industrial output is scheduled to surpass the 1939 level by 494 per cent, and the output of means of production by 625 per cent. To do this it envisages capital investment in industry to the value of 278,300 million dinars. To understand fully the unreality of this figure it is sufficient to bear in mind that the value of industrial production for 1951 is planned at 126 billion dinars, in other words, capital investments are twice this figure which in itself is unreal. In Czechoslovakia, on the other hand, capital investments envisaged by the Five-Year Plan amount to 336 billion crowns while the value of industrial production in the last year of the Five Year Plan will reach 454 billion crowns.

A feature of Yugoslavia’s Plan is that it concentrates on developing production of those goods which were supplied to Yugoslavia by the People’s Democracies and the Soviet Union. It is on the production of these goods that the efforts of the Tito fascist clique are concentrated in the first phase of the Plan. For example, oil output, which in pre-war Yugoslavia was insignificant, is to go up 450 times by the end of the Plan; raw steel will rise 323 per cent; rolled metal, 311 per cent; coal, 272 per cent. The Titoites are doing everything to develop production of industrial coke. Their attempts to produce about 700,000 tons of coke a year will cost Yugoslavia 22 to 25 billion dinars. Yet, in the opinion of the specialists installing the necessary equipment, the production of coke from Yugoslavia’s lignite is practically impossible, and such an attempt will cost the country dear.

By concentrating on production of those goods which Yugoslavia could receive on favourable terms from the People’s Democracies and the Soviet Union, the treacherous Tito clique is exposing its own long-planned aims and those of its American masters to abandon economic cooperation with the camp of Socialism and make a complete break with it. These plans have been posed on the “basis” of false slogans about “Yugoslavia’s economic independence” and “building Socialism with our own forces”.

If in 1947-48 the targets were fulfilled in certain branches of industry, it was only because of the selflessness of the Yugoslav working people and because of the very great help given to Yugoslavia by the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies. Apart from the regular trade exchange through which Yugoslavia was supplied with products essential for reconstruction and construction, (for example, Czechoslovakia supplied coke, rolled steel, fireclay and so on), the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Poland signed special investment agreements with Yugoslavia. According to these agreements, Yugoslavia was to receive a total of approximately 30 billion dinars worth of investments. The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia’s biggest supplier, granted and extended credit. Other People’s Democracies also gave Yugoslavia credits. Czechoslovakia, for example, refrained from demanding advance payments for Yugoslav orders.

The Tito clique rejected this assistance. By systematically violating agreements, and by a hostile policy toward the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies, the treacherous Titoites severed economic relations with these countries. They deliberately deprived Yugoslavia of support, aid and the guarantee of its national independence. The country was placed at the mercy of the imperialist States.

The imperialist States, having earmarked Yugoslavia as an instrument in the struggle against the U.S.S.R and the People’s Democracies, are taking both open and secret measures to keep their hired Tito clique in power, at any rate for the time being. While the attempts of the People’s Democracies to establish economic relations on the basis of mutual benefit meet with no support on the part of imperialist powers, the Tito clique is given quite a different reception.

Here are some examples of this. Late in 1948, the Yugoslav Government signed a commercial agreement with Britain covering trade to the value of 200 million dollars. Recently a Yugoslav-Italian trade agreement was signed to the value of approximately £ 7 million, although before the war, when Italy was one of Yugoslav’s biggest trading partners, the total value of trade between the two countries was never more than £ 5 million. The United States is pursuing a policy of discrimination against the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies. The U.S. also sanctioned the export of machinery and equipment for a steel-works to Yugoslavia to the value of 3 million dollars. The bourgeois press gleefully recalled that the repeated requests of Czechoslovakia and Poland for supplies of similar machinery equipment had been rejected.

At the beginning of September, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced that it would grant a 20 million dollars loan to Yugoslavia. The American press made no attempt to conceal the political nature of this loan. The Washington correspondent of the United Press pointed out that the Bank had granted Yugoslavia the loan with unusual speed – less than two weeks after the official request. The correspondent stressed that, in his desire to help Tito, Acheson use pressure to get the loan through. According to the United Press, at first Johnson, Minister of Defense, opposed the loan because he considered the United States should not do anything to strengthen the military potential of any of the East European countries. However, continued the United Press, Acheson managed to convince Johnson that a loan for Yugoslavia would give the U.S. a valuable diplomatic advantage in the cold war.

On September 23, a correspondent of the French weekly “La Tribune des Nations” reported: “The agreement to grant the 20 million dollar loan through the Export-Import Bank was signed on conditions which are gradually becoming clearer. It has become known that one of these conditions stipulated big zinc and lead mining concessions in Slovenia. Apart from this, the U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade is now negotiating for mining concessions in Kamnik for the ‘Anaconda Copper Mining Company’ ”.

In the light of the exposure of the Rajk espionage gang, Acheson’s concern that Tito should receive a loan is quite clear: for a long time the U.S. imperialists have wanted to entrench themselves in Yugoslavia, and with the assistance of their hirelings, the Tito clique, they are trying to turn the country into a base for the struggle against the Soviet Union and People’s Democracies.

As already pointed out, the most essential imports for Yugoslavia are raw materials and machinery necessary to develop a normal level of production. Formerly, Yugoslavia partly balanced its imports from the countries with planned economies by exporting non-ferrous metals and large quantities of wines, fruits, low-grade timber and so on.

Today Yugoslavia can find no market for these goods in the capitalist countries. Yugoslav wines, for example, cannot complete with Italian and French wines, and the same holds true for other products. Thus, Yugoslavia is now compelled to pay the capitalist countries for all its orders in the goods and raw materials that are most essential for herself. This is evident from trade agreement with Italy according to which Yugoslavia will export only non-ferrous metals, certain minerals, timber and grain.

Yugoslavia also supplies the U.S., Britain and Holland with non-ferrous metals. Two shipments of tin (5,000 tons and 3,000 tons) were sent recently to the United States. It is interesting to note that the Yugoslav satraps of the imperialists sell non-ferrous metals to their masters at much lower prices than they did to the People’s Democracies. Here are some figures: Czechoslovakia was charged 19 crowns per kilo for tin, Britain 12.60 crowns, the U.S. (at the beginning of July) 15 crowns, and Italy (at present) 16 crowns. It should be noted that during the past few weeks prices of tin have noticeably increased on the world market.

The predatory felling and export of timber is further proof of the Yugoslav traitors’ dependence on, and servility to, their Anglo-American masters. The country’s timber resources are being expended at an unprecedented rate. For example, the 1951 target for timber exports has already been reached. The value of timber felled in excess of plan and earmarked for export has reached the enormous annual sum of 11,800 million dinars. And now the Tito clique is finding it necessary to export a considerable amount of basic foodstuffs which will add still more to the hardships of the Yugoslav people.

Despite the plundering of Yugoslavia’s natural resources and the drastic measures that are forcing the living standards still lower, the Tito clique cannot make good the enormous loss caused by severing economic relations with the people’s democracies and the Soviet Union.

Yugoslavia is now in a position where she has not enough goods with which to buy the necessary products abroad. In 1949 her trade balance had a deficit of 30-40 per cent. The situation is aggravated by the fact that Tito and Company have already exhausted the credits granted by the capitalist countries within the framework of the present trade agreements. By the end of 1948, the dollar reserves acquired when the U.S. returned the Yugoslav people’s gold blocked during the war, were similarly exhausted. The capitalists will only grant new credits against sure guarantees. Such guarantees can only be full foreign monopoly control over Yugoslav economy and the restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia’s economy is already under the control of various “agents” and “representatives” of the imperialist countries, who, according to the Western press, are carrying on negotiations concerning the internal structure of Yugoslav economy, such as the level of production in various industries, and so on.

The number of those people in Yugoslavia grows from day to day. Recently it was reported that the London firm, the Mackenzie Engineering Company, was planning to build an iron and steel plant in Yugoslavia and was therefore sending many “experts” to the country.

Capitalist monopolies also control Yugoslav export. The Tito Government willingly sets up so-called joint societies to organize exports to various capitalist countries. Such societies have already been established in Britain and Belgium.

These are nothing but capitalist companies which, though pretending to serve Yugoslav interests, are, in reality, the means by which capitalist firms control Yugoslav exports and economy in general.

The oil monopolies are particularly interested in Yugoslav’s oil. The U.S. State Department has sanctioned the export of drilling equipment to Yugoslavia on a scale denied even to the Marshall countries. It is also known that an agreement exists for building a large-scale oil refinery in Yugoslavia with American assistance. This will most probably be supplied with oil from the Near East.

Anyone with an understanding of the methods of imperialist monopolies will not have the slightest doubt that all these concessions will be paid for at the expense of unrestricted exploitation of the Yugoslav working people.

As regards the construction of an oil refinery, there is talk that the compensation may be military bases. Tito will probably try to conceal this is some way, perhaps by establishing a “transport centre” to buy the arms for the Yugoslav Army from the capitalist countries.

Thus, as a result of the Tito clique’s deliberate treachery, Yugoslavia, whose people won the sympathy of all progressive mankind by their struggle for national freedom, has lost its economic and political independence and is now being ruthlessly plundered and enslaved by the capitalist monopolies.

However, the real friends of the Yugoslav people in the democratic camp have no doubt that, led by the vanguard of the Yugoslav working class, the working people of Yugoslavia will not let the monstrous treachery of Tito and his hirelings deliver Yugoslavia into the hands of the imperialist bandits forever.

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