Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement

First Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, Belgrade

Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia was the host of the First Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in early September 1961. City hosted the Ninth Summit as well in September of 1989.

Non-alignment and active participation in the movement was the corner-stone of the Cold War period foreign policy and ideology of the Yugoslav federation.[1] The end of the Cold War and subsequent breakup of Yugoslavia, one of the founding and core members, seemed to bring into question the very existence of the Movement which was preserved only by politically pragmatic chairmanship of Indonesia.[2]



Tito's meeting with Kekkonen, president of neutral Finland

After the 1948 Tito–Stalin split Yugoslavia found itself isolated from the rest of the Eastern Bloc countries and in need to redefine its foreign policy which was following Stalinist principles in the 1945-1948 period. The country initially oriented itself towards the Western Bloc and signed the 1953 Balkan Pact with NATO member states of Kingdom of Greece and Turkey. After the death of Stalin, Yugoslav relations with the USSR improved with the country's verbal support for the Soviet intervention in Hungary (contrary to the 1968 one in Czechoslovakia). As the country still wanted to preserve its newly gained independence it developed relations with European neutral countries such as Finland. Yet in order to avoid isolation in deeply divided Europe, Yugoslavia looked for new allies among former colonies and mandate territories.[3] Yugoslavia supported Egypt during the Suez Crisis, a country which became one of the founding members of the Non-aligned movement. Yugoslavia developed its relations with India, another founding member, from the time of their concurrent mandate at the UN Security Council from the end of 1949 onward.[4] On 22 December 1954 meeting in New Delhi Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito signed a joint statement stipulating that "the policy of non-alignment adopted and pursued by their respective countries is not ‘neutrality’ or ‘neutralism’ and therefore passivity, as sometimes alleged, but is a positive, active and constructive policy seeking to lead to collective peace".[4]


Movement's Core Members

Yugoslavia was the proponent of the equidistance towards both blocs during the Cold War and implicitly questioned non-alignment of some of the movement's members. Belgrade feared that close Soviet ally Cuba, together with other self-described progressive members such as Vietnam, South Yemen, Ethiopia and Angola are trying to link the movement to Eastern Bloc on the basis of Lenin's thesis of the natural identity of interest between Soviet socialism and colonial people of Africa and Asia independence struggle.[5] In late 1970' it was the time for Latin America to host the Conference for the first time after it was already organized once in Europe, once in Asia and three times in Africa.[5] Peru is said to be the first tentative choice for the meeting but this idea was canceled after the overthrow of the president Velasco Alvarado.[5] Yugoslavia, together with India, proposed large number of amendments in an successful effort to change what they saw as unacceptably one-sided pro-Soviet draft of the final declaration of the Havana Conference.[5] Cuba, Iran and Iraq, all of which were perceived to belong to the more radical wing of the movement, were absent from the 1989 Belgrade Conference which led to adoption of more equidistant final document.[2]

European and Mediterranean Element of the Non-Alignment

25 delegations participated at the First Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade which included Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Algeria, United Arab Republic, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia from Europe or Mediterranean region.

Yugoslavia cooperated with other non-aligned and with neutral countries in Europe within the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in trying to preserve results of the Helsinki Accords.[1] In this framework Yugoslavia cooperated with Austria and Finland on mediation between blocs, organized second CSCE summit in 1977 in Belgrade and proposed drafts on national minorities protection which are still valid and integral part of OSCE provisions on minority rights.[3] Yugoslav foreign minister Miloš Minić stated that "Yugoslavia is a European, Mediterranean, non-aligned and developing country".[6] During his international trips to other non-aligned countries president Tito underlined the need for the Mediterranean to become a zone of peace.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Martinović, S. (1983). "Foreign Policy of Yugoslavia". Pakistan Horizon. 36 (1): 28–31. JSTOR 41394717.
  2. ^ a b Schiavone, Giuseppe (2008). International Organizations: A dictionary and directory (Seventh ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-230-57322-2.
  3. ^ a b Trültzsch, Arno. "An Almost Forgotten Legacy: Non-Aligned Yugoslavia in the United Nations and in the Making of Contemporary International Law".
  4. ^ a b Mišković, Nataša (2009). "The Pre-history of the Non-Aligned Movement: India's First Contacts with the Communist Yugoslavia, 1948–50". India Quarterly. 65 (2): 185–200. doi:10.1177/097492840906500206.
  5. ^ a b c d Cviic, K. F. (1979). "Note of the Month". The World Today. 35 (10): 387–390. JSTOR 40395078.
  6. ^ Singleton, F. B. (1980). "Yugoslavia without Tito". The World Today. 36 (6): 204–208. JSTOR 40395190.
  7. ^ Hasan, Sabiha (1981). "Yugoslavia's Foreign Policy Under Tito (1945-1980) - II". Pakistan Horizon. 34 (4): 62–103. JSTOR 41394138.

Further reading

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