Foreign Affairs: 100 Years
The Future of History
Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?
THERE are three basic problems in the political life of present-day Jugoslavia, two of them in domestic policy, the third in foreign policy. Together they form the starting point for all our country's political and social efforts. They are, first, to extricate the country from its previous backward state and find the most suitable forms of economic relations based on social ownership of the means of production; second, to continue building a political structure which corresponds to the country's new social and economic foundations; third, to ensure that Jugoslavia's international position is such that she can achieve her aims under conditions of peace and independence and at the fastest possible pace. A brief analysis of these problems may reveal the main features of Jugoslavia's domestic and foreign policy and the interests which shape her relations with other countries, including the United States.
I. IN THE ECONOMIC SPHERE
Jugoslavia's Socialist revolution was confronted with two basic tasks. The first was to bring into play the forces which were to grapple with the country's economic, social and political backwardness. The second was to start the process of the Socialist transformation of society, because under the existing conditions it was along Socialist lines, and along Socialist lines alone, that the first question could be solved in our country.
I would like to give a few examples to show how backward prewar Jugoslavia was.
According to the official census of 1921, 80 percent of the economically active population was engaged in agriculture, while ten years later (in 1931) the proportion was still above 76 percent--a figure which remained more or less unchanged until the war. The per capita consumption of commercial energy in Jugoslavia in 1937 amounted to only one-tenth of the average European consumption (not including the Soviet Union) and was 33 times below that of the United States. Thus agriculture, even though backward, primitive and at a very low level of productivity, was the basis of the country's economic life. Agricultural products were exported and industrial consumer goods imported.
Earnings and the standard of living reflected this general economic condition. According to data of the Central Labor Insurance Office, the average daily wage of a worker in prewar Jugoslavia was highest in 1930, when it amounted to 689 dinars a month; in the same period the cost of living of a working-class family of four amounted to 2,500 dinars. In 1934-38 the per capita use of sugar, to take one consumer item, was 4.5 kilograms, compared to 49 kilograms in Great Britain in the same period.
Industrial development was very slow, owing to the shortage of domestic capital and also because incessant internal political crises resulted in the diversion of a substantial portion of it into nonproductive channels. Moreover, the national economy before the war was in the main dominated by foreign interests, which meant that a very large part of the profits was sent abroad. According to data from annual reports of stock companies and other sources, in 1938 up to 60 percent of all stocks were foreign-owned. So pronounced was this flow of profits out of the country that there were times when up to 35 percent of the total value of exports went towards paying the interest, dividends and profits of foreign capital.
All this had brought the Jugoslav economy into a complete impasse, a state of hopeless stagnation. And this in turn aggravated social and political antagonisms and made a revolutionary outcome inevitable. There was no prospect whatsoever of the country emerging from its backward state within the old social framework; economic, social and political considerations combined to make it imperative to socialize the means of production.
The tidal wave of the revolution swept aside the economic and political obstacles built up by Jugoslavia's prewar social pattern and cleared the way for future economic and social progress. Like all revolutions, it established at the very outset a revolutionary political machinery designed to ensure its achievements and in particular to ensure the socialization of the means of production.
More than that the revolution could not do, however, because it could not eradicate overnight the country's inherited backwardness, its low level of economic development, which required specific social and political forms. Further progress is dependent upon a prolonged internal social evolution, the pace of which will be largely determined by the rate of development of the forces of production, that is to say, by the development of the economic foundations of society and of social consciousness under the impact of the new conditions. No rigid patterns or shortcuts are possible here. And the formalistic or dogmatic application of political formulas which had sprung from a different economic and social situation could only slow down the process.
We do not believe, in a word, that there exist universal political blueprints valid for all countries or even for all stages of Jugoslavia's own development. Different conditions call for different lines of social development as well as for various forms of economic and political organization. That is one of the reasons why we favor the peaceful and active coexistence of nations having different social and political systems.
It may well be that the future will see a gradual blurring of the differences between the various social patterns, as has usually been the case in periods of historical transition; but it is too early to argue about the absolute necessity or value of this or that form of political or economic organization based on social ownership of the means of production. This will be decided by practice. What is all-important is that there shall exist political conditions in which the political forms of economic relationships, based on the social ownership of the means of production, can adapt themselves spontaneously and consciously, as well as with a high degree of flexibility, to the development of the forces of production and social consciousness.
One feature of the Jugoslav revolution is that as it developed it proved itself able--aided by objective conditions--to avoid both sheer expediency and dogmatic extremes by evolving political forms to match the gradual development of the forces of production and economic relations. This explains why the entire process of revolutionary change occurred in Jugoslavia with much less internal shock than is usually the case.
The basic problem confronting a society which is developing along Socialist lines is to organize the social means of production and find a political answer to two questions: How to distribute the national income on the Socialist sector of production? And, more broadly, how to develop social economic planning so that it will not act as an administrative brake upon the creative initiative of the individual? This brings us to the question of the rôle of the state--or, more exactly, of the government--within a Socialist system.
There have been two stages, so far, in the way this problem has been handled in our country. No sharp line can be drawn between the two, of course, since many elements of the first stage still are bound to play an important part. The distinction is, nonetheless, essential, as it reflects the general trend of Jugoslavia's social development.
The revolution began by setting up the machinery of government. Its main features were a high concentration of power, an extensive application of administrative methods and a considerable degree of centralization in all spheres of social life. This is typical of all revolutions; nor could we avoid such a course if we were to safeguard the new social order and also reëstablish normal conditions in the aftermath of the war and revolutionary social changes. Although this system performed a useful function in the first stage, it eventually began to display the unhealthy symptoms which invariably accompany étatism, namely bureaucracy and inertia which impeded the normal functioning of economic and social life. There was comparatively little material incentive for creative effort or initiative; in the main, the economy was governed by directives and detailed governmental planning. Had this process continued, it would gradually have led to hypertrophy of the control and inspection system; to a constant expansion of the administrative machinery; and thereby to an increasing imbalance between the productive and the nonproductive sections of the population. Indeed, such bureaucratic tendencies as were already making themselves felt had begun to fetter economic initiative, and this was bound to have adverse political consequences.
In order to forestall any tendency towards the perpetuation of existing political patterns, Jugoslav society had to set about a further task. It had to find ways of gradually supplementing and replacing the economic functions of government with Socialist forms of economic and moral incentive, both collective and individual, based on social ownership of the means of production; thus any extensive centralized interference in the activities of the different units of production would become superfluous. In other words, it was essential to replace gradually and as fully as possible the centralized system of administrative control and inspection with a kind of "internal control." This control would be based on the economic and social interests of the workers' collectives in the various enterprises, of the individual workers, and of the basic social communities, namely the municipalities and districts. At the same time, these interests should encourage the efforts both of the collectives and of individual workers to improve production. For this to happen, the individual worker and the collective as a whole must have a stake in the result, and so must the locality where the worker lives. Individual material and moral incentive had gradually to replace government intervention and the system of centralized directives and supervision from above.
In the course of the last few years substantial progress has been achieved in this field. This is not the place for me to go into a detailed description; but there can be no doubt that the application of the principles mentioned has had a profound impact on the structure of our economic life in all its aspects. No longer is there need for extensive government control of economy or for a bulky centralized administrative machinery to carry it out. Instead we have economic incentives and the free coöperation and association of enterprises on a functional basis arising from the practical need to raise the level of production. This, at the same time, provides a democratic answer to the question of the centralized handling of functions which under present economic conditions must be dealt with on a centralized basis.
It is on these principles that the central economic plan is based. The plan merely lays down the general lines of the distribution of production and income.[i] It also lays down the essentials of the policy whereby the goals thus set are to be attained. This central plan is carried out by the economic organizations directly, as a law, and not, as had previously been the case, only through the application of administrative measures by the state. The central economic plan provides only a legislative framework and lays down the general norms for the economic plans of the constituent Republics and of the Communes, as well as for the economic program of the enterprises and the economic associations. Within these extremely broad limits the latter plans and programs are freely worked out. This makes it possible for them to reflect to the largest extent the interests both of the individual workers and of the Communes and the constituent Republics. When they are all given an incentive to strive for the greatest possible material achievements, they will increase production and adapt themselves to the demands of the consumers, through economy, improved quality and greater variety of product--because precisely by so doing they can make the most substantial contribution to the betterment of the individual's economic condition and to raising the general social standard of his local community.
In consequence, the number of administrative functions which had previously been a most important political factor tends to diminish. Today the rôle of the administration is reduced to supervising the execution of the over-all economic plan, maintaining legality, ensuring the unity of the social system and carrying out certain regulative and organizational functions. The burden of executive responsibility is thus shifted to the elected bodies (the Federal Assembly, the Assemblies of the constituent Republics and the Peoples' Committees), to the self-governing bodies (the Communes), and to social organizations (the citizens' councils, as well as organizations in the fields of education, social security, etc.). Solid foundations have thereby been laid for continuous and all-round progress in all spheres of social life.
At the same time, an answer is given to the question of individual creative effort. The individual is no longer a mere cog in the machine, with little scope for action; he is not only given the possibility but is also confronted with the necessity, in his own interest, of striving for material and moral benefits through better and more productive work. He is also concerned with the performance of his fellow workers and of the enterprise as a whole because it is upon this that his own success and the progress of the enterprise and of the Commune depends. From being an individual concerned solely with earning his daily living, he becomes a socially conscious worker with increasing participation in the different spheres of social and economic activity. Gradually, it becomes possible to bridge the gulf between intellectual and manual labor.
Finally, the Communes--that is, the municipalities and districts--have an immediate interest that the forces of production shall develop as rapidly as possible. The more this happens, and the more the individual laborer increases his productivity (lifting both his personal earnings and the income of the Commune), the more rapid the rise in the general well-being. By initiating and stimulating the forces of production, the Commune substantially reduces the need for government control of the economy and this in turn diminishes bureaucratic tendencies.
Under such a system there is a close and constant relationship between the individual and society. Society no longer exerts pressure on the individual or hamstrings his initiative; neither does it impose patterns of uniformity upon his creative efforts, but rather regulates and assists them. I am not claiming that this principle has as yet found adequate practical application in our country, but I think I can say that there is a definite trend toward its gradual realization.
Needless to say, the introduction of new economic relationships has run into difficulties, and still does so. Although the process has been carried out gradually and is constantly being tested in practice, mistakes cannot be entirely avoided. Moreover, the fact that the mechanism itself is not yet complete has allowed various egoistic and parochial tendencies to create unnecessary difficulties, both economic and political. However, it is precisely while we are endeavoring to eliminate such tendencies that we learn which aspects of the mechanism need to be corrected or supplemented by new economic, political and regulative measures. Although further difficulties of this kind will doubtless be encountered, we can safely say that the first phase of the development has yielded the expected results in full measure. The last few years have seen an extremely rapid development of the forces of production and an increase in production itself. Of course, this has not been the result solely of the changes to which I have referred, but they have certainly been an extremely important contributing factor.
The results achieved are most vividly reflected in the changes to which they have led in our legislation. Formerly regulations and administrative measures had as their main purpose to encourage initiative in production and trade through a tightened system of control. Today the main object is to regulate and guide such initiatives and to adapt them to the possibilities and requirements of society, with only the degree of control necessary to prevent the activities of individual economic organizations from harming the over-all interests of society.
These changes show that we have attained our main objective of making individual material and moral incentives a decisive element of social progress within the given social framework. At the same time, this has made possible freer economic growth as well as the gradual development of more democratic administrative forms in the economic sphere. In this connection the most important fact to bear in mind from a political point of view is that the incentive is essentially Socialist and is an integral part of the system of social ownership of the means of production; by that very fact it excludes a return to any form of private ownership in production. Here is the internal political strength of the new social system--that it facilitates and accelerates the development of new democratic forms of social life.
It is quite useless to dismiss a political system by describing it contemptuously as a dictatorship. I do not wish to engage in a theoretical controversy on the distinction between dictatorship and democracy. Few will deny, however, that history has known not only reactionary dictatorships but also progressive ones which ushered in eras of freedom; and conversely there have been bad democracies which undermined freedom. The revolutionary power which emerged from the deep and wide revolutionary change in Jugoslavia has had--and still has--an important political function both in transforming social relationships and advancing the country and also in accomplishing far-reaching democratic changes in the political field.
II. IN THE POLITICAL SPHERE
The new economic patterns in Jugoslavia have had a very definite impact on the country's entire political structure.
In the first place, there is the process which we call decentralization. Actually the term is not quite adequate, because it is meant to cover not only decentralization but also new forms of integration. What this boils down to is that forms of government related to étatism are replaced with democratic forms of government and integration growing out of the new economic relationships and the accompanying Socialist economic incentives. Since this, of course, requires that the basic productive and social units mentioned above shall have more independence and responsibility, it was essential to decentralize the government considerably and transfer many of its functions to them. On these foundations new forms of democratic integration will gradually be found so as to give economic associations such functions as are in the general interest of society but do not include the exercise of political authority.
The basic unit of this decentralized social structure are the Workers' Councils which are elected in every enterprise by all the workers employed there from among their own ranks and by secret ballot. The Workers' Councils do not own the enterprises but only operate them on behalf of society as a whole. They are, therefore, democratic political bodies, in the same way, basically, as are the People's Committees[ii] in the municipalities or districts. They cannot act as they please, because they have no rights of ownership; they must remain within the framework of the overall national plan and other regulations. But they do possess definite democratic rights which give them the necessary independence in taking decisions as well as a direct say in the distribution and use of the income.
Nor is the Commune a world unto itself, since it is called upon to perform certain definite social functions. Though the Commune is not the only instrument for harmonizing collective and individual interests, it is the main one. It is the basic cell in society, the first level where the contradiction between the material demands of individuals and of society as a whole finds expression. The fact that the contradiction is solved here under the immediate control and influence of the broad masses of the people has a most favorable effect in forming social consciousness. It sometimes happens, of course, that individual selfish interests gain the upper hand over the interests of society, or else that too great pressure is put on the general standard of living. We have encountered both kinds of difficulties, and shall probably do so again. However, as the system of planning and regulation improves through experience, these harmful tendencies will gradually be reduced, and this in turn will strengthen the principles of self-government. A powerful contributing factor is the growth of social consciousness born of everyday experience. We have thus gained a further means of harmonizing collective and individual interests, on the basis of individual economic and moral incentives. This renders a considerable part of the government machinery superfluous and minimizes the need for government interference in economic and social life.
I do not claim that all the problems arising from the contradiction between individual and collective social interests have thereby been solved. Some of these problems are dealt with through other forms of democratic self-government--through social organizations, associations, the chambers of industry, agriculture, trade and so forth. The main responsibility in this regard naturally rests with the parliaments of the Jugoslav Federation and of the constituent Republics since these are the highest social and political representative bodies. However, the results we have already achieved in developing the Communes point out clearly the future trend for democratically harmonizing individual and collective interest in the Socialist sector of economic life.
A further consequence of the changed economic foundations was the need for increasingly democratic forms of economic activities and management. If decentralization had taken place within the old étatist framework of economic management the result would have been a growth of bureaucracy and arbitrariness in the local bodies and in the various enterprises; indeed, the entire meaning of the social ownership of the means of production would have been distorted. It was clear at the very outset that it was impossible to set out to provide individual economic and other incentives and increase the autonomy of economic organizations and Communes without simultaneously democratizing the system of management and the structure of their governing bodies. Experience has done away with the notion that the organization of production is a matter for experts and technicians, with democracy confined to the political field; it has shown that bureaucracy can be overcome only through a democratic transformation of all levels of economic management.
These trends led to the emergence of the two new democratic forms of political organization which I have mentioned--the Workers' Councils and the Communes. They are a basic feature of our entire system and have a tremendous bearing on the gradual transformation of our country's political and economic life.
The Workers' Councils are no mere advisory bodies; they are vested with powers of decision and functions of management. The following are the main functions of the Workers' Councils: adoption of wage regulations, approval of the economic program of the enterprise, distribution of that part of the income of the enterprise which it is free to dispose of, the taking of decisions as to the utilization of all funds managed autonomously by the enterprise, as well as electing the board of management and supervising its work. The board of management is the direct executive body of the Workers' Council. The Workers' Councils may not, it is true, interfere with the technological aspects of production nor with day-to-day commercial activities. These come within the purview of the director of the enterprise and his technical staff. It is, however, the Workers' Councils which lay down the general economic policies of the enterprise within the framework of the economic plan, and in this context they may appraise and criticize the results of the technical and commercial management.
In view of his professional qualifications, the director is responsible for the direct management of the enterprise, for organizing production, for carrying out the plan; it is he who assigns various tasks and duties to workers and employees, and these are responsible to him. The director is called upon to see that the requisite discipline is observed. Should a Workers' Council feel that the director is not acting in the interest of the enterprise or of the community as a whole, it may request that he be relieved of his post; the director, for his part, has the right and duty to inform the People's Committee of the Commune if he considers that the activities of the Workers' Council do not conform with existing regulations. In the event of a disagreement, the People's Committee may, if it finds that the director's course was not justified, dissolve the Workers' Council and call for new elections.
The director of an enterprise is selected from among applicants by a commission composed of representatives of the People's Committee, professional organizations and members of the Workers' Council of the enterprise. The last-named form one-third of the membership of the commission. The candidate selected is then officially appointed by the People's Committee. The director of an enterprise is ipso facto a member of the Workers' Council, but he is never its chairman.
The Workers' Councils, like the other democratic forms of economic organization, are vitally interested in the activities of the Commune, in the size of its funds and in how they are used. Representing as it does the general interest, the Commune on its side has a material interest in preventing individual demands from running counter to the general needs of the Commune. It is precisely because the people who decide these matters in the Commune usually also sit in the Workers' Councils and the self-governing bodies of the other economic organizations that the Commune has become such an important instrument for harmonizing individual and collective interests.[iii]
The Workers' Councils and the Communes have exerted a far-reaching influence on the political and organizational structure of the state. The representative bodies of the Communes, of the constituent Republics and of the Jugoslav Federation now include Councils of Producers elected by and consisting of people immediately engaged in production. They have an equal say with the general bodies in all matters relating to the distribution of the social income. This is a democratic way of ensuring the leadership of the Socialist elements--of the workers--in social life, so that it is no longer necessary for the Government to take administrative measures or intervene directly to achieve this end. Moreover, these are the bodies which most adequately reflect the practical needs of the economy and therefore can best assure that the regulations conform to them. They are, moreover, a natural antithesis of bureaucracy.
The activities of the Workers' Councils also cover the functional coöperation of enterprises. Besides the central government's functions in regulating and planning economic activities, there obviously are other economic functions which have to be centralized, such as, for instance, organizing efforts to improve production from a technical point of view, coördinating the different plans of production, encouraging and aiding coöperation among the various enterprises, organizing auxiliary specialized services, distributing materials--in other words, everything involved today in coöperation in the field of production and in the division of labor. The considerable number of ministries formerly existing and the even more numerous boards administering the different branches of the economy have now been replaced with associations of enterprises and groupings of these known as Chambers of Industry, of Agriculture, of Trade, etc. The governing bodies of such associations are always elected by Workers' Councils and are aided by a technical staff. The government, too, is represented on them and has a direct say regarding all matters affecting the general interest. These forms of economic organization are still in their early stages in our country, but already it is clear that they are assuming an important social rôle. In any event, a democratic solution has been found to the question of functional grouping in economic life. This has made it possible for functions which under present-day economic conditions must be centralized to be so organized as to ensure both the direct influence of the enterprises and their Workers' Councils, which reflects the needs of economic practice, and that of the Parliament and of the government, which speak for society as a whole.
The growing rôle of the Workers' Councils and of the Communes has also had an impact outside the economic sphere--for instance, in education, public health, etc.--with the result that the general administrative structure has lost many of its étatist features. Here, too, many of the functions previously discharged by the government administration at all levels have now been taken over by various democratically elected self-governing bodies. This has made it possible to reduce government control in these spheres to a minimum, and thus counteract any bureaucratic tendencies which might appear in them.
I would like to give a few examples of the importance of this process. The total population of the three largest Jugoslav cities--Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana--is 1,435,189. Some 123,400 citizens take an active part in the different self-governing bodies both inside and outside the economic sphere--with all the broad powers and functions of which I have already spoken. On the other hand, the entire Federal administration consisting of five State Secretariats and a series of lower administrative organs totals 10,328 officials and employees (this does not include the State Secretariat for National Defense).
The extent to which government administration, and especially the central government administration, has decreased through decentralization is shown by the following figures: In 1948 the Federal administration (not including National Defense) had 47,310 officials and employees. This number has now been brought down to 10,328, almost a third of them in the State Secretariats for Foreign and Internal Affairs. These figures, I think, are highly indicative of the general trend of the social and political evolution of our country.
The new democratic forms have not been artificially devised or imposed. They are a direct consequence of social ownership of the means of production. Any attempt, therefore, to gauge Jugoslav developments in terms of democratic institutions derived from the system of private ownership of the means of production is bound to be misleading.
As is only natural, a system such as ours gives considerable importance to the subjective factor, i.e. to the political organizations in which the social consciousness takes shape. These organizations are called upon to educate the masses in the spirit of the new social relationships; and by carrying on general political work and explaining the practical issues that may arise they endeavor to contribute to the adoption of consistently Socialist decisions by the various self-governing and representative bodies. Under our system this indispensable social function is performed chiefly by the League of Communists of Jugoslavia and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Jugoslavia. These are not political parties in the traditional sense of the word, and their position in our political and social structure does not correspond to that of parties in countries with classical multi-party democracy. It is therefore quite incorrect to speak of a so-called one-party as distinct from a multi-party system or to view the problem of Socialist democracy as being how to achieve the transition from a one-party to a multi-party system. The specific leading rôle of the two political organizations in our social life notwithstanding, the democratic forms of organization which are growing up on the basis of social ownership of the means of production will necessarily develop into a non-party Socialist democracy; and within its fold the individual will not be represented through one or several parties, but directly.
To give just one example of how our political system works, I shall describe the manner in which prospective members of the assemblies are nominated. The assemblies are elected by universal suffrage and secret ballot; but an additional feature characteristic of the Jugoslav system of direct democracy is the process whereby the candidates are nominated. Candidates are nominated at meetings of the electors and by groups of citizens. All voters have the right to participate in these meetings and in the decisions reached. The meeting elects its own officers. Any voter proposes candidates. From among the persons thus proposed a choice is made by majority vote and this choice becomes the official proposal of the meeting. If one-fourth of a voters' meeting in an electoral district comes out in favor of a candidate, then the latter is nominated. Should more than one such proposal obtain the required majority, then there will be more than one candidate. Thus it is the electors who nominate the candidates. In addition, groups of not less than 200 citizens, including at least five from each of the municipalities, may nominate a candidate. As can be seen, nominations are not linked to, or made dependent upon, party affiliations. No party, not even the League of Communists of Jugoslavia or the Socialist Alliance of the Working People, nominates official candidates; this is done at the voters' meetings or by groups of citizens. As is only natural, political organizations give their active backing to prospective candidates; the actual decision as to their nomination, however, belongs to the meetings of the voters themselves.
Organizations like those named above and the labor unions are concentrating more and more on the task of preparing citizens to deal with the public issues within the system of social ownership of the means of production. Under existing conditions they must, of course, retain a measure of leadership in the political life of the country. The rate of progress cannot be laid down arbitrarily but will depend on the nature and development of social antagonisms; the general trend is, however, unmistakable.
Far be it from me to assert that all this is being achieved without difficulty. On the contrary, there are still many shortcomings; we are running into opposition from bureaucratic and conservative tendencies, and there is still an inclination to be guided by expediency or by egoistic interest.
Nor do I wish to say that we have already found the best possible answer to all our problems. There are still areas where we have been unable as yet to replace the system of administrative control with more democratic forms of organization. On the other hand, there have been instances where we have ventured too far in this regard, and this has sometimes led to a lack of discipline and even anarchistic tendencies. But if we compare such adverse trends to the results achieved they appear comparatively unimportant; nor is it to be expected that such far-reaching social changes can be brought about without difficulty, without mistakes or failures. We are open to correction by experience, for we have never been dogmatists who refuse to learn from the practice of everyday life. But experience has confirmed that our basic approach is correct. In all probability, certain practical forms of organization will undergo many changes, but the general trend to which I have referred will pervade the entire future growth of our society.
We do not claim, needless to say, that we shall establish an ideal society, either for ourselves or for the rest of the world. There is no ideal society. What we are striving for is to make possible that our working people shall do their utmost both for themselves and for future generations, thus contributing to the general progress of humanity. They are, in fact, already able to do this to the extent of existing possibilities. How far we have succeeded is not for us to say. History will be the judge. In everything we are guided, in addition to our general theoretical approach, by two considerations only: the test of experience and the support of the people. Both, as we see it, approve the course we have taken.
III. IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPHERE
Jugoslavia is thus going through an intense process of evolution in the economic, social and political fields. In some ways this process is similar to that in other countries; nevertheless, it does have certain specific features, some of which are undoubtedly of international significance. To be successful, the efforts demanded of our people require that there be conditions of peace and of independence. That is why the process of which I have spoken is so clearly reflected in foreign policy.
The basic objectives of Jugoslavia's foreign policy are:
First, to ensure independence and equality, and by this I mean not only political independence but also economic independence and the right to pursue an independent internal development.
Second, to safeguard peace and make the greatest possible contribution to world security, to all forms of cooperation and to trade and cultural exchanges.
Third, to rule out any kind of interference in Jugoslavia's internal development and to ensure the full independence of her foreign policy.
Fourth, to establish close economic relations, on a basis of equality, with all countries in whatever manner is best calculated to further Jugoslavia's efforts to emerge from her previous state of backwardness and to develop the forces of production as rapidly as possible.
Fifth, to make the greatest possible contribution to efforts to accelerate the economic development of the underdeveloped areas of the world through appropriate democratic forms of international financing, with the aim of eliminating or at least reducing the gap between the developed and the underdeveloped countries; because precisely here lies one of the main sources of the economic and political dependence of nations and of the lack of stability in international relations.
Sixth, to coöperate and exchange experience in Socialism and other matters with all nations developing along Socialist lines, and with all Socialist and progressive forces in the world which wish to coöperate on an equal and democratic basis and do not seek to impose their own political and ideological patterns.
Jugoslavia cannot hope, of course, to secure these conditions for herself on a lasting basis unless they are established in the world at large. Even if we leave aside the general Jugoslav attitude in favor of collective security, we must realize that under existing world conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for a nation to enjoy peace if it is not world peace, or to pursue an egoistic and narrowly nationalistic policy divorced from the general efforts to prevent aggression and develop broad international coöperation, regardless of bloc boundaries. Jugoslavia cannot and does not wish to pursue any such policy. The purpose of Jugoslav foreign policy, then, is to contribute as much as possible to world security, for we are fully aware that only under conditions of general security can Jugoslavia herself enjoy security and achieve her objectives.
It is on these premises that Jugoslavia bases her concept of peaceful and active coexistence among nations with different social systems. This is no neutralist policy stemming either from pacifist illusion or selfish nationalism. It is an active policy designed to support all trends toward peace and the peaceful elimination or blunting of antagonisms between blocs.
Such a policy arises naturally from the basic requirements, both material and political, of Jugoslavia's social development. However, our advocacy of coexistence would be little more than a pious wish or a pacifist illusion, or might even be the expression of selfishly nationalistic leanings, were it not based on international realities. In other words, what we have to ask ourselves is whether such a policy is both possible and necessary within the wider framework of international relations; whether it is in accordance with the interests of peace and of human progress; and whether it is based on a realistic appraisal of the forces currently at work on the international scene.
We feel that an analysis of existing international realities makes it possible to give a positive answer to these questions. The inherent logic of the political and social evolution now taking place in the world shows clearly that there is no other way to avoid war than through active coexistence.
The existing balance of forces in the world is such as to preclude the possibility of any part of the world or of any bloc of nations forcing its will upon the others--or indeed even of living for any length of time in a state of economic or political isolation without this having an adverse effect upon its own rate of development. Owing, moreover, to the increasingly vigorous social evolution under way in all countries, and to the existing pattern of international relations which is the result of a number of different factors, the boundary between the world's political systems or blocs does not coincide with the borderline between the different social systems. This will become more and more apparent.
The voices of those who claim that war is the only way out are becoming weaker and weaker throughout the world. One reason is that in view of the present balance of world forces--which no amount of armaments or strengthening of the system of blocs can change to any appreciable extent--war has become if not impossible, at least extremely hazardous to launch. Furthermore, even if war were to break out, it could not possibly provide a solution to the contradictions of our times. What remained of the world after an all-devastating nuclear war would be confronted with the same social contradictions (although in a modified form); for these contradictions have not arisen accidentally or been invented but merely reflect the present stage in the material and cultural development of mankind.
These reasons, with many others, have led to a decrease in international tension and a more definite trend toward peace. In other words, the idea of coexistence is becoming a reality even though such coexistence, imposed by the force of events, is still highly unstable and sterile.
Jugoslavia's foreign policy does not incline in the least to underrate the strength of the opposing tendencies or the danger of new upheavals inherent in the unstable equilibrium upon which coexistence at present rests. Nor is it unaware of the consequences which this might have both for world peace and for Jugoslavia's own position in international affairs and, more specifically, for her independence. This need not prevent us, however, from assessing correctly the importance of the positive elements in the situation or of doing all in our power to help these elements come to the fore. I am not saying, therefore, that solutions based on the principles of peaceful and active coexistence are to be found overnight. I do say that the material forces influencing this development in this direction are powerful enough to make a policy supporting them realistic and to warrant the hope that it will yield the desired results.
This is the appraisal on which Jugoslavia's foreign policy is based. It is not prone to illusions, but neither is it inclined to underrate all the new elements which have recently appeared in the sphere of international relations, ranging from the general modification of the balance of world forces to favorable developments in Soviet foreign policy. It is precisely in view of these new elements that we are led to consider the policy of coexistence to be not only right but also realistic and most in keeping with the basic interests of our people.
Jugoslavia's desire for an independent position outside the system of bloc alignments is a reflection of her active endeavor to contribute to a further decrease in world tension and to strengthening of the idea of active coexistence. Her foreign policy does not flow, as is frequently but quite wrongly thought abroad, from neutralism and still less from a narrow nationalism. It has been dictated and is rendered possible by her specific position in the present-day world, and this is a consequence, in turn, of the particular features of her own evolution.
This explains the strength, the necessity and the permanence of Jugoslavia's foreign policy, even though foreign observers sometimes fail to understand this, preferring to speculate about subjective moods and opinions rather than to analyze the objective material and political forces which shape a country's foreign policy. It is not a question of believing or disbelieving this or that pronouncement on foreign policy but of believing or disbelieving the reality of certain basic political elements resulting from specific material and political national interests.
This is the starting point of Jugoslavia's policy towards the United States. Under existing world conditions, relations between a great nation and a small one, with very different levels of economic development and dissimilar social systems and rôles in international affairs, are obviously very complicated. This has become apparent from time to time in the case of the United States and Jugoslavia. Their relations have undoubtedly been developing favorably in recent years and very significant results have been achieved, owing to no small extent to the traditional feelings of friendship binding the two countries; but from time to time, one must admit, there have been trials and a certain lack of mutual understanding, due mainly, probably, to occasional misapprehensions regarding the material and political basis of the relationship. As I have already pointed out, idle speculation by either side about subjective moods can never provide a satisfactory answer but instead is liable to create confusion. The normal long-range development of friendly relations between two countries requires above all a realistic evaluation of the nature and scope of their interests since it is these that govern.
I do not wish in any way to deny or belittle the rôle of moral factors in international relations in general or the importance of the traditional friendship between Jugoslavia and the United States. In recent decades considerations of this order have gained more weight in world affairs than used to be the case. Nor do I wish to underestimate the historical significance of the obligation which all nations have assumed through the United Nations Charter to work together in friendship to strengthen peace and international security.
We all know, however, that the extent to which relations between countries are solid and enduring depends primarily upon their mutual material and political interests and on their willingness and ability to adjust, in certain fields at least, their general international interests. What these interests are, of course, depends in the final analysis on the economic, political and social evolution of each country and its place in the world. A correct and realistic appraisal of how far they can be adjusted should provide the starting point for coöperation between two countries. Relations on such a basis are realistic, equal and provide for constructive coöperation; otherwise they may easily give rise to illusions or run counter to the principle of equality, either of which would have an adverse effect on the relations themselves.
This is a general principle of international relations, and it is especially valid in the relations of two countries as different in strength, structure and social system as the United States and Jugoslavia. This is why we Jugoslavs, convinced as we are of the absolute necessity of active and friendly coöperation with the United States, have endeavored to the best of our ability to make it close and comprehensive on the realistic basis of our mutual interests, especially that of safeguarding world peace. There is no doubt that a healthy realism of this kind, which should not be confused with lack of principle or opportunism, is, under existing conditions, the best possible ambassador between our two countries.
These considerations should be taken into account in the relations between a Great Power and a small country, quite apart from differences in their social and political systems. It is in the nature of things that a Great Power should view its coöperation with a smaller one primarily from the viewpoint of the world political system which it leads. It is no less natural for a smaller country to be somewhat wary of this because of the possible danger to its equality and independence. This applies particularly to present-day Jugoslavia whose specific forms of internal development would be impossible in the absence of complete independence. The peoples of Jugoslavia cannot accept any form of international relations or international coöperation in which they would cease to be subjects of world politics and become objects, or which might deprive them in any degree of the equality and freedom of international action which their legitimate interests demand and which correspond to their views on international security. Thus Jugoslav-American relations cannot be based on the prospect of Jugoslavia joining the Western bloc. Her attitude on this matter has always been plain, straightforward and sincere. The recent trend of international events has given added confirmation to the realism of her attitude.
Nor should our approach to the relations of our two countries be narrowly ideological, because this would preclude the possibility of correctly assessing the objective factors which, regardless of differences of social systems, make friendly coöperation both possible and desirable. In other words, the relations between our two countries cannot rest on any hope of a return to the old pattern of things in Jugoslavia. Jugoslavia must be accepted just as she is today, with all the changes and strivings of which I have spoken. The peoples of Jugoslavia, through an arduous struggle to emerge from their semi-colonial past and backwardness, are creating new economic conditions for themselves by establishing new social relationships corresponding to their needs. They are proud of their achievements in that direction and intend to persevere in the attempt to build a better life.
These efforts, these trends, these strivings are what shape Jugoslavia's foreign policy. To underrate this fact could result only in a failure to comprehend the mainsprings and rôle of Jugoslav foreign policy in strengthening the country's independence and promoting active coexistence in international relations. With reference specifically to coöperation between the United States and Jugoslavia, any tendency of the sort would necessarily be extremely harmful.
All this applies, of course, to Jugoslav evaluations of the main features of United States policy towards our country. Our public opinion occasionally entertains some misconceptions on this score, ranging from fears to illusions. I may be forgiven, however, if I have drawn attention here mainly to occasional failures on the part of American public opinion to understand our foreign policy and, more especially, of the manner in which our domestic policies are reflected in it.
I have endeavored to indicate Jugoslavia's vital interests by making a brief analysis of the main trends and features of her evolution. I feel that an analysis of this sort provides a better basis for assessing a country's foreign policy than any amount of diplomatic pronouncements. Even a cursory analysis clearly shows that friendship with the United States is an essential element of Jugoslavia's foreign policy, not only in the coöperative aim to strengthen peace but also in the interest of safeguarding our independence and equality. Jugoslavia will therefore strive to maintain such relations with the United States regardless of whether she receives American aid or not. Such assistance has been of great help to the Jugoslav people and they value it highly; it has never been, however, nor will it ever be, the main consideration governing our country's relations with the United States. These have deeper roots than that, in the mutual interest of the two peoples in world peace and security and, on our side, in our concern to safeguard our independence. Good relations with the United States are therefore a permanent element of our foreign policy.
Nor has anything been changed in this respect by the marked improvement in our relations with the Soviet Union, despite implications to the contrary in certain recent superficial comments on Jugoslav foreign policy. Quite the reverse, the fact that our relations with the Soviet Union have improved so greatly and have become stable and friendly is further evidence that Jugoslavia has followed a correct line in her foreign policy and that it is a success. I may add that one of the reasons why we welcome this improvement is that as consistent champions of peace and active coexistence between East and West, and as a Socialist country, we favor cultural and trade exchanges.
Is it in the American interest to cultivate friendly relations with an independent Jugoslavia, a country which pursues a policy of non-alignment and which supports all forces and trends working towards peace and active coexistence among nations irrespective of their social systems? We are profoundly convinced that the answer is yes, that such coöperation is genuinely in the interest of the American people because only by being what she is and pursuing the policy which she does pursue can Jugoslavia contribute to stability and security in Europe and to world peace in general. It is therefore a disservice both to general international security and to the basic interests of the two peoples to view Jugoslav foreign policy, as some in the United States are inclined to do, in terms of bloc alignments; this can only harm friendly coöperation between our two countries, which has already shown itself to be absolutely necessary in their mutual interest.
The fact that American-Jugoslav relations have so far been developing along sound realistic lines is precisely why they have achieved such significant results. In our opinion the same realistic attitude provides a solid basis for future good relations. Whatever difficulties may from time to time have occurred were a consequence of a departure by one side or the other from the realistic approach as determined by the scope of the common interests of the two countries and by their common views on the problems of world peace and security. We must maintain this same approach in the future and thereby avoid misunderstanding, distrust or apprehension. Under such conditions alone can our relations be stable and enduring and continue to benefit, as hitherto, not only our two countries but world security in general.
[i] The plan sets forth the comparative ratios between the utilization of production possibilities, the wage fund, accumulations and investments, and provides the basic elements for the distribution of accumulations.
[ii] The official term for elected local self-government bodies. Actually, in view of their size they might perhaps be more adequately described as councils, or local "parliaments."
[iii] Administratively speaking, the Commune covers the territory of a municipality in the usual understanding of the term. In our country, however, it is given far more extensive powers, particularly in production, and thus becomes an important form of social organization. By Commune we usually mean the integrated functions of the municipality and the district.