President Gerald Ford of the United States arrive in Yugoslavia on the last stage of his ten-day European tour on Sunday (3 August).
President Gerald Ford of the United States arrive in Yugoslavia on the last stage of his ten-day European tour on Sunday (3 August). He was greeted at the airport in Belgrade, the Yugoslavian capital, by President Tito.
Mr. Ford just finished a brief visit to Rumania, where he endorsed the right of Rumania to develop its own form of Communism. He is expected to do the same thing Yugoslavia.
Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Ford congratulated Yugoslavia for its "fierce pride in its independence". He said President Tito was "truly respected in America and throughout the world as one of the great men of the Post-War era".
Yugoslavian officials see President Ford's visit as a demonstration of the U.S. interest in backing Belgrade's non-aligned foreign policy and decentralised form of Communism which has kept Yugoslavia free of control from Moscow.
There are considered to be no major problems dividing the two nations although a recent bombing of the Yugoslavian Mission to the United Nations in New York has caused some concern. It's expected Yugoslavia will stress the need for the U.S. to guarantee the safety of Yugoslav officials in the United States.
But this is considered a minor issue in light of the rapidly expanding economic ties between the two countries. Trade between them has more than doubled in the last three years and totals 670 million U.S. dollars (???304 million sterling) a year.
Negotiations are reported to be underway for Yugoslavia to acquire military supplies from the U.S. but it isn't known whether the two Presidents will discuss this topic.
Recently, Yugoslavia has been getting the bulk of its military supply from the Soviet Union and some observers feel Yugoslavia would like to weaken this dependence before the 83-year-old President Tito steps down or dies.
Mr. Ford will remain in Yugoslavia for 24 hours.