Jovan Čavoški, PhD
Institute for Recent History of Serbia
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia


Vol. XXXVII, 1/2019, pp. 139–160



This article deals with an almost forgotten historical episode tackling the relationship between Yugoslavia and some influential Asian socialist parties that managed to establish an independent regional political organization in the early 1950s, namely the Asian Socialist Conference (ASC). During the Cold War many of the post-colonial nations sought to find a different path of socio-economic development for their respective societies, aspiring in parallel for foreign policy independence and equality in world affairs, as well as trying to set up an alternative ideological and political framework to the existing bloc divisions. The ASC was one of the least understood events in the recent history of the Asian continent. This was an international organization that aspired to see the world from a quite different ideological perspective, a body established by the influential socialist parties of leading Asian non-aligned states, like Burma, India, and Indonesia. This double allegiance to socialism and non-alignment was the driving force behind the policies of this organization. At the same time, these parties were closely supported by Yugoslavia, the only communist renegade from the Soviet bloc who sought its own path of constructing a socialist society. Yugoslavia was the only non-Asian country that was fully accepted as an equal participant in this organization, thus truly making the ASC international in its scope and goals vis-à-vis both blocs and the wider world. Even though the ASC was not a very successful attempt, due to the later political weakness of all these socialist parties, since only few of them ever became ruling ones, it did, however, exercise an important role in shaping of an autonomous political identity of Asia and the non-aligned world during the 1950s. Yugoslavia’s role in this respect was more than tangible.


KEYWORDS: Yugoslavia, Asian Socialist Conference, socialism, non-alignment, Third Force, Burma, India



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