US Secretary of State James Baker played a leading spoiler role in stopping Macedonia from gaining international and European Union recognition after it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, according to a newly declassified 1992 Australian Foreign Affairs file over 250 pages long.

The US Secretary of State is America’s Foreign Minister. Baker, a part of US President George Bush’s administration, responded to pressure from Greece, which strongly opposed Macedonia being recognised under its constitutional name. Baker wrote a letter calling for Macedonia not to be recognised, even though it fulfilled all the EU (then European Community -EC) criteria for recognition as an independent state.

A large number of EU states were getting impatient and exasperated with Greece’s behaviour and on the verge of recognising Macedonia when the Baker letter put a stop to it.┬áThe Greek Foreign Minister at the time Samaras thanked the US for its intervention.

Other interesting observations from Australian diplomats about Macedonia, include scepticism about Albanian nationalist claims over a lack of human rights in Macedonia for ethnic Albanians (pages 81-82). One diplomat called it a red herring.

The 257 page file can be viewed here:


The declassified file was released by the National Archives of Australia. A researcher’s name of Chris Petkovski was listed as requesting the file.