740.00/1059: Telegram

The Minister in Yugoslavia ( Lane ) to the Secretary of State

98. Department’s 17, April 20, 7 p.m. When I saw the Prince Regent on April 17 I handed him the text of the President’s message. While he praised the President’s move to me I feel confident that he would make no public favorable comment, nor would the Government do so. In fact as reported in my 94,27 the official Government reaction is pessimistic on value of the President’s move. On the return of the Prime Minister from Zagreb I shall sound him out on the possibility of making a statement along the lines desired but I feel reasonably certain that the answer will be negative.

As a result of my conversations of this week I feel that there is no longer any question of what Yugoslavia’s attitude is with regard to the international situation: there is no official attitude, other than one of expectant fear, aggravated by defeatism. The future course to be pursued by Yugoslavia will in my opinion not be formulated [Page 149] here but in Berlin or Rome, and Yugoslavia will do what she is told by the Axis powers.

We believe that Ciano28 will broach to Cincar-Markovic29 at Venice the formation of a bloc of Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania and that the proposal will be accepted. While such a move would virtually destroy the Balkan Entente its effect would be more of a moral than a practical nature.

Repeated to Paris and Rome.

  1. Dated April 19, 12 a.m., not printed.
  2. Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Yugoslav Minister for Foreign Affairs.