740.0011 European War, 1939/40: Telegram

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

232. I have just seen the Minister for Foreign Affairs9 who reports that except for the confirmation of the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and Poland he has no information from Paris, London or Rome.

He removed his diplomatic mask today for the first time and admitted that Germany had deliberately provoked war, that the German-Soviet pact10 would serve merely to increase the hatred against Germany in Europe and that in his opinion Italy would not enter the conflict. He said that the greatest desire of Yugoslavia at the present time is to keep Italy neutral as this in turn would enable Yugoslavia to maintain its neutrality.

I asked him about the shipment of 100 German airplanes across Yugoslav territory destined for Bulgaria. He denied that any had been sent and said that as the contract provided for the delivery within 6 weeks it was physically impossible to comply with the terms thereof. The Bulgarian Military Attaché confirms nonreceipt of airplanes by Bulgaria.

I also saw this morning the Minister of Commerce11 who confirmed what I am told by all members of the Government that Serb-Croat [Page 405] accord has really succeeded in unifying the country and that it is unified now against a German aggression. I was especially impressed by the change of attitude in Cincar-Markovitch who for the first time did not pretend to be an advocate of the German cause. Repeated to Paris.

  1. Aleksander Cincar-Markovich.
  2. Signed August 23, 1939; for text, see Department of State, Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1989–1941 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948), p. 76. For correspondence, see pp. 312 ff.
  3. Ivan Andres.