740.0011 European War 1939/369: Telegram

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

273. 1. The source whose correct prophecies were transmitted in my 255, September 6, and who was identified in the last paragraph of my 210, August 22 [23?],56 now informs us that there is no intention on the part of Germany to invade Rumania or Yugoslavia provided those states give to Germany what is required, that is oil and agricultural [Page 436] products respectively. Informant expressed complete confidence that both Governments would accede to German requests.

2. The French Legation expresses the opinion that the Yugoslav Government will resist German demands. Other equally well informed sources express doubt on this point.

3. In connection with the foregoing paragraphs one must bear in mind two essential points:

As our Military Attaché’s reports clearly show this country is not in a position to make any resistance against a powerful enemy. In addition to the lack of equipment the disorganization in Government circles is scandalous (the case covered by the Department’s telegram No. 43, September 16,58 is illustrative, especially as the matter had been discussed with the Prince Regent, Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of War).
Regardless of the national political unity reported in my 243, September 4,58 the present coalition Serb-Croatian Government will because of divergent interests undoubtedly be greatly handicapped in formulating a definite and consistent foreign policy, in functioning efficiently and in agreeing on a logical military policy in the event of foreign attack. Military Attaché points out that in resisting a highly mechanized force the logical main defensive position should be along the Sava and the hilly terrain south thereof. This would mean defending Serbia and merely offering delaying action in Slovenia and Croatia. Thus Croatian territory would be ceded without a struggle. It is likely that the new coalition government may attempt to influence the military to make a stand nearer the frontier which would seriously prejudice the military position of the country as a whole.

  1. Neither printed; the “source” mentioned was the German Military Attaché in Yugoslavia.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.