860H.00/1161: Telegram

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

141. The following is the substance of the declaration of the Minister for Foreign Affairs4 published in Politika Orthodox, Easter issue:

The Government is resolutely pursuing its announced policy of neutrality and independence. The war, however, is extending into the economic life of the neutral countries and the Government, in its economic relations with the belligerents, is endeavoring to meet this problem with the objective of keeping the country out of the conflict and maintaining correct relations with all the great powers.

He mentioned the recent Danube accord5 as happily regulating a problem important to this area. He also pointed out that the country was desirous of good relations with all the great powers and accordingly has agreed with the Soviet Union to undertake negotiations for a commercial agreement between the two countries.

He closed by stating that Yugoslavia, along with its policy of neutrality, had taken all indispensable precautionary measures imposed by the international situation. All that had been done placed the Government in a position to view the future with serenity relying on the unity of spirit of the whole population.

  1. Alexander Cincar-Markovich.
  2. The International Commission of the Danube, meeting at Belgrade on April 17, 1940, adopted strict measures of control for traffic on the Danube River following the Giurgiu incident, when arms and explosives were discovered on British barges and were suspected to be for use in causing damage in the region of the Iron Gates. Subsequently, the European Commission of the Danube adopted similar measures of control for the lower, or maritime reaches of the river at its sessions at Galatz, beginning on May 20, 1940.