740.0011 European War 1939/6309: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany ( Morris ) to the Secretary of State

4499. In Yugoslavian circles the opinion is expressed that the Greek Government, despite its announced resistance, may come to some compromise [Page 550] with Italy but the impression is gained that such predictions are offered by way of excuse for Yugoslavia’s apparent intention not to support its neighbor against aggression and they are accompanied by the assertion that the Balkan Entente does not require Yugoslavia to take up arms for Greece against Italy. These circles take the line that Turkish action in support of Greece depends upon Russia’s attitude which seems inscrutable. They maintain that no intimations have been received from the German Government that it will request the right of passage over Yugoslavia for German troops proceeding to the Mediterranean but admit that such a request can come as suddenly and unexpectedly as Italian demands on Greece.

These circles are puzzled by the timing of the Italian action since they share the opinion of certain other diplomatic observers—an opinion which is also occasionally heard in German circles—that the movement to obtain Spanish collaboration and French cooperation or acquiescence has been laid with a view to presenting before the American elections a picture of a Europe in submissive agreement with Axis plans for the exclusion of British influence from the Continent.