Editorial Note

No record of this conversation was made by Roosevelt. According to the brief accounts in King Peter II of Yugoslavia, A King’s Heritage (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1954), p. 136, and Constantin Fotitch, The War We Lost: Yugoslavia’s Tragedy and the West (New York: The Viking Press, 1948), p. 176, from which the information set forth above has been derived, the topics under discussion included Churchill’s concern over the military situation in North Africa and his visit, earlier in the day, to an American army training center in South Carolina. On June 30, 1942, Nincic met with Assistant Secretary of State Berle and spoke of the meeting with Roosevelt. Berle’s memorandum of conversation reads in part as follows:

“Dr. Ninčić came in to see me at his request.

“He said he wished to exchange ideas about certain matters in connection with post-war settlements. He had been talking, in company with King Peter, to the President and to Prime Minister Churchill. He was comforted to find that the United States was taking an active interest in proposing to take considerable degree of responsibility for commissioning of Europe at the close of the war.

“I interrupted to say that there were considerable tendencies in this direction; but this was a democratic people and their point of view might change. But, I said, I thought that there was a far wider degree of interest today than had been the case after the last war.

“The Minister said he understood this, and that he spoke merely of a tendency.

“He then asked what our precise ideas were.

“I fenced with this a moment and developed from him that President Roosevelt had given him an outline of a plan for post-war security during the transition stage. The President had told him, he said, that complete disarmament of the enemies was proposed; that there should be a force capable of imposing disarmament; that when any armament was undertaken, the nearest country should ‘call a policeman’, [Page 445]which would promptly clear up the situation. The Minister said he was very happy to hear this frank statement and particularly the allusion to an international police force.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Finally, he said that in his conversation with the President and Churchill, Churchill had made one remark that discouraged him very much indeed. ‘You are beginning to tire out your friends’ Churchill had observed—a remark which was not highly appreciated by King Peter or the Serbian Government.

“He went on to say that Churchill was a great captain and a great man, but that he had no general view of politics and the political situation as had President Roosevelt who seemed to have a grip not only on military matters but also political matters. For this reason he urgently hoped that the Americans might take over command of the forces ultimately in Europe, and of the forces in the Middle East.” (740.00119 European War 1939/1111)

King Peter had arrived in Washington on June 24, 1942, to begin an official visit to the United States, and he was remaining at the White House for the night as Roosevelt’s guest. Churchill, together with Brooke, Dill, Ismay, and their aides, had been the guests of Stimson and Marshall during the day for an inspection trip to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. For brief accounts of the trip, see Churchill, Hinge of Fate, pp. 386–387, and Alanbrooke, pp. 331–332. See also Churchill’s letter to Stimson, June 25, 1942, post, p. 479.