740.0011 European War 1939/9616: Telegram

The Chargé in Hungary (Travers) to the Secretary of State

136. British Minister,64 following audience with Regent65 when he condoled death of Prime Minister66 and also protested against passage of German troops intent upon attacking Yugoslavia and possibly British forces as well, tonight reports remarks to him substantially as follows: On April first a Crown Council considering all resistance to German demands useless particularly since there was no proof of Britain’s ability to assist Yugoslavia and because of old German friendship had decided as a means to effect territorial revision and to obtain an outlet to the sea, to accept a German offer to occupy Croatia and also Fiume should Croatia secede from Yugoslavia or be abandoned in a military sense for strategic reasons, as a quid pro quo for the free movement of German military forces in Hungary. The late Prime Minister at his death had left a letter for Regent explaining his suicide as a protest against this loss of Hungarian honor.

British Minister explained that Britain would not countenance such dastardly action against Yugoslavia and pointed out the situation in which it would place Hungary after an Anglo-American victory. He recommended strong action against it and suggested that Regent’s sole means of protest was to leave the country.

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In reporting this matter O’Malley said he had given his Government assurances that I would parallel his action. I informed him I had drawn the attention of Foreign Office to difficulty of explaining to my Government Hungary’s position were Germany to use this country as a base of operations against Yugoslavia but that I was not prepared to protest as forcibly as had he without specific instructions.

  1. Owen St. Clair O’Malley.
  2. Nicholas Horthy de Nagybánya.
  3. Paul, Count Teleki de Szék committed suicide April 3, 1941.