740.0011 European War 1939/7906: Telegram

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

52. Personal for the Secretary. My 42, 46,8 and 51.9 From remarks made by Prince Paul,10 Cvetković, and Maček11 to Donovan12 and me, it is clear that Yugoslav Government is today determined to protect its territory against attack. Opinion here is that if Turkey and Bulgaria should make known similar general attitude, three countries [Page 939] could probably protect their integrity. While Prince distrusts Bulgaria, Cvetković’s apparent willingness to improve relations with Bulgaria suggests possibility of agreement on policy. Reported improved relations between Turkey and Bulgaria also a favorable sign.

In harmony with President’s message of January 6 and your statement before House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 15,13 it seems in interest of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia to resist aggression but mutual distrust may prevent their initiating joint policy.

If you feel suggestion could informally be made regarding advisability joint defense policy, I believe action should be taken in Washington to allay distrust of one another. Present moment propitious due Italian reverses. Even if our advice disregarded, nothing would be lost.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Infra.
  3. Prince Regent of Yugoslavia.
  4. Vlada Maček, Yugoslav Vice President of the Council of Ministers, and President of the Croatian Peasant Party.
  5. William J. Donovan, personal representative of the Secretary of the Navy on special mission in Europe.
  6. For the Secretary’s statement, see Department of State Bulletin, January 15, 1941, p. 85.