740.0011 European War 1939/8941: Telegram

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

172. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. My 171, March 10.42

Antić43 expressed regret at my action in talking to local leaders indicating that Germans had already protested. He seemed surprised when I told him that Prince Paul had, on March 7, expressed no objection to my course. In fact Prince said, “Go ahead.”

I then complained regarding inability to give my Government official information as to what is transpiring here, being able to send only unconfirmed reports due to reticence of local officials. I referred to Department’s frankness with Fotić and asked Antić to think over matter, emphasizing our interest in Yugoslavia’s welfare. From his evasive promise to inform me “at appropriate moment” I inferred Government terrified by Germans and consequently afraid to discuss situation openly with us. Information in my 171 was most he would say although he spoke in general terms of determination not to sully Yugoslavia’s historical and military traditions.

The report persists in diplomatic and some Government circles that non-aggression pact with Germany will be executed during weekend in Germany by Prime and Foreign Ministers. While Government may claim such a pact would not derogate sovereignty it would amount in reality to unilateral declaration of Yugoslavia not to oppose German [Page 953] occupation of Salonika. Once occupation effected then Yugoslavia at German mercy as nobody would then expect Germany to observe its obligations under pact. Adherence to pact would be face-saving device in hope of persuading us and others that Government had not surrendered to German pressure.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Milan Antić Yugoslav Minister of the Court.