860H.01/508: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile (Biddle), at London

3. Yugoslav Series. Your 15 August 4 midnight.64 Ambassador Fotitch’s relations with this Government have been perfectly correct and he has handled to the complete satisfaction of this Government all the technical business of the Yugoslav Government with the various agencies concerned with the prosecution of the war.

The criticism of him which has been voiced in the public press relates to his alleged support of one faction in the Serb-Croat controversy which is, however, essentially a dispute among American citizens of Yugoslav origin who, on either side, may or may not be representative of the Yugoslav people for whom they would speak.

There have recently been indications that Mr. Fotitch has been urging moderation and conciliation with leaders of the disputing factions. The Department has felt moreover that upon the formulation and effective implementation of a definite policy by the Yugoslav Government itself, he would be guided by appropriate instructions.

The Department questions whether his replacement would offer a better prospect for solidarity particularly if his successor should be an official popularly identified with the leadership of either of the major Yugoslav national groups.

We also have in mind the advantages of continuity in the service at Washington of representatives of governments in exile. While it is not true, as occasionally suggested in the press, that we would make [Page 1021]this a primary consideration, we would deplore a situation in which in wartime the Yugoslav Embassy in Washington might become an object of political rivalries among the Yugoslav leaders in exile.

  1. Not printed; in it Ambassador Biddle reported that the Yugoslav Minister for Foreign Affairs had inquired as to the reaction of the United States Government should Ambassador Fotitch be transferred to some other post (860H.01/508).