Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The Ambassador of Yugoslavia called upon me this morning at his request. The Ambassador spoke again at great length of his urgent desire to have 42 Yugoslav aviators whose instruction in the United States is now nearing completion to serve as a Yugoslav unit in the American air forces. He said that Colonel Donovan had informed him that General Arnold90 had decided that while these aviators would be permitted to serve together as a unit and to wear Yugoslav insignia, they would nevertheless be forced to take commissions as American officers. The Ambassador spoke very strongly against this and said that from the psychological point of view this would destroy the effect which he had been hopeful might be created, namely, Yugoslav officers actually serving in our own air forces.

I told him that it seemed to me that the question was probably one of administrative discipline of which our own War Department authorities would have to be the sole judges but that I would ask again that the matter be looked into in order to ascertain whether the Ambassador’s requests could be granted.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces.