811.22760H/10–243

Memorandum by the Assistant Liaison Officer (Key)2

In further reference to the Yugoslav aviators, Colonel Goodfellow of the O.S.S. informed me of the receipt by him of an invitation from the Yugoslav Ambassador to attend a dinner which is to be held at the Embassy on Wednesday October 6 to celebrate the “presentation” of a flight of heavy bombers to the “Yugoslav Army”. At once upon receipt of this invitation Colonel Goodfellow got in touch with General Arnold’s office in order to ascertain what this was about. He was informed that General Arnold had recommended to the Munitions Assignment Committee (Air) that a flight of heavy bombers be assigned to the Yugoslav aviators to fly across the ocean in order to join up with General Eisenhower under whose orders they will operate.

I gathered that the Yugoslav aviators and the Ambassador are fully satisfied with this arrangement. The phraseology used in the [Page 1048]Ambassador’s invitation suggests the possibility, however, that he may be under a misapprehension as to the exact nature of this transaction, for, according to Colonel Goodfellow, these planes will be under the operational control of General Eisenhower and not of the Yugoslav Army and furthermore, the planes are being assigned to the use of the Yugoslav aviators rather than being “presented”.

David McK. Key

[A Yugoslav detachment was activated at Boiling Field on October 6, 1943, and assigned four B–24 Liberator bombers. The planes were flown by their Yugoslav crews to Cairo, Egypt, where the planes were officially accepted by King Peter II. The detachment was under the command of the United States Army Air Force for purposes of administration, supply, operations, and combat activities. It was attached to a B–24 squadron of the 15th American Air Corps, where it operated as an integral part of the squadron, feeding, living, and flying together with the American crews. The squadron participated in air raids over Greece, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Bulgaria. In August 1945, eleven of the fourteen remaining members of the detachment by directive of President Truman were either commissioned or enlisted in the Army of the United States. See House Report No. 419, 80th Congress, 1st Session.]

  1. Addressed to the Liaison Officer (Wilson) and to Mr. Cannon of the Division of European Affairs.