The Chargé at Algiers (Chapin) to the Secretary of State
[Received 9:02 p.m.]
1478. From Murphy.3 LPSO censorship branch is operating under a directive, promulgated during my absence, which constitutes outright [Page 1508] political censorship on Yugoslav matters. It specifically prohibits press mention of: (1) suggestions that Partisans largely Communist organization; (2) attacks on Tito4 and his National Committee or King Peter5 and his Government; (3) anything concerning Peter-Tito relationships which would be harmful to better understanding between them; (4) Allied attitude toward Mihailovic6 or anything particularly derogatory to him; (5) any attack on Macek7 or Croat Peasant Party. It also enjoins care in passing any extreme reference to any of the small political or military parties in Yugoslavia, whether favorable or unfavorable.
At the meeting of General Wilson’s8 Political Committee next week, I propose to urge very strongly that those parts of the directive imposing censorship on purely political matters be dropped, pointing out that criticism aroused by political censorship undoubtedly does more harm than the appearance of any stories such censorship might stop.
The AFHQ chief censor is a British officer and his directive probably reflects a British point of view, but I believe Macmillan9 will go along with me in opposing political censorship.
As an example of the difficulties that can be expected to multiply if the present censorship policy is continued, the Associated Press has complained very bitterly about holding up an article containing statements by Tito. The AP10 representative here insists that the story is held up on political grounds. I took pains to assure him that the State Department is opposed to political censorship in this theater. [Murphy.]
- Robert D. Murphy, United States Political Adviser, Staff of Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater.↩
- Marshal Tito (Josip Broz), President of the National Committee of Liberation of Yugoslavia.↩
- King Peter II of Yugoslavia.↩
- Draza Mihailovieh, Minister of War and Commander in Chief of the Yugoslav Armed Forces as well as leader of the Chetnik resistance forces.↩
- Vladko Machek, President of the Croatian Peasant Party.↩
- Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations.↩
- Harold Macmillan, British Minister Resident, Allied Force Headquarters at Algiers.↩
- Associated Press.↩