800.00 Summaries/6d: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman )


16. During the latter part of December Yugoslav Prime Minister2 stated to MacVeagh3 that the British Ambassador4 had informed him that he could shortly expect joint pressure from the British and American governments to remove General Mihailovitch5 from the Cabinet.6 Since the Department had not been consulted by the British government regarding the Yugoslav situation nor had it instructed Ambassador MacVeagh to approach the Yugoslav government in the sense indicated the Ambassador at London7 was instructed to ascertain from the British Foreign Office the exact tenor of the British Ambassador’s remark to the Yugoslav Prime Minister.8

MacVeagh reports that the British Ambassador at Cairo evidently as a result of this approach has explained in some embarrassment that his remark to the Yugoslav Prime Minister was simply a general one to the effect that American and British policy must coincide. MacVeagh, however, believes that the Prime Minister understood him to imply that a joint policy had been decided upon. MacVeagh believes [Page 1331] that the Department’s action may be helpful in clearing up an apparent tendency on the part of the British Ambassador to the Yugoslav and Greek governments to treat keeping him informed of their plans as tantamount to securing American association therewith.

. . . . . . .

  1. Bozhidar Purich.
  2. Lincoln MacVeagh, Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile at Cairo; see his telegram 7, December 18, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, p. 1031.
  3. R. C. Skrine Stevenson, British Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile at Cairo.
  4. Draza Mihailovich, Minister of War, Commander in Chief of the Yugoslav Armed Forces, and leader of the Chetnik resistance forces.
  5. The Assistant Secretary of State, Adolf A. Berle, Jr., wrote in a memorandum of January 1, 1944, that the Yugoslav Ambassador, Constantin Fotich, had expressed the hope that “no final decision would be taken until we likewise had a report from our representative with General Mikhailovitch’s forces.” The Assistant Secretary replied that “of course we wanted all the information we could get on all angles of the situation.” (740.60H114/26)
  6. John G. Winant, American Ambassador in the United Kingdom.
  7. See telegram 8141, December 24, 1943, to London, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, p. 1036.