860H.01/653: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile ( MacVeagh ) to the Secretary of State


Yugoslav Series 13. The following concerns the subject discussed in my series of telegrams, the last of which was my Yugoslav Series 10 of January 11, 1 p.m.18

Maclean is now in Bari awaiting transportation to Yugoslavia and bears a personal letter from Mr. Churchill19 to Marshal Tito in [Page 1334] answer to a message sent by the latter expressing hopes for the Prime Minister’s recovery from his recent illness. Ambassador Stevenson, has shown [apparent garble] informs me that its gist together with the Foreign Office’s latest ideas as to future procedure regarding Yugoslavia are being communicated to the Department and also to the Soviet Foreign Office. However, in case it may add something to the Department’s information, I give below a summary of the letter which I have been able to make here as well as a brief account of the Foreign Office’s proposals and Ambassador Stevenson’s reactions thereto.20

. . . . . . .

In connection with the above the Foreign Office has informed Ambassador Stevenson that it is considering advising King Peter to dismiss Mihailovitch on the grounds of his collaboration with the enemy. However, it is inclined to wait until the reaction of Tito to the Prime Minister’s message has been ascertained. Copies of messages sent to the British Ambassadors in Washington and Moscow instruct these officials to ask whether the American and Russian Governments concur in the action the British have in mind and whether when the time comes they would join in representing to King Peter the wisdom of such a course.

Ambassador Stevenson has informed the Foreign Office that he believes the Prime Minister’s letter will result in nothing more than an expression of pleasure on Tito’s part regarding the decision in connection with Mihailovitch and an expression of understanding regarding the British position toward the King. Should such turn out to be the case, the Ambassador advises that the action of cutting off Mihailovitch should be taken but solely on military grounds. He further points out that this would probably entail the fall of the Puritch government and adds that if the King should then request British advice in forming a new government but only in that case His Majesty’s Government should council him to form one whose publicly expressed purpose would be to support all resistance elements whatever their political color. “This would put the King on a reasonably good ticket”.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  3. The text of this letter of January 8, 1944, is published in Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War: Closing the Ring (Boston, 1951), p. 470.