860H.01/694: Telegram

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

Yugos 20. See paragraph 2 of my Yugos 19 of January 27, 6 p.m. Ambassador Stevenson has now heard again from Maclean who says that Tito will shortly reply to Mr. Churchill’s letter and that Tito’s attitude as well as that of his followers generally is “extremely friendly” and shows an increased appreciation of the help Britain is extending and of her part in the war. However, he also states that he believes from conversations he has had and from statements and publications made during his absence that there has been a “distinct hardening of attitude” toward the King, Michailovitch and the Government in Exile with a tendency to link them all more closely together than ever before. He suggests that if as the Ambassador has predicted Tito’s answer to Mr. Churchill’s letter is noncommittal he be authorized to seek a definite expression of the Marshal’s views by addressing him in writing in the following sense:

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The British Government is anxious to see as many elements as possible united in the common struggle against the invaders. It has no wish to force any form of government on the Yugoslav people against the latter’s freely expressed wishes but on the other hand it does take a personal interest in the fortunes of the King who at the time when Britain stood alone against the Axis joined his forces with hers. It would therefore be glad to hear if the Marshal would be pleased with a view to the common prosecution of the war to enter into contact with him.

Finally Maclean suggests that such an approach should be made “if possible jointly with the USA and Soviet Governments”.

Agreeing with the above, Ambassador Stevenson has telegraphed the Foreign Office that appreciation of British assistance and “the comparative failure of the latest German offensive” may have produced a favorable atmosphere in which to make the approach suggested, adding that “obviously” it would be desirable if the Soviet and USA Governments would agree to support it.

If, as I gather from the Ambassador may now be the case, the Foreign Office is currently advising and consulting with the Department in regard to this whole matter of Tito and the King, the Department may wish me to discontinue such detailed reports of British ideas and proposals as I have hitherto been sending, which possibly now only duplicate information being obtained more directly and with greater authority. Please instruct.