860H.01/740: Telegram

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

Yugoslav 34. See my Yugoslav 26 of February 9 and previous related messages. A reply from Tito to the clear communication has now been received but it is so garbled that it may require another day to decipher completely.46 Nevertheless, the gist appears plain. Tito acknowledges that all the faults laid at King Peter’s door are not properly chargeable to him and also that he might be of value to the Partisan movement. However, he adds, that the Yugoslav man in the street does not recognize either of these things though he might be brought to do so eventually. Tito then goes on to say that if the King will dismiss Michailovitch, dismiss his present government and recognize the provisional government of the Partisans, further conversations regarding his personal status will be in order.

I hope to have complete information regarding this message later. Meanwhile Ambassador Stevenson expressed the view that the British Government would be assuming a “grave responsibility” if it should advise the King to cast aside all his present support merely to secure an opportunity for further discussions. It is the Ambassador’s view that such discussions should precede rather than follow action on the King’s part.

In regard to the Churchill letter summarized in my telegram above referred to, Ambassador Stevenson and I will both be obliged if the Department will be careful not to indicate to the British that he may have let me see the text. Should this happen it is highly likely that I would no longer enjoy the advantages of a source of information hitherto usefully cultivated.

MacVeagh
  1. The text of this letter of February 9, 1944, is printed in Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 474.