860H.01/748: Telegram

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

Yugos 39. See my Yugos 36, February 16, 4 p.m.47 The Foreign Office has approved the immediate withdrawal of liaison officers and has telegraphed the British Embassy in Washington to inform the Department of this fact and the reasons therefor as well as to express its hope that the Department “will agree with the action taken”.

Upon receipt of this information the British Ambassador here has telegraphed to London that unless otherwise instructed and as soon as the plans for withdrawal have been worked out and approved by the Commander-in-Chief Middle East48 he will advise the Yugoslav Prime Minister in a note as follows:

“I have been instructed to inform you that His Majesty’s Government have decided that no further military supports would be given to General Michailovitch. The retention of the British liaison officers with the forces of General Michailovitch can in these circumstances no longer be justified and the Commander-in-Chief Middle East acting [Supreme?] Allied CIMC [Commander-in-Chief] Mediterranean forces is issuing instructions to the senior British Liaison Officer to withdraw the officers and men under his command from Yugoslavia as soon as possible.

I am to request that Your Excellency will be so good as to send immediate instructions to General Michail[ovich] to facilitate in every way the movement of the officers and men and to give the senior British Liaison Officer all the assistance possible that may be required in effecting their withdrawal from Yugos[lavia].”

Ambassador Stevenson informs that he will mark the above note most secret and will tell M. Pouritch that there will be no publicity advising him to treat the matter himself most carefully in the same way. He said that the Foreign Office had agreed to the “no publicity” idea and that he himself “intends to go on denying that any decision has been taken unless and until it becomes politically desirable to make some statement”. Brigadier Armstrong is now absent from General Michail[ovich]’s headquarters but is returning and the Ambassador intends sending him his instructions as and when it may be possible to communicate with him. Regarding American aspects of this matter please see my next following telegram.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Reference here is probably to Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson who was Commander in Chief, Middle East, prior to his appointment as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, in January 1944.