860H.01/770: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

1739. A Foreign Office official today said the following regarding Yugoslav affairs:

The British decision to withdraw its military mission of some 30 officers from Mihailovic was taken on military grounds by Maitland Wilson because of the fact that Mihailovic is contributing nothing to the Allied cause and it is extremely difficult to provide the mission with the necessary supplies without at the same time furnishing some war equipment to Mihailovic. Apparently neither Mihailovic nor the Yugoslav Government are yet aware of this decision, which was taken about a week ago.

With regard to the hiatus between Tito and the King, the British are not in a position to advise the latter to drop Mihailovic and his Government until Tito has declared himself regarding the King. A preliminary message has come out from the British mission with Tito (some 60 in number) which the British do not consider satisfactory from their point of view. Tito has proposed various measures to be taken by the King, including the dropping of Mihailovic and the Government, following which he, Tito, will give the matter of his attitude toward the King further consideration. If King Peter should take the measures proposed by Tito he would have burnt all his bridges and Tito might still repudiate him. The British feel that Tito must make clear his position vis-à-vis King Peter before they can advise the latter to take any drastic measures.

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The British do not attach any particular significance to General Simovic’s statement approving Tito.56 Perhaps it might be of some importance if Tito gave some sort of recognition and welcome to the General’s statement, as then it would be conceivable that he could act as a bridge between Tito and King Peter.

  1. Gen. Dushan Simovich issued an appeal over the radio on February 20, 1944, urging all Serbs to join Tito.