860H.01/857: Telegram

The Counselor of Mission at Algiers ( Chapin ) to the Secretary of State

1481. From Murphy.77 Norden78 has returned from a brief visit to Bari and reports as follows, upon the basis of conversations with American and British specialists and informal contact with local Partisan representatives.

Yugoslav situation remains obscure but Partisan strength increasing. Partisans deny existence of a civil war and accuse all opponents of collaboration in line with their basic strategy of forcing a situation with the alternatives either to fight the Germans under their leadership or to collaborate with the enemy. Tito is said to have sent his best organizers into Serbia but the meager information available on that particular region indicates that his movement has not yet taken hold and that the popular mood is one of awaiting developments. The local Maček representative, Yanchikovic,79 believes the bulk of his party favors passive support of Partisans owing to fear of Serb reprisals for the late massacres and desire for a Yugoslav solution on terms favorable to the Croats but he believes the peasantry to be hostile to post-war Partisan control. A decisive future factor will be disposition of personnel and above all the equipment of the occupying divisions especially satellite and Quisling units in the event [Page 1365] of a sudden decline of German fortunes or a change in the Bulgarian position. While the claim to have liberated three-fifths of Yugoslavia and to represent the whole country is misleading in absence of any other constructive leadership and with continued strong support, the movement seems destined to make further progress not least because it is only unequivocal and determined advocate of Yugoslav idea and because of its strong appeal to the younger generation. Some observers accept a later domestic reaction because of the movement’s alleged semi-totalitarian nature but this is conjecture. The question of recognization appears to be a major preoccupation. Meanwhile it is difficult to exaggerate the intensity of feeling in both camps and the more mature observers still believe Serbia to hold the key to the future of the country.

There was no indication locally that the British policy had yet won the full confidence of those it is benefitting but this need not reflect the situation on a higher level.

With regard to Albania specialists in Bari believe the conservative coalition is basically the stronger element. Tito is believed to have liaison with LNC80 and establishment of an LNC “Government” is held probable with an anti-monarchic policy. LNC leadership is judged young and inexperienced. [Murphy.]

  1. Robert D. Murphy, U.S. Political Adviser on the Staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, and until March 31, 1944, American member of the Advisory Council, Allied Control Commission for Italy.
  2. Carl F. Nor den, Foreign Service Officer attached to the office of the U.S. Political Adviser on the Staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, as of March 23, 1914.
  3. Toma Janchikovich, representing the Croatian Peasant’s Party under the presidency of Vladimir Maček.
  4. The Albanian Committee of National Liberation (Levizia Nacional Clirimtare), the Albanian “Partisans”. For correspondence relative to the internal affairs of Albania at this period, see vol. iii, pp. 271 ff.