The Director of the Office of Strategic Services (Donovan) to the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn)

Dear Jimmie: The following material was sent to us by Pribichevich,31 who is attached to Tito, and is based word for word from him (Tito).

“They [Pribichevich and Tito]31a were together on July 14th between the time of 10 o’clock in the morning and 11 at night. Tito told Pribichevich that he was very much annoyed at the British efforts to associate him too closely with the Royal Government at such an early time. Although he didn’t want the statement publicized, he said frankly that Britain’s propaganda is attempting to show that Vukosavljevic32 and Marusic33 are his own personal representatives in the Subasich Government which they are not. Tito says that the job of these two men is to see to it that the agreement with the Subasich Government is carried out exactly to the letter and that they are men who have the confidence of the National Liberation movement. In the strictest confidence Tito told Pribichevich that by grouping him promiscuously with the Emigré Government, certain circles in Britain are working in order to disgrace him, which was the treatment received by Mihailovich. Pribichevich dictated this cable under the greatest secrecy. He would like this information to be sent to the State Department. From the liberated territories of certain Serbo-Croatian regions of Bosnia and Croatia, and of Slovenia, the first reports on popular reaction among the Partisans to the Tito-Subasich agreement have commenced coming in.

“The rank and file of the Partisans in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia have expressed misgivings on the announcement of the agreement, but have abstained from any direct criticism of the National Committee. The fact that the feeling of the common Partisan people with regard to the Emigrés is much more radical than the National Committee’s policies is not completely realized abroad. Also, those outside do not realize that Tito, by his agreement with Subasich, has risked to lose among the Partisan people rather than to gain.

“It was not the domestic situation that made it necessary for Tito to take this step but rather international circumstances. Last year the Partisan masses might have accepted such a pact with more willingness, but since that time many of the Partisan fighters have become bitter because of several things which have happened. Two instances of this are: (1) Last January and December when the Germans were at the height of their sixth offensive against the Partisans, the Purich Government indicted Tito as a ‘war criminal’, (2) The National [Page 1393] Liberation movement was denounced as ‘a movement of terroristic violence’. When Pribichevich went to the Serbian regions of Bosnia he found that some of the older peasants would like to have Tito and Peter become reconciled, but if they should have to make a choice Tito would get their vote. The younger Partisans are definitely republican.

“As regards the Emigré Government, the people realize that the authority of any such government comes from ‘legitimacy’, which is a diplomatic recognition by the Allies, and not from popular support within the country; actually, this government has no standing among the old of [or] young Partisans. This does not intend to imply that the Partisans do not sympathize with certain of the Emigré personalities.

“The supporters of the National Committee say that it is too moderate and the pro-Mihailovich elements find the National Committee at the other extreme, i.e., too radical, which places this Government under a cross-fire. Tito’s followers have been persuaded to agree to the pact with the Subasich Government only through his own firm personal prestige, but it is necessary for the National Committee to do much explaining to the people. The most violent objections to the agreement have come from the Serbian Independent Democrats, the Slovenian Liberals and the Croatian peasant party members.

“The Communist party which is the best disciplined party and the most realistic in the National Liberation Movement, readily accepted the agreement, which is contrary to what one abroad might believe. The Partisan leaders think that it is very important that the pact with the Subasich government be a success, because if it should not be allowed to work it may be assumed that popular pressure from the rank and file of the Partisans would be such that the National Committee would not negotiate any further with any Emigré Government. At the present time there are two governments of Yugoslavia, one abroad which the Allies recognize and one in the country which the National Liberation Movement recognizes.

“Sitting in the government recognized by the Allies are two men who are members of the Liberation Movement but who are not empowered to represent either the National Committee or Tito. This is an experiment to see whether or not it will be possible and desirable in the future to make the Royal Government and the National Committee one. After the war there will be a plebiscite to decide the one question of a Republican or a monarchist form of government in the future Yugoslavia. Still unchanged is the view of the anti-fascist Council of National Liberation.”

William J. Donovan
  1. Stoyan Pribichevich, Time and Life correspondent who entered Yugoslavia in the spring of 1944.
  2. Brackets appear in the original letter.
  3. Sreten V. Vukosavljevich, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Supply in the new government.
  4. Drago Marusich, Minister of Justice and Communications in the new government.