860h.01/1–1245: Telegram

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

427. We talked today with a Foreign Office official about the King of Yugoslavia’s statement. (See Yugos 7, January 11.)11 The Foreign Office’s views on this matter are the following:

King Peter has ruined his chances of returning to Yugoslavia by taking this step. He would have been much better advised to accept the Tito-Subasic agreement as it at least preserved the form of a monarchy. Not only are his chances of returning remote but also the retention of the monarchy seems doubtful.

The King decided to take this action on his own initiative without informing either the British or Subasic whom he had not seen for 3 [Page 1177] weeks.12 The King was extremely annoyed at his Prime Minister for not reporting to him on either of his conversations at Belgrade or Moscow. The Foreign Office believes that there was some justice in the King’s annoyance. However, it is very strange that he should have made this statement to the press without consulting Subasic.

Subsequent developments will depend entirely on Tito who will either form a provisional government in Yugoslavia or else decide that the King has not slammed the door but has left it open for further negotiations. The Foreign Office however, considers it unlikely that Tito will follow the second course unless he wishes to preserve the monarchy which is extremely doubtful. Subasic, we were told, has telegraphed Tito urging him not to act precipitously [precipitately?]. In conclusion, the Foreign Office official remarked rather wryly that the King had shown far more initiative and strength of character on this occasion than he had ever previously displayed.

  1. This telegram, which contains the text of King Peter’s press statement of January 11, is printed in Conferences at Malta and Yalta, p. 258.
  2. In telegram Yugos 8, January 11, 1945, from London, Ambassador Patterson reported that King Peter when informing him of this action, added: “I may get my throat cut for this.” (860h.01/1–1145)