860h.01/1–1745: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile (Patterson), at London

Yugos 5. Your recent telegrams on the Yugoslav crisis have been most useful. As further developments in the situation occur, the following observations may be helpful for your general background.

The Department believes that in view of the military situation in Southeastern Europe and the trend of political events as these territories are progressively liberated, the Allies in general, as well as the Governments directly concerned, must work together to find the best possible means of solving the manifold problems of the transition period. The statesmen who must work out these solutions must at times come to grips with new political forces resulting from the practical realities of the day. If they are called upon to depart from forms and procedures to which they hold attachment they must base their decisions largely on an estimate of the good will and honest intentions of the parties involved.

As regards the Yugoslav discussions now in progress, we need not reaffirm our respect for the rights of all peoples to choose their form of government. Though we have not adopted the activist policy [Page 1181] which other Governments may have considered useful with regard to the political elements in Yugoslavia, we do not find fault with an objective which would enable the Yugoslav Government and the various elements within the country to work together in the tasks arising from, the country’s liberation.

We think that King Peter’s communiqué need not be considered as a rejection of the plan for an agreement for the resumption of governmental functions within Yugoslavia. On the contrary, while exposing what are indeed the faults of the proposed agreement, he has clarified his position in such a way as would enable him now to consider certain modifications, particularly since his statement of position puts the proposed new Government on trial for the equitable implementation of the agreement.

The real merits of some of the questions can hardly be determined so long as the Government remains abroad while a dynamic organization is expanding its administrative functions within the country. We think there would be definite advantages to the Allied cause in general if the diplomatic missions of friendly Governments could soon be established at Belgrade. Apart from the facilities for acquiring information regarding the sentiments prevailing in the country, and thus enabling the Allies to help the Yugoslav people in the difficult times ahead, the presence of Allied missions in Belgrade might serve to create an atmosphere in which an agreement which admittedly has far-reaching implications, could find an equitable implementation.

You should keep the foregoing observations in mind if you have further conversations with the King, Dr. Subasic, or Ambassador Stevenson on these questions. For your own information, we are anxious, for reasons of our own interests in Yugoslavia, to transfer our Mission into the country as soon as possible.25 We prefer, of course, that this should be the regular diplomatic and consular establishment, which would accompany or shortly follow the returning Government. If the Government is unable to return, it will probably be necessary to make some arrangement for provisional representation pending a survey of the situation as indicated in Department’s 6 (Yugos) of December 23, 6 p.m.26

Sent to London; repeated to Ampolad, Caserta and to Moscow.

  1. At this time there were two American Foreign Service officers in Belgrade, Carl F. Norden and Peter Constan, both members of the staff of the U.S. Political Adviser at Allied Force Headquarters. They arrived in Belgrade on January 16, 1945, and were attached to the American Military Mission to Marshal Tito. Their duties were confined almost entirely to reporting, and were hampered by the fact that they were under suspicion of being sympathetic to political opponents of the Tito regime. See Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, pp. 1436 and 1446.
  2. Ibid., p. 1443