860h.01/1–2145: Telegram

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

Yugos 16. My Yugos 15, January 20.27 Stevenson called on me today and said that although Velebit did not send King Peter’s message to Tito he informed Tito of its contents. Tito replied to Velebit that King was too dictatorial and that he would only receive messages from King through Royal Yugoslav Government. Subasic yesterday advised King by letter of Tito’s views and Princess Aspasia28 told me today that letter was “a slap in the face”.

The King wrote Churchill yesterday, with reference to latter’s statement in Parliament29 that if King Peter’s assent could not be obtained it would be presumed. Letter said King could not admit such a presumption and would find it painful to have to protest against it. He reiterated his approval of agreement except for his two previously stated objections and in conclusion said that he wants to insure for his peoples the same advantages of free expression of their will that Churchill has advocated all his life for his people. Text of letter follows by air.30

After receiving this letter Churchill instructed Stevenson to see King at once and advise him that he must promptly sign agreement, subject only to such modifications as Subasic can agree to, or action will be taken without him very soon. Stevenson said he made repeated effort to see King yesterday and today but King has put him off until tomorrow.

Stevenson then said that if King does not act British Government will next Tuesday 23 advise Subasic Government to go to Belgrade immediately and concert with Committee of National Liberation to form new government under Regency. Stevenson will then be accredited to Regency and depart for Belgrade.

Stevenson added that Halifax has been fully informed and instructed to inform Department.31

Repeated to Moscow as No. 17 and Caserta as No. 14.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The mother of Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia.
  3. Reference is to a statement made by the Prime Minister in his speech of January 18, 1945. See Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th series, vol. 407, col. 399.
  4. Sent to the Department in despatch 17, January 22, 1945, from the Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile at London, not printed.
  5. Department was informed in a note from the British Embassy of January 20, 1945, not printed.