The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State
His Majesty’s Ambassador presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and with reference to the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of January 20th32 regarding Yugoslavia has the honour to inform Mr. Stettinius that, according to information just received from the Foreign Office, King Peter asked General Velebit, Marshal Tito’s representative in London, to send Marshal Tito a message putting forward the King’s proposal that the Royal as well as the legislative power should be exercised by the Government and suggesting an early meeting between the King and Marshal Tito. This action was taken by the King contrary to the advice of His Majesty’s Government who were of the opinion that such action would only lead to a rebuff. Marshal Tito has in fact replied refusing to have any direct dealings with the King, and the substance of this reply has been communicated to His Majesty. Marshal Tito has, however, pressed Dr. Subasic and his Government to go to Belgrade immediately and join Marshal Tito’s Government on the basis of the agreement.
When His Majesty’s Ambassador to Yugoslavia sought an audience with King Peter on January 21st to convey the warning mentioned in the second paragraph of the British Embassy’s Aide-Mémoire under reference,33 explaining that he was acting on instructions from the Prime Minister, King Peter refused to see him, putting forward as a pretext that he had to visit the King of Norway.
These developments render it necessary, in the opinion of His Majesty’s Government, to carry (Out the action described in the last paragraph of the British Embassy’s Aide-Mémoire of January 20th,34 more particularly since Marshal Stalin35 is pressing for such action and since Marshal Tito may well go back on his offer to deal with Dr. Subasic unless a decision is taken without delay.[Page 1184]
In these circumstances, His Majesty’s Government are most anxious to learn the views of the United States Government as soon as possible and Lord Halifax is instructed, in informing Mr. Stettinius of the foregoing, to invite his urgent observations.36
- Not printed.↩
- In this paragraph the Department was informed that in the interests of putting the Tito-Subasich agreement into effect without further delay “The Prime Minister is warning King Peter that unless His Majesty is ready immediately to accept the agreement with such modifications as Dr. Subasic can authorise on his own responsibility and without further negotiation with Marshal Tito, His Majesty’s Government will be obliged to take action in the course of the next day or so without further communication with His Majesty.” (860h.01/1–2045)↩
- The last paragraph read as follows: “The action which His Majesty’s Government propose is to invite Dr. Subasic and his Government to proceed to Belgrade and there carry out the Tito-Subasic agreement in concert with the National Committee of Liberation. His Majesty’s Ambassador would then be accredited to the Regency set up under the agreement and would proceed forthwith to Belgrade. A communication on these lines will be made to Dr. Subasic at Midday on Tuesday, January 23rd failing prior acceptance of the Tito-Subasic agreement by King Peter.” (860h.01/1–2045)↩
- Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union.↩
- In a memorandum of conversation, dated January 22, 1945, Under Secretary of State Joseph C. Grew wrote that Michael Wright, Counselor of the British Embassy, said at the time of the delivery of this note that “the British Government is reluctant to take this step without knowing the attitude of the United States, but feels that unless prompt action is taken, the Soviet Government may get in ahead by recognizing Marshal Tito, and they believe it to be in our combined interest to take the step promptly. Mr. Wright stated further his belief that King Peter might be acting in the belief that the United States Government would not go along with the British Government, and that a word of advice from us to King Peter might have a very salutary effect.” (860h.01/1–2245)↩