Mr. Alexander C. Kirk, Political Adviser, Allied Force Headquarters, to the Secretary of State
[Received March 19—12:06 p.m.]
1029. Norden reports that the successive disappointments resulting from Alexander’s visit,23 the weakness of the Regency, the unrepresentative character of the new government, the weakness of its policy declaration and the squabble which has followed it have effaced much of the optimism inspired by the arrival of the London Ministers24 some weeks ago. The appointment of Kardelj25 as Minister for the Constituent Assembly has likewise had a depressing effect among informed circles as he is regarded as Tito’s No. 2 man and a determined Moscow schooled Communist of the newer dispensation and one of the men least likely to yield any of the real sinews of power to other elements. Some hope is still placed in Grol26 and Shutej27 although the latter is avoided by the Partisans and is reliably reported at outs with Subasic because of the latter’s lack of firmness. There is as yet little sign of a turning away from high handed and terroristic methods, some of the Croat politicians from London are afraid to see Americans, little is known of many recent arrests. The real power is reportedly still held by a small clique largely Moscow trained including [Page 1214] Tito, Kardelj, Hebranj,28 Djilas,29 Cholakovic,30 Juric31 and the Ozna head32 and some others whilst the administrative services have been sufficiently penetrated to offset the influence of more democratic department heads.
On the other hand, Kosanovic33 is reported to be asserting himself courageously on behalf of democratic procedure as is Grol.
The strategy of the Subasic group now is said to be concentrating upon securing for the Regents the King’s prerogative to name or at least pass upon civil appointments and upon broadening Avnoj34 in the sense of the Yalta decisions.35 Members of Avnoj state there is now talk of adding 47 former Skuptshina36 members and others to the 100–odd present membership of Avnoj but fear that the new body will not enjoy full freedom of debate in line with Djilas recent speech. Of the opposition leaders, Lazer Farkovic, Serb radical, seems most energetic and resourceful and hopes to be able to speak his mind in the new parliament. The underground opposition claims Mihailovic has been replaced by a General Kostic37 as leader.
The most significant development in the opposition has been a firming up and closing of ranks among Serb elements and this tendency seems likely to continue. Serbia may be compared with a condenser battery steadily accumulating a charge—nothing is outwardly visible but in due course the pent-up voltage may let go. It is realized, however, that the time is not yet ripe, the country must first be liberated, the Ustashi38 liquidated and the Russians leave.
- Field Marshal Sir Harold R. L. Alexander, the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater, visited Belgrade during the third week in February 1945. See vol. iv, pp. 1103–1107.↩
- The Yugoslav Ministers who had been resident in London arrived in Belgrade during the first week in March. A United Provisional Government, comprised of elements from the factions in exile and those inside Yugoslavia, was formed. On March 5, the regents took their oath of office. On the following day, the former London Ministers submitted their resignations to the Regency Council, and the Ministers of the National Committee of Liberation, Marshal Tito’s Cabinet, submitted their resignations to the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation, the Partisan assembly. A new Cabinet of 28 Ministers was sworn in on March 7. The Cabinet contained 15 representatives of the former National Committee of Liberation, 6 representatives of the former Royal Government in London, and 7 representatives of other factions inside Yugoslavia. For the Department’s evaluation of this Cabinet, see telegram 849, April 12, to Moscow, p. 1219.↩
- Edvard Kardelj, Second Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for the Constituent Assembly.↩
- Milan Grol, First Vice-Prime Minister.↩
- Shutej became Minister without Portfolio in the new government.↩
- Andrija Hebrang, Minister of Industry.↩
- Milovan Djilas, Minister for Montenegro.↩
- Radoljub Cholakovich, Minister for Bosnia and Herzegovina.↩
- Not positively identifiable.↩
- It was reported at this time that Ozna (Committee for the Defense of the People), the secret political police, was under the direction of Col. Jevto Sasich.↩
- Sava Kosanovich, Minister of Information.↩
- Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia, the national assembly of the Partisan movement.↩
- For documentation on the Yugoslav question at the Yalta Conference, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, index entries under Yugoslavia, p. 1032.↩
- The pre-war parliament of Yugoslavia.↩
- Possibly Gen. Josef Kostich.↩
- The Croatian National Liberation Movement.↩