860H.00/6–146: Telegram

The Chargé in Yugoslavia (Shantz) to the Secretary of State


546. Kosanovich called May 29 to ask for air transport to US. We told him it depended on his Government whether US planes could leave Belgrade next week.

He is not well and was jittery about going to Washington. When he suggested our relations were bad, we heartily agreed. He asked me “as a friend” whether I would advise him to go. I was noncommittal and suggested he travel leisurely by sea.

I told him I thought Foreign Minister Simic’s speech in Parliament (see A–122, May 2560) about our second Mihailovich trial note went [Page 895] beyond bounds of decency even in these days of tough diplomacy. He said he entirely agreed but insisted that speech was extemporaneous and given without knowledge of Tito and Kardelj. Since Simic is experienced diplomat we cannot credit this explanation.

Harassment of our Embassy through official malice, stupidity or both continues daily. On May 30, Major Coombs arranged dignified official opening of US cemetery for war dead. Serb engineer, Nikolich, who was in charge of its construction, and who had personally rescued 23 US airmen, was arrested by plain-clothes men as he was about to enter Coombs’ car at close of ceremony.

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Chief Yeoman of Naval Attaché’s office married Yugoslav girl at Cathedral May 30. Just before ceremony, OZNA ordered best man not to take part and warned choir against singing at ceremony.

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