811.2360H/8–1346: Telegram

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

us urgent

538. Pending further investigation concerning incidents referred to in Yugo note of Aug 10 urtel 78011th Dept desires make every effort [Page 921] amicable disposition without delay of case involving plane and passengers forced down at Ljubljana and believes a preliminary reply to note with particular reference to this incident should be addressed to FonOff containing following points but with exact language to be drafted by you to accord with representations you have already made (urtel 786 13th16 and Deptel 534 13th).

Note should state (1) US regrets that plane inadvertently passed over Yugo territory despite standing instructions to avoid such territory and (2) that on basis preliminary info available circumstances of flight were that plane on routine trip from Vienna to Italy encountered bad weather over Alps, lost its way and had descended to lower altitude where it was circling in effort to gain bearings when forced down by Yugo planes. Note should add (3) that in absence possibility contacting pilot foregoing is all info available, (4) that this Govt disturbed by reports that US Consul Zagreb refused access to crew passengers and plane which action would imply persons in volved are being detained incommunicado but (5) that it is assumed there is some misunderstanding and that no violation of accepted principle of international law of this nature is intended. Note should solicit Yugo Govt early clearance for relief plane to proceed Yugoslavia to evacuate passengers and crew and request that grounded plane which is understood to be damaged be turned over to MA for disposition. In conclusion note should say that a further communication in reply to FonOff note will be forthcoming as soon as the investigation of this and other cases cited can be completed but that Yugo early action on foregoing lines will be appreciated in meantime.17


[On August 15, 1946, the Chargé in Belgrade delivered to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry a note protesting against the entry of Yugoslav military forces into Zone A of Venezia Giulia. For text of the note, see Department of State Bulletin, September 1, 1946, page 414.

On August 20, 1946, Ambassador Patterson on the instruction of the Department communicated to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry a note protesting the action and the attitude of the Yugoslav Government in connection with the forcing down of the American C–47 aircraft [Page 922] on August 9, 1946. For text of the note, which was made public in Washington on August 20, see Department of State Bulletin, September 1, 1946, page 415.]

  1. Not printed; it reported that the Yugoslav authorities in Ljubljana had refused Consul Hohenthal access to the passengers, crew, and plane forced down on August 9 (811.2360H/8–1346).
  2. Telegram 798, August 16, from Belgrade, reported that the note along the lines set forth in this telegram was sent to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry on August 16. On August 15, Consul Hohenthal was informed that he could talk to the passengers and crew of the downed plane. (811.2360H/8–1646) For Hohenthal’s report of August 19 on the results of his investigations, see Department of State Bulletin, September 1, 1946, p. 416.