860H.00/1–1147: Telegram

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

top secret

34. Accordance with Department’s instructions, we delivered notes to Tito and Foreign Office yesterday substantially as indicated (Deptels 14, January 71 and 16, January 8). Text of our notes being forwarded airmail.

Foreign Office at first refused receive our note for “formal and material reasons”. Brilej, Chief Political Section, told us Yugoslav Government already informed of note’s contents by various agencies including Tan jug and did not consider this “normal diplomatic channel”. He added “since note already released to press, Yugoslav Government can only conclude that no real facts in note”. We think he meant by this, note was another effort by US Government to use press to attack Yugoslav Government as claimed in slave labor case (Embdesp 528, October 312). This was formal reason for refusal.

When Brilej began giving “material reasons” for refusing note, he was suddenly called out of room and returning said he had just received new orders to accept note. His government he said would give us written reply. He accepted Tito note without hesitation.

Unless Department released note,3 it is probable Brilej’s reference to contents based upon BBC item in 9 o’clock broadcast same morning which in turn was probably based on fabrication of local Reuters man. Embassy when questioned subsequent delivery gave trend of note but referred press to Foreign Office for contents.

Belgrade press this morning announces Praesidium met yesterday and decided to reject appeals of condemned men. They have probably already been shot.

  1. Telegram 14, January 7, to Belgrade, is not printed, but see footnote 1 to the American Embassy’s note of January 10, supra.
  2. The despatch under reference is not printed. For the text of the note setting forth the United States protest against the Yugoslav use of American citizens for slave labor, delivered to the Yugoslav Foreign Minister on October 18, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, October 27, 1946, p. 761.
  3. The text of the note of January 10 had not been released by the Department.