800.4016 DP/4–447: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Dunn) to the Secretary of State


733. War Office has now instructed British military that soonest possible about 9,000 Ukrainian SEP will be shipped by sea to UK and about 12,000 Yugo SEP (Chetniks) now British responsibility will be shipped overland to British zone Germany. Former will revert to new status when they leave Italy but will not be documented as such until arrival UK. Yugos will be transferred as SEP and will be reclassified in Germany after screening. Formations and units to be broken up and officers separated from men wherever administratively possible.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Belgrade’s 137, February 14 to Department1 repeated Rome as 6 and 184 of February 26,2 repeated Rome as 11, it is my opinion that allied military authorities have not failed to hand over to Yugos such persons whose forcible return has been approved by US and UK whenever their presence in allied military camps has become known.3 Military forces have had insufficient police control and qualified screening officers fully to take necessary measures for search, identification and seizure of the remainder who may be at large in Italy or even to a very [Page 785] limited extent in camps. Nature of Yugos demands has been such as to give rise to assumption that primary aim of Yugo Government was not to obtain return to Yugoslavia of bona fide war criminals but rather to secure capture of all Yugos whose political views are opposed to that regime. In case of alleged Italian war criminals, Yugo demands were of course, wholly absurd and could only be interpreted as designed for military purposes to wreck what remains of present Italian Army organization by removal of key personnel.

Repeated to Belgrade as 34; to Department as 733.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 3 to telegram 141, February 15, from Belgrade, p. 762.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 9 to the memorandum of conversation by Cabot, February 25, p. 768.
  3. In response to questions in the House of Commons on April 23 and 30, British officials estimated that over 10,000 displaced persons were under joint American-British responsibility and housed in Allied Commission camps in Italy. Over 7,000 of these persons were Yugoslavs. The United States and British Governments had classified 77 Yugoslavs as quislings and traitors, and 22 had been turned over to Yugoslav authorities.

    Telegram 714 from Belgrade, June 26, not printed, reported that when Maclean visited Belgrade in late June to discuss the problem of quislings and war criminals, the Yugoslav authorities stated that of 950 Yugoslav nationals requested, the Allies had agreed to deliver 249 but had actually delivered fewer than 50 (800.4016 DP/6–2647).