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10 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 12 CANBERRA, 11 January 1944

The Australian Government has been following closely your recent
telegrams on the situation in Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy and
much appreciates detailed advice of developments.
2. In general we fear that unless great care is taken Allies may
lay themselves open to the charge of endeavouring to return to the
pre war status quo in these countries and bolstering up old
regimes to which the majority of the populations concerned are
violently opposed.

We fully realise the desirability of preserving the State of
Yugoslavia as an independent entity although all the trends are in
the direction of a loose-knit confederation consisting of at least
three and possibly five or six units.
At the same time we are extremely doubtful whether continued
British backing of the King of Yugoslavia [1] will help towards
Yugoslav unity. In this connection we note in particular the views
expressed by the Head of the British Military Mission to the
Partisan Movement [2], and the British Ambassador to the Yugoslav
Government [3] (D.O. tele gram 1182 of 27th December [4]) that
'the dynasty would not be a unifying factor in Yugoslavia and its
return would be bitterly opposed by the majority of the nation',
that 'the King has been personally discredited in the eyes of the
Partisans', and that 'he is irreparably compromised with the
Partisans and a sudden volte face on his part at this stage would
not affect their attitude'.
With regard to General Mihailovitch [5] we have noted particularly
your telegram (D.1062 of 6th December [6]) giving your analysis of
his position stating that he 'is not only of no military value to
the Allies but has also become a standing obstacle to any sort of
Yugoslav unity either now or in the near future'; and also Mr.
Churchill's statement to the King of Yugoslavia on 10th December
that 'we had irrefutable evidence that General Mihailovitch was
collaborating with the enemy'.
In the light of these views it seems to us that the time has come
to withdraw support finally from Mihailovitch and to consider very
serious ly whether it should not also be withdrawn from the King
and Government, henceforward concentrating support on Tito [7] and
his National Committee and allowing the question regarding the
monarchy to stand over for decision by the Yugoslav people after
the war. in particular we feel that it would be ineffective and
imprudent to send the King to Tito's headquarters.

With regard to Greece we welcome the steps that are being taken to
promote unity in Greek resistance but feel that here again as in
the case of Yugoslavia too much stress has been laid on the
position of the King. [8]

With regard to Italy we are disturbed by the views recently ex
pressed by the British Minister to the Vatican [9] reported in
Telegram D.3 of 1st January. [10] Bearing in mind our basic war
aims we feel that it is now desirable to strengthen the hands of
the democratic groups in Italy, with a view to formation of a
widely based and representative Government as early as possible.

1 King Peter II.
2 Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean.
3 R. C. Skrine Stevenson.
4 On file AA:A989, E43-44/1000/4/1.
5 General Draza Mihajlovic, leader of the Serbian royalist Cetnik
resistance organisation and Minister of War in the Yugoslav Govt
until 18 May.
6 On the file cited in note 4.
7 Marshal Josip Broz Tito, President of the National Committee of
8 King George II.
9 Sir Francis D'A. G. Osborne.
10 In AA:A31?05, 1944, 1.219. The camblegram noted the U.K.
Minister's view that Italians seemed to look to the Monarchy for
national stability and that parliamentary democracy was unlikely
to appeal to Italians for an appreciable time'.

[AA:A989, E43-44/1000/4/1]

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