Sra,—Having been one of Mr. Sudjic's sources of information from Yugoslavia, I am taking the liberty to say something more in connection with his letter of December 28, published in your paper.
After my escape from occupied Yugoslavia in May, 1942, and arrival here in London, Mr. Sudjic and I had many discussions concerning a democratic organisation of Yugoslavia. Mr. Sudjic and I not only criticised the old dictatorship in Yugoslavia and the autocratic tendencies of the exiled Yugoslav Government, but I, for my part, also wrote numerous memorandums for the use of members of the Yugo slav Government, in which I was most critical, also of the behaviour of certain Catholic priests under the occupation in my country. All that I have said then is still valid. It goes without saying that just . because of these liberal and critical views, I was throughout my service with the Royal Yugoslav Government, persecuted by my superiors. Mr. Sudjic, who, by the way, had access, through his position as secretary of the Royal Yugoslav Information Department, to all sources of information, was sacked together with a group of men who, after Teheran, put everything on the
Communist card. But let it be stated here that Mr. Sudjic at that time did not, of course, profess the pure and high ideals of Communism as he does so ardently to-day, but followed the laid down policy of the time which took in so many— the beating of the patriotic 'and " democratic " drum. I, for my part, drew the logical consequences of my patriotism and conscience and, instead of remain:ng comfortably in Britain and talking and advocating, although 47, embarked in September, 1944, as a
common private, to jo:n the armed forces in Yugoslavia, to fight for freedom and democracy.
When I reached the part of " liberated " Yugoslavia, I realised that Sudjic, in his so numerous public
conferences in this country during 1944, had misled me and his public
as much as Tito has misled the world. The most intense and ageold desire of the Yugoslav peoples for political liberties and demo cracy — which Mr. Sudjic has so often in private conversations with me, as well as assured publicly, had been now finally realised — were simply misused to build up a terror
istic regime to impose a system of
life contrary in every respect to the ethics of an agricultural population.
Let us not forget the population of Yugoslavia, now 14 millions, of which 78 per cent. are smallholders —farmers tilling their own land— belong in their cultural tradition largely to the Western orbit.
The forcible conversion of Serbs to Catholicism under the Ustashi regime, was an act rightly con demned by the whole civilised world and was, of course, the ideal Hitler weapon to ensure disunity in the Balkans, but it is hardly for Mr. Sudjic, whose masters to-day con
vert a whole population of 14 mil
lion peaceloving peasants, whose greatest sin seems to be their undy ing hope for democracy and freedom, to the religion of Communism by methods not less repulsive than those employed by the Ustashi.
Now for the conditions in Tito's and Mr. Sudjic's " democratic"
Yugoslavia. As a Yugoslav and
Democrat by conviction, as a Croat and Catholic horrified at the suffer ings not only of my own people in
the past a'tid present fight for freedom, but at the terrible sacrifice and sufferings of my brothers the Serbs
in this fight, and as one—as mentioned above—who returned as a soldier to fight, and last but by no means least who lived nine months (until my lucky escape) in Mr. Sud jic's paradise, I am at least as much qualified as he is to explain to-day's Yugoslavia to the world.
I was a volunteer in Tito's Army and was as such accepted by the Tito authorities. The first thing, however, which happened on arrival from Britain in Belgrade, was that I, together with two fellow vol unteers, were put without explanation into prison. Forty-eight hours later we were told it was a " mis take." When I tried to find my fam ily,. I discovered that two of my cousins, Lujo and Jerko, unpolitical like all Dalmatian liberal democratic minded merchants, had been killed,
and the fourth one, Tomo, abducted and also killed. These were all three killed by the Communists during the " liberation war." I have evi
dence that my cousin Lujo spent
much money to help the Tito partisans during the war. It then became evident to me that, while Mr.
Sudjic, monitoring 'in Barnet forwarded to the world the " huge ex ploits " of the Tito forces against the Germans, these same forces killed the Yugoslays supposed to be the future forces of opposition to the planned Communist conversion. On the other hand, there strutted in Tito's party, which so grandilo quently accused Mgr. Stepinac, in the name of the innocent Serbian victims of massacre, the very men,
Ustashi, who had promoted the horrible massacres in enthusiastic obedience not to Mgr. Stepinac but to the perverted Ustashi " Fuehrer " Pavelich.
I have purposely not dealt with all the defects and perversions of democracy and freedom in Yugo slavia, but let me sum up the posi
tion in just one word: terror. It
seems to be a large dose of cynic
ism on the part of Mr. Sudjic to reproach the anonymity of the " Orthodox Serb " who has certainly his relatives still alive in Yugoslavia. Nobody who has not lived without the protection of a foreign pass port under a secret police ruled State is entitled to pass judgment. Nobody who has not experienced the soul-destroying effect of constant insecurity and fear. not because he is in any way guilty but because, once apprehended by the police, he will never be given a chance to prove his innocence, can speak on
any " compensations," because there are no compensations for this. To kill a man's soul is in my opinion the worst crime of all.
34, Oslo Court, London, N.W.8.