Yugoslavs deplore efforts to discredit Mihailović (12-10-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (December 10, 1942)

Yugoslavs deplore efforts to discredit Mihailović

Pro-Nazi elements blamed for campaign in United States against guerrilla patriot; Serbs reported 90% behind him
By John A. Parris, United Press staff writer

London, England –
American sympathizers with Croatian pro-Nazi terrorists called Ustaše were accused by the Yugoslavian government-in-exile today with attempting to discredit Marshal Draža Mihailović, leader of huge guerrilla forces fighting the Axis in occupied Yugoslavia.

A Yugoslav spokesman denied emphatically “any suggestion inspired by enemy propaganda of Mihailović’s alleged collaboration with the Axis.”

He charged:

The Yugoslav government in London professes absolute written proof that the Ustaše, acting under German orders, is attempting to discredit Mihailović, especially through the Ustaše’s sympathizers in America.

Latest information from Yugoslavia, the spokesman said, shows that an overwhelming majority of the people in Serbia (about 90%) were assisting Mihailović.

Cites marshal’s popularity

Mihailović’s guerrillas have fought the Axis armies continuously since Germany and Italy entered Yugoslavia and have forced the enemy to keep large numbers of troops in the occupied territory.

The spokesman said the marshal’s popularity is second only to King Peter and:

Not a single Yugoslav in London or elsewhere in British government circles has the slightest doubt of the extremely valuable important struggle which Mihailović is leading.

We have the utmost confidence in Mihailović. He is fighting not only the Axis and her satellites but all other Quislings, including Nedić [the puppet premier Milan Nedić of Serbia].

Soviet agents lead bands

The spokesman said the Yugoslav government learned recently that because of Mihailović’s resistance against the Germans and Italians, the satellite Croat Ustaše attempted through neutral sources to impugn the guerrilla leader’s position.

The Ustaše’s position, he said:

…has become extremely precarious owing to their failure to organize themselves. They are also trying to place the blame on Mihailović for all their misgivings.

Partisans then operating independently from Mihailović were mostly bands led by Soviet agents dropped by parachute, the spokesman said.

These agents have known to have approached Mihailović, he explained, asking him to come under their command. The guerrilla leader refused, pointing out that if they wanted to help Yugoslavia, he would accept them into his forces.