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CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill"), as Prime Minister, to Ivan Subasic (1892-1955), Prime Minister of Yugoslavian government-in-exile, Whitehall, 8 October 1944. 1 page, 4to, Kingdom of Yugoslavia stamp on verso
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill"), as Prime Minister, to Ivan Subasic (1892-1955), Prime Minister of Yugoslavian government-in-exile, Whitehall, 8 October 1944. 1 page, 4to, Kingdom of Yugoslavia stamp on verso

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CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill"), as Prime Minister, to Ivan Subasic (1892-1955), Prime Minister of Yugoslavian government-in-exile, Whitehall, 8 October 1944. 1 page, 4to, Kingdom of Yugoslavia stamp on verso

CHURCHILL PLANS FOR THE LIBERATION OF BELGRADE

"I have received your letter of October 7," Churchill tells Subasic, "enclosing the text of the speech which His Majesty King Peter proposes to make on the liberation of Belgrade. I request Your Excellency to inform His Majesty that I consider the speech will be admirably suited to this great occasion." Churchill wanted--and got--the speech to give equal thanks to British, Russian and partisan forces for ejecting the Nazi occupiers. A generous rhetorical gesture since the British role was minimal. But this was all part of Churchill's long game in the Balkans. Just days after this letter, he made his famous "percentages deal" with Stalin in Moscow where they devised a distribution of British-Soviet influence in various countries in eastern and southern Europe--Romania to be 90 Soviet and 10 British; Greece 90 British and 10 Soviet. The real world effect of these projected percentages has never been very clear. But Yugoslavia was to be a "50-50" country, with Churchill strongly backing the royal government in exile as his vehicle for British influence. Stalin opposed the return of the monarchy, but relented to Churchill's idea that a plebiscite be held. "When time comes," Churchill told the King, "I shall see to it that plebiscite is conducted under British, Russian and American supervision." And with a smile he added, "I shall manage your campaign." However, Peter II was ousted in November 1945 and Tito installed a 100 Communist government that was, ironically, friendly to neither Moscow nor London.

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