DRAZA MIHAILOVIC OFFERS TO PLACE HIS CHETNIKS AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE
Mf. T — 314, R 1457,
SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL
Ic October 30, 41.
Subject: The Chetnik detachments of the Yugoslav Army under the command of Colonel Draza Mihailovic place themselves at the disposal of the German Wehrmacht for the purpose of joint struggle against the communists.
On October 28, at 4 p.m. Serbian Captain Nenad Mitrovic with whom I am personally acquainted and Serbian Colonel Branislav Pantic of the General Staff called at my private quarters at Dedinje.
Colonel Pantic stated on that occasion that he had been authorized by Colonel Draza Mihailovic to establish contact with the Prime Minister General Milan Nedic and with the administrative offices concerned of the German Wehrmacht with a view to offering the services of the Chetnik detachments of the Yugoslav Army under the command of Draza Mihailovic' for the struggle against Communism in Serbia. This statement is to be considered fully valid and binding. Colonel Pantic vouches therefor with his officer's word of honour.
General Nedic has been informed of the foregoing during an interview with Colonel Pantic held in the morning of October 28. He approves of this step and would wish that it be implemented in practice as soon as possible. I told Colonel Pantic that I have no authority whatsoever to conduct nego¬tiations on the matter, and that I shall duly convey the com¬munication received to the appropriate Headquarters and Com¬manding General.
Acting on instructions received from Draza Mihailovic, Colonel Pantic declared that Draza Mihailovic assumes respon¬sibility and provides full guarantee for the definite elimination of communist armed bands from Serbian territory to the east and west of the Morava River. Mihailovic further declared that he is not pursuing any political objective and that he fully recognizes the fact that the country has been defeated and that the Germans are entitled to all rights vested in them as an occupying power. Draza Mihailovic expects that, from the moment he issues the appropriate orders to his detachments, punitive expeditions against the Serbian population and mass shootings in the areas where his Chetnik detachments are located will cease. The general objective is to restore the condi¬tions of peace and order that prevailed in occupied Serbia prior to June 28, 1941.«
When I remarked that according to information at our disposal Draza Mihailovic received his orders from London, Colonel Pantic answered that this was not the case.
To my question whether Mihailovic was only playing for time, in order to finally drive the Germans out of the country, Colonel Pantic declared that as soldiers both Draza Mihailovic and he personally were too well aware of Germany's military strength to harbour any such childish illusions. The political revolutionary emphasis and political note have been introduced among the people by the communist Partisans.
Interview held in my apartment on October 29, at 3 p.m. following a phone call. The talks were attended by Colonel Pantic and Captain Mitrovic.
I first called the gentlemen's attention to the fact that everything I have to tell them according to instructions received from the Commanding General must remain absolutely secret and that the German officers present are likewise under the obligation of preserving absolute secrecy.
I then proceeded to acquaint them with the answer of the Commanding General:
"We wish Colonel Draza Mihailovic to come to Belgrade personally for the purpose of continuing the talks and guarantee his personal safety and life both on his outward and return journey regardless of the outcome of the negotiations."
I further stated that I have been entrusted with the fulfillment of this mission.
It was evident that the gentlemen would have preferred that a meeting be arranged between an accredited representative of the General and that some neutral meeting place had been chosen.
The gentlemen realized that the Commanding General was entitled to demand the foregoing and that there was nothing to be changed with regard to the decision, — and declared, — primarily in order to prevent the further annihilation of the Serbian population and avoid the further destruction of the economic foundations for the survival of the Serbian peoples, — that they were ready to assume this task themselves. The talks then turned to the technical i.e. practical problems involved, and the necessary documents issued to both gentlemen, assuring them freedom of passage by the commanders of the German Wehrmacht units on their way to Colonel Draza Mihailovic and back.
I stated to both gentlemen upon my word of honour that I personally assume responsibility for the safety and life of Colonel Draza Mihailovic from the moment I meet him at Lajkovac and escort him from there and back. Besides I shall also see to it that appropriate measures are taken by the Transport Command. I shall await the gentlemen Monday afternoon, November 3, between 3 and 4 p.m. in Lajkovac.
Captain Mitrovic called at my flat on October 30, at 9 p.m. and requested me on behalf of Colonel Pantid to obtain a written document. He vouched with his life that there will be no abuse of this written document and that the latter would be restituted immediately after contact was established. He emphasised the well-known fact that Draza Mihailovic enjoys the highest esteem of the entire Serbian people at present, and that during the interview of October 29, General Nedic stated that he now regretted his failure to establish contact with Draza Mihailovic when assuming government power. Mitrovic further informed me privately that Kosta Pecanac is subordinated to Draza Mihailovic and that he has taken action on his own. In reply to Captain Mitrovic's request I stated that I shall see to it that a written document, whose rough copy in Serbian language had been submitted to me, be prepared by the German headquarters concerned.
(Captain Joseph Matl worked in the Abwehr Department of the German Command in Serbia. Up to the outbreak of the Second World War, Matl was a. Professor of Slavonic languages and literature at the University of Graz.)