HC Deb 22 March 1944 vol 398 cc825-6
1. Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Allied commanders in the Mediterranean are continuing to give military assistance to General Mihailovitch in Yugoslavia; whether there is an Allied mission now collaborating with General Mihailovitch; and whether he can make any statement regarding the present position of the Yugoslav Government in Cairo.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

I can at present add nothing to the very full statement on the situation in Yugoslavia which was made by the Prime Minister in his speech of 22nd February.

Mr. Riley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister did not deal with the points in the Question; does he appreciate that this Question was on the Order Paper a fortnight ago and I refrained from putting it, in the hope that, in the meantime, the right hon. Gentleman would have some information of a definite character; and does he also appreciate that we want to know which horse we are backing in Yugoslavia?

Mr. Eden

The Prime Minister said as much as he thought it was wise to say in the military interests at the time, and as these are military matters, I have not the least intention of saying any word about them at the moment.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Has the right hon Gentleman received a document from the Slovene Socialist Party dated, Ljubljana, 17th December, 1943, protesting that the "Liberation Front" of Tito is not a national movement, is not a democratic movement, is not a freedom movement, and is not a social movement, and also protesting against the military assistance to Tito?

Mr. Eden

I receive many documents and I do not guarantee to read half of them.

11. Mr. Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the request from the Yugoslav National Committee of Liberation to prevent the Yugoslav Government in Cairo from making use of the gold reserve in the Royal Yugoslav National Bank; and whether he will state the attitude of His Majesty's Government on the subject.

Mr. Eden

I am not in a position to make any statement on this subject at present, except to say that the Yugoslav Government are not making use of that part of the National Bank of Yugoslavia's gold reserve which is deposited in this country.

Mr. Cocks

Can the right hon. Gentleman say anything about the gold reserve in America?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir, I am afraid I cannot. It is not a matter for me.

Mr. Petherick

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the only authority which has any right to this gold is the Government of King Peter?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, but the position is not quite so simple as that. I had the same reaction as my hon. Friend at first, but it is not so simple because this bank is not a Government bank and, in addition to that, there are complications in relation to the provisions of the trading with the enemy legislation affecting the banks in enemy-occupied countries. The position is legally complicated.