Čapo, H. (2018). Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest. Retrieved from https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597.
Čapo, Hrvoje. Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. Zagreb, Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2018. https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597.
Čapo, Hrvoje. Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2018. https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597.
Čapo, H. (2018) Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. 1.. [online]. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest. Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597 (Accessed 19 November 2023)
Čapo H. Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. [Internet]. 1.. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest; 2018, [cited 2023 November 19] Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597
H. Čapo, Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.. 1.. Zagreb, Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2018. [Online] Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:066597
|Title (croatian)||Hrvatska u diplomatskim izvješćima Sjedinjenih Američkih Država : 1918.-1929.|
|Author's institution||Croatian Institute of History|
|Scientific / art field,|
discipline and subdiscipline
|HUMANISTIC SCIENCES |
|Abstract (english)|| |
SUMMARY CROATIA IN DIPLOMATIC REPORTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1918 – 1929 Th e documents set forth here are part of the correspondence of the US diplomatic service in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS) and the State Department of the United States of America (USA) between 1918 and early 1929. Th is correspondence mostly consisted of weekly reports by US ministers in Belgrade and consuls in Belgrade and Zagreb, as well as occasional reports or letters from their various associates or interested parties on the issues of US-Yugoslav foreign aff airs relations. Th ese documents are stored in the National Archives and Records Administration in its central building in College Park, Maryland. Th e documents are part of the Record Group No. 59, General Records of the Department of State, dating from 1756 to 1993. Th e State Department documents are also the key and most important documents in the study of US foreign policy relations with other countries. Consequently, they are also very useful for exploring diff erent events in countries where the US diplomatic service operated. Considering the very title of the fund, and even more the time period (1756 – 1993), it is evident that this is an extremely extensive collection. At the same time, it is also the largest fund created by the State Department. Its internal structure is therefore very complex and it was modifi ed several times in terms of better use of materials aft er passing through the State Department Registry. During the First World War the State Department for the fi rst time encountered immense infl ow of materials/documents, for which a completely new fi le storage classifi - cation system had to be developed. It was a “decimal system”, which was in use until January 1963, and encompassed the complete records of the State Department created aft er 1910, ending in January 1963. Th is system enabled a simpler classifi cation and acceptance of records in the archives. Records were than stored according to a predetermined decimal system into the primary nine units/categories divided into diff erent topics that were then associated with states in which US diplomacy had already been operating. Th ese nine units/categories were: 0 (General, Miscellaneous), 1 (Administration), 2 (Extradition), 3 (Protection of Interest), 4 (Claims), 5 (International Congresses and Conferences), 6 (Commerce), 7 (Political Relations of State) and 8 (Internal Aff airs of States). Th e documents that are brought here are part of the unit/category 8 (Internal Aff airs of States), in the fund further divided into ten targets: 00 (Political Aff airs), 10 (Public order, safety, health, works. Charities and philanthropic organizations), 20 (Military Aff airs), 30 (Naval Aff airs), 40 (Social Matters), 50 (Economic Matters), 60 (Industrial Matters), 70 (Communication and Transportation), 80 (Navigation), 90 (Other internal aff airs). Th e documents set forth here speak of the fi rst issue, the one labeled (Yugoslav Political Aff airs). Within the State Department the number that was allocated to the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia was 60h. Accordingly, most of the documents that are presented here were documents marked with number 860h.00, outlining the following: 8 (Internal Aff airs of States), 60h (Yugoslavia), 00 (Political Aff airs). Th e documents presented here were microfi lmed during 1961 when they were also declassifi ed (though their use could have been limited to a maximum of 25 years aft er its origin). What this microfi lming further enabled was easier manipulation with documents and their duplication to a large number of researchers. Th e microfi lms of this fund were then divided into two categories marked with two marks – M and T. Th e main diff erence between these microfi lms is that M microfi lms were made by fi lming whole series of documents (in extenso) of the highest importance for researchers, whereas T microfi lms contain only partially fi lmed documents of certain series, most oft en selected by content (pertinence). Microfi lms relating to the internal political relations of the Kingdom of SHS/ Yugoslavia carry the very M mark, which means that there are whole series of documents fi lmed on them. Th ese documents are contained in two microfi lm publications labeled as M 358 and M 1203. Th e State Department documents, which originated from 1910 to 1929, which are in fact set forth here, are found in microfi lms M 358. Microfi lms M 1203 cover the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 1929 to 1941. Th e M 358 microfi lm publication consists of a total of 27 rolls of microfi lms covering the aforementioned ten targets by which the State Department fi led documents in the records. Th e documents referring to the target 00 (Yugoslav Political Aff airs) which are also set forth here, are located on the fi rst four rolls of microfi lm M 358. Even such a brief overview of the State Department’s archival material on the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia reveals an enormous amount of documents created by the activities of the US diplomatic service in that state, which are undoubtedly important in adding another view to its history, and also to that of Croatia between the two world wars. Th e value of US diplomatic reports derives from their uncensored content, continuity and great number of events followed by US diplomats in the Kingdom of SHS. Th eir reports were oft en written immediately aft er the event, sometimes just a few hours later, which increases the value of these documents as historical sources, as the eff ect of ‘hindsight’ was thus signifi cantly reduced. Th e reports of American diplomats, even while inevitably refl ecting also their personal impressions, as such off er one of the views of the Kingdom of SHS, whereas opinions of local political actors, Croat or Serb, opposition or ruling, again in their own way contributing to yet another view of the historical processes, represent their important content. Th ese documents primarily refer to the interior political issues of the Kingdom of SHS, which means that they cast a new light on the history of the monarchical Yugoslavia too. Th e purpose of this collection of documents is to provide additional sources for historiographical research of Croatian history, and hence those documents that are mostly related to Croatian political issues in the Kingdom of SHS are highlighted. The political history of the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia, complex in its entirety, is most commonly divided into time before and aft er the introduction of the dictatorship of King Aleksandar Karađorđević on January 6, 1929. Th e event immediately preceding the fi nal introduction of the king’s “personal regime” was an assassination of Croatian parliamentarians at the National Assembly on June 20, 1928, when two were killed and three Croatian representatives from the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) were wounded. Stjepan Radić, the party’s champion, succumbed to his wounds on August 8 of the same year. Th e role that Radić, as well as HSS, had in the Croatian political life in the Kingdom was immeasurable, so his, as well as the deaths of his political associates, had far-reaching consequences on the history and destiny of the First Yugoslavia. All that happened aft er that summer of 1928 clearly derived from this assassination and Croatian victims who were regarded as martyrs in the Croatian political identity. Th e killed and wounded Croatian MPs became the personifi cation of Croats who perceived and experienced state centralism of the authoritarian regime as an open denial of Croatian national and political particularities. Silence instigated in the political arena by the king’s dictatorship, as the National Assembly was dissolved and all parties were banned, thus divided the history of the Kingdom of SHS, thereaft er called Yugoslavia. Even more pronounced state repression resulted, ultimately, in the death of King Aleksandar in the assassination in Marseilles in October 1934 and the arrival of his cousin, Prince Paul Karađorđević, on the political scene. Th e fi rst elections aft er the dictatorship, those of May 5, 1935, showed that Radić’s HSS, now headed by Vladko Maček, not only survived the ban and state oppression, but emerged with even stronger, now more diversifi ed political action (in the sense of organizations such as Gospodarska sloga, Hrvatska žena or the establishment of Croatian Peasant Guard and Croatian Civic Guard). Such was the infl uence of the dictatorship on the internal political scene. On the foreign political scene, King Aleksandar, just before its proclamation, justifi ed his future move to his allies, most notably the French. However, Czechoslovakians were worried because it became apparent that one member state of the Little Entente was abandoning democracy, whatever its form, and the current US minister to Belgrade John Dyneley Prince (1926 – 1932) increasingly wrote about explicit state repression against political and civil liberties. However, while European representatives of democracy expressed their mistrust, their American counterpart saw dictatorship diff erently. Namely, it seemed that part of US investors/consumers accepted the king’s dictatorship with relief. Moreover, they seem to have been relieved by the introduction of such, at its core authoritarian, regime. US investments were safer in, they considered, a fi nally calmer society free of previous frequent political disturbances. Inspired by the Americans’ lack of fear they might get accidentally caught up in some revolution, a naturalized Yugoslavian, then employee of the Yugoslav ministry in Washington, Gordon Gordon-Smith saw the perfect opportunity for a development of tourism. Th us, the history of interwar Yugoslavia was strongly marked by and changed aft er 1929. Following such a development of historical processes, the US diplomatic sources on Croatia in the Kingdom of SHS are therefore presented here until and including 3 January 1929. Th e Kingdom of SHS had until then developed, at least formally, in parliamentary and multiparty conditions and had undergone processes of strong political struggles between centralists and their antipodes, anticentralists, of whom Radić gradually became a leading representative in Croatia. Th e title of this collection also includes Croatia, which can be understood as a state-law term. Anachronism here logically appearing was deliberately selected. Croatia is a term that is unquestionably found in American diplomatic reports of that period. It was undefi ned, but it represented those areas that could be so identifi ed. Hence, Croatia from the title refers to Croatian lands in the monarchist Yugoslavia. Th e fi rst US Minister (Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary) to the Kingdom of SHS was Henry Percival Dodge. He became a special US representative to the Kingdom of Serbia in June 1917, when he started dealing with the Serbian matters on behalf of then US Minister to Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia, Charles Joseph Vopicka. Due to the obvious inability of Vopicka to deal with these diplomatic issues from Bucharest where he was seated, Henry Percival Dodge was American representative to the Serbian government settled on Corfu, where he oft en had contacts with the Yugoslav Committee, as well. Henry Percival Dodge was a classic US diplomat of the time, when the majority of US Ministers originated from the territory of New England, Massachusetts especially, and were alumni of the Ivy League Universities. Dodge was born in 1870 in Boston, where he graduated law from the Harvard University. Aft er leaving for Europe because of the further education, he was soon employed by the US Legation in Berlin where he served from 1899 to 1906 and advanced from the title of the Legation’s Th ird Secretary to its First Secretary. Until 1913 he had served as the Legation’s Secretary in Tokio (1906), then became Minister to Salvador (1908), Honduras (1909), Morocco (1909) and Panama (1911). He was retired aft er thirteen years of diplomatic service in August 1913. However, already in the following year he was engaged by the US government once more. Firstly, he was appointed secretary of the American commission to the Niagara Falls Mediation Conference. Th en, aft er the First World War broke out, he was sent to Europe as a special representative of the State Department in Paris, and from June 28, 1917 he was appointed to the Serbian government in the same manner. As an American representative in Serbia he witnessed the creation of the Kingdom of SHS and became the fi rst US minister in Belgrade as of July 1919. While in Belgrade Dodge dealt with the matters of the Legation’s organizational structure. Besides the Legation, there existed two consulates, one in Belgrade and the other in Zagreb. Personnel of these diplomatic posts were oft en changing and dealing with multiple matters, which led to the conclusion that the posts were understaff ed. Th e consulate in Belgrade was founded in 1882 so it is no surprise that the US consul was appointed even before the Minister. Kenneth S. Patton was actually the fi rst US diplomatic representative to the Kingdom of SHS appointed there in May, 1919. Patton served as a Commercial attaché, as well. His fi rst assistant came to Belgrade consulate as late as in November, 1919, when Henry R. Brown was appointed vice-consul. Brown was retained in the post until May, 1920 when he was replaced by Brigg A. Perkins. Perkins remained in the consulate until February, 1924 when he was transferred to Zagreb as Leslie A. Davis’s vice-consul. Considering personnel shortage, minister Dodge was in no better situation. His diplomatic assistant in the rank of second secretary, Pierre de L. Boal was appointed only on December 6, 1920. Th ird secretary of the Legation, William Roswell Barker was appointed in the end of October, 1922, while the post of Legation’s fi rst secretary was fulfi lled in November, 1922 when Gordon Paddock came aft er his longtime service in Persia. In the beginning of 1920s Military attaché to the Kingdom of SHS was major Martin C. Shallenberger who was replaced by the First Lieutenant William F. H. Godson in the end of 1924. First Lieutenant Godson served as Millitary attaché in Belgrade and Athens, simultaneously. Zagreb consulate was established in July, 1920 when Alfred R. Th omson was appointed there as consul on July 1, 1920. Vice-consul, Carroll H. Megill was appointed only in March, 1922. Alfred R. Th omson resided in Zagreb for more than two years when he was replaced by Joseph M. McGurk in August, 1922. Consular personnel were changed again in 1924 when fi rstly Andrew Brigg Perkins was transferred from Belgrade in the beginning of February 1924 and later new consul, Leslie A. Davis was appointed in the beginning of September, 1924. Until 1929 there was one more change when in the middle of 1928 Brigg Perkins was replaced by newly appointed vice-consul Walter L. Lowrie. Obviously, American diplomatic service in the Kingdom of SHS was shortstaff ed. Besides minister, there were mostly two or three secretaries in Legation, military attaché who was in charge of multiple countries, and some of the personnel engaged in translation, typewriting and other administrative matters. At the same time, consulate in Belgrade was made of three, while the one in Zagreb of two offi cials. Aft er the First World War, USA had fi ft y-three diplomatic missions at the rank of embassy or legation worldwide. American diplomatic mission at the Kingdom of SHS/Yugoslavia was in the rank of legation for the whole period of the Kingdom’s existence (1918 – 1941). Primary duties and goals of these missions were communication between the host state and the US government, protection of life and assets of US citizens abroad, following political situation at the host countries and protection of American general and economic interests. Goals and objectives of the Legation at the Kingdom of SHS were not in any kind diff erent. Being a “listening post” describes the role of the American diplomatic missions in Europe aft er the First World War in short. Th is characteristic was in direct correlation with republican shaped American foreign policy which, aft er Wilson, headed toward isolationism, i.e. policy of non-interference in internal aff airs of European countries. American diplomats in the Kingdom of SHS used network of personal contacts among the political, intellectual or economic elites as the source of their information. Knowing that the Kingdom of SHS was not in the interest of the American high politics, these sources spoke more openly and probably more sincerely. A number of diplomatic reports was made based upon the media (newspapers) coverage. However, it should be mentioned that the American diplomats tried to evaluate the political background of the named. Considering the nature of diplomatic reports from the Kingdom of SHS a change of epic proportions took place aft er the arrival of John Dyneley Prince as a US minister to Belgrade in 1926. Although he belonged to the classic American diplomatic class, he somewhat diff ered from the “elitist” diplomacy. He was born in New York City in 1868 where he graduated from Columbia University in 1888. In 1892 he received his Doctorate from John Hopkins University, aft er which he became a professor of Semitic Languages at New York University. In 1902 he was appointed a professor of Semitic languages at Columbia University. Aft er the outbreak of the First world war he was teaching Russian and soon was appointed a professor of Slavonic languages (Russian). Some ten years before he entered the political life of New Jersey where he was elected senator, and during 1912 he served as an Acting Governor of the State. President Harding appointed him Minister to Denmark in 1921 where he transfused his polyglot ability into a successful diplomacy. President Coolidge appointed him Minister to the Kingdom of SHS in 1926 where he stayed until 1932. An interesting fact about him is that in one night he could give a speech in fi ve or six diff erent languages and even sing some of the folk songs of those nations in whose company he was. He spoke the language of Eastern Algonquin Indians, Slovakian, Russian, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Danish, French, Italian and Hungarian, some of which in various accents. After seven years of collecting the information mostly from the government’s point of view, Prince started the practice of forming an opinion based on his personal observations. His circle of sources became considerably wider than it was before when it was made mostly of newspaper reports or government’s offi cials’ statements. John Dyneley Prince was fi rst to notice the lack of information from the other side, and not only receiving those through offi cial channels. He expressed his displeasure with the work of consul in Zagreb Leslie A. Davis to the State Department. According to Prince, Davis could neither comprehend nor realize the gravity of the “Croatian question”, and he showed no ability to listen to the “underground rumblings”. Moreover, Prince considered a serious disadvantage the fact that consul Davis did not speak Croatian, nor he was willing to deploy two of his Croat employees to gather useful information. What Prince noticed on Davis could be expanded to Alfred Th omson’s work as a consul in Zagreb. It was their reliability on government’s reports and statements that, almost predictably, made their reports on opposition in Croatia presented in a negative manner. Th e key of Prince’s work, it seems, was his knowledge of Croatian, Slovenian and Serbian. He was able to express and receive respect and gave a human face to the oft en stiff diplomat duty. And then, all he had to do was listen. In this way the amount of his sources became unlimited. For that reason, his point of view on the Croatian question and consequently on Stjepan Radić was able to be developed based on his own judgement and not on the second hand information, as it was done before. Like minister Dodge, Prince was in favor of improving economic relations between the USA and the Kingdom of SHS. He too saw a welcomed progress in King Aleksandar’s dictatorship which could have led to a positive eff ect on mutual American – Yugoslav economic relations. However, since he oft en witnessed American companies withdrawing their investments from the Kingdom of SHS he was reporting of frustrating ‘granite wall of stupid Serb unreason’“. As a consequence of the modest economic-political American – Yugoslav relations he was able to shift his attention on observing and listening the internal aff airs in the Kingdom of SHS. Since his arrival to Belgrade in 1926 American diplomatic reports had included the opinion of government’s opposition individuals, then for the fi rst time. He demanded equal admission of consuls in Zagreb for the reason of getting all the disaccording voices of Belgrade regime’s opposition. Th e network of his sources became widespred while he maintained to stay an oft en guest of the highest state offi cials. His conversations with King Aleksandar were not rare at all, while he was communicating with the Foreign ministers on almost daily basis. Although his reports, like those of his predecessor Dodge, were fi lled with personal opinions at least they were shaped on a wider spectrum of information. As a result of the American foreign policy direction by which the legation in Belgrade was just a “listening post”, the diplomatic reports from the Kingdom of SHS represent abundant and respectful archival sources which directly or indirectly speak of signifi cant matters of Croatian political and social life in the interwar period. One view more on this issue is rather useful, undoubtedly.
|Publication type||Authored book-Scientific book-Scientific monograph|
|Peer review||Peer review|
|Publication version||Published version|
|Series title||Biblioteka Hrvatska povjesnica. Građa|
|Numeration of series or publishing unit||IV/20|
|Printed book publication date||2018|
|Type of resource||Text|
|Publisher||Hrvatski institut za povijest|
|Access conditions||Institutional access|
|Created on||2022-04-07 11:00:04|