The Minister in Yugoslavia (Prince) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received September 5.]
Sir: Referring to the Legation’s telegram No. 39 of August 22, 1931,32 regarding King Alexander’s request to me to send the message therein transmitted to President Hoover, I have the honor to report supplementarily, that the King spoke at length concerning the present difficult financial position of this country, and practically put himself in the position of a suppliant to our Government. Alexander, who has been touring southern Serbia and Bosnia intensively all through the great heats of July, shows the effects of his strenuous efforts and is now going to be at Bled for some time. He appeared nervous and anxious, especially about the financial difficulties, alluding particularly to the trouble his ministries are having in finding the money to pay the grain farmers. He also alluded to the high interest required by France for her stabilization loan and, in short, was more like a human being in distress than an autocratic king.
He said that he was aware that America, when it formulated “this great proposition” did not intend to injure his country, but that this state was most heavily afflicted by the loss of eight hundred and eighty-eight million dinars which would ensue during the coming [Page 235] year, if the plan was applied here without consideration. He, therefore, literally begged us for our help without specifying just what that help should be. I felt it my duty to transmit at once his request through the Department to the President, which telegram was followed by the Legation’s Telegram No. 40 of August 24, 1931,33 expressing the similar hope of the new Finance Minister Mr. Djurić.
The consensus of the whole Legation is, that the statements made both by the King and Mr. Djurić are substantially correct and that the country will suffer very much, unless it can find the money to remedy the large deficit which will be made in this small budget by the proposed delay in the German payments to Yugoslavia, due in 1931–1932.