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Tito was just my height and somewhat heavier. He lacks two inches of being six feet tall and probably weighs about a hundred and seventy pounds. His face is that of a man in the early fifties.
But what was striking was an impression of dynamic power only in part attributable to his figure. Compact, broad-shouldered, deep-chested and flat-bellied, there was strength-plain physical stamina—implicit in every line of him, and there were pride and assurance in the carriage of his rectangular head.
"Welcome," he said, in English—the only English word I heard him speak while I was there. He had a few friendly words for Hie and the Commissar and a warm greeting for Steve in Serbo-Croat. About Steve and me he was manifestly curious, for he eyed us both with penetrating scrutiny from under his heavy brows before making a gracious gesture for us to accompany him across the garden to a little wooden hut, the door of which stood open.
There were two small, newly-built wooden structures under the cedar trees, made of unpainted boards and each about the size of the dining-room in a comfortable house. We entered one and found ourselves in his office. Opposite the door and across the center of the room—the door was in the long side of the little building—stood his desk, a big table covered with green felt. Behind it was a long bench instead of a chair, a kind of armless sofa that ran the full length of the desk and over which a brightly-colored oriental carpet had been flung. Simple wooden chairs ranged along the wall, completed the furnishings of this cheerful little room, but there was another oriental carpet under foot and there were curtains on the windows.
Tito found chairs and seated us at his table before making his way around behind it and settling comfortably on his sofa, then he peered at us genially for a moment before making a short speech in his own language. Ilic translated:
"It is a great pleasure to receive you here. We have the warmest affection for the United States and are happy to be indebted to you and your countrymen for the help you have given us. You have now seen enough of our country to realize how great is our need of supplies. But tell me, how is it possible for you to do so much for us? Who are you?"
I could see that he was somewhat troubled by my rank, unable to understand how anyone of such modest position in the Army could have enough authority to get the things attributed to me done and done quickly, so I answered that I belonged to a branch specializing in such irregular military problems as getting supplies to him, that most of the men in the organization were officers and that as we commanded practically no troops, rank was not important. My assistant in Bari, who had done quite as much as I had to get his supplies moving, was a First Lieutenant. . . . We disposed of the means, the authority and the funds, to accomplish the tasks to which we were assigned. . . .
I told him, too, that I had been in charge of Balkan operations in Cairo throughout most of the year and that I had personally selected and briefed the American officers that had been sent in to him by parachute, and that all their reports had come to my desk until a fortnight before, so even though I knew little about Jugoslavia I had been watching developments throughout the past six months with close attention. It was a happy privilege and a great honor to be received by him now at his headquarters. . . .
Uic translated and Tito listened attentively, watching my face rather than the Colonel's. He acknowledged the last words in my little speech with a deep bow and a smile.
"We are very informal here," he said, putting an end to these exchanges. "Let's have a drink."
One of the orderlies entered with a little crystal decanter and a tray of small glasses. Tito poured and passed one to each of us himself.
We emptied them at one gulp. It was not rakjia. We were drinking real slivovitz.
During the next half-hour we sat with Tito there, conversing casually about our journey, about the situation in the Islands and the progress of the German offensive on the coast, about life in the interior of the country in the liberated areas. It was just light, casual conversation to get acquainted.
The man behind the desk was relaxed and pleasant. He smoked constantly, lighting each cigarette from the butt of the one before and using a tiny and somewhat absurd Bosnian pipe overlaid with silver filigree for a cigarette holder. His hands were well kept. He was clean-shaven. His uniform was well-tailored and immaculate. Like Colonel Ilic, he wore black field boots and breeches. A Sam Browne fitted with heavy German holster and pistol lay on the end of his desk.
I found it difficult in those first minutes to form a clear impression of Tito—the man. His head is superb, great strength of character evident in its firm lines, in the straight, full mouth and broad chin. His blue-grey eyes are wide-set. His forehead, wide as his high cheekbones, retains its fullness all the way to the hair-line, and his brown hair flows back without parting. His nose is finely sculptured and his mouth well shaped, tender, slightly ironical. . . . Here was no simple warrior, no primitive leader of fighting men; he might be that, but he was much more besides. Thinker, statesman, artist. . . . He appeared to be all these, and soldier as well; and there was a light in his face that glowed and flickered and subsided as he talked, but never went away—a light that comes only from long service in the tyranny of dreams.
His manner, like his gaze, was artlessly direct. This man would be a terrifying opponent. He would never be disconcerted or alarmed, seldom elated over his successes; he would give no quarter and ask none. He would always be sure of himself, prepared to countenance his own extinction but certain of the triumph of his ideas, uncompromising. . . .
Whatever this man might be and no matter what he signified, here was a force to reckon with, a leader men would follow through the very gates of hell.
Soon after six o'clock he invited us to go to our quarters to refresh ourselves for dinner after our long journey. Dinner would be served in an hour and we would all be expected to return in time for a glass of slivovitz before it was served. Orderlies took us to rooms nearby where real beds were waiting and brought us warm water with which to wash and shave.
I had inquired whether any of the American officers in Jugoslavia were present in Jajce, during our half-hour's conversation, and had learned that "Slim," the senior American representative was in Mrkonicgrad, near Livno, and that there was one American officer—"Benny"—in the vicinity. He would be advised of my presence and invited to headquarters the next day.
Dinner and the evening that followed were unforgettable. It seems best to identify, among those who were present, only those whose names have appeared from time to time in print. There was one man at the table who had dined at the officers' mess in a big German garrison three nights before, and he may be dining in a German mess-hall now as this story is being written. We were twenty at the table, Tito sitting at the end with me on his right; and most of the guests, Tito explained, were members of his staff. We were introduced to them all when we arrived.
Some of the names were already familiar to me. I recognized Major General Koca Popovic, the most popular officer in the Partisan army, commander of their famous First or Proletariat Division, a short, vivid fellow with black mustaches and the personality of D'Artagnan. Another whose name I knew was Vladislav Ribnikar, later to be elected vice-president of the National Committee of Liberation, former editor and co-proprietor of Belgrade's leading newspaper, Politika, a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. There was Rev. Vlado Zecevic, a Greek Orthodox priest who had originally commanded a detachment of Chetniks but abandoned Mihailovic after Uzice. He was a powerful figure in the Partisan movement, not only as one of Tito's close advisers but also as one of his most intrepid field commanders. There was young Ribar, who spoke good English, the son of Dr. Ivan Ribar, now the President of the Presidium of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation. (This able young man was killed two weeks later by enemy action.)
But the names matter little. What stays fresh in the mind is the atmosphere of that evening and the conversation that kept us all exhilarated until midnight.
I had not reckoned with the possibility of being guest of honor at such a gathering when I left Bari and was dressed in dirty slacks—"pinks" in the army terminology—a flannel shirt (without necktie—that was correct there) and a leather flying jacket. The outfit was suitable enough, but I would have preferred to be clean. The trousers were part of my seagoing uniform and were elaborately stained from climbing about on the greasy little launches. For this I had attempted to apologize to Tito, but he had brushed my words aside, saying, "Wait until you see the rest of my friends: you'll be the best dressed man at the table."
They were, in truth, a strangely clad lot. There was one woman, whose name I cannot give, who dined with us, and she, like Olga, wore her Partisan uniform very carefully, but except for Popovic and two other Generals, Tito and Ilic, and his Commissar, I was quite as presentable as the rest of the company. The others looked like Partisans anywhere—except that they all had boots or shoes to wear. Some wore two or three days' growth of beard. Everyone in the room except the girl needed a hair-cut. No one wore a necktie.
But there was not one dull face among them, not one who lacked a twinkle and a flash and some inner light, like his leader's, to give meaning and color to his personality.
We began by drinking several tiny glasses of slivovitz, then we sat down in the second of the two wooden buildings in the cedar grove, the mess-hall where Tito and his staff normally took their food. The table was well laid with rough china plates. There was good black bread in abundance and hors-d'oeuvres consisting of fish the size of herring pickled in some spicy sauce. This was followed by a rich stew of lamb and potatoes which we consumed with copious draughts of pale rose-colored wine, like the vintages of the coastal area. A sweet consisting of small cakes, a type of petit fours, followed, then we were served coffee, very strong and black, and a liqueur.
I took the liberty of congratulating Tito on his board. He replied: "You are lucky, tonight. We have not been here long. Had you arrived only a short time ago we would have been obliged to feast you in the woods beside a campfire."
He appeared to enjoy his food greatly, eating with zest and savoring the wine.
There was, about that dinner, no formality at all. Tito sat at the head of the table like the pater familias at a week-end house party. He was full of merriment and kept his guests entertained with anecdotes to which he lent a touch of humor by his figures of speech and his talent for caricature. There were ten of us at his table and ten more were seated at a second table parallel to ours, so that much of the time there were two separate conversations going on, but as soon as dinner was over and coffee was served we became one crowded group and from then until midnight there was only one conversation.
Uic and Steve, who sat on my right—whichever was not involved in the general conversation at any given moment-supplied me with a French translation of everything that was said. If I was addressed by one of the other guests it was usually in French or English, then translations were currently made into Serbo-Croat for Tito, who used only that language throughout the evening. All this may seem awkward, but in reality it was not so. The conversation appeared to move at a perfectly normal pace, encumbered very little or not at all by the fact that several languages were being spoken at once. There were even phrases of German and Italian to be heard around the table from those who spoke neither French nor English.
Every half hour or so, an orderly would enter the room with a sealed envelope for Tito. It would be some urgent operational message from one of the many unstable "fronts" on which the Partisans fight their interminable war with the invader, and it would be presented to the commander with his glasses, which, for some reason, would be carried away as soon as he was through with them and returned to his office.
The glasses gave him a benevolent look as he sat at the head of the table scowling at his telegrams before reading them aloud to us all. Several of them concerned the German landing on the island of Brae, indicating that a pitched battle was going forward very successfully for the Partisans; and there was one, late in the evening, which reported that the Germans had been thrown back into the sea. The island was now safe once more in Partisan hands. That message brought forth a cheer for the defenders, and my thoughts returned to the embarkation we had witnessed at Starigrad. How many of these two hundred would be still alive? How many of these women would now have balanced their baneful accounts?
There was some rivalry throughout the evening to see who could get his questions in first and thus steer or orient the conversation. I was consumed with curiosity about the country and its people and its armies and its politics, and the Partisans were just as avid for information about the outside world. For more than two eventful years—years in which great changes had been going on—these people had been sealed up in their forests and mountains, their only source of information the propaganda-riddled radio and the occasional arrival of someone like me, who had recently been in the great cities and could bring them the gossip of Washington and London. I found them all very politically-minded, burning with eagerness to know what the strikes in England and America really signified, how strong the present governments of Churchill and Roosevelt might be, and whether they were likely to survive the war. Was Labor likely to assert itself and put its own men in?
What did people in Washington and London think of them, the Partisans? Was the BBC typical of popular British thinking on Jugoslav affairs? Were the short-wave programs from New York which the BBC re-broadcast to them typical of American thinking? Did Americans really believe they were a lot of Communists? The questions rained down on me from all sides. I answered them as best I could.
Tito looked at me and laughed. "Well, what do you think of us?" he asked.
"I'll be able to give you a sounder reply if you'll answer a few questions for me first," I parried.
"Tomorrow," he said. "All the questions you like. But tonight we'll question you."
"If you could designate one of your staff officers," I said, "we could get to work early in the morning. I shall have a great many questions to ask on the strength and location of your forces as well as the enemy's ... on your supply problem —and what we can do to assist in the defense of the coastal areas. . . ."
"Me," he said. 'What's the matter with me? I'll do it. I've kept the whole day clear for you."
"That's excellent, sir. I should not have presumed so heavily on your time."
"I could put it to no better use," he smiled.
But before the evening was over a great many of the questions that were on my mind had been answered, although most of them had never been asked. I began to see what made the Partisans tick. Most of the facts of their story—what had happened and where and when—were already known to me, but as the evening progressed they began to fall into perspective and acquire meaning.
Tito himself, Josip Broz, the Croat metal worker, was the key to much of the story. Long before Belgrade was bombed in April of 1941, even before the war began, Tito's capacity for leadership had been tested and proven. Before Hitler came to power Tito was a force to reckon with in the affairs of Jugoslavia. His character had been formed in years of conflict as bitter and less rewarding than the Partisan armies' contest with the invader. His physical courage had been tempered on the battle-field, where he was wounded as a young conscript in the service of Austria-Hungary; his moral courage had been tested then, too, for he deserted to the Russian side, and soon after, while working in a mill at Omsk, he witnessed the execution of 1,600 railway workers who had gone on strike. This was the Czarist General Kolchak's work, and when the newly-formed Red Army entered Omsk a little later young Broz knew what to do. He joined at once. The triumph of the revolution found him in Moscow, where he married, and it was not until 1924 that he returned to Jugoslavia.
Those were the early days of labor organization. At the time a veritable reign of terror existed in Jugoslavia for those who believed in labor's right to organize. Broz went to work in a shipyard at Kraljevitsa, near Fiume, and immediately identified himself with the underground labor movement. He never forgot Kolchak's executions nor bothered to concern himself with the risks involved in fighting to put an end to such horrors. In 1926 he moved to Zagreb and was elected secretary of the metal workers' union, and two years later the police arrested him. He was one of many picked up at that time and tortured, but the bestial horrors of the Balkan third degree wrung from him no information about his comrades or their organization. These arrests had been made by General Peter Zhivkovic, then premier in the Government of the late King Alexander, and when torture failed to wring anything from him he was thrown in prison for five crushing years.
It was strange to think, as I sat at this table in Jajce that two weeks before I had dined in Cairo with this same General Zhivkovic, now the Jugoslavic deputy commander-in-chief.
After his release from prison at the end of 1927 Broz spent some of his time outside of the country. He was doubtless closely watched, but the police were looking for a new leader of the illegal workers' movements, a mysterious person of great power alleged to be the secretary of the Communist Party in Jugoslavia—a man named Tito.
After the bombing of Belgrade, while General Zhivkovic was dining at Claridge's in London, the police—now Himm-ler's Gestapo—were still looking for Tito in Jugoslavia. They knew he was in Belgrade but they had no idea what face he wore, who he really was; and Tito spent his days in the cafes of the ruined city, his mind on the future, planning victories, dreaming to life the National Liberation Army.
Two weeks after the bombing, the Slovenian Liberation Front came into existence. Tito was planning no Communist revolution for his country. He was working out the pattern of a new and democratic popular front movement which would embrace all the elements in his community capable of resisting the invader, and in May he met Dr. Ivan Ribar in Belgrade whose son was at the table with us. Dr. Ribar had been President of the Jugoslav Constituent Assembly and Vice President of the Democratic Party. These two leaders had a common conception of the task before them.
The Gestapo and Prince Paul's political police were still looking for Tito in June when he slipped out of Belgrade. Then the first Partisan actions flared. The Zagreb telephone exchange was blown up; eighty truckloads of oil and ammunition were dynamited in Serbia; Germans were killed at Val-jevo; hostages were taken by the Germans and shot, but resistance grew instead of diminishing.
"Was Mihailovic active at that time?" I asked.
His name galvanized the company.
"Yes, but he has killed no Germans since—only Partisans." Tito replied with a sardonic smile.
"Did you ever meet him?"
"Yes, at Ravna Gora, in October of 'forty-one. . . ."
The full story of those meetings will be told only after the war, but it may be indicated now that Tito's purpose in going to those meetings was to establish a joint headquarters with Mihailovic. Agreement was reached at the first meeting, then violated almost immediately by the Chetniks, according to the Partisans, but Tito was prepared to make great concessions rather than countenance civil war. By this time the Partisan irregulars had captured important quantities of war material and he offered Mihailovic 5,000 rifles, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and 25,000,000 dinars to help his inadequately armed followers if only the joint headquarters could be established at once. This offer was accepted and an agreement concluded in writing, but before the ink was dry Tito said the Germans began to bombard Partisan headquarters at Uzice. At the same time five German divisions closed on the town. Tito appealed at once for support from the Chetnik forces in the area, but the Partisans claim that instead of impeding the German advance the Chetniks opened fire on the Partisan defenders.
This is the incident to which the Partisans always refer as "the treachery of Uzice." It was after this incident that the priest, Rev. Zecevic, left the Chetniks and joined Tito's swelling ranks. The Partisan forces were scattered in the ensuing battles, and Tito himself very nearly lost his life. He was talking with a British Captain attached to General Mihai-lovic's headquarters in Uzice when German tanks entered the town. He and the Captain fled, but suddenly a tank appeared two hundred yards away as they left the town and they were only just able to throw themselves into a ditch together.
"Mihailovic never knew whom he was talking to," Tito laughed. "When he learned that it was me and not some Russian General, as he thought, he swore that had he recognized me I would have had my throat cut."
The Uzice headquarters were gone, and with them all hope of an understanding with the Chetniks, but Tito went to Foca in Bosnia with what was left of his forces and remained there until late spring of 1942, rebuilding and reorganizing. Small underground groups had been left behind in Serbia to continue the Partisan effort, and the Bosnian forces had grown to five brigades, two from Serbia, two from Montenegro and one from the Sanjak. This was the "army" with which he defended himself against a Nazi attack in the early p>summer—a force equal to about one division of ten thousand men; and by the end of the year large areas in Slovenia, Croatia, western Bosnia and Dalmatia had been freed of occupying troops.
"That was the beginning," Tito said. "In November the first Anti-Fascist Assembly for the People's Liberation in Jugoslavia—the Avnoj'—met in Bihac and created the People's Army of Liberation. Our worst days were still ahead, but we were established."
All the delegates to the Anti-Fascist Assembly had been freely elected in the liberated territories or chosen by the underground organizations in the occupied regions. They provided for the People's Army as a regular force, not a guerrilla organization, and there promulgated the idea of uniting all the different elements in their community into a new national unit through the Avnoj, but their work was suddenly interrupted by a new and more resolute German offensive that scattered them once more.
"Our story is like yours, in many ways," one of the Generals smiled. "What followed in the winter of 1942-43 was our 'Valley Forge.'"
Tito at that time disposed of thirteen divisions. He left eight to defend the liberated territories and moved south with five of his best, hotly pursued by four crack German divisions supported by five or six Italian and Ustashi divisions and various Chetnik units. With him he brought almost five thousand wounded, fearing they might be captured if left behind.
The tale of this retreat is the great epic of the Partisan movement. They fought their way south as far as the Neretva River, then in flood, some five hundred of their wounded dying on the way, but their position there was untenable and their plan to drive on into Herzegovina and Bosnia proved impracticable, so they adopted the only course left to them: they abandoned their vehicles, forced the swollen Neretva's icy floods, left two divisions behind to fight a covering action and proceeded afoot with 1,500 wounded lashed to the backs of mountain horses and some hundreds more on stretchers, making their way into the desolate black mountains of Montenegro. Typhus ravaged their ranks. The Germans, fearing their escape, rushed new divisions into action against them. They were constantly strafed and had no weapons for defense against the aircraft except their rifles, but even the wounded, if they were strong enough, kept rifles beside them on their stretchers and fired at the planes as they came over.
Tito led them all the way, afoot, exhorting them to sing as they marched, seeing that the wounded received such care as could be provided. They slept in the snow in the withering cold without blankets, dying like flies from fever and with typhus, grass and bark and occasional bits of raw meat their only food.
"That was the Fourth Offensive," Tito said with a wry smile. "It was not the last."
Tito and what remained of his forces had reached momentary safety in a desolate area high in the mountains of Montenegro in May. He immediately gave his attention to strengthening and regrouping his forces while the Germans mounted the Fifth Offensive.
"How many of the wounded survived that march?" I asked.
The question brought no direct reply, although it led to a brief conversation and some calculations in Serbo-Croat, then Tito said: "Only forty-five were ever captured by the enemy: the others we buried or kept with us to the end."
The Germans were resolved that their Fifth Offensive should complete the destruction of Tito's forces and they prepared it with care. More than twelve divisions were used to surround the Partisans completely, then, on May 15, they launched what they were sure would be the final attack.
"Our only chance was to counter-attack and fight our way out," Tito said, "but we were expecting the first British liaison officers at that time and we waited for them until the night of the 27th, when they finally arrived. During the next forty days we fought our way north and west through almost fifty miles of prepared German positions, and the British officers who travelled with us got their first look at the Chetniks— through their gun-sights. The Chetniks were with the Germans
Finally, on June 9, the remains of Tito's army fought its way out of the German ring near Milan Klada mountain on the Bosnian border. They exacted 12,000 German casualties for their own loss of 4,000 and made their way toward the interior and comparative safety, reaching Jajce after a great swing around through the north.
"As you can see," Tito smiled, "we are quite comfortable here—for the moment. Here we have had an opportunity to complete our organization. We are converting our guerrilla units into regular military forces, and, as we had not enough professional officers we have established a staff college here. Several Army Corps have already been converted and are now commanded by officers whose names are published in the Official Gazette."
"Where is the Gazette published?" I asked. "Right here," he answered. "I'll give you copies to take back with you. All appointments and promotions are provisional until confirmed by official publications."
There were two of what Tito called Quisling governments in Jugoslavia, one at Zagreb headed by Ante Pavelic, the terrorist responsible for King Alexander's assassination in Marseilles in 1934, the other at Belgrade under General Nedic. After the assassination of Alexander, Pavelic found sanctuary in Italy until 1941 when the Italians installed him in Zagreb as the fascist dictator of a Croat puppet state. Nedic was a pro-German Serbian General who shared Prince Paul's defeatist views in 1940 and 1941 and survived the holocaust of coup d'etat and invasion to remain on as a typical Quisling commander. Tito spoke of both Pavelic and Nedic that evenings The Pavelic forces consist of about 50,000 Ustasha, he said. These are Italianate Croat fascists and the real terrorists of Jugoslavia. They are the only troops in the country to which no quarter is given. They and the Partisans fight a war of extermination and take no prisoners from one another. It is the Ustasha they blame for ninety per cent of the atrocities committed in the land.
"Has Pavelic no other real strength?" I asked.
"He has the Domobransi," Tito answered. Every one at the table smiled at the mention of these troops. "They are conscripts who have no heart for their soldiering. They number perhaps 200,000, but they are useless except for garrison duty. Many have already deserted and joined our ranks."
A comical idea crossed Tito's mind and he laughed abruptly. "The Domobransi are part of our procurement service," he said. "They are easy to capture. We catch them and take all their clothes and weapons, then send them home naked to be re-outfitted and captured again. It is one of our best sources of uniforms."
About Nedic Tito had little to say. Since he was considered to be an open German collaborator, like Lavol, his fate is linked to that of the Germans. There is nothing controversial about him. He is quite openly and simply of the enemy's ranks.
"It's amusing to note that he defends Mihailovic consistently over the Belgrade radio," Tito said.
The conversation veered back to political issues and the Partisan plans for the future of Jugoslavia. The fusion of all the elements of the Jugoslav community, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Catholics, Orthodox, Mohammedans . . . into a homogeneous democracy was their avowed goal. I asked: "What do you tell the people of Jugoslavia1? What do you tell them they will have when all this is over and there is peace again?"
"We don't tell them," Tito answered. 'We ask them. What they are fighting for is the right to decide for themselves what they shall have."
"But you must have a manifesto of some kind," I insisted. "It is very simple," he answered. "Smrt Fascismu!"—death to fascism!—"and freedom to live together in peace and equality among ourselves. Everyone who holds office in this country has been elected to it, but there are districts where it is difficult to hold proper elections so we make as few decisions of policy as possible and wait until a more representative Anti-Fascist Council can speak with authority for all the people." I inquired then about the machinery of these elections and was surprised to learn that the first of them is always organized by the underground before the territories are liberated. As soon as the Germans are driven out another election takes place, each community choosing its own local administration and representatives to a central council of The National Liberation Movement.
"Next month there will be a meeting of the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Jugoslavia, here in Jajce," Tito said. "There will be delegates present from every part of Jugoslavia. It will be more representative than any gathering we have yet been able to hold."
Uic said, "We are organizing ourselves as you, in your early days, organized the thirteen original colonies."
General Popovic observed: "For you too it was, at first, difficult to get together; then when you finally succeeded you were very strong."
Tito said: "I wish the facts were known to your countrymen and the British. They are obviously without accurate knowledge about us—or they could not put out programs like those we hear from the United States and England over the BBC. We are fighting for democracy, and there is no other nation that has paid so high a price to defeat fascism and live in peace under laws of its own making.
"What should we do to make ourselves known, as we are, to the American public?" Tito asked. "We have been thinking of sending some of our poets and sculptors and writers to the United States to lecture on the Partisan movement. Do you think that's a good idea?"
"No, I don't," I answered. "There are many European writers and artists in America doing propaganda tours of the country, and the effect is not just what you are after. They are well received everywhere, of course, but people tend to ask themselves what they are doing in the United States while their countrymen are fighting desperately against the occupation. They tend, quite reasonably, to question the ability of the lecturer to speak for his beleaguered countrymen. It would be much better for you to let the American public know that your poets and musicians have stayed here with you and are writing the stirring songs your men sing when p>
they go into battle, that your best sculptors and painters are still here, working on themes suggested by your struggle."
Tito nodded thoughtfully. "That's right," he said. "I can see that this might be. We must have some of the great newspapers of America and England send us their correspondents." There were many bold political thinkers at Tito's table who had watched the Germans overwhelm great nations in the west of Europe almost without a struggle and had tried to infer a lesson from it. Something was wrong with Europe's old way of life. That, they maintained, was clear from the fact that it had had nothing to offer as an antidote for fascism. They believed it was political factionalism; they attributed their strength to their movement's freedom from this sickness. "We have shed rivers of blood in this land in atonement I for the errors of the past," one of them said.
"But we have found a common purpose and the strength \. to resist effectively," said another.
"Who knows," said Tito, "exactly what kind of government there will be in any country ten years from now? All t we claim is that ours will be what the united people of the I south Slav countries want."
It was a night to remember. We parted reluctantly a little [ after midnight.
"Come for breakfast when you wake up," Tito said, as we :' shook hands. "Bring all your questions. Remember, we have i no secrets here."
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