Wednesday, October 25, 2006
General Draza Mihailovich Speaks in the Congressional Record
"In this war the antagonists and aggressors have invented a new weapon. They live in the delusion that they will be able to gain that which they cannot attain through brutal force by slandering the leading men of such a people and by deceiving an uninformed world."
General Draza Mihailovich
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD –HOUSE– NOVEMBER 19, 1987
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Crane) is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. CRANE: Mr. Speaker, on April 6, 1941, the German Government made an unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia. By April 13, the Germans captured Belgrade. By April 18, the Yugoslav Army officially surrendered. Col. Draza Mihailovich did not surrender, but retreated to the mountains where he organized resistance to the enemy occupying forces. King Peter promoted him to general and appointed him Mister of War. In this capacity he was recognized as an ally by the United States during World War II.
For a brief period following the German invasion, there is evidence that General Mihailovich and his Serbian forces were not the only Yugoslav resisting the Nazi invasion. But in the autumn of 1941, the so-called Partisans - Yugoslav Communists - ceased cooperation in resisting the Nazi and began attacking the Mihailovich forces from the rear. At the time, General Mihailovic was acting as the duly authorized Minister of War of the recognized Yugoslav Government. That was 46 years ago this month, Mr. Speaker, and today in the United States Congress we are gathered together, as in the past, to pay our respect to General Mihailovich upon the anniversary of his betrayal and execution at the hands of the Communists in Yugoslavia.
The reason for our tribute to General Mihailovich is first and foremost our gratitude to him for saving the lives of over 500 American airmen whom he rescued. Those of us in Congress who have studied the history of this period have striven to fulfill the desire of those saved American airmen to memorialize General Mihailovic with the erection of a monument in his honor in our National Capital. Despite communist disinformation both during World War II and after, preserved historical documents and facts conclusively demonstrate the General Mihailovich was an heroic anti-Nazi, but also an anti-Communist. It was the latter that led to his murder, but also the effort by our own State Department to conceal the fact that President Truman - upon the recommendation of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower - had conferred the highest honor upon General Mihailovic that this Nation awards to foreign nationals: the Legion of Merit. The official United States policy position after World War II was to accept the fiction that Yugoslavia was a nonaligned Communist state and thus acting wholly independent of the Soviet Union. To nurture this fiction, any information that confirmed the Yugoslavian Communists' betrayal of our war objectives had to be suppressed. It took over a decade for Under Secretary of State, Ed Derwinski, when he was a Member of Congress, to make public the heroism of General Mihailovic and to reveal the betrayal of the United States commitment to freedom by the Communists in Yugoslavia both during and following World War II.
Through the historical documentation of Communist methods, yesterday and today, a rear picture emerges of the communist clique which murdered General Mihailovich as well as a majority of his followers and soldiers. The Communist successors to Nazi tyranny destroyed and knowledge to Mihailovich in his own country and benefited through financial assistance from the United States as well as other Western democracies.
Reasonable questions arise, after all these years and the irrefutable documentation of the Communist betrayal of freedom in Yugoslavia after defeat of the Nazis, as to why our State Department continues to attempt to perpetuate the absurd notion that Yugoslavian communism represents some kind of blessing to the West. Stalin has to be laughing at Western gullibility from the grave.
Why are the lifestyles of the red and famous untouchables? Why is there so little challenge to the reliability of Communist-produced evidence? Is there something in the generous, compassionate nature of Americans that precludes a recognition that the world is divided between the Good guys and the bad guys? Do our own State Department bureaucrats succumb to the charm school appeal of a Gorbachev because his background and Communist history dictate that, or are they simply wishful thinkers? America, as the torch of freedom for mankind at this juncture in history, must critically evaluate the players in the world arena. Why, for example, is General Mihailovich still off limits?
His relegation to nonperson status by the Communists who stole Yugoslavia is understandable, for General Mihailovich detested Red Nazis as vehemently as he did Black Nazis, and he was fully aware of the ideological kinship between the two. For freedom loving allies to succumb to a phony distinction between these mutual affronts to every decent value emerging from Western civilization would have baffled General Mihailovich as it baffles every student of history. And yet the United States State Department has still suppressed the mistakes of policymakers who were misled by Communist moles both in British intelligence and our own at the end of World War II.
The consequence of this logic tight compartment mentality is that 41 years after the brutal murder of General Mihailovic by the Communists, there is still no record, no memory, no grave, no monument to a certified Western hero.
As a result, it is incumbent upon the Congress of the United States to expose the cover-up and deceptions both for the sake of history and to vindicate a great patriot. Our efforts to memorialize courage, justice, integrity, honor, and truth today is essential to secure freedom tomorrow.
Hopefully, we can generate within our State Department and amongst our Western allies an awareness of the plight of the defenseless people of Yugoslavia. Just as we must account for every idle word, we must account for every idle silence. Silence, in this instance, means that we have failed our task - that of carrying forward the torch of freedom.
Simply labeling the clique of dictators around the world "Marxist" - as if they represent a kind of humanistic approach to life that differs from traditional belief only on the question of embracing transcendentals - is in fact an obscenity.
General Mihailovich, ruthlessly murdered by the Communists and relegated to obscurity, is in fact a victim of this obscenity.
Suppressing documented facts is a part of the 40-year campaign of disinformation directed against General Mihailovich and his Serbian freedom fighters. God willing, the battle for truth and justice will ultimately prevail, and General Mihailovich's dream for a Yugoslavia free from tyranny will at least become a reality.
Mr. Speaker, when it was apparent that the conflict with the Nazi invader was successfully ending, a national congress of King Peter’s supporters was convened with a view toward what kind of postwar Yugoslavia would emerge. Draza Mihailovich, the celebrated military hero in defense of his homeland delivered an opening declaration which follows:
DECLARATION OF DRAZA MIHAILOVICH
FIDELITY TO KING, FATHERLAND, PEOPLE AND DEMOCRACY
“Thanking you for your invitation, my dear brethren. I consider it my duty as a man and as a responsible leader of today’s struggle for the right to live of our tri-nominal people, to bow in reverence to the fallen heroes, innocent victims in this struggle.
I believe that I shall be the interpreter of your wishes if from this historic gathering I declare that the families of the fallen victims shall forever be the subject of our care and our pledge for their future.
In the name of the Royal Government and the Yugoslav Army I greet you as the representatives of the organizations of the democratic people of Yugoslavia and wish you a felicitous work at this great national and state task.
Though few in numbers but great in spirit, our people, which throughout all of its history was always and is today the object of admiration of the entire world in the struggle for their survival, has forced even its enemies through a strenuous struggle to respect them.
Passing over the history and causes of the temporary loss of the state in the past and in this imposed war, I call to the attention of the whole world the fact that our people emerged from every battle as victors because they lived and died for freedom.
In this war the antagonists and aggressors have invented a new weapon. They live in the delusion that they will be able to gain that which they cannot attain through brutal force by slandering the leading men of such a people and by deceiving an uninformed world.
As a soldier who by birth and characteristics belong to such a free and heroic people, I could not nor would I wish to abandon my King or my Fatherland.
I have fulfilled my oath.
I was certain that the people to which I belonged would never submit to a life of slavery. The Yugoslav Army under my leadership and I personally was, and will forever remain, loyal and devoted to the Commander-in-Chief, His Majesty King Peter II.
We, the Army and I personally are loyal now and will be loyal in the future to the constitutional and legal order in Yugoslavia just as we are and will be forever the defenders of her territorial integrity.
We, the Army and I personally, regard it the exclusive right of the free and democratically elected representatives of the people to carry out the organization of the state in a constitutional way.
Most categorically, with disgust, I deny the malicious rumors or collective vengeance against no matter whom.
The question of the treatment of war criminals has been decided at the inter-allied conferences whose decisions bind us as well. And our laws are guarantee enough for everything and everybody that justice will be satisfied. Therefore, the innocent cannot suffer for they will enjoy not only my personal protection but that of our Army as well. No individual action during the transition period to normalcy will be tolerated by myself or the Army.
I trust that in this manner I have answered the wishes and disposition of our people which you today at this great people’s Congress represent in imposing numbers.
Long live the Democratic Yugoslav People!
Long live the Kingdom of Yugoslavia!”
General Draza Mihailovich
As it developed, Mr. Speaker, the dream of General Mihailovich to see a free, democratic Yugoslavia emerge in the postwar world was dashed. The oppression of the Nazis was replaced by the oppression of Tito’s communism. General Mihailovich was arrested, charged with collaboration with the Nazis, tried, and convicted by his Communist adversaries, and mercilessly executed…
Philip M. Crane
November 19, 1987