Sunday, March 08, 2009

Testimony of Captain Walter R. Mansfield, first American Liaison Officer with General Mihailovich, before the Commission of Inquiry




You never saw any evidence of collaboration all the time you were there?

 CAPTAIN MANSFIELD: I never saw any evidence of collaboration between Mihailovich personally and the Germans.

 Q: Did you ever hear any reports from any Americans to the effect that there was such collaboration between Mihailovich and the Germans?

A: I have only heard reports to the contrary, that there was none.

From the first day's testimony of Captain Walter R. Mansfield
before the Commission of Inquiry in New York, May 13, 1946

On May 13, 1946, the Committee for a Fair Trial for General Mihailovich announced that a Commission of Inquiry had been established in New York for the purpose of taking testimonies of American officers and airmen whose request to be heard as witnesses at the trial of General Draza Mihailovich in Belgrade had been refused by the Tito government.


In the Matter of the Deposition of
American and Allied Military Personnel.

New York Lawyers Association
New York
May 13, 1946


Arthur Garfield Hays, Esq. (Chairman)
Theodore Kiendl, Esq. (leading Wall Street lawyer)
Hon. Charles Poletti, (former governor of New York), and
Adolph Berle, Esq. (former Assistant Secretary of State
for Latin-American Affairs)

Mr. Porter R. Chandler, former Assistant United States Solicitor-General, served as Counsel to the Commission, and supervised the examination of the witnesses who were under oath.

Commission of Inquiry


Porter R. Chandler, Esq., and
William H. Timbers, Esq.

Counsel for the presentation of evidence on behalf of American and Allied Military Personnel, Office and P.O. Address: 15 Broad Street, Borough of Manhattan, City of New York.

The following is the testimony of Captain Walter R. Mansfield, first American liaison officer with General Mihailovich and first witness before the Commission of Inquiry


WALTER R. MANSFIELD, called as a witness, being duly sworn, testified as follows:


Q: Captain Mansfield, will you state to the Commission your residence and occupation.

A: I reside in New York City, 245 West 4th Street; I am engaged in the practice of law in New York City.

Q: You are a native-born American citizen?

A: I am.

Q: Are you of Yugoslav ancestry.

A: I am not.

Q: You held a commission in the United States Marine Corps during the war?

A: Yes, sir, I was lieutenant, and later a captain in the Marine Corps.

Q: Your service in the Marine Corps was from December, 1942, through January of this year [1946], is that correct?

A: That is correct.

Q: Will you explain briefly, and without violating any confidential regulations, in general what the Office of Strategic Services was?

A: The Office of Strategic Services was a secret military organization engaged especially in obtaining intelligence and conducting sabotage operations behind enemy lines. A secondary purpose was working with guerrilla units and resistance units behind the line, to obtain intelligence and build up resistance against the enemy.

Q: That was the organization headed by Major General William J. Donovan?

A: Yes.

Q: And responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

A: That is correct.

Q: I understand that you had some briefing and training by the OSS, is that right?

A: Well, first I was briefed and trained here at sabotage school, then sent to England where we trained with French and Norwegian parachutists, then sent to the Middle East where we were briefed and trained for the Yugoslav operation.

Q: Generally speaking what briefing did you get for the Yugoslav mission?

A: For the Yugoslav mission first we conferred with the British representative of the MO-4, the corresponding British unit similar to OSS. We were given long lectures on the latest situation intelligence wise in Yugoslavia, both on the side of Mihailovich and on the side of Tito.

Q: Can you fix a period for this briefing time?

A: Yes, it was in the latter part of July and the first part of August 1943. I was told what our mission was to be. I was told that I was to go in as the preliminary American liaison representative directly to General Draza Mihailovich, that I was to report general military intelligence, including disposition of his forces as well as those of the enemy, that I was to find out what operations he had been conducting as well as those planned for the future; that I was to see what his manpower and supply situation was, and to report on any suggestions and plans for operations in the future. Do you want particulars?


If any member of the Commission wishes to bring out any particular matters from the witness I hope he will feel free at any time to follow anything up.


 Q: Captain, you are now employed in General Donovan’s law office?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: And you are testifying here of your own free will without any pressure or coercion or request of anybody?

A: I am, sir.


Q: The briefing that you have just stated, you received from your superiors in the United States and from the corresponding British officers in the Near East?

A: That is right.

Q: Then you went into Yugoslavia?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you tell the Commission in your own words how and when you got in?

A: I first flew to Derna, Africa; and on the night of August 18, 1943, took off in a British Halifax bomber from Derna, flew north over German-occupied Crete, Greece and Albania, towards a given rendezvous where if ground signals appeared as per plan, I was to parachute in. After dodging flak over southern Yugoslavia we arrived at our objective; the fires were set according to plan. We came downstairs to about a thousand feet, made a pass at the field. I jumped from the escape hatch and the chute blossomed O.K. I landed on the side of a mountain, and in a few minutes was surrounded by about thirty or forty bearded guerrillas. I was taken within a few hours to General Mihailovich’s headquarters.


 Q: Were you alone, Captain?

A: Yes, I was alone, except for equipment.


 Q: You might for the benefit of the Commission put a pin in the map behind you to show the approximate point where you came down, and give the name of the town to the reporter for the record.

A: I landed on Cemernica Mountain near Ivanjica.

Q: You say you were taken within a few hours to the headquarters of General Mihailovich, is that right?

A; That is right, sir.

Q: And you met the General for the first time on that occasion?

A: On that very evening I met the General.


 Q: That was the evening of what day?

A: Of August 18, 1943.


Q: Were the Allies backing General Mihailovich at that time?

A: At that time the American policy as explained to me in my briefing was that we backed all resistance leaders who would fight against the Germans. The British policy, as explained to me by British officers, was that they were thinking of switching from Mihailovich to Tito, and in the meantime were backing both of them.


 Q: Was any reason given as to why they were thinking of switching from Mihailovich to Tito?

A: Many reasons were given. One was that he was not carrying on activities and operations to the extent they would like and was not doing the sabotage work that they wanted.

Q: These reasons were given to you by the Military Headquarters in Cairo?

A: That is right. Later on I discussed that with the British officials and received more reasons.

Q: Did anyone at that time say they were thinking of cutting off help to General Mihailovich because he was collaborating with the Germans?

A: Before I went in, no. After I went in there were hints by some of the British officers of reports from Cairo received after I had gone in, that certain of his leaders were allegedly collaborating in some areas, and that may have contributed to the refusal to continue to support him.

Q: We will come to that aspect of the situation again a little later. Let me now go back to the time when you first arrived. Can you give a brief description of what General Mihailovich’s headquarters and personnel were like when you met that first night?

A: On that first night his headquarters consisted of a few captured pup tents around a big log fire in the woods on the side of the mountain, and a few mountain huts called “kolibas.” His immediate personnel were all dressed in homespun peasant breeches, with white hats bearing the Yugoslav emblem. They all had beards and were in rather ragged condition.

Mihailovich was a man of about 45 years, I would guess [actual age 50 years], stockily built, heavy iron-gray beard, and was dressed pretty much the same as the rest of his senior officers. He had on his staff men whose names I can give you if you want them –

Q: We would be very glad to have them.

A: Well, there was General Trifunovic, there was Major Novakovic, G-2, there was Major Lalatovic, G-3, there was Major Terzic, who I believe was acting as G-4 at that time.

His staff were living under very rugged conditions, sleeping on straw under tents or wherever they could find a place to sleep, living off the generosity of the peasants who gave them dried skimmed milk, black bread and dried meat.

He had a headquarters force of about 400 ragged soldiers who had deployed in the various hills around his own headquarters. He also had, about a half a mile away, his central communication station for his troops. This consisted of five portable suitcase sets, contacting about 38 different stations throughout Yugoslavia. By stations I mean his field commanders. I think that is a rough description.


 Mr. Chandler, had not the record better show what the Captain means by G-2?


 Q: By G-2 you mean staff officers in charge of intelligence?

A: Yes.

Q: G-3, operations?

A: That is right.

Q: G-4, supply?

A: That is right.

Q: The same nomenclature that we have in our own Army?

A: Yes. And his chief of staff was General Trifunovic.

Q: Can you say anything about the armament that you observed and the discipline of the troops.

A: As far as armament was concerned, the headquarters company, like probably all of the other troops that I subsequently saw, had a varied allotment of all kinds of rifles, including some American – very few.

Q: What were the American?

A: They had some of the old Springfield 03’s – very few. There were quite a few Italian Barettas, there were quite a few regular 7.9 Mausers, and as far as machine guns are concerned, mostly Zorkas and Czech guns. There was no heavy armament whatsoever, just machine guns, hand grenades, rifles and explosives that were flown in with me.

Q: No mortars?

A: There were a few mortars, yes.

Q: No artillery?

A: No artillery.

Q: No tanks?

A: No tanks.

Q: No air forces?

A: No, sir. I forgot to say that there was a British mission with Mihailovich at this time.

Q: I was going to come to that. Will you tell us about the British mission?

A: There had been a British mission parachuted in before my arrival. The head of that mission was Colonel William Bailey; the second in command was Lieutenant Colonel Duane Hudson; there was Major Greenlees and a few British noncoms who had been German prisoners but had jumped a prison train in Yugoslavia and fled up into the woods, and eventually the peasants brought them to Headquarters.

Q: How long had the other men been in there before you arrived?

A: Colonel Bailey and the mission officially went in in December and January in two flights, December of 1942 and January of 1943. Colonel Hudson had been landed from a submarine on the coast of Montenegro in September of 1941.

Q: Was there any other American officer in there at that time except you?

A: I was the only American at that time. Subsequently others came in.

Q: When did the first other American officer join you?

A: The first other officer to join me was Lieutenant Colonel Albert B. Seitz, who came in as my commanding officer. The second officer who was dropped into the country, but on another flight, was Lieutenant George Musulin.

Subsequently, much later in point of time, there was Colonel McDowell and others, but that was after I managed to get out of the country.

Q: Colonel Seitz was the first one in after you?

A: That is right, sir.

Q: Do you know where Colonel Seitz is now?

A: I tried to get in touch with him and found he was in Europe.

Q: How much did you see personally of General Mihailovich after you got in there?

A: I saw General Mihailovich almost daily for the three months period following my entry, except for such times as I went off on operations away from staff headquarters.

Q: That would be almost daily during the period from August 18, 1943, to the middle of November, 1943?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: You discussed his policies and his attitudes with him?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did he ever express himself as to his attitude towards the Germans?

A: Yes, he did many times. He always expressed an extreme hatred for the Germans. Those expressions would come up, among other matters, in connection with discussions of the blood massacres back in 1941.

Q: Will you explain to the Commission what you mean by blood massacres?

A: Well, in 1941, as explained to me by men I have seen in the country [Yugoslavia], after the country had been overrun there were two types of blood massacres. One was the combination of the Croats and German occupation forces in Croatia who had, in their attempts to create an independent Croatia, massacred and killed loads of innocent Serbs in that part of the country. At that time there were about 8 million Serbs in the country and about five million Croats, the country I am referring to being Yugoslavia. Then when resistance started in the fall of 1941, or even earlier, there were sieges by the Chetniks of cities such as Valjevo and Kragujevac. After the Germans had successfully put down the resistance thousands of hostages were taken, and the reports given to me were that in the case of the city of Kragujevac several thousand innocent Serbs were slaughtered by the Germans.

Q: Did General Mihailovich ever indicate to you or to anybody else in your presence any sympathy for or friendship for the Germans?

A: None whatsoever.

Q: Or the Italians?

A: None whatsoever.


 Q: Captain, can you give us in substance what Mihailovich would say, instead of your recollection?

A: Well, I can try, but I am only now giving my general conclusion. I can remember discussing Italians at Priboj, where he complained bitterly that the Italians there had burned down some of the houses of the Serbs in the vicinity, and stated that the hoped to see the day when we would get rid of them. There were so many instances that I cannot recall every one in detail, but I can state that there were many instances where he showed extreme bitterness against the Germans.

Q: Did he ever state what originally started that movement [Chetnik resistance] or why he started it?

A: Yes.

Q: He told me that at the beginning of the war he had been a colonel in the regular Yugoslav Army, and that he was situated on the left flank in Bosnia, that the Germans overran the country very rapidly for the reason, among others, that a great number of Croat quislings had lain down their arms when they were supposed to be fighting the Germans. He said that he first went up into the mountains of East Bosnia and found that a large number of the soldiers and junior officers had done the same thing all through the area, but that there was no apparent command. Since he was the senior officer in that Bosnia area they looked to him, and he started organizing them. They hid arms in the peasant houses, dug holes and put their arms underground for the day when theywould need them. When he heard that there was a large number over at a place called Ravna Gora in North Central Serbia, he went over there with a group of men and joined this group, which kept increasing daily. And the word went out to all these officers and soldiers who had gone up into the hills to join at Ravna Gora as a sort of rendezvous point, until finally he had several thousand there.


 Q: What date was that?

A: That was in May of 1941.


 Q: Have you any idea what parts of the country were controlled by Mihailovich, by the Germans, and by Tito when you first arrived in Yugoslavia?

A: Well, yes sir, the Germans held all of the central main lines of communication, all of the main towns, garrisons and vital industrial points, such as mines and manufacturing establishments. The guerrillas, both Partisans and Chetniks, stayed up in the hills and mountains which were not easily accessible. In some places they would temporarily—I know we did—capture a town from the Germans and hold it maybe a week, and then a larger German force would come along and drive us out. As between Mihailovich and Tito the strength of Mihailovich’s forces lay in old Serbia, in parts of Sandjak and parts of Hercegovina and Bosnia. In between (pointing to Bosnia andCroatia on the map), in between here and there, Tito had a much stronger force. Mihailovich claimed that up a littler further in Slovenia he had some isolated detachments that were in communication with him. I think that gives the military aspects very roughly at that time.

Q: Have you any idea of the size of these forces when you were there and what they had been before you were there?

A: Well, the forces under arms claimed by Mihailovich were about a hundred thousand. Based on what I saw on a subsequent inspection trip I would say that he had about 50,000 men actually under arms, but that he had hundreds of thousands of sympathizers wherever he went.


 Q: Can you fix the time for that, the time he claimed to have a hundred thousand?

A: When I first went in there.

Q: As of the end of August, 1943?

A: Yes.


 Q: And the others – Tito?

A: I have heard through officers with Tito that he claimed upwards of two hundred thousand.


 Q: Did General Mihailovich ever discuss with you the question of getting together with Tito in 1941?

A: I received a history from him and Colonel Hudson. Do you want me to tell you?

Q: Yes, tell us as nearly as possible what was said.

A: Well, briefly, in December of 1941, both Tito and Mihailovich were operating in and around Uzice. Tito had captured the German arms factory, and Mihailovich close by had taken some surrounding towns. There was an attempted liaison between them, in which Colonel Hudson tried to iron out the difficulties between them at that time. For a while they agreed to operate together, and I believe they did so on the siege of Pozega. But then there was a claim on both sides that each had been attacked by the other. Thereafter they never stayed together. Now Mihailovich claimed that he had been knifed in the back by Tito’s men.


 Q: Do you mean literally or figuratively?

A: Literally, that each had been attacked in the rear by the other in the course of this siege.


 Q: That is, while Mihailovich’s troops were besieging the Germans, Tito’s troops had attacked Mihailovich’s troops from the rear?

A: That was Mihailovich’s claim.

Q: Do you know what happened to the Germans in the process?

A: I do not remember hearing.

Q: Did General Mihailovich explain to you shortly after you got in what his operational plans were, and did he get advice from you as to what the Allied forces expected him to do?

A: He explained what his plans were, but I was not in a very good position to give him any advice. His plans were as follows: he said that he had been fighting off and on now for the past two and a half years, that his men were in ragged condition, that he could not continue in the face of heavy reprisals, which I saw, without more military supplies and some assurance that what he did was part of the Allied military plans for the theater. He therefore had decided that he was going to conserve his strength, authorize minor engagements only, until he was advised by the Allies when D-day was in the offing, at which time he would give the order to his troops officially to rise up in what he described as D-day operations and throw out the Germans.

I told him that I had not been advised by my headquarters, and the British had not been advised by their headquarters, what was the general military plan for the theater.

Q: Did you know when D-day was going to be then?

A: I did not.

Q: How did you find out?

A: I did not find out.

Q: Until you heard it over BBC?

A: Well, which D-day are you talking about? I am talking about the general European D-day.

Q: Did you know when that was coming?

A: I did not.


 Q: What do you mean by European D-day?

A: One month after Italy was invaded. And when Italy was invaded Mihailovich thought that maybe that was D-day. We were in no position to tell him whether it was or not, and neither were the British.


 Q: You mentioned that General Mihailovich wanted to conserve his forces and so on, and you have told us something about their arms. I do not know that you have specifically mentioned how well off he was in regard to ammunition.

A: Ammunition was extremely low. In some cases I saw soldiers with ten or fifteen rounds per weapon; one might have 50, another might have 100, and the next might have 10.

Q: They were using different calibers of weapons, so that the number of rounds that any one man would have would depend on how much he could have captured at that particular time, is that right?

A: That is right, and the type of weapon.

Q: What was the main source of his arms?

A: The main source of his arms was what he could capture in ambushes, raids, etc.

Q: You mentioned that General Mihailovich told you that he could not afford to risk his forces in operations which would merely permit heavy reprisals. Will you give the Commission a little more in detail what you saw in the way of reprisals?

A: I saw in many instances village after village burned down by the Germans because of some attack by Chetniks on Germans in the area. I saw, for instance, Stragari, where I personally counted 150 houses burned down only a few days before as a result of an attack made by Captain Kalabic, just before the High Command was in the area.

Q: Who was Captain Kalabic?

A: He was a field commander just south of Belgrade.

Q: Under Mihailovich?

A: Yes, under Mihailovich.

Q: You spoke of seeing those houses destroyed in this one village. What happened to the people?

A: Oh, hostages were taken like flies. Always there were a large number of hostages taken. Periodically I would come across posters in railroad stations where for instance the Germans would announce the number of people they had killed that week in reprisal for some particular attack.

Q: Particular attack by Mihailovich?

A: Yes, the poster would read on the right hand side in Serb-Croat and on the left hand side in German, and it would almost always start off, “Because of the nefarious acts of that brigand Draza Mihailovich we have been forced to take the lives of” – and then it would list by names maybe 30 or 40 people who were known in the area, and then add 122 others or some similar figures, without names, and then be signed “Ulm, Ober Kommandant.”

Q: Did you ever see any posters or hear of any offers of a reward for Mihailovich, living or dead?

A: I saw the Croat newspaper announcement, with a picture of both Mihailovich and Tito, offering 100,000 gold Reichsmark for each.

Q: No discrimination as between them?

A: None whatsoever.


 Q: Did Mihailovich ever claim that the Tito group were collaborating with the Germans?

A: Yes.

Q: Did he ever state the basis for such a claim?

A: Well, I heard many instances of the claim, specific instances, but I never paid much attention to them. I cannot remember specifically except as told to me later by American officers.


 Q: Captain Mansfield, I show you a Photostat of a Croat document with two pictures, and ask you if that is a copy of the advertisement offering 100,000 Reichsmark for Tito and Mihailovich.

A. This is the same advertisement, but I think this is from the Belgrade newspaper Novo Vreme.

Q. What date is that?

A. 21 July 1943.

Q. And the top picture is supposed to be Tito?

A. The top picture is the picture of Tito.

Q. And the bottom one is a picture of Mihailovich?

A. It is supposed to be.

Q. And without translating the whole thing, there is a reward of 100,000 Reichsmark for each?

A. Yes.


I ask to have that marked an exhibit.

(Photostatic copy of advertisement offering reward of 100,000 Reichsmark, containing the pictures of General Mihailovich and General Tito, was marked Exhibit 5, May 13, 1946, C.B.)


Q. Do you speak the language of those people, Captain?

A. I do know well enough to get along, yes, sir.


Q. Which language?

A. Serb-Croat.

Q. Which language did you generally employ in conversation with General Mihailovich?

A. French.

Q. He spoke French well?

A. Very well.

Q. What about his officers?

A. Most of them could speak a little French, but Serb-Croat was the only other language. They spoke no English.

Q. You have told us about what General Mihailovich said to you about his plans, and the fact that you were not able to give him advice as to D-day. Were we, the United States, supplying arms or material at that time to General Mihailovich?

A. No, except through the British.

Q. To what extent was material being supplied through the British?

A. Well, from January, 1943, through July of 1943 I was told by Colonel Bailey that despite his repeated radiograms requesting supplies he had received only about 40 planeloads parachuted in.

Q. 40 planeloads in six months?

A. Which he considered as practically nothing to take care of 50,000 men. Subsequently, we received about, oh, about four planes a month parachuted in, until October 1943, when we received our last planeload.

Q. So it was about 40 planeloads over the whole period from January to July, 1943, and then about four planeloads a month for July, August, September and possibly October?

A. I do not believe we received that many in October; but the other months, yes.

Q. Just cut off completely in October?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your source of news from the outside world?

A. The only source of news we had, Allied source, was BBC London and the Russian radio station “Free Yugoslavia.”

Q. Was BBC London, when you first went in there, still talking of General Mihailovich as an ally?

A. Yes.

Q. And listening to BBC London was your source of information as to what was going on in the outside world?

A. Yes.

Q. You told about Colonel Bailey having said that he had asked for more supplies and did not get them, is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was Colonel Bailey?

A. He was the head of the British military mission to General Mihailovich.

Q. I suppose you and Colonel Bailey conferred from time to time at General Mihailovich’s headquarters?

A. Yes, many times.

Q. Now operations in the Middle East so far as guerrillas were concerned were under the British, is that right?

A. By Joint Chiefs of Staff directive and agreement between British and American military heads the coordination and supply of Yugoslav guerrillas was under British command. Subsequently that changed.

Q. When and how did it change?

A. It changed beginning in the middle of 1944 or the early part of 1944 when we Americans operating out of Italy got some independent missions. Actually we were pretty independent as far as Yugoslavia was concerned.

Q. How do you mean?

A. Well, our policies were such that we had to make our own decisions.


Q. How many men were there on the British mission?

A. There was one central mission wherever Mihailovich went, and our American mission, whose status was semi-independent, and then there were missions with various Korpus commanders.
Q. Will you explain what you mean by Korpus commander?

A. Mihailovich had divided his army geographically into areas with only Korpus commands. In each of them there was one centralized commander who would have under him two or more brigades—not brigades of full strength; then each brigade would have two or more regiments on down through. Most of these men of course were operating underground or in the woods. The British parachuted in liaison officers directly to some of these Korpus commanders. They, however, were all under the command of the British and American missions with Mihailovich.

Q. Now you said there was a British mission at headquarters wherever Mihailovich was. During what period of time was there a British mission there?

A. There was a British mission continually with Mihailovich from December of 1942 until June of 1944. Then subsequently there was an American mission with him from August of 1944 until December of 1944.


May I ask a question? Is there anything indicating as to when General Mihailovich was supposed to be collaborating with the Germans?


There is no apparent indication, except that the Yugoslav government’s note seems to, by inference at least, cast doubt on whether General Mihailovich ever really headed a resistance movement. I am afraid we cannot specify any particulars.

In publications which have been out by the Yugoslav government, but which we did not propose to go into here, charges have been made that General Mihailovich was collaborating as far back as the mid-summer or Autumn of 1941.

Q. I think you mentioned some time ago in your testimony, Captain Mansfield, that after you got into Yugoslavia you began to hear stories of British dissatisfaction with General Mihailovich, and that some people in Cairo or somewhere had been saying that he was collaborating, is that right?

A. Well, the dissatisfaction was not based on the collaboration—


Q. Collaboration or alleged collaboration?

A. Alleged collaboration. The dissatisfaction was based on the fact that failing in their efforts to get the all-out resistance activity of Mihailovich, because of their own inability to tell him when D-day was going to be, the British had orders from Cairo, which I saw –


Q. Where did you see them, who showed them to you?

A. Colonel Bailey. (continuing)—to try to get him to cut the Ibar Valley railroad line running from Belgrade down through Skoplje to Macedonia.

Q. When was this?

A. This was in early September of 1943. Mihailovich stated that he would do what he could, but that every bridge was extremely well guarded, that reprisals would be very heavy, and that he wanted special weapons. He wanted pack 75-millimeter artillery and he wanted some flame throwers because each bridge was guarded by double pillboxes, mines, barbed wire, and of course a detachment of heavily armed German or Bulgarian guards. He wanted the British to help him get more supplies to counteract the reprisals. And they were unable to do so. During this period a few of the British officers said that they had reports from Cairo that some of his commanders were collaborating with the Germans.

Q. Will you give me some names?

A. I am just trying to think of the name of that fellow, I know him personally—Wade was one. One officer I remember in particular mentioned Cairo hinting that there was collaboration and asking to investigate it. Of course I heard the BBC announcements of Partisan communiqués beginning a little bit later.

Q. Beginning about when?

A. In late September of 1943, announcing that the Chetniks were collaborating with the Germans against the Partisans.

Q. In late December of 1943 the BBC started talking about these statements?

A. It took place in September of 1943.


Q. In other words, the charges made by the Partisans of activities in collaboration were made while you were there?

A. Yes, and they were being broadcast by BBC as quotations of the Partisan communiqués.


Q. You never saw any evidence of collaboration all the time you were there?

A. I never saw any evidence of collaboration between Mihailovich personally and the Germans.

Q. Did you ever hear any reports from any Americans to the effect that there was such collaboration between Mihailovich and the Germans?

A. I have only heard reports to the contrary, that there was none.

Q. You did hear reports at some time from members of the British mission to that effect?

A. That is correct.


Q. Were you in a position to know whether there was any collaboration or not?

A. I subsequently made the widest inspection, for almost three months, all over North-Central and Central Serbia and out through the Sandjak and Hercegovina to the coast for the purpose, among other things, of seeing whether there was any collaboration.


Q. Did you ever find any evidence of it?

A. I found no evidence of collaboration in Serbia where the bulk of the Chetniks were. I found one instance of what appeared to be friendly truce between the Germans near Nevesinje.

Q. Between the Germans and whom?

A. Between the Chetniks there and the Germans.

Q. What kind of truce was that?

A. In that area the Chetniks were almost completely swamped by a much stronger Partisan force. The German Prince Eugen SS Division held all of the main towns. The Chetniks were taking a bad beating from the Partisans, which I saw. The local commander told me that his only hope of throwing out both the Germans and the Partisans was to avoid annihilation by making a truce with the Germans until sometime when he could gain strength.

Q. That was the only instance you ever saw or heard of it?

A. Well, when you talk about instances, you cannot see collaboration isolated all by itself as if it were in a glass bottle. I can give you evidence that might or might not be the basis for an inference of collaboration. For instance, near Dubrovnik I remember that some of the local commander’s men had German passes to go into the town. His explanation was that they had to get them to find out what the Germans were doing, and that the reason why the Germans gave them to his men, some of them, was that there was another band of Chetniks in the area who were quisling guerrillas having no affiliation with Mihailovich at all. I might add that this was borne out by a lot of different people I saw who told me about these Chetniks who were not the Chetniks with Mihailovich, and that by posing as such Chetniks they were able to get into Dubrovnik and keep the local commander advised on what was going on in the German garrison.

Q. That is, the genuine Chetniks, by posing as fake Chetniks, were able to enter German lines and get intelligence on German dispositions and intentions?

A. Yes. I am just saying that maybe he was right, and maybe he was wrong. In the earlier instance I referred to, near Nevesinje, the local commander was able, when we were hard pressed by the Germans and had to retreat for about ten or thirteen hours, to go and see somebody who knew them, and arrange to get us a back trail through at night where we were not harassed. I suppose that was collaboration.

Q. By the way, during this tour of inspection that you made, were you under any surveillance or restraint, or did you go where you wanted when you wanted?

A. The trip was made at our own free will. We chose the areas.

Q. “We” means whom?

A. Colonel Seitz and myself.

Q. When did he join you?

A. In the latter part of September, 1943.


Q. I gather that there were bands of fake Chetniks. Is it possible that a good deal of the evidence of what Mihailovich was going might come from the so-called fake Chetniks?

A. That is quite possible. The Germans had reached the point where they found that they could not combat guerrillas without using guerrillas themselves. So they organized little guerrilla bands of quislings.

Q. Then is it possible that different groups of Chetniks might have collaborated without Mihailovich knowing anything about it?

A. I have no doubt that Mihailovich did not know of those incidents; it was over fifteen days’ march from his own headquarters.


Q. And his communications were not exactly of the same type that would be approved by Command and General Staff School specifications at Fort Leavenworth?

A. That is right.


Q. And when did you make the three months inspection, the latter part of 1942 or 1943 or when?

A. After I had been with Mihailovich for three months, beginning with November of 1943, I started on this trip.

Q. And Colonel Seitz went with you?

A. And Colonel Seitz went with me.

Q. And the joint purpose of you and your commanding officer was to ascertain whether there was any evidence that you could find of collaboration by Mihailovich with the Germans?

A. Among many other things.

Q. And you did not find any that satisfied you?

A. None.

Q. And if you had found any it would have been your duty to report it?

A. Yes.


Q. Did Mihailovich ever talk to you about these so-called false Chetniks?

A. I never spoke to him about it.

Q. I suppose you never talked with him about whether different groups of Chetniks were collaborating with the Germans?

A. Never, that is not the sort of thing you talked about.


Q. I would like to go back and run over a few things chronologically. I call your attention particularly to the date of September 5, 1943, about dawn. Will you describe what took place between the Germans and General Mihailovich at that time, and will you fix the place?

A. I said before we were camped not very far from this point—

Q. At what point?

A. Cemernica Mountain. At dawn were told by the guerrilla guard at the tent that the Germans were close. There was a heavy mist. I knew that the Germans were always three hours away. We were attacked by a group of 300 German soldiers who had crept up in the mist under cover of early dawn, and had infiltrated through our outer defenses and patrols.

Q. That was at General Mihailovich’s headquarters?

A. That is right. The fight lasted – we were right in the middle of it – for about two and a half hours. We were driven back. Mihailovich took command personally and finally drove back the remainder of the Germans down the hill. We captured about four or five German soldiers whom I personally saw, and with one of whom I talked. They were Germans. And we also, I guess, killed about 20 to 30 and wounded some more.

Q. Will you describe the incident which occurred on September 11, 1943 at Prijepolje?

A. Well, at Prijepolje we started down for Berane, Colonel Bailey and the guerrilla commander and I. To get to Berane you had to go past Prijepolje. There was no other way to get down to Berane, and it was necessary to entangle with the German garrison there. We fought for about five solid hours.

Q. What other forces were with you?

A. About a thousand Chetniks.

Q. The Chetniks were personally supplied to you by General Mihailovich?

A. Yes, by General Mihailovich.

Q. They collided with the Germans for about five hours, and with how many casualties?

A. I would say we killed about 200 Germans.

Q. Colonel Bailey then went on to Berane, did he?

A. That is right.

Q. What happened when you got there?

A. I did not go. I went back up.

Q. Why was Colonel Bailey so anxious to get to Berane?

A. Because on September 9th BBC London gave out that General Badoglio had surrendered the Italian army, and simultaneously we received a wire from Cairo to do everything possible to effectuate surrender of Italian forces in our area.


Q. When was that, Captain?

A. That was September 9, 1943. There was at Berane an Italian division called the “Venezia” Division, comprising about 8,000 men, and Colonel Bailey was going down for the purpose of seeing whether he could get them to surrender. I saw him about a week later. He had succeeded in effectuating the surrender of the entire garrison and placing a skeleton Chetnik crew in charge.

Q. And he had to force his way through the German garrison as I understand it, in order to get to this place to get the 8,000 Italians to surrender?

A. That is right. And the British flag and Yugoslav flags were run up over the garrison on that day.

Adjourned to May 15, 1946 at 11:30 a.m.

MAY 15, 1946

Captain Walter R. Mansfield’s Testimony Continued…

Committee for a Fair Trial for Draza Mihailovich
Commission of Inquiry in the Matter of Depositions of American and Allied Military Personnel
New York County Lawyers Association
New York, May 15, 1946
Met pursuant to adjournment
Present: Arthur Garfield Hays, Esq., Theodore Kiendl, Esq., Adolph Berle, Esq., members of the Commission of Inquiry; Porter R. Chandler, Esq., and William H. Timbers, Esq.


Before continuing the examination I would like to state that we have received a letter from the Embassy of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, dated May 13, 1946, as follows:

Dear Mr. Hays:

"Your letter of May 8 was brought to my attention today on my return to Washington from an engagement in Detroit. With every appreciation of your courtesy, permit me, on behalf of my Government, to decline to be a party in any way whatsoever to activities which I cannot but feel are based on invidious assumptions and conjectures, wholly contrary to ascertainable fact, respecting the integrity and independence of the courts of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia."

Very truly yours,

(Signed) MAKIEDO
Dr. Sergije Makiedo
Charge d’Affaires, a.i.

Mr. Arthur Garfield Hays
Provisional Chairman of Commission of Inquiry
Hays, St. John, Abramson & Schulman
120 Broadway
New York 5, New York


Also from the Yugoslav Embassy a press release containing a statement purportedly made by General Mihailovich in a letter dated May 2, 1946, as follows:

"It has been brought to my attention in the procedure of examination that a committee for a fair trial for myself has been organized in New York, with distinguished American citizens among its members. Therefore, I declare:

1. I have full confidence in the present courts of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and I consider that, without help from abroad, I shall be able to present a full and just defense.

2. Should I feel the necessity of assistance, I am certain I could find it in my country. I need no defense from other countries, even from Allied countries."


With reference to the statement just made by the Chairman, I feel that it should be noted by counsel on the record that in this proceeding there is no intention, direct or indirect, to reflect on the independence or integrity of the courts of Yugoslavia. As stated in my opening two days ago, our position here is simply this, that there are available in the United States witnesses who can give evidence which we believe may be material at the forthcoming trial of General Mihailovich. The fact that these witnesses are here and the fact that they are unable to testify personally in Yugoslavia as they would wish is the justification for these hearings. And our purpose is to place that testimony on the record here, that it may be used by the Yugoslav tribunals or by any otherappropriate body having jurisdiction.

Before continuing with the examination of this witness I should like to call the attention of the Commission to an announcement appearing in this morning’s New York Times:

"The State Department announced today that the United States had renewed its official request that American aviators who had been aided by General Draza Mihailovich during the war to be permitted to testify in his behalf during his trial in Yugoslavia."

The text of the note is only partially quoted in the papers and the full text as soon as it is available will be made a part of the record here. The portion of the note quoted in The New York Times reads as follows in part:

The Yugoslav Government’s reply (to the first request) contained the statement which the United States Government has difficulty reconciling with the principle of judicial determination of culpability, ‘that the crimes of General Mihailovich against the people of Yugoslavia are far too big and horrible that it could be or should be allowed to be discussed whether he is guilty or not.

Meanwhile,our note continued,representations have been made to the United States Government by various individuals and groups in the United States who have emphasized their readiness to testify on behalf of General Mihailovich. A large majority of such persons are United States aviators who were shot down over Yugoslavia and were rescued and returned to Allied lines by Mihailovich’s forces.

As an example, a group of twenty United States airmen who thus parachuted into Yugoslavia between January and December, 1944, have called personally at the Department of State and have expressed their desire to make available the information they possess either by attending the trial in person or by submitting testimony in writing, if considered appropriate. Numerous approaches to the same end have also been made by mail.

In the circumstances, the United States Government desires to renew its request to the Yugoslav Government that arrangements be made whereby the evidence of such persons may be presented in the trial of General Mihailovich and that the United States Government be informed as a matter of urgency concerning these arrangements.”

I may add that some of those aviators who have expressed their desire to testify in Yugoslavia will testify before this Commission. There is present in this room now and will be called as soon as we can get to him one such aviator who has come here voluntarily all the way from Texas.

I will now continue with the examination of Captain Mansfield.


May I interrupt a minute, Colonel? Somewhere in the papers I read a note to the effect that the British Government is proceeding somewhat along these lines and taking the testimony of aviators who got into Yugoslavia and reporting that evidence to the Yugoslav Government.


That I believe is correct, sir. There were British aviators in the same situation as ours, and they are trying either to testify in Yugoslavia or to place their testimony on record in England for use in Yugoslavia.

Continuation of the examination of Walter R. Mansfield:


Q. Captain Mansfield, when we finished on Tuesday afternoon I think you had testified to an episode that took place on September 11, 1943, in which a contingent of Chetniks under British Colonel Bailey fought a battle against the German garrison force at Prijepolje in which over 200 Germans were killed, and I think you had testified about the same time that you had heard of the surrender of General Badoglio in Italy, is that correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. You were at General Mihailovich’s headquarters when the news came of the surrender of General Badoglio?

A. I was back at his headquarters, yes, when we received the news both by BBC and by radiogram from Cairo.

Q. That was about the 9th of September, 1943?

A. The 9th of September.

Q. Can you tell us what you know of the instructions then issued by General Mihailovich to his forces.

A. General Mihailovich sent out orders to all of his field commanders to attack German and Italian occupation forces everywhere, with the idea of effectuating surrender of the Italian forces if they would. He stated that he felt that D-day must be close at hand, because at that time when he heard of the surrender of Italy he felt that possibly Yugoslavia was next. I personally saw and had translated a good many of the orders which were sent out by radio from his central headquarters to his different field commanders.

Q. On September 12, 1943, did you personally participate in one episode carrying out those orders to attack the enemy?

A. I did.


Q. Can you give the substance of what those orders were, the orders that you saw?

A. There was a general order sent out to all field commanders directing them to engage in a full-scale attack on German garrisons and communications lines in their areas; and the order announced the surrender of General Badoglio, stated that on behalf of the Allies the Chetniks were to do everything possible to effectuate the surrender of Italian garrisons within each field commander’s territory, attacking if peaceable surrender could not be brought about. In certain particular areas the field commander was directed specifically to attack a certain town held by the Germans or a certain garrison. There were numerous orders of that latter nature. I cannot recall them all, but I remember I believe one I think was the Italian Taurenese division near Boka Kotorska, that was out on the coast, and other similarones.


Q. At the time those orders went out I believe you have already testified that the Allies were supplying General Mihailovich with arms at the rate of approximately four planeloads a month for somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 men, is that right?

A. That is correct.


Q. What is a planeload of arms, Captain, approximately?

A. A planeload of arms is approximately 3 tons or less; it is approximately 20 containers; each container of the cylindrical type is about 300 pounds of equipment, and each container of the rhomboid type is somewhat less; so you have approximately 6,000 pounds or 3 tons.


Q. A planeload of ammunition, assuming that it consisted entirely of small arms ammunition and no weapons, would amount to about one round per man for the whole of Mihailovich’s army, would it not?

A. I have not figured it out. I should point out that planeloads did not consist of merely arms and ammunition.

Q. But assuming they did, it would be in the neighborhood of about one round per man or four rounds per month?

A. I would have to accept your word for that.

Q. What kind of arms did they consist of?

A. There were usually very few arms in the load, a few German—

Q. You mean the Allies were shipping captured German weapons in by plane to General Mihailovich?

A. Yes, that is it, mostly material that I believe had been captured in North Africa. There were usually some containers of 7.9 ammunition, there were possibly three or four heavier machine guns, I mean really of the Bren gun type, of 50 caliber; and there was usually a certain amount of explosives, perhaps two containers or possibly three of explosives. At that time we were using 808 explosives. Of course with those explosives there were primer cords, time fuses, percussion caps and the necessary paraphernalia to do demolition work.

Then there were about two or three containers of clothes and shoes, which usually would not fit anybody. The shoes were always way too small, and the clothes were too small for the average man. There was a great wastage of clothes sent in.

Q. I think you testified on Monday, did you not, that General Mihailovich repeatedly asked you and the British delegates for more supplies?

A. Oh, yes.

Q. And I think you also testified on Monday that the last planeload of any kind came in in October, 1943?

A. That is right.


Q. And you can testify of your own knowledge, Captain, that such supplies as did come in were totally inadequate so far as food and clothing and arms are concerned?

A. Yes sir, I can.


From American standards I think I could testify—


We prefer that you do not do any testifying.


Four planeloads a month is not very adequate.


Q. I will return now to a question I asked a few minutes ago. After these orders had gone out you were personally present at one combat on about the 12th of September, 1943?

A. I was.

Q. Will you tell the Commission in your own words what you saw, heard and did?

A. On the night of September 11th we were advised that some preliminary attacks had been made by Chetniks on the Italian garrison at Priboj; and we decided with General Mihailovich to take a small force down to Priboj to see whether we could effectuate the surrender of that Italian garrison. What happened was this, we prepared a note to the Italian garrison colonel, which was typed out on an old Serbian typewriter in the headquarters up in the woods; we went down with 300 guerrillas under Lt. Colonel Novakovic, and we arrived unfortunately at night. Arriving outside of the garrison, we sent down a Serbian official who had previously been able to contact Italians. He was sent down with a note. He arrived, and we waited, taking positions, deploying up in thehills, to see whether or not the Italians would as we requested in our note send out a delegation to meet with us. He never got into the garrison; he was machine-gunned before he got to the door. That was the worst outbreak by far. We were about 300 yards away, and the Italians were pretty jittery apparently, and they let go on him. They then let go with everything they had for the next three hours, mortars screaming into the side of the mountain where we were, machine guns and small arms fire. We hastily withdrew to the top of the mountain and waited until the following day. On the following day we received a note from the garrison commander, after we had sent down another peasant with a copy of our request, in which he stated that he had no orders from his division headquarters to surrender to us.

We then sent back another note stating that—when I refer to “we” I mean Lieutenant Colonel Hudson and myself—sent back another note stating that we were the authorized representatives of the Allies to negotiate for surrender. On the following day a delegation was sent up, I believe Colonel Graziani was his name, and we sent our delegation down, deployed a Chetnik force at both ends of the town and the bridge, and walked into the town. The Italians were most gracious to us, saluting right and left, and we took over the garrison.


Q. How many Italians were there?

A. There were only about 1,200.


Q. And you had sent about 300?

A. Later we had about 500 more?

Q. You had about 300 at the time the Italians surrendered?

A. Yes.


Q. I would like you to tell the Commission in your own words about another episode of hostilities between the Chetniks and the enemy which you participated in about the 28th of September, 1943, that is about two weeks later than the episode you have just spoken about.

A. Well, on that date Lieutenant Colonel Hudson, who had been working with us on plans to blow up the Vardiste bridge and try to catch a train in the tunnel, organized a group of about 300 Chetniks. I went as far as the operation, but was not in on all of it. However, I can give you an account of the part I did participate in.

Q. I would be glad if you would give a brief account of just what went on on that occasion.

A. Well, briefly, delayed charges were placed in the tunnel, small charges, waiting for the train—which we had timed so we knew when it was coming; the bridge was not guarded and neither was the tunnel. We laid charges on the bridge. The train came. The track was blown, but the train got through to the other end, because only about 4 or 5 feet of the track had been blown and had not succeeded in derailing the train. The bridge was blown completely, both ends and the abutments.

Q. Where was this?

A. This was in Vardiste, east of Visegrad.


Q. Will you state to the Commission very briefly the strategic importance of destroying that bridge?

A. The destruction of that bridge would cut the narrow gauge railroad line running from Belgrade down through Uzice to Sarajevo, which in turn connected with Dubrovnik on the coast. The line was important as a German feeder, narrow-gauge feeder, to Bosnia and the coast from Belgrade, the central headquarters.

Q. About 5 days after blowing up that bridge did you participate with General Mihailovich’s troops in another act of hostilities against the enemy?

A. That is correct.

Q. Will you tell the Commission about that?

A. Before October 3rd Colonel Bailey and Brigadier Armstrong, the British brigadier who had parachuted in to us in the latter part of September, and Colonel Seitz and I talked over the general plan—

Q. May I interrupt? Colonel Seitz was your superior officer?

A. That is right.

Q. An American colonel?

A. An American, Colonel Seitz. We talked over a general plan to attack the German garrison of approximately 800 men at Visegrad.

Q. Will you point that out on the map?

A. It is right there. And the purpose of the attack was not only to destroy the garrison but to take the town long enough for us to blow up the large steel bowsprit type of bridge which spanned the Drina river. That was on the same railroad line as the previous bridge I mentioned. And our reason for wanting to blow it up was that the other job would hold up communications for only a few weeks at best, whereas if we got the Visegrad bridge we knew we could hold up communications for a long period of time.

Q. The Visegrad bridge in other words was a long bridge that would be much more difficult to replace by any temporary structure than the first one, is that right?

A. That is right. That was a fairly large job, and for it General Mihailovich massed about 2,500 troops from the area surrounding Visegrad, both to the south and the southwest. They met in the mountains just below Visegrad; and on the dawn of October 3rd, I believe, 1943, we launched a dawn attack.

On that occasion we started the attack with mortars, captured mortars, very poor equipment, no sights, using simply a rough sighting to strike at the German bunkers surrounding the town and the German garrison. The Serb artillery men and the Chetniks would have to crawl up to the crest of the hill and watch where the mortar shells landed and then turn around and give directions to the men handling the mortar to turn it slightly. In that way, by just checking them, they wiped out several of the bunkers, and eventually a charge was ordered and the town was taken. This is just an approximation, I would guess we killed, oh, 150 to 200 Germans.

Q. And suffered casualties yourselves?

A. Yes, quite a few wounded as well as killed. And then within 3 hours we laid the charges. Major Jack, the British demolition officer, took charge of the demolition job and plotted and arranged the charges which were placed on both ends of the bridge, and the bridge was dropped into the river.

Q. How long as the result were communications cut between Belgrade and Sarajevo?

A. I am advised 9 months. I am not sure.

Q. Now about a week after that, on October 10, 1943, were you present at another episode or conflict between General Mihailovich’s forces and the enemy?

A. Yes, I was.

Q. Will you tell us about that?

A. That took place in the Ravenje Mountains just north of the little town of Rudo. During this period we had moved up closer to Visegrad for the purpose of that attack; and we had moved to this point here (indicating on map). I will put a pin in there to show it. This is a very small-scale map so it is hard to show it.


Q. The point where you put the pin is between the two?

A. This is the headquarters here.

Q. You had better indicate for the record, Captain, just what that is near.

A. That is near Rudo.


Q. You may proceed.

A. During the afternoon while we were deployed amongst the different mountain huts a German plane came over and made a wide sweep and then charged in and started machine-gunning us. Then another plane came and they made several passes at us, spraying machine-gun fire up and down. Within a half hour the German forces pushing up towards Rudo from the west started attacking. Mihailovich himself on that occasion, I just remember, went down after we had fixed quickly lines to show our headquarters whether we could out [sic] our supplies up over the mountain and take charge of the different lines we were defending. The Germans used flares to locate their own positions, and they were using only light arms and mortar fire.

Q. What was the upshot of that engagement?

A. The upshot of that engagement was that we withdrew for 2 days.

Q. Incidentally you spoke of this attack by German fighter planes, and I think you testified the other day that General Mihailovich had no air force. Did he have any anti-aircraft or artillery of any kind?

A. Only machine guns, and they did no good in that location. But up in Bosnia he had shot down a couple of the German planes according to his report. And I saw the aviator’s compass and parts out of the plane.

Q. Now Captain Mansfield, in addition to those episodes in which you personally participated, during this period of September and October, 1943, did you have access to the operational reports coming in to General Mihailovich’s command from his subordinate headquarters?

A. Yes, sir, he showed them to me when reports would come in from different field commanders.

Q. Can you describe those reports?

A. Well, each day, when we had a quiet one, we would have a conference with him and his G-2, at which they would go over the field commanders’ reports for the day. Each report would discuss activities in that commander’s area which had been carried on by his troops. A typical report would read that the field commander had ambushed a German truck column going from one point to another and had succeeded in destroying five or six camions and then withdrew.

The reports I remember most came from the coast where they stated that they were still attacking Italians in an attempt to get them to surrender, and then subsequently had been joined by some Italians against the Germans.

As you know, our instructions were that if Italians would surrender and would fight with us that we were to take them in. Usually that was a physical impossibility, because they just did not know how to live in the woods. But in some instances apparently they joined up for a while.


Q. What do you mean when you say they did not know how to live in the woods?

A. They were regular garrison soldiers who had been used to garrison life, they were occupation forces who had been put at crucial points through the country simply to police the country after it had been originally conquered by the Axis. They did not know how to live in the woods.

Q. Life was too hard for them do you mean?

A. They had to live off the generosity of the peasants, there was no commissary, no Italian bread, none of the usual rations that they were used to.

Q. What was your means of getting around, going from one place to another, afoot?

A. Yes, and of course at headquarters, we had about 50 horses.


Q. I think you testified on Monday, Captain Mansfield, to the fact that the Germans retaliated by shooting hostages and burning down towns?

A. That is right.

Q. Was such retaliation peculiarly active during this period of September and October, 1943?

A. I cannot say; I cannot remember whether there were more reprisals as the result of that general attack or not.

Q. In the operational reports that you saw at General Mihailovich’s headquarters that came in to you during this period were there any references to activities of the Partisans?

A. Yes.

Q. Will you tell us what those were?

A. Most of the field commanders in the Bosnia and Hercegovina areas, as well as down in south Serbia, that is quite far south, were constantly complaining in practically every daily report that they were being attacked by the Partisans in the area whenever they would plan an attack against the German garrison and try to carry it out. Those are just the reports, I did not see it.

Q. But those reports came in to General Mihailovich’s headquarters and were discussed at your staff conferences?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. The accounts of the hostilities of Yugoslav resistance forces were repeated by radio broadcasts from London which you heard, is that correct, from time to time?

A. That is right; daily.

Q. I think you testified on Monday that that was your main source of information as to what was going on in the outside world?

A. That is right.

Q. Did BBC London say that General Mihailovich’s Chetniks had taken a particular place, or what did they say?

A. Prior to late September, 1943, BBC London on its daily radio broadcasts beamed to Yugoslavia would state an account of reports as to what both Mihailovich said and did in his area and what Tito said and did in his area. Beginning in late September all reports over the BBC consisted only of statements by Tito as to what he said and did.

Q. Did it ever happen that BBC London announced to you in Yugoslavia that Tito’s forces had done something which in fact Mihailovich’s forces had done?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you give some instances of that?

A. Well, there is one I remember. After that Visegrad attack in October, 1943, our forces pushed north towards Rogatica, because one of the orders from General Mihailovich was that if you can keep the Germans on the run we can get down near Sarajevo. When they reached Rogatica and occupied it they entered the town just north of it, I cannot remember the name of it—well, it is a town right near Rogatica; and they were attacked by Partisans on their right flank about 2 or 3 days later. While they were in Rogatica BBC London announced that the Partisans had taken Rogatica and this other town from the Germans in a battle the same day. That is one occasion I can remember.

Q. What happened was, as I understand your testimony, that the Chetniks drove the Germans out, and the Chetniks were then attacked by the Partisans?

A. That is right.

Q. And BBC London announced that the Partisans had driven the Germans out?

A. That is right.

Q. Were you going to mention another episode of that same kind?

A. I remember that in January, 1944, I went through Priboj on the way out towards the coast; and it was occupied by Chetnik forces. I spent the night there. And all through that period BBC was announcing periodically that Priboj was occupied by Partisans. I am talking of personal incidents.

Q. Yes.

A. There were numerous incidents where the Chetnik commanders would tell me laughingly or sarcastically that BBC was announcing that such and such a city had been taken by the Partisans, and here they were in complete charge of it. But I cannot verify those.


Q. Did your English colleagues make any comment on that, Captain Mansfield?

A. In one instance they sent back a bitter report to Cairo on it, because one of the British officers had been present on an occasion.


Q. Did you ever see that report and read it?

A. No, I only talked with them as they were encoding the message.

Q. And that was protesting against the broadcast over the BBC?

A. Yes, sir.


Q. As far as you know, General Mihailovich and his forces did not get any credit for the destruction of that Visegrad bridge as far as Allied messages that you heard?

A. I don’t know—we reported it; daily we reported our activities back to headquarters.

Q. BBC London did not come back with it?

A. They never mentioned that we had taken it, to my knowledge.


Q. Now coming along chronologically, Captain Mansfield, you have testified in general to what you did while you were at or near General Mihailovich’s headquarters during the period from August to October, 1943.

A. That is right.

Q. I think you testified briefly on Monday that you went off on an inspection near the Chetnik-held area?

A. That is right.

Q. That was started about when?

A. That was started about November 10th, I believe.

Q. And I think you testified on Monday that you inspected the troops to get information on their condition, capabilities, etc.?

A. That is right.

Q. And also on the question of any possible collaboration with the Germans, is that right?

A. That is right.

Q. And I think you testified on Monday that you found none?

A. No, I testified as to evidence that I found from which you might draw an inference if you wanted to, depending on the facts. I gave you, I believe, the facts in the Hercegovina area.

Q. You also had reports of at least one similar episode as between Tito forces and the Germans, is that right?

A. Well, that is just what I heard. I had reports from the Chetniks of numerous incidents, but I did not see them myself.

Q. You were allowed to travel quite freely on this trip?

A. We chose our own course.

Q. You talked to anybody you wanted to?

A. Yes, we talked to anybody we wanted to.

Q. Did you ever meet any Mihailovich troops who expressed friendship or desire to collaborate with the Germans?

A. No. Perhaps I should tell you where I went so that you will have an idea of what area was covered by this trip.

Q. I will be glad if you would.

A. Well, we left General Mihailovich here, just east of Rogatica, we went north through different Chetnik commanders’ areas almost to Sabac, which is on the Sava River. I would say that is our furthermost northern point from just south of Sabac. We then went south into a new commander’s area, south and east, down within 2 miles of Valjevo. We then went directly east down to a point near Arandjelovac. That is right there (indicating on map). We then went south all the way down to a point north of Novi Pazar. We then went west all the way out down through East Bosnia, the northern part of the Sandzak, Hercegovina, to a point on the coast near Dubrovnik. In other words we traveled all over Central Serbia and then out to the coast.


Q. You started from near Visegrad?

A. Started from a point not very far from Visegrad—it is not too far from Visegrad.


Q. When did you get to the coast, Captain Mansfield? You started on November 10th?


Q. During your trip around that area you talked to the peasantry as well as to the troops?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What was their attitude towards General Mihailovich and the Chetnik forces?

A. Their attitude toward General Mihailovich was almost adoration. The average Serb sings songs about him, reveres him as the person who stands for his idea of liberation. In each one of these areas we would go to the local guerrilla field commander, called the Korpus commander, under Mihailovich’s command. We would tell him where we wanted to go; and he would give us an escort. In some instances we would have to figure out where the Germans were, and we were constantly dodging Nazi patrols. During those periods we would first have a day or two session with him in which we would go over his complete military setup in his area, his plan, his supplies, a statement as to his past operations. Then we would have an inspection of whatever that commander’s battalion headquarters company forces were. And then we would move out.

During the stay we were welcomed by, oh, hundreds and thousands—thousands and thousands of people wherever we went who would come out and give us whatever food they had, wine, it was like a victory march wherever we went. Of course the Jerries would come in about two or three hours later, and they would have trouble, they would have a house or two burned down.

Then there is one other thing I want to tell you. In going through the area we would have a chance to talk with the peasants, and on many occasions I would deliberately bait a peasant by saying “What do you think of communism?” And I would say that I thought it was very good and helpful, just to see what the attitude would be. Invariably I had a hatred expressed. As far as Mihailovich was concerned people were constantly cheering him and singing about him.


Q. Was any of this territory that you went through under the control of Tito?

A. In one area up north there was supposed to be about two or three hundred Partisans. There was none during the first 2 months, covering the northern part of the area that I was in. When I got down south and was about to start out from Serbia towards the Sandzak I saw considerable Partisan forces marching in from the Sandzak towards Ivanjica. In the early part of January, just before I got to Priboj [pronounced Preboy] I saw about a thousand Partisans from the mountainside marching up through the valley on the mountain trail towards our group. That is when our hostilities broke out with machine-gun fire.


Q. That is the hostilities between the Chetniks that you were with and the Partisans?

A. That is right. We withdrew for about 13 hours.

Q. Who made the attack?

A. The Partisans did. We could see them long before the attack. They were marching towards us up through this valley, and I happened to be fairly high on the mountain, but our forces were partly down in a town at the foot of the mountain. We had been warned that they were coming, and I wanted to push on to get out to the coast and was raising quite a fuss, because I felt it was time to push on and get out. They told me it would be suicide, and we withdrew.


Q. You withdrew for 13 hours?

A. Yes, we withdrew for 13 hours of solid marching.

Q. Partisans following your forces all that time?

A. That is right.


Q. Did you see the Partisans somewhere around that time commit any reprisals against villages that had been formerly Chetnik-held?

A. Not there, but later I did.

Q. Will you tell us about those episodes?

A. Well, coming through Hercegovina we were constantly dodging Germans and Partisans. And near Kalinovik I was on a mountain waiting until our patrols could tell where we might be able to push through when I saw through my glasses a Partisan force enter the town of Kalinovik and start burning down houses, and I saw the flames of the houses rising, and through the glasses I saw the Partisan forces.


Q. How could you distinguish the Partisan forces through your glasses?

A. The Partisans always had a red star, and some of them had a hammer and sickle. Another way in that case that I knew was that they always had quite a lot of propaganda which they left wherever they went, pictures of Tito and Stalin and leaflets describing communism.


Q. At the time that you are testifying about now, January and February, 1944, you were on your way to the coast to try to get out?

A. That is right, sir.

Q. You felt that you had information that it was necessary to report back to American authorities?

A. My reason was that all supplies had been cut off, we were unable to do anything further in coordinating guerrilla activities with plans for feeding supplies to the guerrillas.

Q. Your superior, Colonel Seitz, was also trying to get out by a different route?

A. That is right. Colonel Seitz had been with me all through this trip in northern Central Serbia until about 2 days before Christmas, 1943. By that time we had collected a lot of intelligence from all of these numerous guerrilla leaders we talked with. And we felt that we had to get to the coast, we knew that it would be difficult getting out, and we decided that he would take one route and I would try another, so if one of us were killed the other would make the coast.

Q. You were both successful?

A. We were both successful.

Q. Where and when did you get out?

A. I got out at a point south of Dubrovnik on February 14, 1944.

Q. How did you escape?

A. I escaped by a British PT boat, or ML-2 as it is called, across the barrier—but that is a long story, that is how we managed to make contact with that boat, and it do not think it has much bearing on this. If you want me to I will tell you about that.


We would like to hear it, but I do not think we have time if it does not bear on what we are doing here.

Q. Well, by hook or by crook you got in contact with the British PT boat and you got out?

A. Yes.


Q. You reported then to American headquarters?

A. I went immediately to OSS headquarters and from there to Cairo, and then I returned to the United States.


That is all for this witness.


Q. Captain, you were there for a period of approximately seven full months?

A. Six full months.

Q. And during that time you did not see any evidence whatever of Mihailovich collaborating with the Germans in any way, shape or manner, is that correct?

A. Yes, insofar as Mihailovich personally is concerned.


Q. What are the reservations you have?

A. This evidence that I referred to of incidents in Hercegovina which gave indications from which you might draw an inference of collaboration.

Q. For instance?

A. Well, the first instance I mentioned was the case where the local Chetnik commander near—I have forgotten the name of the place—near Ljubinje—and Nevesinje was the name of the other town—where the local commander told me that he had in substance a truce with the Germans, because he was so overwhelmed by Partisans that his only hope of getting rid of both the Germans and the Partisans was to get the Germans to lay off of him long enough so that he could conserve his strength.


Q. That was a truce, but that does not suggest collaborating with the Germans, does it?


Q. You can interpret it any way you want to, can’t you?

A. Yes.


Q. Do you know of any occasion when the Germans and the Chetniks were fighting together against the Partisans?

A. Never.


Q. Was it a fact that the Chetniks, or for that matter most other underground movements, bought arms from the occupying forces when they could?

A. In some areas—I will give you my personal knowledge—in some areas I knew where quisling troops, called Nedici [“Nedicevci"–colloquially, the military personnel of the Serbian State Guard under the command of General Milan Nedic, German-appointed premier of occupied Serbia], came over from the local area to the guerrilla commander and joined up with the guerrillas and took their arms with them. I heard of one instance not far from Belgrade where the local commander, Captain Kalabic, was friendly with the Nedici to the extent that they would give him information about German movements so that he could plan his attacks accordingly; and he tried to wangle some arms out of them. Whether he was successful I do not know. I did not see that personally.

Q. Was it not a fact that it was considered sound tactics to get any arms or any supplies from the opposite side if you could by bribery as well as by force?

A. Yes, sir, that is true of guerrilla warfare all the world over. I saw that in China.

Q. And it was a fact, was it not, that a certain limited amount of both Italian and German supplies did come in to the Chetnik forces by that route?

A. I have heard so, but I did not see it of my own knowledge. The fact was that they did have a lot of German and Italian arms; and what they gained by that route and what they gained by capture I could never distinguish.

Q. But that was part of the game?

A. Yes.

Q. If you could bribe a local commander and get his arms you did it?

A. Yes, sir.


Q. There was one episode where the Germans and Partisans lived side-by-side in the same town, with one of them running a water plane and the other running the electric water plant?

A. I heard of it.

Q. Do you know where it was?

A. It was up in Slovenia, I heard.


Q. Captain, wherever you have testified that you have heard things, you have testified to what you heard in your official capacity, is that right?

A. Yes, sir.


That is all with this witness.

Before we adjourn I should like to have marked for the record the full text of the note to the Yugoslav government, again requesting facilities for giving testimony about General Mihailovich. I find that the salient portions of it were included in the press statement which I have already read.

(Text of American note to the Yugoslav government was marked Exhibit 6, May 15, 1946)


NOTE from Aleksandra:

Walter R. Mansfield was born on July 1, 1911. He attended Harvard Law School and worked in private practice for three decades in New York city. During those three decades he served for two years as an Assistant United States Attorney, and served as an officer during World War II during which time he spent six months with General Mihailovich in Yugoslavia in 1943.
In 1966, Walter Mansfield was appointed to serve as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Five years later, Mansfield was promoted to an appellate judgeship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Richard M. Nixon. For ten years, between 1971 and 1981 Mansfield was an active judge of the Second Circuit and in 1981 he took senior status. Judge Mansfield continued to hear cases until his death on January 8, 1987.


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


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