Yugoslavia: Political Diaries 1918–1965

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-950-5     First published: 1997
Extent:  4 volumes, 3,200 pages   Editor:  R.L Jarman  
Paper:  Printed on acid free paper  
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish  
See sample pages: not available


This important collection of British political reports on the former Yugoslavia will provide extensive historical background to modern developments and while the reports are written from the point of view of British diplomatic interest, the observations and judgements are largely balanced, and may contribute to a wider understanding of the political and ethnic heritage of the peoples and states of the former Yugoslavia. The material provides useful summaries of actual events, together with evaluations of their political significance.
The main series within the volumes comprises the diplomatic annual reports or reviews from Belgrade. The annual reports have been supplemented with special "situation reports", current events reports, personality reports, and weekly or fortnightly reports to provide continuity and to fill gaps.


The period covered by this collection of British documents saw three phases of Yugoslavian history - from 1918 to 1941 as a monarchy, from 1941 to 1945 under German occupation and split into various ethnic states, and from 1945 until 1965 as a Communist republic. This publication consists of the various regular and occasional reports from the British representatives on the spot describing events as they happened, although it must be stressed that they were described as seen through British eyes. During the German occupation of Yugoslavia in the Second World War there were of course no British diplomats in Belgrade; consequently, the reviews emanate mostly from London, either in the shape of reports from diplomats accredited to the exiled Royal government or in the shape of consolidated intelligence and other reports produced by the Foreign Office Research Department (FORD) using information obtained from political, military, and secret sources; however, we are not including the Yugoslav sections of the Weekly Political Intelligence Summaries produced from October 1939 as these have already been published.
The beginning of this collection of periodic reports in 1918 is dictated by strict historical accuracy as it was on 1st December 1918 that the Prince Regent (of Serbia) issued an edict proclaiming the National and State union of the three races (of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) and appointed a Ministry representative of the three races. Thus all periodic and review despatches sent by the British minister in Belgrade after 1st December 1918 are included. However, the idea of Yugoslavia predates the actual declaration of union in 1918, and as an historical introduction we are reproducing the Foreign Office Peace Handbook of 1919 which describes the growth of the Yugoslav idea from its beginnings until December 1918. The year 1965 is an artificial time limit to this collection, dictated by the public accessibility of British Government official documents at the time of publication. It must be stressed that this publication comprises the political diaries of Yugoslavia as a whole rather than the diaries and records of the constituent parts. The only exception to this is for the period 1918-1920 in relation to Montenegro which was not fully recognised by the international community as a part of the new united state.


All the documents can be found in the British Public Record Office in London with the exception of two Parliamentary Papers relating to Montenegro which can be found in any of the UK Copyright libraries. Detailed references for every document can be found in the appendix to this introduction. The documents in the Public Record Office are all in the FO 371 category denoting that they were Foreign Office files - unfortunately there are no documents from the archives of the British Legation/Embassy in Belgrade from 1920 to 1941 as these were all destroyed just prior to the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941.
Sometimes the same document can be found in more than one file and in more than one form (manuscript, type, or print). In all cases the choice of document has been determined by legibility - the printed version being given preference. If the document reproduced in this collection is typed or manuscript, this is because a printed version does not exist in the files at the Public Record Office. The only exception to this rule are three documents on the situation in Montenegro - the Temperley review of 12th October 1919 and the Bryce report of 16th December 1920 on the elections in Montenegro were subsequently issued as Parliamentary Papers but the printed versions for public consumption differed from the original version, so we have included the original and censored versions; similarly a censored version of the de Salis report of 21st August 1919 was going to be issued as a Parliamentary Paper and we are reproducing both the original and the intended censored version, although it was decided eventually not to publish even the censored version.

Types of report
There are nine types of report reproduced in this publication. They are:
  • Annual Reports/Reviews (1921-1938, 1942, and March 1944-1965)
  • Reports on Personalities (1927-1945, and 1959)
  • Wartime Fortnightly Telegram Summaries (1940)
  • British Liaison Officers´ Weekly Situation Reports (1943)
  • Political Warfare Executive Periodic Intelligence Reports (1943-44)
  • Post-War Weekly/Fortnightly Summaries (1945-1955)
  • Occasional Reviews for Yugoslavia (1918-1964)
  • Occasional Reviews for Montenegro (1919-1920)
  • Foreign Office memoranda on Yugoslavia (1919 and 1943-1944)


Volume One: 1918-c.1925
  • As an introduction to the complicated course of the Yugoslav Movement up to the declaration of the united Serb-Croat-Slovene Kingdom in 1918: the entire Foreign Office Handbook on the Yugoslav Movement.
  • December 1918-December 1920: Series of Occasional Reviews on current events in the new kingdom including Notes on leading Personalities of the first Government.
  • January 1919-December 1920: Occasional reviews on Montenegro by De Salis, the pre-war representative in Montenegro, Temperley and Bryce. These include both a proposed but unpublished censored version and the original of a famous report by De Salis and are important for being written before Montenegro was completely recognised internationally as being part of Yugoslavia.
  • Annual Reports for the Serb-Croat-Slovene Kingdom for 1921-1925.
Volume Two: 1926-1937
  • Annual Reports for Yugoslavia for 1926-1937.
  • Notes on leading Personalities in Yugoslavia for 1927-1937.
Volume Three: 1938-1943/4
  • Annual Report for Yugoslavia for 1938.
  • List of leading Personalities in Yugoslavia for 1938, 1939, 1943.
  • Occasional Political reports on the situation in Yugoslavia, 1939-1942.
  • Wartime fortnightly summaries from Belgrade (sent by telegraph due to lack of safe despatch by conventional transport), from August 1940 onwards.
  • Series of reviews compiled by Foreign Office Research Department in London on all aspects of the political situation in Yugoslavia and its constituent parts 1918-1943/4.
Volume Four: 1944-1965
  • Weekly Intelligence reports January-June 1944 issued from the Foreign Office in London as a summary of reports from different sources.
  • Annual Reviews for Yugoslavia for 1944-1965 compiled by the British Embassy to Yugoslavia.
  • List of Leading Personalities in Yugoslavia for 1945 and 1959.
  • Weekly or Fortnightly Summaries of Events in Yugoslavia for 1948-1955, from the British Embassy in Belgrade.