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21

Friday, April 19th 2019, 5:53pm

Yugoslav News and Events, March 1949

The White Palace, Thursday, 3 March 1949

The liveried footman led the Prime Minister to the King’s private office, opened the doors, and announced him. King Petar rose to greet him.

“Sit down old friend.” Petar noticed that Karasec moved slowly, and his hair was greyer than he recalled. “Your request indicated a matter of importance and discretion.”

Karasec appreciated the king’s invitation. “Thank you Your Majesty.” He paused to collect his thoughts before continuing. “It has been my privilege to serve the Crown for twelve years, but the time has come that must lay that burden down.”

Petar did not immediately reply; he sighed inwardly. “I have long feared this day would come. You helped my father make Yugoslavia the nation it is today, and I had hope you would be able to continue to help us chart that course ahead.”

“Your Majesty is kind; your father was a man of great heart, dedicated to all his people.”

“Do you wish to resign immediately?”

“No sire, I would not wish to burden you with that when your concerns are rightly focused on your nuptials. But I felt it proper to advise you of the matter so that it not come as a surprise.”

Petar nodded. “You still command a majority in Parliament. Can you suggest a successor?”

“I have asked Furlan privately if he would consider it; and he has privately agreed.”

“Then when the time comes I will formally accept your resignation and ask Furlan to form a government, with confidence he will be able to do so.”

22

Tuesday, April 23rd 2019, 1:23am

Novosti News Service, Bar, Wednesday, 9 March 1949

His Majesty King Petar visited the Adriatic Shipyards today to superintend the launching of the Royal Yugoslav Navy’s latest additions, Minesweeper A and Minesweeper B. Laid down in January, they are expected to be completed in mid-May. They are due to be followed in the summer with a second pair.


Belgrade, Dunavsko Brodgradiliste, Thursday, 10 March 1949

His Highness Prince Andrew returned to the shipyard where in January he had witnessed the keel laying of the ships the yard was launching today. His mood was moderated only by the warmth if an early spring.

Icebreaking River Tug A and Icebreaking River Tug B – truly resounding and inspiring names.” The prince did not agree with the tradition of withholding the proper name of a vessel until its formal commissioning. They were stubby and utterly utilitarian ships, whose presence on the river would certainly aid commerce but contribute little to the liberation of occupied Slovenia. Still he saluted the workmen as the ships touched the waters and the national ensign fluttered at the temporary mainmasts.

23

Wednesday, May 1st 2019, 10:30pm

Jugoslovenska Vojnik, Monday, 14 March 1949

The Zastava Ordnance Works has been directed to proceed with development of a replacement for the M37 machine pistol. Details of the design are not available at this time, but the expressed intent of the Ministry of Defence called for a weapon less expensive than the M37.


Novosti News Service, Wednesday, 16 March 1949

The Ministry of Defence has contracted with the Vaduz, Liechtenstein based firm Anstalt für die Entwicklung von Erfindungen und Gewerblichen Anwendungen for development of an antitank grenade capable of being fired from the standard M43 service rifle. It is expected that the first examples might enter service by the end of the year.

24

Thursday, May 9th 2019, 1:12am

Damascus, The Yugoslav Embassy, Friday, 18 March 1949

Bobetko read the cable again, pondering its implications. His request for reassignment had been approved and he was to return immediately to Belgrade for meet his successor and brief him on the current situation in Syria. Thus far so good. What was unsettling was his new assignment – to be military attaché in Beijing, the capital of China.

His experience in Syria left him with a distaste for flogging the products of Yugoslav industry to nations too inclined to use them in a ‘hot’ war. Would the Defence Ministry ask him to undertake that role with the Chinese? He sincerely hoped that they would not – China’s track record of belligerence was too long. Perhaps Belgrade wanted a closer assessment of China’s capabilities and intentions? That was an assignment he felt happier with.

It made little difference at the moment. At least he would be departing the volatile Levant and would be spending some time at home before travelling to the Orient.

25

Tuesday, May 14th 2019, 6:20pm

Lagny-sur-Marne, France, Monday, 21 March 1949

Xenia lay in her bedroom, filled with a mix of anxiety and anticipation; he wedding day was barely more than a month away, and while her preparations were going as well as they might, the necessity of meeting with members her family seemed suffocating. Her aunt Tatiana and uncle Dimitri had come last week, and her uncle Alexei was expected tomorrow. A knock on the door broke her reverie and her mother entered.

“Xenia, the postman has come. You have letters.”

Xenia sat up, though still seeming lost in thought. “Did the postman have to run another gauntlet today?”

“Not as bad as yesterday. He brought two letters for you; I think that they will cheer you up.” Olga placed the letters alongside her daughter and then retreated.

Xenia saw the Yugoslav stamp on the first and immediately tore it open. It was from Petar, and between expressions of affection her fiancée brought her up to date on the preparations being made in Belgrade, and how her people longing for her arrival.

The second bore a French stamp, and upon opening it Xenia read…

“My dearest Granddaughter. Forgive the brevity of this note but know that Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your future husband. The fortunes of our house have risen and fallen according to God’s plan and assuredly He will guide the two of you into a new era of peace and prosperity. Know that you have Our blessing on your decision. Until We can greet you in Belgrade, We remain, in great affection,

Nikolai Alexandrevitch”