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A few days after the murder of King Alexander, the Journal de Geneve (October 12) mused in a melancholy mood: "Much killing is going on in Europe and all the victims stood on the same side of the barricades." In fact, it was not the tyrants and corrupt politicians but decent leaders who were killed in those months: the Rumanian Duca, the Austrian Dollfuss, who both stood for independence and freedom against simultaneous assaults by the totalitarian forces on the Right and on the Left. Also the victims of the Marseille plot, King Alexander and Louis Barthou, had been champions of a patriotic order. In the same vein, the Swiss paper further complained that "there is a constant menace of violence in Europe because of the barbaric morale resulting from the bad European situation." The traditional sound order of Europe was already being squeezed in the pincers of ruthless Naziism and Communism.

The shock caused by the double murder of Marseille was equally profound in Yugoslavia and in France. The "Cavalier" King was respected and even popular among the Serbs, for he was strong and brave and his people felt secure that Serbian hegemony over the heterogeneous new populations of the vastly expanded Kingdom would be upheld under his firm guidance. His prestige was enhanced by connections with European dynasties: Queen Marie of Yugoslavia was the sister of King Carol of Rumania, also a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England and of Tsar Alexander II. King Alexander I was closely related to Princess Marina, who was then engaged to Prince George of England. His eleven-year-old son, Peter, was going to school in England, which also was in his favor. Peter was proclaimed the King of all the Yugoslavs under the tutelage of a Regency composed of three persons, among whom Prince Paul became the uncontested leader.

The loss of the King, who seemed irreplaceable, plunged the Yugoslav regime into deep mourning. Belgrade was grimly determined to exercise righteous retribution against whoever was implicated in the crime. The simple people in the old Kingdom of Serbia displayed pathetic signs of sympathy and grief for their King and his dramatic


demise. Fifteen thousand wreaths, hundreds of them made of silver and even gold from all over the country, lent Oriental pomp to the military funeral at the end of October, at Oplenac, in the mausoleum of the Karageorgevitch dynasty. From Kossovo Polje, the historic battlefield of the Balkans, a huge branch of a pine tree was brought by peasants which had been planted by Emperor Dushan the Great, in the fourteenth century.

Of course, some crocodile tears were also shed - as is in style at the bier of a Monarch. The shoe-thumping era of Nikita Khrushchev had not yet dawned on the international world. The Yugoslav destroyer, "Dubrovnik," carrying back from Marseille the body of King Alexander, had been escorted ceremoniously across the Straights of Messina by an Italian fleet. The British press gave much publicity to this Italian geste, not only because courtesy is generally appreciated by the British, but mainly because it was interpreted as evidence of the Italian desire to avoid a break in Italian-Yugoslav relations.

The French reaction to the murder of their Minister of Foreign Affairs was what could be regarded as standard under circumstances existing then in France. Louis Barthou, a respected member of the French Academy, had been the most often appointed minister in the frequently changing cabinets. A state funeral in distinguished style was arranged for the prominent patriot, with lugubrious pomp and classical orations, while pandemonium broke out in political circles and in the press, with harsh accusations directed, as habitual, against the "inept regime." At first, the Marseille police were held responsible for Barthou's death, which could have been prevented, if his wounded arm had been tied tightly in order to avoid the fatal hemorrhage. But no aid could be brought to Barthou, so dense was the crowd gathered around him. Then, shortly, the entire French police system was bitterly accused of disintegration - not without some justification.

For the Marseille case coincided with a protracted scandal which had stirred up the worst political crisis since the founding of the Third French Republic. 1934 was the year, when the Russian-born manager of a pawnshop, an international adventurer, Alexander Stavisky, disappeared with bonds amounting to 25 million francs. He was found dead later in a villa near Chamonix. He had been enjoying police "protection" and the police reported suicide, but rumors held that he was shot by the police to prevent him from disclosing the names of his


influential accomplices. Shortly, the body of Judge Albert Prince, who led the investigation, was also found, dead, beside a railway track. The judge was known to have unearthed dangerous information on the political background of Stavisky's frauds. It was openly charged in the press that the honest judge was eliminated by the influential political Maffia. Stirred into action by their keen sense of justice, by their general dislike of government, and also for the sake of excitement, the Parisian people descended upon the Police. During the ensuing riots, they stormed the Palais Bourbon which houses the Chamber of Deputies. On that day -February 7th - I was apprised by an indignant matron in the rioting crowd that "the situation in France has become intolerable: the policemen and the assassins are the same persons!" A new investigation did uncover secret connections of Stavisky with a number of persons in high places, some of whom took refuge in suicide. But to the present day, this affair remains shrouded in darkness.

French tempers were rising again in October, because of the failure of the Security System in Marseille. Wholesome indignation forced Albert Sarraut, the most unpopular Minister of the Interior, and Mr. Berthoin, the Director of National Security, to resign. The Stavisky scandal had swept two governments already, out of office, the ephemeral Cabinets of Chautemps and of Daladier, succeeded by the dignified Mr. Doumergue, a former President of the Republic. His high authority, however, which normally might have improved conditions, was resented by the Communist Party. which felt that instability was a prerequisite for the formation of a Popular Front government and the coveted Communist participation in it. As a first step toward their goal, they called a general strike of the workers against Doumergue, who - they alleged - was setting up a "Fascist dictatorship." But the strike turned out to be abortive, and Rightist organizations: the Croix de Feu, the Young Patriots, and a new Rightist Party, the Common Front, reacted with growing vehemence against the Leftists. During Mr. Doumergue's entire tenure of office, they were clashing with the rioting mobs. The assault against the traditional European order by the two totalitarian aggressors had hit France badly and was destroying her internal stability. Chaos drove the prices high and this trend almost excluded French goods from the world market, causing unemployment. On November 8, 1934, because of general loss of confidence, the impeccable


Prime Minister, Doumergue, resigned in the midst of a European crisis unfolding then, as a consequence of the Marseille murders.

With this distraught French situation for his background, Barthou bad been trying vainly to promote Italian-Yugoslav rapprochement. The tenacious Minister of Foreign Affairs had to realize how hard it was to cultivate at the same time two friends who were fighting among themselves. On the other hand, Hitler's scheming for "living space," openly advocated, made the Fuebrer's isolation appear as the proper answer to his policy of expansion. In almost all of Europe, a French-Italian Entente which would lastingly separate the Duce from the Fuehrer, was considered as a most desirable development, so much in the general interest that no eventual Yugoslav caprice should be allowed to compromise that constructive policy. The crime perpetrated at Marseille dispelled recklessly this bappy dream; unexpectedly, it not only wiped out Barthou, the mastermind behind the planned alliance with Italy, but also jeopardized the new European political concept. Any involvement of Italy in the murder plot would cause an instantaneous break of Yugoslav relations with Italy-maybe even war; it certainly would force France to move away from her recent policy of seeking closer ties with Italy; it might push Mussolini into the arms of Hitler.

Obviously, a scapegoat had to be found to be chastised, in order to give satisfaction to the Yugoslavs' rightful demand for justice - after all, their King had been killed! Whatever the truth may be, Mussolini had to be spared, or else a dangerous wedge would be driven between Italy and the French-Little Entente Alliance. It became urgent to set up a well-selected target for Yugoslav indignation, since in Belgrade anti-Italian demonstrations had started spontaneously, and two days after the King's murder the Italian Consulate was stoned in Sarajevo.

The first phase of the investigation did not produce evidence helpful for this kind of political scheming. On the spot, in Marseille, it was carried out by Alexandre Guibbal, the Director of the Surete Nationale of that town. At the request of the French authorities, high officials of the Yugoslav Police participated from the very beginning in the work of the French Police, directed in the Paris Ministry of the Interior by Mr. Pierre Mondanel, General Controller of the Criminal Police. The findings of the initial investigation were objectively summed up at a


press conference held in Geneva on October 13th, by Mr. Dimitrievitch,

a Yugoslav Police Inspector. He named Ante Pavelitch, the Chief of the revolutionary Croat Ustasha organization, who lived in Italy, as the instigator of the crime. He also named the murderer, a Bulgarian. and two Croat accomplices. The latter two: Pospisil and Rajic had spent some time in Hungary, at Jankapuszta, a farm housing Croat refugees. Here, they had received Hungarian passports, were then sent to Zurich, Switzerland, and thence to Lausanne where their Hungarian passports were taken and replaced by Czechoslovak passports. No authority, or person of Hungarian nationality seemed to have been involved in these proceedings.

The fabricators of the forged Czechoslovak passports betrayed a morbid sense of humor. One passport was made out for Mr. Benes, the well known Czechoslovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the other one for Mr. Novak, the Police Commissioner who used to escort Mr. Benes during his travels, but the photographs were those of Pospisil and Rajic. In the record of the murderer, using the alias of "Kelemen," there was found no trace whatsoever that would connect him with Hungary. He was later identified as Welitchko Kerin-Dimitrov, a Bulgarian from Macedonia who had never been in Hungary. He had been a member of JMRO, the Bulgarian-Macedonian revolutionary organization led by Vancho Michaelev. On his badly mangled body the Marseille Police found tattooed the sinister emblem of the JMRO: a skull placed on two crossed shinbones. He was a professional killer and King Alexander was not his first victim.

On October 15th, Mr. Pierre Laval was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in France. He took over not only Barthou's office, but also his bifacial policy, radiating warmth toward the Yugoslavs and also toward their foes, the Italians. He seemed to have stepped into Mr. Barthou's shoes with a ready-made formula in his mind - how to solve the annoying impasse caused in French plans by King Alexander's murder. On the day of his inauguration, a terse communique in the semi-official "Le Temps" pointed a finger at his choice, the nation which was to fill the role of the villain. "The existence of a vast plot is certain" - it read - "It is just as certain that the terrorists received aid from certain countries. Hungary holds top rank among those countries." This script for the drama to be performed at Geneva was as shrewd as it was short and it was loaded with cynical innuendoes.


Laval could not exonerate, as yet, Italy, for the Duce might refuse to play ball. So, "countries," in the plural, were accused of having aided the terrorists, among whom Italy might be included later. Hungary, however, was offered definitely as a scapegoat, on whom all the blame could be heaped - if convenient. Furthermore, preceding a final stand by France, some questions would have to be answered. Would Yugoslavia accept such substitution? Would Italy throw Hungary, her partner in the Pact of Rome, to the wolves? And finally, could defenseless Hungary herself - although mutilated, disarmed by the Trianon Peace Treaty, and cornered by the fully armed Little Entente - be intimidated to an extent where she would acquiesce in her condemnation for an international crime she had not committed? It became my duty to provide the answer to this question.

Unable to distinguish what was right from what was expedient, the efficient Mr. Laval urgently went to work, for fear the Yugoslavs might run out of patience. To tighten the noose around Hungary's neck, he needed the cooperation of the Little Entente (which encircled Hungary). Mr. Benes, subservient to France, was the first Foreign Minister to respond to Laval's summons. On October 17th, an official French communique stated that "at a long and cordial meeting in Paris, the two Ministers stated the perfect identity of the French and Czechoslovak governments' views concerning their foreign policies." The problem which required this consultation was the Yugoslav demand for severe punishment of all those responsible for the murder of their King. The identity of views emphasized in the communique was reached by agreeing that Hungary should become the scapegoat.

The agile Mr. Benes surpassed himself on this welcome occasion in lining up promptly his colleagues for concerted action against Hungary. Two days later, on October 19th, he turned up in Belgrade, where, after a conference with King Carol of Rumania and an audience by Prince Paul, the Yugoslav Regent, the three Little Entente Foreign Ministers met at a conference, followed in the evening by a meeting of the Balkan Entente. They published separately, identical and cautiously worded communiques asserting their determination "to collaborate for peace" and to establish a front against terrorist activities which had thrown Europe into a bloody turmoil and were now threatening grave conflicts.

These texts followed Laval's line, except that Hungary was not


mentioned. She could not be named, for meanwhile a hitch bad developed. As often happens to plotters, they had not plugged one loophole, and facts had leaked out which destroyed the explosive material that the French and, more bluntly, the Czechoslovak papers (not yet the Yugoslavs!) tried to light into a blazing bonfire. On October 18, the "Lidove Listy" came out in Prague with the headline: "Not the Croats, the Hungarians Committed the Murder" and Lidove Noviny," also the "Ceske Slovo," wrote on that day in the same provoking style. They could not influence, however, the important meeting in Belgrade the next day, for the French judge in charge of the investigation did not seem to know that Hungary had to be besmirched. Innocently, he gave the information to the press that two Croat accomplices of the Bulgarian murderer, who had stayed some time in Hungary at Jankapuszta (Pospisil and Rajic) had admitted that they had been recruited for the murder by the Pavelitch organization; that while in Hungary they knew nothing of the plan to kill the King; and that even "after having arrived in Lausanne, they still were unaware of the purpose of their mission." Pospisil added: "I and my companion were completely ignorant of what we were expected to do in Paris. If I had known that it the King, I would have obeyed the orders of the organization." The two Ustashis obviously told the truth; they admitted their share in the crime and did not try to exonerate themselves. The Journal de Geneve, an honest paper in a decent country, wrote thereupon (October 19): "Up to now, no evidence whatsoever has been produced that any government, and in particular the Hungarian government, would be implicated in the murder plot. . . . Some are taking the wrong road or just intend to excite thereby public opinion." In the opening round of the contest, Mr. Benes failed to score. From then on, he considered it his personal job to produce damning evidence against Hungary which would destroy her international standing and good name.

With the Little Entente tightly harnessed to his chariot, Mr. Laval, whose determination was not weakened by minor mishaps, felt confident that the oncoming tempest could be diverted in the direction of Hungary. He was now ready to offer Mussolini the guaranty that the Yugoslavs would not raise any accusation against him in connection with the Marseille crime. The French press reported that on October 19, Laval declared at the meeting of the Cabinet that "a loyal and


complete agreement with Italy is an indispensable condition of the consolidation of peace in Europe and of the restoration of an atmosphere of collaboration among the powers." Having cast the bait to catch Mussolini by reserving for him a prominent place in the European Club, Laval told the press that his visit to Rome had become urgent.


The Marseille crime, like any gruesome sensation, stirred up much publicity in Hungary, but at first caused no apprehension of future evils. Mr. Laval's October 15 communique, however, did alarm the press and the government, for it was recognized as a herald of forthcoming serious trouble. A Hungarian official communique, most of which I knew to be correct, was drafted hurriedly. I knew for certain that the refugee camp at Jankapuszta had been dissolved. This fulfilled a personal promise I had given to Mr. Yeftitch, the Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, in June. Before returning to Geneva in September, I visited that farm; I checked on the spot that orders had been carried out and that all the Yugoslav refugees had left. The communique, furthermore, referred correctly to the observance of the agreement signed on July 21, to put an end to the border incidents, which thereafter definitdy had stopped on both sides. I did not doubt the official statement that no connection existed between the tragic Marseille events and Hungary. The troubles fomented in Austria by the Nazis had induced the Hungarian Government to seek better security and an improvement of its relations with the Yugoslav neighbor to the South. I knew this, for I had been instrumental in promoting that policy.

One sentence was inserted, however, in the official statement which became the source of many woes, although at the time it was published, I had no reason for questioning it. This sentence stated that "no passports have been granted in Hungary to any of the names (!) mentioned in the press as the assassins." This was a verbatim true, but misleading statement; Hungarian passports had been given to two accomplices of the assassin, though not in the names mentioned in the press (Pospisil and Rajic), but under aliases which they were using while in Hungary. The man responsible for this clumsy deception was Mr. Imre Hetenyi, the Chief of the Budapest Police, who did not wish to admit his mistake to his superior, the Minister of the Interior. By denying a minor blunder of which he was guilty, he committed a major one. He also ran out of luck when he denied to the brilliant French Commissioner, Belin, who was in charge of the investigation


abroad, the existence of a refugee camp in Jankapuszta, and even the fact that there was a Jankapuszta in Hungary, just because that name was not to be found on his map. Such uncooperative behavior was, of course, resented by friend and foe alike and, unduly, aroused suspicion as to the honesty of Hungary's conduct.

What kind of a man was this Police Chief who refused to take seriously the investigation of the Marseille crime? I considered him an impossible person and at the same time indispensable. There was nothing sinister about this Scarpia of Budapest. Jovial and debonair he was called "Uncle Chocho" by the people, sometimes even in Parliament. He started his career in the Police Force as a newspaper reporter sniffing around for some bidden sensation. With his flair for the romantic, he delved into a delicate situation in which an Archduchess and a Colonel were involved. Always a knight, he stole the love-letters of the lady from her disgruntled Romeo's apartment and then gratuitously, laid the precious package at the lady's feet. This gallant service paved for him the way to a job in the police force, where, thanks to his ingenuity, he achieved a rapid rise to the very top.

I had not been particularly fond of this Police Chief during the two decades I sat in Parliament. He had never done a thing to annoy me, but he did play a few nasty tricks on fellow members in the Opposition when he wished to gain favorable attention from the heads of the various Governments. Yet, I must admit, had it been up to me, I would not have dismissed him, either. We were living then in the period following the collapse of Bela Kun's Communist regime, when Moscow, besides its regular subversive apparatus, was crowded with revenge-seeking refugee ex-Kommissars from Hungary. With the unfailing instinct of a retriever, Uncle Chocho picked up the infiltrated Communist agents in Hungary, met the conspirators and arsonists, uncovered their secret printing shops, seized their arms in clandestine depots and, constantly on their trail, he had a jolly good time. His prize catch was the notorious Matyas Rakosi, head-man of the Hungarian section in the Moscow Komintern, who after the second World War became Hungary's hated dictator. Rakosi would not believe that Uncle Chocho was more clever than he, so he returned to Hungary, where he had served time once before. But Uncle Chocho was awaiting him at the frontier, before he could pass through the customs. There he was arrested and sent to prison. After a few years of


solitude, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact came to his rescue and Rakosi was swapped for Hungarian flags taken as a booty by the Russians in 1849, from Louis Kossuth's heroic Freedom Fighters. In 1956, it was the Freedom Fighters of our era who chased Rakosi back to Russia after several years of misrule in Hungary. History repeats itself with curious twists.

Police Chief Hetenyi's performance in controlling Communist subversion in Hungary remains unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Much of the credit for the assurance with which he picked his apples when ripe, must go, however, to a daring agent of his, Peter Heim, who in the early twenties joined the Hungarian section of the Komintern in Moscow and found ways and means to report expeditiously to his boss in Budapest on plans and moves of the Communists, as soon as they were hatched in Moscow. Peter Heim, in good standing with the Komintern, served in Moscow until autumn 1939, when he was recalled to Hungary for fear that the Nazis might denounce his undercover activities to the Soviets, their newly acquired partners. Anyway, this Peter could not avoid his doom. Entrusted in Hungary, as a reward, with the security of Regent Horthy, his much too one-sided talent did not allow him to relax. He enlisted, as a double agent, with the Nazis, reporting conscientiously to Hitler on Horthy's every move. He had served in his lifetime many a master, some of them simultaneously, but he had never been guilty of helping the Communists. For this omission he was hanged, when the Soviets occupied Hungary in 1945.

The Hungarian Charge d'Affairs in Geneva, Mr. Zoltan Baranyay, had reported in mid-October to Budapest that our handling of the Yugoslav border incidents was generally remembered in League of Nations circles as helpful to the prestige of the League. It was therefore a good idea for the Hungarian Government to publish now our papers submitted in June to the Council of the League of Nations, and also my Geneva speeches on the Hungarian-Yugoslav conflict and its settlement. That first conflict had aroused much attention in Geneva. In its editorial of June 6, the well informed Journal de Geneve admitted that "the reproaches addressed by Budapest to Belgrade are exceptionally grave." The paper explained that the capricious new frontier-line in the flat Hungarian plain cut across the properties of some 75,000 Hungarian small peasant farmers who were being mistreated and occasionally even shot by the Yugoslav border guards, when visiting


their adjacent small fields across the border. The Swiss paper truthfully told that on a frontier of 300 miles there were only nine authorized crossing points and some villagers had to make a detour of 90 miles to bring their crops home a few hundred feet away.

Fifteen years after the war's end, this was a truly vexatious situation, concerning which Mr. de Kanya, the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had exchanged for several months inconclusive notes with the Yugoslav Government. So, he decided in May, 1934, to submit to the League of Nations a detailed document and to invoke Article XI of the Covenant with reference to certain acts of the Yugoslav authorities "apt to disturb good understanding between nations on which peace depends." I had been for many years a close friend of Mr. de Kanya and repeatedly helped from the Opposition benches this brilliant diplomat to carry out his foresighted policy. Yet, I insisted now that a friendly solution and not the humiliation of Yugoslavia be sought and good neighborly relations be restored between our countries. An old disciple of the Viennese Ballhaus-Platz, Mr. de Kanya did not trust the Serbs ever to respond favorably to friendly approaches from people in the North, whom irrespective of nationality - Germans, Austrians or Hungarians - they collectively called "Swaba" (Swabians) and treated them generally as enemies. Unable to persuade me of the validity of his pessimism, Mr. de Kanya urged me finally to go to Geneva as Hungary's Chief Delegate and find out the truth for myself. This is how the improvement of Hungarian relations with Yugoslavia became at that time a personal affair of mine.

On June 5, 1934, in the morning, the Council of the League of Nations met in public session to consider that Hungarian complaint. I was careful not to hurt the pride of the Yugoslavs and only pleaded for an equitable solution after having surveyed the facts contained in the Hungarian fifteen-page memorandum. I assured the Council that we had no other purpose than to eliminate the causes of friction, preferably by direct negotiations between our countries. Mr. Konstantin Fotitch, the robust Yugoslav Delegate, argued that his government had resorted to strict measures of legitimate defense, since Hungary, from 1931 on, had been granting asylum to Croat refugees guilty of terroristic acts committed in Yugoslavia. In conclusion, however, he also expressed his Government's willingness "to enter into direct conversations with Hungary." This was a big step in the right direction.


Mr. Vasconcellos, the refined Portuguese Chairman of the Council, expressed thereupon the Council's unanimous hope that an accord would soon be reached between us and that there would be no need for any examination of the conflict by the Council.

That afternoon, in the cafeteria of the League of Nations, Dr. Tevfik Roushdy bey, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, accosted me with the question: would I like to meet Mr. Yeftitch, the Yugoslav Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had just arrived in Geneva? I was pleased with the unexpected opportunity to continue privately with the competent Yugoslav Minister the public discussion of the morning. While sipping a cup of coffee at the counter, we did not take more than 15 minutes to break the ice which months of formal negotiations between the Ministries had piled up. I made it perfectly dear to Mr. Yeftitch that Hungary, just as well as Yugoslavia, had to respect the right of asylum of political refugee - but only as long as they respected the laws of the country which granted them shelter. Mr. Yeftitch, a man of few words, nodded assent, whereupon I assured him that Hungary had no interest in harboring terrorists, even if they were driven by political motives. As evidence, I recalled the conviction last spring to fifteen years in jail of a Croat refugee, Edward Remec, for a bombing attempt committed in Yugoslavia against the Police Kommissariat in Koprivnica. Confidently, I finally asked Mr. Yeftitch to contribute to the desired improvement of our relations, by making certain changes - always on the basis of reciprocity - in the rules governing the border traffic and the use of arms by the frontier guards. With hardly any comment by Mr. Yeftitch, we immediately sat down to put into writing the principles of the agreement which were to guide both governments. With a sigh of relief, I read the text over the telephone to Mr. de Kanya in Budapest. I had to read it twice, for he would not believe his ears. On this basis a detailed, final agreement was signed on July 21,1934, in Geneva by the two interested governments.

This experience points to one of the reasons, why I believe that the defunct League of Nations, and its more vulnerable successor, the United Nations, have been and are still useful. The League was not an institution which had in itself authority or power to preserve the peace or to prevent war. But Geneva was "the place where"- in the words of Frank H. Simonds - compromise was to be made." The United Nations did follow until recently the same tradition. If burdens,


which the United Nations is not fit to carry, were not transferred onto its shoulders so often by evasive Great Powers, it could perform a more useful service as an international political exchange, where opponents could meet informally to settle their differences.

That same evening of June 5, in a friendly but serious conversation Mr. Yeftitch explained to me his worry about a Croat refugee camp in Hungary, called Jankapuszta, which was much too near the Yugoslav border and from which overnight refugees could sneak into Yugoslav territory to commit their acts of terrorism. This was the first time that I heard the ominous name of Jankapuszta and that the refugees harbored there were considered by the Yugoslav authorities as dangerous to their country's security. I felt that Mr. Yeftitch's warning might be justified and that we should not take any chances. Of my own accord, I promised Mr. Yeftitch to see to it that the camp in the proximity of the Yugoslav border was dissolved. Upon my return to Budapest, I called the attention of Prime Minister Gombos and Mr. de Kanya to my promise and they both were quite anxious to satisfy the Yugoslav request.

Alas, the best intentions backfire occasionally! Had we not insisted on the urgent liquidation of Jankapuszta, Uncle Chocho would not have passed Hungarian passports to the Croat inmates. And this constituted the one and only irregularity of which Hungary could rightfully be accused in connection with the Marseille murders. The Police Chief did this for his own convenience, to get rid by a certain date - as ordered - of that nuisance, the unruly Croat refugees. For unless they carried a passport, they were not admitted into any neighboring country and would have to stay indefinitely in Hungary, where they were not welcome.

Following the murder of King Alexander, relations between Hungary and Yugoslavia remained correct until the middle of November when the expulsion of Hungarians from Yugoslavia dangerously heightened the tension. For the sake of appeasement, the Hungarian Government suppressed a newspaper for two weeks because of the publication of an article insulting to the memory of the murdered King, while Mr. Vukcevitch, the Yugoslav Minister to Hungary, paid a courtesy call on the Foreign Minister in Budapest to thank the Hungarian Government for its condolence at the death of the King. Regard for Yugoslavia's hurt feelings was evidenced in Italy also when, on


October 18, Ante Pavelitch and Eugene Kvaternik, the two Ustashi leaders, were arrested in Torino. France asked for their extradition, but was saved much embarrassment when it was denied.1 She did not insist any further, for the French Government also had refused, some time ago, the extradition of the authors of an attempt on the life of the Italian Crown Prince, Umberto. The Austrians paid their debt to the dead King by arresting in Vienna the Croat Percevitch, a former Colonel of the Austro-Hungarian Army who was accused of having selected, together with Kvaternik, the murderers from among the Ustashi.

Inevitably, mistakes were also made in hunting the criminals. A tourist, posing as a Hungarian, but traveling on a Yugoslav passport, had spent some time last August in the French port of Le Havre. It was a shock to the French Police to find that his name was Ante Pavelitch. In utmost secrecy, a painstaking investigation was started to uncover the connections and activities of the Ustashi Chief while in France. The suspect's tracks led, however, to the City of New York, where Pavelitch was identified as the Consul of Yugoslavia bearing the same name as the Croat revolutionary leader.

Much commotion was caused in those weeks by the disappearance of a mysterious "Blond Lady" and her escort "Peter." According to the investigation, they had brought the firearms and had given the final instruction to the murderers in France. A number of attractive blond females were held in custody in various police headquarters in Europe: one In Paris, another very elegant one in Thonon, who turned out to be a chambermaid in the clothes of her vacationing employer. Budapest also held its charming "Blond Lady," called "Dora," and for a day or two her name was echoed in the papers all over Europe. She wished to remain incognito, while on a visit in Hungary and was identified as the sister of Ivo Frank, a former member of the Croat Parliament. The real "Blond Lady" and her elusive escort, however, were only identified years later, when, in 1937, Milan Stojadinovitch became Prime Minister in Belgrade, with a program of political reconciliation.

Stojadinovitch proved successful in concluding a pact of friendship with Fascist Italy, which, among other things, provided for the repatriation of Croat emigrants to whom amnesty was granted by Yugoslavia.

1 With reference to a convention signed in 1870, which exeluded extradition for political delicts.


Vladeta Milichevitch, the Serbian expert on the Ustashis, was appointed Delegate Extraordinary of the Yugoslav Government to supervise the measures taken in Italy. Milichevitch - in his own words - "had gone into this adventure in an effort to unveil the last of the secrets of Marseille."2 Most of all, he tried to find out who "The Blond Lady" and "Peter," her escort, were. Two prominent Croats, Dr. Budak and Dr. Bubalo provided information on this mysterious couple, which tallied, and Bubalo, an excellent amateur photographer, even had pictures in his possession which he had made of them.

The secret was revealed; "The Blond Lady was Stana Godina and Peter was her husband, Antun Godina. . . . He had left Croatia at the time of the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, after murdering his brother. He had been living in Chicago, and was for a long time, a member of Al Capone's gang, and a specialist in forging documents. His wife Stana, was a Croat, born in Chicago. . . Godina ran the Pavelitch centers in Trieste and Fiume, and had not only made the attacks on the trains in Austria, but also forged one thousand dinar notes. Pretty blond Stana Godina played courier for the Ustashis, travelling to Croatia via Fiume and Sushak, crossing the frontier-bridge with a smile on her face and the detonators for the bombs in her brassiere."3

When the preparations for the Marseille assassination were made, Stana Godina "travelled to Paris as an ailing expectant mother in a Wagon-Lit and took with her the explosives and weapons."4 Her husband had been producing passports of various countries, presumably the Czechoslovak passports also which were used during the murder plot. Peter Godina became later in Pavelitch' regime the Chief of the Secret Police. It is not known what became of this couple since then.

By mid-November, the French-Yugoslav police investigation of the Marseille crime had ended. The press was given the true name of the murderer: Velitshko Kerim-Dimitrov, born in 1897 in Bulgaria. In his homeland, he had been condemned for murder twice: once in 1924, to death, for the murder of a Communist Deputy, Hadshi Dimov Dima eight years later he was sentenced to life under an alias-curiously enough by the same court in Sofia - because of the murder of Naum Tomalevski, a fellow member of IMRO condemned for having become a traitor to the revolutionary cause. It was reported, furthermore, that

2 Ibid., pp.90-91.

3 Ibid., p.96.

4 1bid., p.96.


a vast Croat-Macedonian revolutionary organization was functioning in Berlin, led by a doctor, Branimir Jelitch, and his cofleagues: Kvaternik, Paritch and Milyovitch. It was said that they collaborated with General Sarkotitch and Colonel Percevitch in Vienna, both one-time officers on the Austro-Hungarian General Staff. No reference was made by the French Police to any offense committed by Hungarians.

A few days earlier, findings of the French Police had been given to the Belgrade newspaper, Vreme; and the New York Times (November 5) also published admissions of the three Ustashis who had come to France from Hungary, via Switzerland. They testified that on September 4, an emissary of Pavelitch had come to Hungary to select three Croats for participation in the plot to murder the King "who had been sentenced to death many months before." By whom? It was not revealed. The instructions with respect to the murder plot were given to these Croats in Switzerland by Kvaternik, the Assistant Chief of the Ustashis. While in Hungary none of the accomplices had been informed of the crime they were to commit.

On November 13, the Hungarian Police also ended its investigation and published a communique on its results. In compliance with the request of the French authorities and of the Yugoslav Legation, a vast investigation had been carried out, several hundreds of foreigners had been questioned and twenty-one arrests were made. No accusation could be raised, however, against any of these persons in connection with the Marseille murder. There was no indication that the murderer had ever stayed in Hungary.

The decision was announced in the communique that all Yugoslavs residing in Hungary, who might be considered as Croat political refugees, would be placed from then on under police surveillance.

This second communique by the Hungarian Police was correct. But the misstatement in its first cornmunique had not been corrected.

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