Letter: A Yugoslav commonwealth to unite the fearful

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From Mr N. Marcetic

Sir: The suggestion in today's leading article "Bad news from the Balkans" (28 February), that the West "must come up with fresh proposals more suited to Balkan realities", is most timely. Unfortunately, judging by past experience, it is difficult to believe that it will produce anything either new or realistic. Had the politicians in the West been greater realists they would have heeded Lord Carrington's warning that the premature recognition of the seceding republics was a recipe for trouble.

A solution should be sought which would enable the South Slavs to live amicably together, regardless of borders which may divide them. The basic problem to overcome is fear: fear which prevents Serbs from accepting the splitting up of their ethnic body among the nascent republics of former Yugoslavia, and their neighbours' fear of a Serb hegemony were the Serbs allowed to be united in a single state.

In order to resolve this conundrum, it would be necessary to make the Serbs accept the internationally recognised borders of the new republics and also to make the Serbs' neighbours - in this case the Croats and Muslims, accept a guarantee acceptable to the Serbs.

This could be achieved by setting up a Yugoslav Commonwealth on the pattern of the British Commonwealth with a leader acceptable to both the Serbs and non-Serbs.

The candidate with the most legitimate claim to the title of the head of the Yugoslav Commonwealth would be the present pretender to the throne of Yugoslavia, Crown Prince Alexander Karageorgevich. As a Westerner and believer in the democratic way of life he would be a more than adequate safeguard of the human and national rights not only of Serbs living outside Serbia proper but of all ethnic groups.

Yours sincerely,


London, N6