Washington Observer - May 14 1949

The Washington Observer - May 14, 1949, page 6

Macedonian Maneuver

The Comlnform has been working zealously during the past few Months to rovlve and Inflame the, ceoturies-old problem of Macedonia. Tbe Kremlin hopes that this will be tbe vehicle which will unseat Tito, the heretic, In Yugoslavia. Having failed to crush Tito through economic pressures, Moscow has shifted to a new technique: fomenting the historic longing of Macedonians for a free and autonomous atate.

Tbe flames were fanned high In March when the Macedonian National Liberation Front met in Greece. That emphasized the apparent Cominform strategy of linking the efforts of the Communist rebels in Greece with the aspirations of Macedonians for Indinendence. More recently Moscow has taken to the airwaves to carry forward its war of nerves on the Macedonian question. On April 14 last, a Moscow radio broadcast in the Macedonian language was for the first time monitored In Paris.

Although a partisan movement within Yugoslav Macedonia is not at all Impossible, Moscow may have a far harder task than it expects. Yugoslav Macedonians have achieved a degree of selfgovernment under Tito. Yugoslav Macedonia is one of six federal Yugoslav republics. Tito has respected the Macedonian language rights. The works of Marx. Lenin. Stalin and Shakespeare have been translated into Macedonian tongue and distributed even in the areas of the Macedonian republic. Under Tito's rule substantial public buildings have been erected in Macedonian towns.

There is in addition, a conflict In the aspirations of the Macedonians themselves. Macedonia, which has not been a separate territorial entity in over two thousand years, is now roughly 50 per cent in Greece, 40 per cent in Yugoslavia. 10 per cent In Bulgaria. Although there are Macedonian separatists in all three sectors, there are other groups who favor making Macedonia a Bulgar province, still others who want all Macedonia Incorporated into a Yugoslav republic.

The Cominform plan calls for consolidation of three parts Into a separate "free" Macedonian state. This new "free" puppet state would isolate Yugoslavia by establishing a link between the loyal Cominform satellites, Bulgaria and Albania. It would provide Moscow with a direct line of communication to the Adriatic, via Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, and would also provide direct access to the Aegean Sea via Salonika.

Salonika, a city half as large as Athens, lies at the northwest head of the Aegean. It is the southern terminus of the Vardar Valley leading through Yugoslavia to the Danube. A great power In: control of Salonika might very well dominate the approach to the Dardanelles.

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