Croatia asks for help to end war

Wednesday, December 4, 1991

The following letter was sent by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on November 21 to various heads of government, including Bob Hawke, George Bush, Francois Mitterrand, John Major and Mikhail Gorbachev. The translation is by the Croatian Ministry of Information.

The merciless war against the Republic of Croatia and her citizens, as well as the destruction of villages, the economy, and cultural treasures, is unparalleled in recent history and is currently escalating, particularly since the announcement of the possibility of the installation of peace-keeping forces.

The pronouncements of certain governments that they are unprepared to implement concrete steps protecting and ensuring peace upon Croatian territories only serve to encourage aggression against Croatia.

Now, when the United Nations, the Western European Union, and the governments of many countries are prepared to take stronger measures, the Serbian aggressors are resorting to new insinuations. By formally agreeing to the installation of peace-keeping forces by the United Nations, Serbia and the Yugoslav National Army wish to escape international isolation, delay the implementation of selective sanctions, and avoid the diplomatic recognition of the republics of Croatia and Slovenia. Before the peace-keeping forces are installed, the aggressor is attempting to establish control of all territory extending to the borders of what is envisioned as a "Greater Serbia".

The Serbian side is undertaking new offensives in order to occupy Croatian cities within the next twenty-five days, figuring that the arrival of peace-keeping forces will take approximately one month. Afterwards, after having established an occupational "fait accompli" and expelling Croatians and all non-Serbians from their homes, they want to take territories of Croatia where Serbs are not in the majority and which have never been a part of Serbia. Serbia wishes to use the United Nations peace-keeping forces to accomplish this goal.

At the same time, the world is being deceived by an escalating propaganda campaign, depicting the purported genocidal nature of the Croatian nation, and epitomised, for example, by the recent claim that 41 children in Vukovar had been massacred. Through such tactics, the responsibility for the horrible crimes committed in this evil war is thrust upon the Croatians. The case of Daruvar is well known, where European Community monitors established that massacres there were not committed by Croatians against Serbians but, on the contrary, by Serbian extremists against the Croatian population. We demand that an international commission be formed to investigate the case of Vukovar and other similar cases.

We also appeal to you to support initiatives to form an international tribunal on war crimes against the Croatian nation and other non-Serbian peoples, as well as loyal Serbs, to whose suffering the international community cannot further close its eyes.

The terrible destruction and human suffering and death, the military-technical superiority of the aggressor and the gainst the importation of arms is affecting more and more the poorly armed Croatian forces, and exposes the Croatian defence forces and the entire Croatian nation to potential total destruction and the loss of further tens of thousands of lives. Croatia cannot be destroyed while pursuing her just and defensive war, but the fate of the Croatian nation will be a stain on the conscience of all mankind.

We therefore appeal to you to apply all diplomatic and other possible pressure on the Yugoslav National Army and Serbia to cease further war destruction, and to send peace-keeping forces of the United Nations immediately to Croatia.

There is otherwise a very real possibility that the impending offensive will spread into the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are being used more and more frequently to stage attacks against Croatia. We are acquainted with the fact that Serbia's imperialist politics and the remains of the communist Yugoslav National Army desire to create conditions for a wider conflict, even a third world war.

In these most tragic days for Croatia, I appeal to you in the name of the entire Croatian nation, which is defending its recently acquired freedom and democracy, as well as its existence upon its own territory, to do all in your power to stop the war and further destruction and suffering of the civilian population, the extent of which was not seen even in the second world war.

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