The Archives of Serbia and Montenegro and Public Company Official Gazette of Serbia and Montenegro have published "Minutes from the Sessions of the Ministerial Council of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia 1941-1945".Over 500 pages of this book, with an introduction by Professor Ljubodrag Dimić, Ph.D., and introductory remarks by editor Komnen Pijevac, M.A., and Dušan Jončić, archivist of the Archives of Serbia and Montenegro, include all the minutes from the sessions of the royal government that took place from March 27, 1941 to February 8, 1945.
In that period six cabinets changed:
- the government of Dušan Simović, March 27 – January 6, 1942. (54 sessions held),
- the first government of Slobodan Jovanović, January 12 – December 28, 1942. (50 sessions held),
- the second government of Slobodan Jovanović, January 5 – June 15, 1943. (18 sessions held),
- the government of Miloš Trifunović, July 1 – July 30, 1943. (7 sessions held),
- the government of Božidar Purić, August 11, 1943 – May 25, 1944. (55 sessions held) and
- the government of Ivan Šubašić, July 27, 1944 – February 8, 1945. (33 sessions held).
The overall number is 217 sessions of the government held in Belgrade, Užice, Sevojno, Pale, Athens, Tantura (Jerusalem), Cairo, London.
Publishing this Collection has fulfilled the intension of the Archives to finally publish all the originals of the munutes in their entirety, so that future researchers will not have to search for this material in other places, indirectly, in the form of various copies or certified copies, in other archives, including the Archives of Serbia and Montenegro. Finally, by the very fact that they are published, the originals of the minutes are in the best possible way protected from being damaged or destroyed.
Now a much wider audience can realize to the full extent the historical value of these minutes. Publishing the minutes in their entirety opens up the possibility for a wider number of users to learn and be informed in detail of what was discussed and what were the conclusions at the sessions of the Government and what were the results of government activities in war time conditions and the specific conditions regarding its activities abroad.
The Government, which found itself in exile, was accepted by the allies as the sole lawful representative of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The respect it gained on March 27, additionally
contributed to the fact that the Government and the monarch were considered bearers of the legislative state and international continuity of the Yugoslav state.
The Ministerial Council at its sessions discussed about the war objectives of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, internal restructuring of the state, foreign affairs, current work of the Government, organizing assistance to Yugoslavia and its citizens, the military force of the Government both abroad and in the country, the assistance of emigrants to their home regions and the work of emigrants’ organizations, the fate of war prisoners and internees, the hardships of citizens in the country, financial issues...
In his analyses of the activities of the Ministerial Council of the KY Professor Ljubodrag Dimić, Ph.D., notes: "The story that the Minutes from the sessions of the Ministerial Council of the KY tell starts on March 27, 1941. Already in the early days of the existence and work of the Government there were obvious signs of discord, dissension, different views regarding the policy that was to be conducted in those fateful moments to the survival of the country, individual and party interests, the absence of clear visions, inaptness in facing the events, confusion and chaos additionaly leading towards the catastrophe of war. Futile discussions exposing unrealistic expectations, absence of pragmatism and distinct administrative and bureaucratic reasoning “devoured” precious time...The ministers of the Government in Exile and political leaders in London were severely polarized around numerous issues, equally so as to those referring to the past, present and future. "Establishing" the culprits for the military failure, betrayal and partitioning of the country, mistakes made, genocide, simply absorbed all energy and paralyzed the Government. Disputes, arduous discussions, quarrels, expressed animosity, distrust and intolerance seriously compromised the concept of the Yugoslav state and almost jeopardized its renewal..."
The minutes have been published without specific comments that might suggest any kind of “directed” reading and without additional illustrations or additional archival material that might “cloud”, rather than clarify, the basic archival documents that the collection consists of.
The minutes in this collection have been published in their original form and only obvious printing, i.e., typing mistakes was corrected. The original minutes, conducted by Sava Kosanović, are in handwriting, while all the rest is typed on typing machines. They were written in the Latin letter (with the minor exception of the minutes conducted by Sava Kosanović – they were partially written in the Cyrillic letter), in the ekavica and ijekavica dialect, depending on how particular members of the government spoke.