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Withdrawal of George Musulin

During the first evacuation flights of the Halyard Mission, 225 American and 6 British airmen were evacuated. In addition, there were 8 Yugoslavs. Some of them, like Mihailo Paunović, were stowaways. Dr. Ivan Popov (brother of famous spy Duško Popov), was being chased by the Gestapo and was also evacuated.

The departure of these Yugoslavs was mostly unauthorized, but the largest problem was with the delegation from the Yugoslav Army in Homeland,  sent by general Draža Mihailovich to establish contact with the allies. After the withdrawal of the Allied military mission on May 29th, there was no contact with the Chetniks


A four-man team was led by captain Zvonko Vučković, who helped to organize the evacuation. However, this was contrary to the instructions George Musulin was given before the mission. These instructions state that Yugoslav nationals were not to be evacuated, especially not military members. The previous mission, which evacuated on May 29th from Pranjani, headed by Živko Topalović, was held in custody by the British and was not able to accomplish its task.

OSS officers Green and Joyce asked for an explanation from Musulin. They wanted to know who authorized the evacuation of Yugoslavs. Musulin explained that he was in a difficult situation, General Mihailovic made requests shortly before the evacuation and since he was helping to evacuate the airmen, it was difficult for Musulin to refuse this request.

When he arrived in Bari, Zvonko Vučković escaped from the truck that carried him. Other members of his mission were held in custody, and failed to fulfill their tasks. 

George Musulin was ordered to return to his headquarters on the next flight, on August 27/28. Nick Lalić took over the command of the Halyard mission. George Musulin went on to continue his service in the OSS in the Far East.  

Photo: Robert McDowell, George Musulin, and Nick Lalić with general Draža Mihailović. Pranjani, august 27. 1944. Musulin would leave Serbia on the same night.



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