24 AUGUST 1912, Page 13


[To TIER EDITOR 01 THE " SPECTATOR."] SAS,—In my letter published some time ago in the Spectator, under the heading " Croatia and the South Slav Question," I stated, in reference to the establishment of the Dictatorship in Croatia, that Zagreb, the capital of the kingdom, resembles a besieged city in whose streets, day and night, armed police- men, gendarmes, and military officials are patrolling. Messrs. Leonard Butler and W. G. K. Boswell, of New College, Oxford, on returning from a visit to Zagreb, expressed in your issue of July 27th—" as far as their experience goes"— some doubt about my above statement. Will you kindly allow me to test it by some facts The ordinary police forces of Zagreb have, since the appoint- ment of the Royal Commissary been considerably increased, their number now being 150, apart from a numerous staff of detectives. Besides this the Royal Commissary summoned to the capital 114 gendarmes and 40 aspirants with their instructors. Formerly only the mounted pollee were armed ; now all are provided with big Browning revolvers. This inno- vation was accompanied by a warning to the public in the official gazette to obey all summonses of the police authorized to use their arms in any case of disobedience.

That these armed forces are not inactive may be shown by the following facts. On the day of the proclamation of the sentence against the yowl°. " conspirators " the Trinjski Square, where the Criminal Court is, and all streets leading to this square were barred by the police and gendarmes. Forty of the latter were in readiness in the police office ; meanwhile the whole military garrison was consigned in the barracks. The same day seven honourable ladies were arrested in the streets and sentenced by the police to five days' imprisonment only because they were carrying flowers which the police suggested to ha'e been destined for the "conspirators" I Also on the same day the Chief of the Police threatened a well-known journalist, M. Schlegel, with immediate expulsion if he should send any report of the trial to a foreign paper. Another journalist, a native of Zagreb, was expelled even before the publication of the sentence. I could multiply such examples ad infinitum. But not only the capital of Croatia resembles a besieged city, the entire nation is fettered in chains and her mouth practically muzzled. The whole country resembles a large prison.—I am, Sir, &c., H. Hrrucovicrr. 26 Bedford Place, W. C.