On Thursday, July 6, the Day of the Diaspora was held in the premises of the “Singidunum University” in Belgrade. Speakers spoke about current problems between the diaspora and motherland in front of about 200 people.
One of the speakers was Miroslav Michael Djordjevic, who shared with those present little-known details of everything that happened after the end of NATO aggression against Yugoslavia at that time.
Below is the transcript of a part of Mr. Djordjevic’s speech:
“The Serbian Diaspora built a ‘pontoon bridge’ during the war. I say pontoon because it was temporary due to the circumstance. It was the proof of patriotism and love of the diaspora towards the motherland, because through that bridge, in the 90’s, throughout the whole decade, huge help came to the Serbian areas of the former Yugoslavia. This help was material in money, not to say how many billions of dollars, and, of course, in material terms, medicines and other things, which sanctions prevented Serbia to provide.
However, there was another help that was not at all respected or accepted, and it was lobbying, political help that we were trying to implement in favor of Serbia in a difficult situation.
This political help and lobbying was difficult to establish because we did not know exactly what Serbia wanted to achieve after the break-up of Yugoslavia. We wandered a lot and tried to find a solution.
I have to mention two examples that were a ‘crossroads’ for Serbia that are not widely known. I believe that they are, and maybe this can be proven, influenced perhaps on the very survival of Serbia in the 1990s.
One was a meeting at the [US] State Department at the highest level after the bombing, NATO aggression, and the other was a historic St. Andrews Assembly in Budapest in November 1999.
This meeting in the State Department is very important, because at that moment, after the bombing, America was deciding what to do with Serbia. The decision was that the regime must be changed. The regime can be changed in a peaceful way or by force. All of our enemies, who were very active, wanted to change it by force, they worked against Serbia day and night and invested huge amounts of money in it. What would that mean?
Simply, NATO would be activated again, it would occupy Serbia, and then Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro would be separated. Serbia would be quarantined under sanctions. This was the first choice and desire to be done by Washington. The second was to do it in a peaceful way – using democratic process.
We, of course, learned about these plans because we had a lot of friends in Washington in the Congress and State Department and we immediately tried to react to it.
The only way was to meet with the top officials of the US foreign policy and try to explain that it was possible to implement the second alternative – changes in Serbia by democratic means.
We met in July at the State Department with Mrs. [Madeleine] Albright and top 12 experts of the US foreign policy who participated in a joint examination of the problem. I will not go into details of the meeting, the only thing that Mrs. Albright said immediately was that they did not believe that the Serbian opposition can unite and carry out democratic changes in Serbia.
We said that it was not true, that it can be done, and we gave her examples and suggestions how it could be done. She said that this would happen, in a week she will make a decision and that we came at the right moment.
In a week I was called by special envoy for the Balkans and he told me that they have accepted this route, and that they will immediately meet with the opposition in Budva [Montenegro], which they did. The meeting did not go well, I will not go into details, but I have to say that after the meeting the suspicion has returned in the US that Serbian situation could be changed with elections. It lasted for several months, and it turned out that things were not going well. We were really worried.
Then we held the St. Andrews Assembly, to which the Serbian diaspora came united, believe me – truly united, and the motherland came to a standstill. We managed to force the motherland, all political leaders who were there, to sign the declaration and to go together to change the system in Serbia. America accepted it and then continued to work in that process and we all know the results.”
After the speech about current problems Serbia faces, at the end Mr Djordjevic added:
“Our history from the beginning of Yugoslavia was a history of late actions, missed opportunities and wrong decisions. We have to resolve this in the proper way.”
Born on August 24 1936 in Belgrade, where he finished First Male Gymnasium, Miroslav Michael Djordjevic emigrated to the US in 1956. Working as a physical worker he saved money for education and enrolled the University of California, Barkley. There he graduated in banking and finance in 1960.
During the 80s, with the partnership of several of the most important financial companies in the US, he founded two financial companies: USF & G Financial Security and then its successor – Capital Guaranty Company, which he took to the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. Under his leadership for ten years, Capital Guaranty financed over $ 18 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in America. Later, he founded financial bank in the US and successfully expanded its operations across the former Yugoslavia.
In 1969 Djordjevic received the Medal of Americanism from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in 1967 he received the Excellence Award by the American Security Council.
He has been included in the famous publication “Who’s who in America” since 1983.