The cast of characters to be found on the pages of the two volumes marked Croatian politics in the nineties; others who, in connection with them (directly and indirectly) influenced events in Bosnia-Hercegovina are also to be found there. Naturally, the main role was reserved for Franjo Tudman who set the agenda of every meeting, but we also encounter Gojko Susak, Mate Boban, Dario Kordic, Stjepan Mesic, Josip Manolic, Ivic Pasalic, Franjo Boras, Stjepan Kljuic, Mate Granic, Ante Roso, Tihomir Blaskic, Ante Gotovina, Slobodan Praljak, Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Nikica Valentic, Kresimir Zubak, Markica Rebic, Davorin Domazet, Pavao Miljavac, Bozo Rajic...
While reading the transcripts, three points draw our attention. First, the division of Bosnia-Hercegovina is primarily Franjo Tudman's project. Tudman was constantly fascinated by the idea of expanding Croatia to the borders of Croatian Banovina established on the eve of WWII. Tudman "pulled in" the whole state leadership in his project, although some individuals, rather weakly, resisted his "vision". Secondly, transcripts prove that Croatian politics was involved in the events in Bosnia-Hercegovina in the nineties, despite official claims to the contrary and official recognition of the sovereignty and borders of the neighboring country. Finally, consequences of those policies are even today influencing developments in Bosnia-Hercegovina; those policies partly resulted in the Dayton Agreement, and especially influenced the status and political role of Croats as a constituent nation in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
In the end, the fact that the Hague Tribunal also has these transcripts explains the path it took trying to bring to justice war crime suspects partly motivated by the project of division of Bosnia-Hercegovina. In any case, "transcripts about division of Bosnia" are precious, but at times shocking and sickening reading material providing a useful jolt of truth - tangible evidence of what happens when in the late 20th century someone tries to stick to 19th century politics, clearly "forgetting" that no one normal in the world, and especially in Europe would or dare approve something like that.
Croatian politicians in Bosnia-Hercegovina must be ready and prepare for the future events, regardless of the direction they may take. If they move towards democracy towards an agreement, that would be great; however, if they move in a different direction, they must also be prepared to make decisions, Croat decisions, just the way Serb politicians will make them...(F. Tudman, June 8, 1991)
If we find an agreement on that important dispute between Croatia and Serbia regarding Bosnia-Hercegovina, if we achieve realistic borders for the republic of Croatia, and if the problem of Serbs living outside Serbia is resolved in the way that is satisfactory for Serbia, then it may be possible that Serbia accepts such basis for the union that would also be acceptable for us...(F. Tudman, June 8, 1991)
The Croat community of Herceg-Bosna and the Croat community of Posavina would declare independence and join Croatia, but only at the time when the Croatian leadership decides...(M. Boban, December 27, 1991)
Given current circumstances, gentlemen, we prefer drawing new borders, from the point of view of all Croats and especially Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Why not accept that offer, when it is favorable for Croats?! I do not see any important arguments against that...(F. Tudman, December 27, 1991)
Just the way we exploited this historical moment to create internationally recognized independent Croatia, I think it's time we exploited the same moment to include the whole Croat national being within widest possible borders. It is less important whether those borders would include 30 or 28 municipalities...(F. Tudman, December 27, 1991)
Croats living in Travnik sub-regional community live for the idea of the final merger with Croatia and are prepared to use all means to achieve that. The young men are boiling with the Croat spirit. I say that because I am coming from the field. We visited every village within this sub-regional community of Herceg-Bosna...(D. Kordic, December 27, 1991)
Bosnia-Hercegovina did not exist between two world wars. Communists created it after WWII, even declared that Muslims were a nation, in order to supposedly resolve problems between Serbs and Croats. Did they succeed in that? No, on the contrary...(F. Tudman, December 27, 1991)
You say that division of Bosnia-Hercegovina would allow Serbia to cross the Drina River where Serbia has never been. Well, they are there. There are million and five hundred thousands of them in Bosnia, there are, there were 570,000 of them in Croatia, now less than a half will remain, but there are still one million five hundred thousands of them in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Even if someone gave us a border on the Drina River, what would you do with two million Serbs and what would you do with as many Muslims - what sort of Croat state would that be? (F. Tudman, December 27, 1991)
Our goal from the start was not to support Bosnia-Hercegovina the way it is now. That is not in Croatian interest, because Croats would continuously be frustrated by territorial and demographic losses in such Bosnia-Hercegovina. It is not accidental that we put in the preamble of the Croatian Constitution the Croatian Banovina. Croatia cannot live within current borders. However, Croatia within borders of Croatian Banovina, especially improved borders, is definitely a viable country...(F. Tudman, December 27, 1991)
The problem of Bosnia-Hercegovina is one of the more important issues affecting the Croat nation as a whole. The Republic of Croatia as an internationally recognized sovereign country and all Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina must realize that. It does not only affect Croats in Bosnia-Hercegovina, it affects Croatia and the whole Croat nation. Why? Because that is historically and geopolitically linked with Croatia because of unnatural current borders of Croatia, because of Bosnia-Hercegovina, this way or that...(F.Tudman, September 17, 1992)
Therefore, if the Serb aggressor is our chief enemy - that is the case today. But, similarly, we must not ignore the fact that we could definitively loose Bosnia-Hercegovina if we ignore the push to create a civic, therefore an Islamic state in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Please, tell me, what do we do then?...(F.Tudman, September 17, 1992)
Germany supports Muslims. Why? Because Germany wants to use Bosnian Muslims to demonstrate that it has been the most loyal ally of the Islamic world since before WWI. On the other hand, it joins the criticism of Croatia - supposedly we wanted to break up Bosnia - in order to prove that they have nothing to do with Croatia if Croatia were a continuation of the Independent State of Croatia, etc. Honestly, Germans have a chip on the shoulder because of the Third Reich and are trying to get rid of it by using Croatia...(F. Tudman, March 8, 1993)
I have a computer data base of everything that I sent to those territories, literally everything, and that data base is better than the one that covers Croatia. You are to be commended for that. I can go to the president and show him to the last bullet and sack of flour what was sent to Herceg-Bosna, including Posavina and you down there. There is no such a thing in Croatia...(G. Susak, March 8, 1993)
The budget of the Defense Ministry treats Vitez [in Bosnia] and Osijek, Gospic [in Croatia], and Ljubusko [in Bosnia] in exactly the same manner. Let that be clear. We treat equally Samac, Derventa, Osijek, Vukovar, Vitez and all the other municipalities within...(G.Susak, March 8, 1993)
Izetbegovic is thinking like this: in a union he would be only one among three equal partners. In a union the constitution would require that presidents rotate etc., and this way he would be the boss of the Bosnian Muslim republic. I believe that he is counting on assistance from Islamic states, including financial assistance, which he would focus on the Bosnian Muslim republic. Obviously, that is his goal, and that works for us as well. We should keep that in mind, but that should not become public...(F. Tudman, September 15, 1993)
Even though we have made an agreement with Muslims, with Iztebegovic, both public and secret, regarding cooperation between Muslims and Croats, they still continue with military operations. And we should push for an agreement with them, for the sake of strategy. Similarly, we also have to make sure that Croatian interests when it comes to territory are protected. We also have an agreement with Abdic, if there is a break up, that Western Bosnia becomes a part of Croatia...(F. Tudman, October 22, 1993)
I have some papers here; supposedly Serbs are preparing a war here in Croatia, attacks. I have said: there will be no war now in Croatia, nor do we need a war now in Croatia! Now, we must secure borders of Croatia, and future borders of Croatia in Bosnia-Hercegovina! That is a special historical task of the Croatian state, the Croatian Army, something we must not miss, right...(F. Tudman, November 6, 1993)
Two hundred thousand Croats have already been expelled from their territories; another 100 thousand will most likely follow. That is horrible for them, but from the historical point of view, you know, we shall have an extra 100-200 thousand Croats to reinforce ethnic Croat presence on our territory, from Istria to Baranja, you know, when we finish that, etc. Consequently, remember that every cloud has a silver lining, but we must prepared to exploit these horrible events to our advantage...(F. Tudman, November 6, 1993)
TUDMAN: By the way, who destroyed the old bridge in Mostar?
BOBAN: It... it had rained a lot and the bridge had been damaged so much that it simply collapsed in the river.
TUDMAN: By the way, between ourselves... Militarily, the collapse, is it more favorable for us or for them?
BOBAN: For us.
(November 10, 1993)
Mate, I am telling you like a friend, not only like a politician, I know your contribution and therefore, as long as I live, you will not be forgotten. But we have, because of the international situation, the way it is, to perhaps say: Boban, because of illness currently cannot do his job...(F. Tudman, November 28, 1993)
Your personal suffering and the hell in which the Croat people in Bosnia-Hercegovina live... But, dear friends, your report is still somewhat irrational. There are two reasons for that. First, you are ignoring the situation that has been imposed on us. Today no one in Europe and in the world believes that Bosnia-Hercegovina can survive.(F. Tudman, December 15, 1993)
The departure of Mate Boban from the helm of our politics in Herceg-Bosna is not due to his mistakes. Boban was not fired because of his mistakes but, as they said to Granic in the Vatican, because he has become a symbol where something else needs to be done [sic]. I have to find a way to keep Mate Boban among our leaders, but he cannot be the one to implement those policies anymore...(F. Tudman, February 13, 1994)
We must in our talks with Muslims push the idea both Izetbegovic and Silajdzic broached in conversation with me, that it is perhaps better for them to opt for an independent Bosniak-Muslim state; there, it is better to be separate factors on the international scene and therefore obtain assistance from Islamic countries, from the world, for their Bosniak-Muslim state...(F. Tudman, February 13, 1994)
If we manage to impose a joint currency, and language, we have solved the problem. That should be our goal. Keep in mind that many Muslims speak the ikavian dialect. They speak pure ikavian and ijekavian dialects, they do not speak Serbian. Therefore, why do they insist on Serb words? They got that from Serbs and it should be explained to them that they must reject those words as a remnant of the Serb rule, the Serb hegemony. Give them some concessions; for example you can call the language in cantons Croatian, but officially in the Federation it can be Croat-Bosniak language; then you impose Croatian and get rid of all Serb influences. It would be best if they agreed to accept Croatian language, but they won't.(F. Tudman, June 31, 1994)
Brajkovic told me that in Mostar there are already Muslims who are seeking dual Croatian citizenship. Today we'll give them passports, tomorrow, he'll drink a glass of wine with you, eat meat, and in ten years he'll be a Muslim Croat, see...(F. Tudman, September 2, 1994)
They are putting together lists of war criminals, and those lists include Croats. Why? You should know that they know much more about us than we do, about Croatia as a whole, about Bosnia-Hercegovina...(F. Tudman, September 12, 1994)
Therefore, let us not play games with two governments and two countries. We should create the country of Herceg-Bosnia, that is the Federation...(F. Tudman, September 30, 1994)
Not a single Croat general should go to the Hague, neither as a witness, nor as a defendant...(F. Tudman, April 11, 1999)