This was the first time the Society ventured behind the Iron Curtain, for which it again received support from the British Council. There was no obvious political supervision, but nonetheless it was said to exist and was justified on the grounds that a central cohesive force was necessary for any country which embraced six republics, five nations, four languages, three religions and two alphabets.
Hospitals seemed old and poorly equipped, and local people feared being seen with westerners. Belgrade provided the base for a visit to Kragujevac, the old capital city of Serbia. Professor Papo, fluent in seven languages, was met at the Military Hospital in Belgrade; he had a special interest in lye-induced oesophageal strictures. The visit to Ljubljana coincided with that of President Nasser of Egypt, but their paths did not cross.
At the University Surgical Clinic, Professor Derganc welcomed “my dear British friends” who saw operations and read and heard papers, including one from Manchester’s Professor Michael Boyd who delivered a hearty attack on direct arterial surgery in his presentation “The Natural Course of Arteriosclerosis of the Lower Extremities”. In Zagreb the Society was welcomed by Professor Jusbasic, who said that the Ambroise Paré Club from France had visited the previous week. Surgeons were full-time and worked a forty-two hour week, and were paid a pittance, but could do outside work and might be allowed to own a small car and small house.