The Ustashas established their political camp – Ustasha headquarters – named a camp commander (and in villages they established encampments with commanders), they surrounded him with aides-de-camp, called people to rallies and swore them to Pavelić.
The Italian command did not literally share the same views, but they rather strengthened their military, political and policing capabilities in order to ensure they had as much influence on the island as possible and become dominant in that way (not only on the island but also in inland NDH, as far as Karlovac in those days). They helped each party fight the other, both Croatian and Serbian extremists equally, Catholics and Orthodox, they destroyed, separated, conflicted. They gave all of them the opportunity to exterminate each other. And they tried to keep low profile as much as possible, pretended not to know of any wrongdoings and that our internal quarrels were not of their concern. This policy was both criminal and unrealistic. The uprising forces that would soon appear wiped out this plan with their liberation efforts.
But it was only April of 1941, and the uprising was nowhere in sight. The island under Mount Velebit, although under harsh changes of power and armies it felt that some new evil was approaching, was still lulled in its own distant provincial lethargy and only few islanders noticed when a motor boat came over the Velebit Channel from Karlobag to the Pag port whose passengers would suggest their basic programmes to the new authority in Pag: a concentration camp is to be established on one part of the island. Italians will be responsible for the general security of the island, while the camp itself will be run, policed and secured by Ustashas. The passengers were sent from the top of the police authority, from Zagreb, as ordered by Interior Minister Andrija Artuković and Dido Kvaternik from the so-called Section 3.
This first meeting, the fist agreement between the new “state” and new island authority took place at the political body, the Ustasha headquarters (Municipal Centre on the coast), where the new political and administrative authority had its offices. As we are going to see later, the meeting was held over a map which was brought from the house and spread in front of the guests and hosts by none the other that the Pag clergyman. Together with Pavelić’s emissaries, he marked a spot on the map where the first butcher’s camp in the so-called NDH would be created. During this meeting they determined the location, the Slana Bay; they talked about the way in which they will bring the arrested people, Gospić-Karlobag-Slana (Pag); they talked about how there were no trucks for transport over Velebit to Karlobag, but that the road was good enough for prisoners to go on foot, so there would be no problems with bringing them; they discussed how they would use local boats for transport across the sea to the island, the prisoners would build their own camp, potential accommodation, roads and port, put fence posts around and surround themselves with wire, and build bunkers for Ustasha guards on higher ground. They would immediately star building the administrative building for accommodation of the camp commander and garrison; for better supply and exchange of guards they would build a road through the rocky terrain from Slana to the village of Metajna. There was just too much sea to go around. Velebit was in Ustashas’ hands, everything was in an isolated rocky desert preventing escape; security would be supported with machineguns on dominant higher positions and with the Italian island garrisons on Novalja and Pag. The physical reckoning with Jews, Serbs, Gypsies, communists and others was ready to start!