File No. 763.72111/3162

The Minister in Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria ( Vopicka ) to the Secretary of State

Bulgarian Series]
No. 178]

Sir: In addition to my telegraphic information regarding Bulgaria, I beg to make the following statement:

The decision of the Bulgarian Government to go with the Central powers of Europe against the Quadruple Entente was a great surprise not only to the Quadruple Entente, Roumania, and Servia, but also to the Bulgarian people themselves.

I beg to refer to my despatch of November 30, 1914, Bulgarian Series No. 141,1 which predicts just what has happened, and I would ask the Department kindly to reread the said despatch. I wrote that despatch upon the investigations which I had made and the interviews that I had had with His Majesty the King of Bulgaria when I was previously there and on the confidential reports I had received from different sources.

Since my last report, the Quadruple Entente commenced to work a little more strenuously from some time in April, and owing to the fact that the Russians were making a good showing and were in Galicia, it seemed to me that it would have been an easy thing for the Quadruple Entente to gain Bulgaria on the following terms: viz., give her Macedonia, south of Uskub, and promise to her Kavalla and Silistria. If the offer had been made at that time to give her the civil administrations of these places, Macedonia to be in charge of the British and French soldiers for Bulgaria, I believe that an agreement could have been made with her. It is true that at that time Servia was not willing to give up Macedonia, but it was for the Quadruple Entente to bring pressure at once upon Servia and to pay her a cash indemnity of say about $100,000,000 as a guarantee of good faith that Servia would get Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Banat, always, of course, with the understanding, if the Quadruple Entente should be victorious. But the Entente was very slow, and it was two months later before the matter was presented in the proper light to Servia and another month before the Sobranjé could pass upon it. During that time the Russians lost Galicia and were being defeated on all sides, and then the King of Bulgaria became imbued with the belief more than ever that Germany would win out. Therefore his claims became still more severe than before, demanding to occupy the whole of Macedonia with his army and not allow even the strip of territory between Albania and Macedonia by which the Servian Government desired to retain connection with Greece, calculating that he would have a chance probably to take Albania. Were it not for the slow way in which the Entente worked during the months between February and April last and the defeats suffered by the Russians in the months of June and July, the Entente would not have lost Bulgaria.

It was very difficult to notify the Department of what would be the ultimate outcome of affairs in Bulgaria, because the reports emanating [Page 71] from there were so conflicting day by day that it was impossible to tell with any degree of certainty what might happen. The ultimatum from the Russian Government was a great surprise to everybody, as it immediately caused the Bulgarians to join Germany and to start hostilities. As the Quadruple Entente had no army on the spot to help the Servians, it was a great mistake on the part of the Russians not to wait three or four weeks before sending in their ultimatum. This would have enabled the Quadruple Entente to have assembled an army of three or four hundred thousand men at a convenient spot in addition to the Servian forces. I am sure that the Bulgarians would have waited for a while if this ultimatum had not been issued, and even when the Russian ultimatum was presented, the representative of the Entente believed that Bulgaria would submit a new proposition and would work for time; but the Bulgarian Government decided otherwise, although two days before the ultimatum was given, Mr. Radoslavoff, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, in his speech stated that Bulgaria had mobilized only for the purpose of protecting her neutrality.

I asked the Department to send either a consul or Vice Consul Thompson to Sofia so that I should have somebody there in case anything of importance should happen; but perhaps I did not express myself clearly in my telegram. I was not aware that our Government desired to have a diplomatic representation at Sofia and believed that, with a consul there, I could do the work just as I am doing it in Servia.

The Quadruple Entente always believed that if Bulgaria should attack Servia, Roumania and Greece would join the former [latter?], and they therefore acted rather arbitrarily and not as diplomatically as they might have done.

From my despatches the Department will see that I never placed very much confidence in Roumania because the King is a member of the Hohenzollern family and the present administration under Mr. Bratianu always acts according to his wishes. The mistake of the Entente was that they placed too much confidence in the Bucharest treaty and the sentiment of the people in Roumania and Greece, which was and is still overwhelmingly in their favor; they have forgotten that the people themselves are not the deciding factor in governing these countries; therefore it was a terrible surprise for the Quadruple Entente when Roumania and Greece decided not to abandon their neutrality.

I have [etc.]

Charles J. Vopicka