File No. 763.72/10512
The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall ) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 26, 11.20 a.m.]
3744. Since the fall of Radoslavoff Bulgarians in Switzerland have been actively attempting to get in touch with their immediate enemies, the Serbs and Roumanians. Such Bulgarians are professors and business men, members of official Bulgarian propaganda service. A certain … rich merchant and friend of Malinoff, foretold present crisis to a Russian in whom I have confidence, inquired how the Malinoff faction should act to win the confidence of the Entente and prove readiness to modify present policy. I repeat his statement in full as it is typical of general tone adopted:
I turn to you in the name of group of Bulgarians who hope you will aid them. We believe the moment has come to change from words to definite deeds. We have firm relations with an organization [Page 263] which exists not only in the interior of Bulgaria but also on the front. Situation in country such that sign from us sufficient to lead Bulgarian Army on the Salonica front to show white flags and to refuse to fight against the Allies. In order to have a moral possibility for this, we must put ourselves on the ground of a realistic policy and must, above all, come to a lasting agreement with Servia. Knowing your relations to us and to the Servians, we believe that you are the only person who could today arrange a meeting with the Serbs to begin negotiations relative to the conditions under which an agreement between these two sister countries would be possible. We leave you complete liberty in this matter to act as you think fit. We beg you only that the Serbs with whom we may meet shall be representatives of all tendencies in Servian public life. On our side we would be ready for great concessions and we are convinced that our work begun here would aid to great and spontaneous results.
Radoslavoff fell for the only reason which can destroy a ministry in Bulgaria, because the Czar desired it. The official announcement stated that he lacked a majority, but the Chamber was not in session. Therefore it is probable that Czar is beginning to doubt Germany’s final victory and desires to play safe by selecting a man who would not be looked on with suspicion by Allies in case he should desire to negotiate.
One of three hypotheses must apparently explain present activity of Bulgarians here:
- That they are acting on their own initiative as persons who, nearer the center of events, recognize the trend of affairs and the necessity of reconciliation with the Allies better than their Government;
- Under direct instructions from Sofia to endeavor to come to an understanding with enemies;
- [Instructed] from Government but so that Germany will hear rumors of it, become alarmed at the unrest of the Bulgarian people and grant Bulgaria the concessions she desires in Dobrudja and elsewhere.
It is significant that in spite of inter-Balkan hatred, two representative Servians and Roumanians, with whom I have talked independently, agreed that the present opportunity in Bulgaria should not be neglected, that a territorial agreement in the Balkans is not impossible, that even if third hypothesis is correct and Bulgaria is insincere it could only further embroil Bulgarian-German relations if friendly attitude shown to Bulgarian suffering.
It is highly probable that these persons will try to get into touch directly or indirectly with the Legation. It would therefore be desirable that I be instructed as to my attitude on—
- What questions I might raise concerning territorial arrangements with Servia, Greece and Roumania;
- Probability of financial assistance;
- Any discussion that might arise as to the attitude of our co-belligerents towards Bulgarian aspirations for those lands occupied by Bulgarians under Turkish dominion;
- The possible request that I serve in an unofficial way as intermediary between Bulgaria and other Balkan states.
If anticipated attempts are made to Legation and if Bulgarians endeavor to show readiness to negotiate, I suggest desirability at that time of sounding Bulgarian Government as to its inclination to receive a duly accredited American diplomatic representative who could reach Bulgaria either through or over the Salonica lines. This proposal would serve as a test for the sincerity of their efforts. If they accept a new representative with resulting displeasure from Germany it would appear proof of sincerity. If not, the whole matter could be dropped. There are also obvious advantages which need not be detailed in sending a representative with fresh instructions from the Department to converse directly with Bulgaria’s public men.