Paris Peace Conf. 874.0144/2

The Chargé in Bulgaria ( Wilson ) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 8

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith clippings from the Bulgarian press of December 17th and 18th, and to especially call attention to the article from L’Echo de Bulgarie, of December 18, 1918,11 containing extracts from a speech of the Prime Minister concerning Bulgarian territorial aspirations which it is hoped the Peace Conference will take under favorable consideration.

I have [etc.]

Charles S. Wilson

Article From “L’Echo de Bulgarie.” December 18, 1918

The Hopes of Bulgaria

Last Sunday Mr. Theodoroff, President of the Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs, pronounced at a meeting of the [Page 259] National Party a masterly discourse, of which the Mir gives the substance. We borrow from this paper the part of Mr. Theodoroff’s speech dealing particularly with the international situation of Bulgaria. The President of the Council said:—

“All our friends, American, English, French, or Italian tell us frankly what they expect of us:—

‘Do you wish to gain our sympathy and our confidence? Keep quiet, maintain order and calm in your country, let us finish quietly our common work. We do not ask you to become our allies, to flatter or glorify us. Do you wish to inspire us with confidence? Show yourselves a peaceful and reasonable people; be an industrious people and not Utopians and people carried away by passions.’

“If I have anything to recommend as a principle of conduct, an appeal to your love of country, it is to give full support to the government, which will enable us to maintain until the peace, order and calm in the country. For this is the condition sine qua non upon which we shall secure the peace which the people desire. The Government which directs affairs at this time includes six different parties and represents the crushing majority of the Bulgarian people. It has no desire or interest in injuring anyone and is inspired solely with a desire to conduct Bulgaria to a safe port. There may be differences of principle in the parties forming this ‘bloc’, but the interests of the country bid us all to unite and work together. The armistice outside ought to be followed by an armistice within.

No doubt but that the question of the chances of Bulgaria at the peace conference deeply interests you all. I must, however, tell you that at this moment this matter is not clear. To name a lasting and eternal peace all circumstances will be weighed, and the necessary measures taken to remove all danger and obstacles.

Words fail me to show you how much a peace favorable to us depends on our good conduct and on our attitude as an element of peace and order in the Balkans. It does not suffice alone to have the right on our side in our claims on Macedonia, Thrace and the Dobrudja. We must prove that we are a people which can create all the conditions of a peaceful life towards progress and not capable only of alarms and disputes with our neighbors. The Justice of our cause is so clear that it has no need to present exceptional proofs. All intelligent men understand and share it. We are accused of having failed in gratitude towards our benefactors and of not having known who were our true friends, and this under the reign of a sovereign such as Ferdinand whose abdication was a blessing for Bulgaria; but the most horrible is the accusation that during the war we have committed atrocious crimes. Our adversaries are trying now to prove that in order to assure order and security of life and property in the Balkans it is necessary to entrust the direction of affairs in the Balkans to people more civilized, less barbarous. However if in fact there have been crimes the responsibility does not fall upon the whole Bulgarian people, nor upon the Bulgarian army; the guilty are isolated individuals who must and shall expiate their crimes, of this I can assure you most formally. Bulgaria reached an independent existence as a result of cruelties of this kind committed against our people—cruelties which are actually imputed to us. But we will not leave [Page 260] unpunished the crimes by which those isolated individuals have caused the gravest harm to our people which is by nature peaceable and not vindictive.

All this does not indicate that I have not faith in the great nations who will be called upon to pronounce their judgement upon us. On the contrary I am convinced that the justice of our cause, supported by our dignified attitude will be respected and sanctioned by the congress which will unite the representatives of all humanity. I am convinced that the great nations which will take part in the peace conference will not allow themselves to be influenced by sentiments of vengeance and punishment toward the Bulgarian people, but will accomplish a lasting work of peace in conformity with the principles of right and justice which they have always loudly proclaimed.

I am firmly convinced that the great people of America led by the noble Mr. Wilson who has already arrived in Europe and is at this moment in Paris, will intercede energetically in favor of the application of the lofty principles that he has himself proclaimed. Among these principles the first place is held by that of nationality, of respect for the will of peoples. This principle leads us to believe that the map of Bulgaria will be drawn in such a manner that we shall realize in full the unity of the Bulgarian people and lands.

The great British, which nation has always given us its precious support in our struggle for liberty and unity, which first spoke of our sufferings through the mouth of the immortal Gladstone (which led the Russians to freeing us), who again lent us their aid in 1885, at the time of the reunion of the two Bulgarias, who supported our efforts at the Treaty of London in 191312—this great nation cannot at this moment also refuse us its precious support, knowing that our participation in the present war took place under influences foreign to our people.

France, that country of humanity and progress which has always eagerly embraced lofty ideas and has never ceased to profess fraternity and liberty in its struggle for its sons in Alsace and Lorraine, cannot oppose the realization of our national claims, especially at this time when our neighbors can dispose of what belongs to them.

Italy, which like us is struggling for her unity, who has always been kindly disposed toward us and has never shown the least hostility toward us, cannot fail to declare herself as truly sympathetic toward our national cause.

I hope that that great Russia, the country to which we owe our freedom, will, if possible, by a diplomacy which will have consideration and influence at the international congress, be the first to intervene in favor of Bulgaria.

I hope also that the other Slav countries, Poland, Bohemia, Croatia, with whom we have had no quarrels, and for whom we have only sympathy, will also consider us with justice. I believe that they will exercise their influence upon the feelings of their sister Servia, with whom we could at this time more easily come to an understanding in order to avoid hostile competition and live in future as good neighbors.

I believe that Greeks, Serbs and Roumanians will be more conciliatory and will be inspired with the idea of a good future and peace between the Balkan people.

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I have tried to show you that Bulgaria has every reason to await quietly the world congress, where, as more than once in the past, she may count on just judges among the great nations. A nation, sound, reasonable and industrious, such as ours, has the right to hope that everyone will recognize that it possesses all the conditions to become a factor of peace and progress in the Balkans and to a greater extent than it has been up to the present”.

  1. Of the clippings enclosed, only one article is printed.
  2. For text, in French, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cvii, p. 656.