Paris Peace Conf. 871.0144/7

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

No. 24

Sir: Referring to the Legation’s confidential despatch No. 23, of the 9th instant, in regard to the situation in the Dobrudja, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a memoire presented to the Brigadier General commanding the British forces of Silistra, signed by the Mayor of that town in the name of the inhabitants.

I would call attention to the fact that Silistra is the largest town in the Southern or Bulgarian portion of the Dobrudja.

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A copy of this memoire has been sent to me by the Mayor of the town in a letter, copy of which is enclosed herewith,14 of which I have merely acknowledged the receipt.

I have [etc.]

Charles S. Wilson

P. S. A copy of the above despatch has been forwarded to the American Peace Mission, Paris.


The Mayor of Silistra to the Officer Commanding the British Forces in Silistra

Sir: Yesterday the proclamation signed by General Berthelot was made known to the inhabitants of our town, by which the population of Dobrudja is notified that in virtue of the decision of the Inter-Allied Council, the Bulgarian civil administration will be replaced by Roumanian civil administration throughout the Dobrudja, under the protection and control of the Allied Troops. We obey the decision of the Inter-Allied Council with full confidence that the ruling of the Roumanian authorities, being under the control of the Allied Forces, will not degenerate into a real injustice, to the like of which we were witnesses in the course of 3 years.

Pointing out our faith in the efficacious control which will be exercised by the British Troops, we wish at the same time to call your attention upon the following questions in which our people are very much concerned and which cannot be considered as settled by the proclamation in favour of the Roumanian point of view for a full replacement of the authorities in general.

According to the proclamation, to the occupied Dobrudja may come only civil Roumanian authorities and not military. In our case we see that a general, a military person, comes as a prefect. The Chiefs of the gendarmery are military persons, and the very gendarmery is according to the Roumanian laws a pure military institution, recruited by active soldiers.
Dobrudja is an occupied territory by the Anglo-French Troops, the fate of which will be decided at the peace conference. Neither Bulgaria, nor Roumania have sovereignty over it. The Roumanian judicial and financial authorities do not have raison d’etre, because through the lack of Roumanian sovereignty no justice could be administered and no taxes imposed. The judicial and financial authorities cannot work and their presence is unnecessary burden to the population.
The municipal authority is a local authority and is absolutely independent and free from any state authority. Each interference of the State Authority is a violation to the principle of the self-government of the municipalities, therefore the interference of the Roumanian [Page 268] state authority in the proceedings of the municipalities must be removed. The privilege of a separate policy belongs to the municipalities.
In the proclamation is expressly pointed out that no inhabitant, no matter what his nationality, may be, should be, deprived of his rights in any way. The right to learn and pray in our mother language is the most sacred privilege of each individual. We see already the coming in of teachers who are preparing themselves to replace the Bulgarian teachers and take away the Bulgarian schools built at the expense of the local Bulgarian citizens, for which we have also formal documents. The times of 1913 are being repeated. Then the Bulgarian schools were taken away by the Roumanian authorities and the schoolboys were compelled to leave their homes in the course of 3 years in order that they may continue their education in their mother language. We beg for your guarantee of our rights; in the town and district. There are no Roumanian inhabitants in order that the coming of the Roumanian teachers be justified.
The Committee for food-supply is in a very critical state. Any change of the present state will expose the inhabitants to starvation, that is why we beg of you the preservation of its present state and take it under your protection.

By pointing out the above facts, we request you, Sir, for intercession.

For the population of Silistra
L. Ribatch

Mayor of the town
  1. Not printed.