462.00R296/4628: Telegram

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

14. The first paragraph of this telegram summarizes in brief form the memorandum from the Bulgarian Foreign Office82 which was given to me today personally and on a confidential basis by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This memorandum sets forth the position of the Bulgarian Government on the debt postponement proposal made by President Hoover. The document [Page 192] is to be used as a basis for representations at the London Conference. Late last week it was sent as an air mail instruction to Bulgarian Ministers in Rome, London, Paris, and Washington.

The President’s proposal is accepted with gratitude since current receipts of the Bulgarian treasury do not balance expenditures. The proposal is held to cover the 7,544 pounds sterling and the 186,144 francs payable annually to France through the Bulgarian National Bank for service of the bonds held by France in settlement of the Declosières affair (see my despatch of November 8, 1927, No. 1113).84 The moratorium is also held to cover the out-payments listed in paragraph 1 of our telegram No. 11 of June 26, 11 a.m.84 Greek payments to Bulgaria under the Kafandaris-Molloff Agreement are held by Bulgaria to be outside the scope of the Hoover proposal. The reasoning is that the role of both Governments under the Emigration Convention85 and subsequent related agreements is that of a purchaser of private property and that the commitments therefore are concerned with private rights. As support for this contention the memorandum cites articles 10 and 11 of the Emigration Convention and articles 1 and 16 of the payment plan drawn up by Greece and Bulgaria and accepted on December 8, 1922, by the Mixed Commission.86 The Kafandaris-Molloff Agreement, which replaced this plan, does not affect the juridical nature of the obligations. It referred only to methods. In 1920 at Paris the Committee of Experts on non-German reparations rejected the Greek contention that the balances due from it were in the nature of war debts.
No communication has been received by the Bulgarian Foreign Office from the Greek Government to the effect that Greece will not make the payment which is due now and payable before the end of July. There is no knowledge here that any communication of this nature has been forwarded to the Mixed Commission at Athens.
I have been confidentially informed by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the British Government, according to a report of the Bulgarian Minister at London, is friendly to the Bulgarian thesis but holds the opinion that further representations should be made at Washington.
[Page 193]

This telegram is repeated to London for Ambassador Gibson. We are sending him by air copies of all documents mentioned with the exception of telegram No. 11 of June 26, which we presume he already has.

  1. Not printed. This memorandum, of July 12, and a supplemental memorandum of July 18, were forwarded to the Department by the Chargé as enclosures to his despatch No. 266, of July 25, 1931; received August 13.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Convention between Greece and Bulgaria respecting reciprocal emigration, signed at Neuilly-sur-Seine, November 27, 1919, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. i, p. 67.
  5. The convention signed at Neuilly in 1919 provided for a Mixed Commission to supervise and facilitate emigration. For text of the plan of payment, see Permanent Court of International Justice, Series C, No. 57, p. 18.