Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

In handing me his note No. 158 of May 21, 1934 Mr. Petroff, Bulgarian Chargé d’Affaires, stated that he assumed the most important part of the communication to be the statement to the effect that the new Bulgarian Government would continue a policy of understanding with its neighbors. He expressed the opinion quite frankly that the sudden coup d’etat of May 19, 1934 was inspired to a large extent by the desire to continue Bulgaria’s recent rapprochement with Yugoslavia and the realization that this would not be possible without a strong government in power at Sofia, capable of dealing with the Macedonian situation. This’ opinion confirmed the conclusion already reached by the Division.

Mr. Petroff was at some pains to convince me that the King was entirely unaware of this move by the military and stated that the King had no choice but to acquiesce and accept the fait accompli. It was apparent however that Mr. Petroff was expressing his own personal opinion in this connection. His desire was of course not to allow it to appear that the King had had any hand in an overturn of the government by military rather than by parliamentary measures.

Mr. Petroff expressed the hope that the fact that the new government came into power through unparliamentary means would not prejudice it in the eyes of the American people. He emphasized the thought that the present swing from democratic ideals to a strong and dictatorial government in Bulgaria resulted from the grave political and economic crisis which the country faced at the present time.

Wallace Murray