711.00111 Lic. Wolf, Rudolf/51/52: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Bulgaria ( MacVitty )

1. Nineteen transport planes were shipped from New York in December under a license authorizing their exportation to France. They are now at Havre. Several unsuccessful efforts appear to have been made to transship them to Spain. It seems likely that a further effort to do so will be successful and that they will leave Havre within the next few days ostensibly destined to Varna but in fact for a Spanish port.

These planes were the subject of a conversation between an officer of the Department and the Minister of Bulgaria on February 3. The Minister stated his Government had received information to the effect that Bulgarian consuls mights be called upon to legalize shipping documents ostensibly covering shipments of arms to Bulgaria but actually relating to shipments destined for Spain and he was instructed to warn the Bulgarian Consul in New York against such a possibility. When he informed the Department of the instruction which he had received, he was given information in regard to the apparent attempt to ship the 19 planes from Havre. The most recent information in regard to this case has just been given to the Minister of Bulgaria in the hope that he might inform his Foreign Office and that the Bulgarian Government, in order to avoid possible embarrassment, might wish to inform the French Government that no one in Bulgaria had purchased 19 planes and that therefore they would be leaving France [Page 574] under false pretenses if the shipping documents indicated Bulgaria as the country of destination.

The interest of this Government in the case results from the fact that, if the planes are transshipped from France to Spain, the transaction will probably involve a violation of our law as the applicant for the export license named France as the country of destination.

You are instructed, unless you perceive strong objection to so doing, to bring this case to the attention of the appropriate Bulgarian authorities and to suggest that embarrassment both to the Bulgarian Government and this Government might be obviated if the Bulgarian Government could see its way clear to inform the French Government, without delay if that be true, that the planes are not in fact destined to Bulgaria and that any export permit issued by the French Government, on the basis of statements to the effect that the planes were destined to Bulgaria, would be obtained under false pretenses.