761.74/44: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

33. In the course of a conversation yesterday the Bulgarian Minister72 told me that no political subjects had been discussed during the recent negotiations between the Bulgarian mission and the Soviet Government.73 He said that the Soviet negotiators had broached political subjects on two occasions but that the members of the Bulgarian mission had replied they were neither authorized nor qualified to discuss this aspect.

The Bulgarian Minister expressed the opinion that a month ago the Rumanian Government was prepared virtually to cede Bessarabia to the Soviet Union without a conflict but that recently and as the direct result of the reverses encountered by the Soviet armed forces in Finland,74 he had heard that Great Britain and France were urging Rumania to resist the annexation of Bessarabia by the Soviet Union by force if necessary and had promised assistance. The foregoing statement, which was made to me yesterday, appears to be confirmed by the statement made by the British Broadcasting Corporation today reporting an alleged statement by King Carol that Rumania would defend Bessarabia.

The Bulgarian Minister also stated that he had learned that Ritter’s75 return to Berlin (see my telegram January 4, noon76) was the result of difficulties encountered in the commercial and economic negotiations with the Soviet authorities.77

  1. Theodore Christov.
  2. An economic mission had carried on conversations in Moscow which resulted in the conclusion of agreements on January 5. See telegram No. 1, January 12, 5 p.m., from the Chargé in Bulgaria, p. 453.
  3. For correspondence concerning the Winter War and relations between Finland and the Soviet Union, see pp. 269 ff.
  4. Karl Bitter, Ambassador on special assignment in the German Foreign Office, in charge of economic warfare questions.
  5. Telegram No. 13, p. 539.
  6. For correspondence regarding wartime cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union, see pp. 539 ff.