The Ambassador in Turkey ( MacMurray ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 25—7:35 p.m.]
7. 1. The Secretary General of the Foreign Office84 has explained to me that he made his recent stopover in Sofia for the purpose of a frank discussion which would clear the air in view of the many rumors of Bulgaria’s intention to combine with Russia or with Germany and in view of a certain degree of genuine fear in Bulgaria as to Turkey’s intentions. He offered to the Bulgarian Prime Minister85 the assurance that Turkey has no hostile intentions and asked only to be assured that the same was true of Bulgaria. The Prime Minister told him that the Bulgarian Government realizes that any attempt to vindicate its territorial claims at the present time would jeopardize the whole Balkan peninsula and is therefore to maintain a policy of neutrality and to hold its claims in abeyance in the hope of reaching satisfactory adjustments by peaceful means after the danger has passed. Upon Numan’s inquiring what would be Bulgaria’s attitude if Germany or Russia were to invade the Balkans the Prime Minister expressed his conviction that neither would find it to its interest to do so; but when pressed as to what his Government would do if that contingency were unexpectedly to arise he said that it would fight in defense of its integrity and its right to remain neutral. He declared in answer to further questions that if confronted by a demand to permit passage for invading forces through Bulgarian territory his Government would refuse and would if necessary resist by force rather than plead inability to prevent it. In return for this assurance Numan promised him that so long as Bulgaria effectively maintained its neutrality [Page 456] both Turkey and its allies would respect the Bulgarian frontiers as inviolable.
2. He expects the forthcoming conference of the Balkan Entente at Belgrade to lead to no concrete results beyond the prolongation of the Entente but to afford a useful opportunity to survey the Balkan situation in the light of present European conditions and to counteract any centrifugal tendencies among its members. He ridiculed current reports that the conference is to be attended by observers on behalf of any nation outside the Entente.
Repeated to Sofia.