740.0011 European War 1939/8143

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Chargé d’Affaires called to see me this morning.

Mr. Butler spoke once more about Bulgaria and the desire of the British Government that this Government exercise its influence with Bulgaria to stay out of the Axis.

I said with reference to our last conversation that I had sent to Secretary Hull a memorandum of my conversation with Mr. Butler on that occasion in the course of which Mr. Butler had stated that Mr. Hull was opposed to this Government indicating any desire to the Bulgarian Government that it remain out of the Axis and out of the war.2 I said that I had forgotten to speak with the Secretary of State regarding this question, but that I would do so promptly.

I stated to Mr. Butler, however, that I had recently talked with the Minister of Bulgaria3 and that the latter had expressed to me the firm desire of his Government to stay out of the Axis and to retain its full independence and autonomy. I had stated to the Minister on that occasion that I was sure his Government recognized what an adverse effect it would have on public opinion in the United States should Bulgaria join with the Axis powers and place itself in a position where she would have to be an open antagonist of the British Empire.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. In a marginal note in longhand Mr. Hull wrote: “When did I do this? I know nothing of it. C. H.” Memorandum of last previous conversation between Mr. Welles and Mr. Butler in Department files (December 27, 1940) does not contain such a statement.
  2. Dimitri Naoumoff.