740.00119 European War 1939/1446

The Department of State to the British Embassy


The Department of State is in general agreement with the views suggested in the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of April 6, outlining the position of the British Government as regards peacefeelers emanating from the minor German satellite states.

The attitude of the British Government on this subject in relation to Finland and Rumania, as outlined in the aide-mémoire, has been noted and requires no comment at this time.

It is noted that with particular attention to Hungary and Bulgaria the British Government are considering whether it might now be advisable to modify the entirely negative attitude which has hitherto been maintained. While concurring in this view, because of the advantages in psychological warfare which may result therefrom, the Department of State would like to make certain observations relative to the situation in these two countries.

Hungary. The Department of State sees no reason to question the genuineness of the various Hungarian approaches mentioned in the Embassy’s aide-mémoire. It believes, however, that neither the friendly elements within the present Hungarian Government nor individuals or groups which, in opposition to the Government, might hope to effect a change of regime, would be able at this stage to accomplish the fundamental changes of Hungarian policy, which would be necessary in order to promise a definite advantage to the United Nations. Moreover, it is feared that premature efforts to this end would result only in the liquidation of those elements which would be most useful to the United Nations at the moment when a far-reaching action within Hungary would offer the best prospects of success. The Department is also of the opinion that the individuals now in positions of high authority in the Hungarian Government should be considered as primarily interested in the tenure of the present regime; consequently propositions emanating from them should be regarded in that light with extreme reserve. With these reservations, the Department acknowledges the advantage of a somewhat less rigid attitude as suggested in the Embassy’s aide-mémoire, as a means of bringing the Hungarian people themselves to a realization of the practical steps they must take to free themselves from Axis domination and contribute to the victory of the United Nations.

Bulgaria. The general tenor of reports reaching the Department indicates that the Bulgarian people, as compared with the Hungarians, are less ready to admit the mistakes of their Government’s policy, or [Page 493] to take the positive action which would be necessary if they are to make any effective contribution to the defeat of the Axis. It may be suspected, therefore, that there is an element of “re-insurance” in whatever peacefeelers may have been made thus far, if emanating from official quarters. The Department therefore believes that the agencies concerned with the state of public opinion in Bulgaria should intensify their efforts to bring about a change in Bulgarian mentality, preliminary to any indication of interest in anything Bulgarian spokesmen may have to say. To this end the propaganda line indicated in the Embassy’s aide-mémoire would appear to offer an effective means of testing the real sentiments of those elements in Bulgaria which might be useful in the prosecution of the war.