740.0011 Moscow/10–1943

Information From the Soviet Delegation Concerning the Situation in Bulgaria

Conference Document No. 12


We are aware that the Bulgarian people are showing increasingly their dissatisfaction with the policy of the Bulgarian Government.

Following the wave of political assassinations of pro-Hitler political figures which occurred in the first part of 1943, in that country [Page 713] there recently appeared partisan bands composed of peasants in the mountain regions and in particular in the Plovdiv area. In many places also there was noted active opposition on the part of the peasants to the requisitioning of agricultural products carried out by the Bulgarian authorities for the supply of the German Army.

Under the pressure of the growing opposition in the country the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gabrovski, who had particularly compromised himself by his ties with the Germans, was forced to resign upon the formation of the new Government.

The representatives of the new Government have made a number of statements to the Soviet Minister in Sofia87 to the effect that the Government of Bulgaria had allegedly decided not to send any more Bulgarian troops anywhere and to remain outside of the war. They in particular affirmed that Bulgaria had not sent and would not send its troops into Albania despite the demands of the Germans. Bozhiloff,88 and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kiroff, declared that they considered Bulgaria’s war against England and the United States as purely symbolical. Bulgarian ruling circles have recently emphasized that Bulgaria did not take the path of cooperation with Hitler’s judgment on its own will and that at the present time it is seeking ways to withdraw from the war. At the first meeting with the Soviet Minister, Bozhiloff attempted to assure him that the Bulgarian Government intended to pursue in the future a moderate policy. At the same time he stated that the Bulgarian Government was not decided to make at the present time a decisive change and to draw away from Germany since this was considered risky. We are aware that within the Bulgarian Government there has occurred sharp difference of opinion on the question of the recognition of Mussolini. Kiroff, who was formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs for a short period, opposed this recognition, but the other members of the Cabinet obviously under German pressure took a contrary decision, as a result of which Kiroff resigned.

In its internal policy the Government, according to its statements, intends to soften the regime in the country. In particular it has freed 300 to 400 political prisoners from concentration camps. It is indicative that the new Minister of Internal Affairs, Christoff, at a reception of the Bulgarian journalists on September 26, 1943, recommended to them that the press change its tone and take a more moderate position. Fascist organizations in Bulgaria, dissatisfied with the hesitations of the Government and since the growing opposition of the [Page 714] Bulgarian people, are attempting now to unite and are increasingly placing themselves in opposition to the Government. For example, on the 22nd of September 1943 under German inspiration there was signed an agreement between the leaders of the organization of legionnaires headed by General Zhekoff89 and of the organization of soldiers headed by Professor Kantardzhiev90 regarding the unification of their forces.

It is essential to note that the parliamentary opposition which had several times criticized the Bulgarian Government (Mushanoff,91 Stainoloff [Stainov92] and others) showed themselves to be weak during the governmental crisis following the death of Czar Boris93 and did not decide to utilize the anti-German sentiment in the country. On the 18th of October there took place a meeting between the regents—Kirill94 and Filoff,95 and Hitler, Ribbentrop96 and Keitel97 at which, in accordance with the preliminary information which we received, Hitler demanded from Bulgaria the introduction of general mobilization. We do not have at our disposal any more detailed information concerning this meeting of the Bulgarian regents with Hitler nor concerning the position of the Bulgarian Government thereto.

  1. Alexander Andreyevich Lavrishchev.
  2. Dobri Bojilov, Bulgarian Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
  3. Gen. Nikola Chekov, Commander in Chief of the Bulgarian Army in World War I, was leader of the pro-German “Legionnaires” in Bulgaria under the German occupation in World War II.
  4. Assen Kantardzhiev.
  5. Nicholas Mushanov, former Bulgarian Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs; leader of the Democratic Party of Bulgaria.
  6. Professor Petko Stainov, of Sofia University, was pro-Russian and pro-Serbian.
  7. Boris III died on August 28, 1943.
  8. Prince Kyrill was the uncle of the young King Simeon II.
  9. Professor Bogdan Filoff was a former Prime Minister of Bulgaria.
  10. Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  11. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, German Chief of Staff.