740.00119 Control (Bulgaria)/7–1245: Telegram

No. 310
The Representative in Bulgaria (Barnes) to the Acting Secretary of State 1
us urgent

360. Please see General Crane’s telegram 1910 to Joint Chiefs of Staff2 for statement of “procedure in the work of the Allied Control Commission in Bulgaria” that “the Soviet Government finds it necessary to establish”.

I quote the above phrases to point the contrast with the following from Mr. Winant’s letter of October 22, 1944, to the acting Soviet representative on the European Advisory Commission:3

“Upon the conclusion of hostilities against Germany and until the conclusion of peace with Bulgaria the Allied Control Commission will regulate and supervise the execution of the armistice according to instructions of the govts of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom”.

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“Consultation” as provided in numbered paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Soviet statement of procedure could in my opinion only make our representation and that of the British on the Allied Control Commission even more effective as a tool of Russian policy than has been the case hitherto. If we accept the procedure outlined, the Russians will be able to contend with better face than ever that directives of the Commission are Allied in character.

Eight months of experience with Soviet authorities have taught all of us here how little Russians in Bulgaria care for our advice or interference. It should take far more than a note providing for “consultation” and sent at the appropriate moment to attenuate our observations on the state of affairs in southeastern Europe at the conference of the Big Three to “unlearn” us about Russian methods and Russian respect for the views of its Allies.

My doubts that our participation on the Allied Control Commission can ever become effective are even stronger today than when I sent my telegram 332 of June 23.4 I am, therefore, more than ever of opinion that the course suggested in that telegram is the course we should seek to follow with respect to the state of affairs now obtaining in this country. Hence with respect to Allied Control Commission procedure during such time as the “second period” of armistice may run, I reiterate the view (second section my 247, May 105) that all decisions of the Control Commission should bear signatures of the three Allied representatives, otherwise such directives as are issued should be construed as decisions of Soviet authorities alone.

The thoroughness of Russian efforts to sidetrack us and the British in Bulgaria on to a “deadline” was revealed to me yesterday in a conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs.6 He asked me why my British colleague7 and I did not seek to make our respective roles in Bulgaria really effective by persuading General Biryusov to withdraw his directive to the Foreign Office interdicting any correspondence between the Bulgarian Government and “foreign political representatives” except through the Allied Control Commission. I have long suspected the existence of such a directive but have never before had proof of its reality. I mention it now not as something that I shall respect any more in the future than I have been guided in the past by the suspicion of its existence but to point up the argument that if we now abandon the position set forth in Mr. Winant’s letter of October 22 by accepting the proferred procedure of “consultation”, we will indeed be building on sand with respect to our relations with Bulgaria.

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The result of such a course would be, in my opinion, for Bulgaria, complete freedom for the Russians and the Bulgarian Communists to rig the forthcoming elections, and for us a stalemate something in the nature of that which now obtains for us in Rumania, namely, non-intercourse with the govt because it does not correspond to what a representative govt should be. Now, and not after the fact, is the time to resist and to influence matters for the better insofar as we and the British can.

Rptd to Moscow as 192, to Budapest and Bucharest.

  1. In telegram No. 30 of July 16 (file No. 740.00119 Control (Bulgaria)/7–1245), Grew informed Byrnes that no action on this message, which had been forwarded to Byrnes, was being taken in Washington.
  2. Document No. 309.
  3. Alexey A. Rosh.
  4. Document No. 292.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Petko Stainov.
  7. W. E. Houstoun-Boswall.