740.00119 Control (Bulgaria)/6–2945: Telegram

No. 456
The Ambassador in Italy (Kirk) to the Secretary of State ad interim
top secret

2814. Gen Oxley head Brit delegation ACC Bulgaria (re our 2540, June 91) has just returned from tour Sofia to Varna, going by route north of Balkan mountains and returning by more southerly route. Russians made strenuous efforts prevent Oxley or party to talk with anyone without presence of Russian officer.

In area north of Balkan mountains Russian troops have been seen in towns of Lovech, Trnovo and Shumen, although they may have been only advance parties preparing for future arrivals. No Russian troops have arrived at Varna or Burgas during past three months but there are and apparently have always been two Russian divisions this area.

Traffic outward from Varna and Burgas has consisted of food and ex-POW’s and inward cotton and some airplanes. There is definite increase in numbers Russian troops south of Balkan mountains since Oxley’s last visit in April. Every town and village west of Avtos showed signs of Russian occupation.

Towns of Sliven and Plovdiv were seething with Russian troops. At Plovdiv Bulgarian Army Commander was unable see Oxley because he was occupied with several Russian Generals. Accommodation requisitioning at Plovdiv has been extensive and it is reported Red Army HQ will be set up there.

Oxley met several columns and bivouacked units of Marshal Tolbukhin’s Army which is beginning to trickle through Bulgaria. They may be returning Russia via Varna although there are no indications at latter place. Route to Varna via Plovdiv is in any case extraordinary.2

. . . . . . .

Oxley’s summary impression was that Russian forces are massing in depth north from Greek and Turk frontiers.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For the other portion of this telegram, see document No. 693.