740.00119 Control (Bulgaria)/7–2045: Telegram

No. 1074
The Ambassador in Italy ( Kirk ) to the Acting Secretary of State 1

3002. General Oxley, head of British Delegation ACC, Bulgari[a,] reports that when he saw General Biryusov yesterday he asked him whether there was any basis for rumor that Russia[n] Army of Occupation in Bulgaria had been increased. General Oxley said that he himself had seen troops passing through Sofia and had also seen them moving through the country on his tour. (See our 2821, June 30.2) Oxley said he preferred to ask Biryusov direct rather than give credence to rumors often exaggerated through malice. Therefore he asked Biryusov whether he would like to answer two definite questions: (1) Had Russian Army been increased and (2) if so, what was significance? He answered that Russian armies in southeast Europe were being regrouped due to withdrawal northeast from southern part of area made move through Bulgaria necessary. Biryusov then paused and Oxley asked whether they were going through Bulgaria to Russia. Biryusov paused again and then made reply which Oxley said astonished him somewhat. Biryusov said there were other countries beyond Bulgaria and that he did not know plans of General Staff in this connection. Biryusov then started questioning Oxley and said he understood British garrison in Greece had been increased largely. He added that Greek press was putting out highly inflammatory statements of which one was to effect that they proposed to march through Bulgaria to Moscow. He said he thought they could be thought of as a flea on an elephant’s back who feels that much stronger. Oxley observed that it was gratifying that British rate as an elephant. Oxley tried to allay his fears by pointing out that there had been no increase of British troops in Greece and Biryusov said he accepted tha[t] statement. Oxley then explained that Greeks were similar to Europeans and other Mediterranean races. As an excitabl[e] people sufferings they had undergone had only intensified that trait and that undue attention should not be given to irresponsible faction of press. Oxley assured Biryusov that if anything were worrying him at any time he had only to ask and Oxley would make every effort to give reliable information.

  1. The gist of this message was included in telegram No. 106 of July 23 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 800.00 Summaries/7–2345).
  2. Not printed.