874.00/7–1745: Telegram

No. 800
The Representative in Bulgaria (Barnes) to the Acting Secretary of State1
top secret
urgent

367. Top Secret, not for distribution.

The President’s telegram to Stalin2 as paraphrased in Depths 168, June 83 and statement on pages 6 and 7 of June 28 Current foreign Relations4 on US position with respect to peace treaties with ex-satellites, encourage me to hope that the admirable statement of views in Dept’s 84 of Mar 293 on elections in Bulgaria is as expressive today of Dept’s thought on this crucial matter as when statement was originally drafted.

In absence of info from Dept I, of course, have no way of knowing whether Bulgarian election situation will be deeply probed at meeting of Big Three and, if so, whether views as set forth in documents referred to above will be reiterated at this time by the US. These are considerations which now crop up daily in conversations with local political leaders who are casting about desperately to know what line to take in the face of Communist determination to retain their grasp on the FF and hence on country.

If democratic elements within and outside the Front could be made aware of views to which I have referred and that such views will be reiterated at Potsdam, they would be galvanized into a resistance [Page 695]against Communist designs, which in absence of public encouragement from US, could only appear futile and hazardous to them. At the same time it might be hoped Communist leaders would become more reasonable in proportion to degree that doubts of all-out Russian support for a plebiscite to perpetuate Communist domination (instead of free democratic elections) could be instilled in their minds.

The election mold has already been fashioned by Communists and the mixture of metal to be melted down and poured into it is about ready for the furnace. If Yalta declaration on liberated Europe5 is to be applied effectively in Bulgaria, prompt action by the US is necessary. I, therefore, feel obliged once again to ask the Dept to authorize me to use in my conversations with Bulgarian political and govt leaders the expressions of views that I have referred to in this telegram. If for some reason the Dept perceives serious objection to full revelation of our views, perhaps it could at least authorize use of substance of first three paragraphs of its 84 and statement of our position on peace treaties with ex-satellites. Whatever its decision I should be promptly instructed.

My British colleague6 continues to urge that his govt take a forthright position with respect to electoral situation here. But putting together all I have picked up from various sources I judge that London possibly having situation in Greece uppermost in its mind, is again prepared to discount Bulgaria and this time to leave to us the burden of any effort somewhat to retrieve matters here, if that is at all possible.

My deep interest in the electoral situation here is motivated by the hope that the fiasco of the ACC aided and abetted by Eden’s concessions to Molotov during armistice negotiations in Moscow last October, will not be perpetuated by the signature of peace with a minority-dominated FF govt. I am equally of opinion that we should do everything possible to avoid the stalemate of a policy of nonrecognition, if British and Russia are prepared to recognize the Bulgarian Govt. In this dilemma there seems only one wise course, namely, to do everything we can at present to assure the freest election possible with the widest democratic participation that pressure from US at this time can effect.

Repeated to Moscow as 194.

  1. The gist of this message was included in telegram No. 48 of July 18 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 800.00 Summaries/7–1845).
  2. See vol. i, document No. 285, footnote 5.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The statement referred to is as follows: “We consider that it is desirable to conclude peace treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania as soon as possible but do not think this can be done in a brief period. Meanwhile we would like truly tripartite ACCs. We are by no means convinced, especially in Bulgaria and Rumania, that we could preserve democratic principles and the interests of the peoples involved if we conclude peace with the present regimes. We will continue to press for application of Yalta in such important matters as the preparations for elections and the constitution of governments.”
  5. Not printed.
  6. See document No. 1417, section v .
  7. W. E. Houstoun-Boswall.