874.00/7–2745: Telegram

No. 823
The Representative in Bulgaria (Barnes) to the Acting Secretary of State1
plain

386. Following is Petkov, Stamboliski, Yurdonov letter to Prime Minister (please see my 385 July 26 [27]2):

“The elections which are about to be held in Bulgaria have great historical importance in view of the domestic and international position of this country. In order to justify this importance, however, they should be completely free and democratic and should be conducted in accordance with our constitution and with principles proclaimed at Yalta, in order that they may give the Bulgarian people the opportunity to express their true will regarding their political destiny.

The voters [government?], fully conscious of the importance of the coming elections, has through the Minister of Interior3 taken a clear and firm position regarding the complete freedom of the elections and has taken all possible measures to the end that this freedom be fully guaranteed. We nevertheless believe that in view of the present domestic and international position of our country it is not sufficient that the government itself be aware of the absolute necessity of free elections. It is much more important that the voters themselves be imbued with the conviction that the elections will in fact be free and that they will run no risk whatsoever in freely expressing their will as voters. It is no less important that public opinion here and abroad be imbued with this same conviction.

At the same time it is no secret that, despite all announcements and expression of goodwill on the part of the government, the Bulgarian voters and foreign public opinion are by no means convinced that the freedom of elections, so authoritatively asserted by the government, will be respected by all. The Bulgarian voter is still under the impression of certain fresh memories of revolutionary excesses and recent evidence of the inadequate discipline of the organs of the militia. He [is] still under the influence of impressions resulting from the present international position of our country, which is as yet place[d] in the position, although in a mild form, of a defeated country.

For these reasons we permit ourselves to present to you the following petition: We request that you ask the Allied Control Commission in Bulgaria to agree that the elections should be held in Bulgaria under Allied control. Such control, in our view is the logical consequence of our present international position. It also derives from the principles which were proclaimed at Yalta, and which are the responsibility not only of ourselves but also of the great democracies. They, no less than we should be convinced that the elections are in fact free and express true will of people. Moreover, such a control [Page 725]would strengthen the faith of Bulgarian voter that, despite the domestic and international position of our country, the freedom of elections is fully guaranteed.

It is possible that the organization of such a control may require the postponement of the elections. In this we see no inconvenience. On the contrary such a postponement would greatly contribute to the freer and fuller expression of the will of the people. It would make it possible for the elections to be held at a time when the Bulgarian voters, the great majority of whom are agricultural workers engaged in the active cultivation of their fields until the middle of October would be able to take a greater part in the pre-election deliberations and in the elections themselves. Such a postponement would also permit a more complete organization of the elections, with a better supply of paper and more time to send out electoral appeals manifestos and so on. It would also provide the government with a further opportunity to improve its discipline, particularly with regard to the militia, and to make the latter, in its entirety and in every one of its organs, a thoroughly prepared instrument, fully subordinated to laws of land. Finally, it would provide an opportunity for the full and definitive reestablishment of the constitutional freedoms, the freedom of speech, of press and of association, without which freedoms no free elections are possible.

We hope that this petition of ours, which is justified by international and domestic considerations and which is in full accord with the international and domestic juridical needs of our country, will be given due consideration by you”.

Repeated to Moscow as No. 200.

Barnes
  1. The gist of this message was included in telegram No. 156 of July 30 from Grew to Byrnes (file No. 874.00/7–2745).
  2. Document No. 822.
  3. Anton Yugov.