Executive Secretariat Files

Briefing Book Paper

Principal Bulgarian Problems


With the signing of the Bulgarian Armistice terms at Moscow on October 28, 1944, a completely new orientation of Bulgarian affairs in the international scheme of things was initiated. The present stage through which Bulgaria is passing is of great importance not only because of its probable future influence on the Balkans generally but also because Bulgaria in certain respects is a testing ground in the relations of the three principal Allies.

The United States Government does not expect or desire a responsibility or participation fully equal with that of the Soviet Government in the Control Commission for Bulgaria, but does expect a better definition of the Allied Control Commission’s authority, with provisions safeguarding the proper functions and rights of the American delegation. It may be possible to work this out on the spot. We have reserved the right to reopen, at some later date, the question of making the Allied Control Commission more genuinely tripartite in the period after hostilities with Germany are terminated.

We are anxious that Bulgarian reparation and restitution deliveries to Greece be expedited, but we anticipate some reluctance on the part of the Soviet authorities in the Allied Control Commission to carry out this program.

If any of these questions are to be discussed on a high level, it is recommended:

That it be made clear that we expect American representatives to have the necessary freedom of movement, foreknowledge of the plans of the Allied Control Commission, access to sources of information, et cetera, to enable them to participate intelligently and with appropriate dignity in the work of the Allied Control Commission, even though the executive power remains largely in Soviet hands;
That we maintain our position as desiring at some later time to discuss the apportionment of authority on the Allied Control Commission in the period after the termination of hostilities against Germany;
That we press for the immediate commencement of Bulgarian reparation and restitution shipments to Greece.

Principal Bulgarian Problems

Allied Control Commission

Pursuant to Article 18 of the Armistice terms, an Allied Control Commission has been set up to govern Bulgaria pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace. The article by its terms gives the Soviet Union a large measure of control over Bulgaria during the period from the signing of the Armistice until the termination of hostilities against Germany. The Soviet Government expects such control to continue also after this period, but the United States has not accepted the Soviet position. We maintain, and have so advised the Soviet Government, that we wish to make the division of powers among the members of the Control Commission during the second period a matter of future discussion.

Thus far the Soviet rôle in the Control Commission has even exceeded the proportions assigned it by Article 18. Developments have reached a stage disquieting to ourselves and alarming to the British. The latter have communicated their grievances to Moscow in the form of a personal note from Mr. Eden to Mr. Molotov. Bearing in mind that the range of our complaints is not so wide as that of the British, we have taken a more moderate course, hoping to adjust some of the difficulties on the spot.

We are preparing an approach to Moscow designed principally to effect a modification of the present Soviet practice of making decisions and instituting measures in the name of the Allied Control Commission, without consultation with the American and British representatives. We also expect to effect the removal of restrictions on the movements of our representatives in Bulgaria, and better facilities for clearance of personnel and aircraft entering Bulgaria.

Conditions within Bulgaria

The country is ruled—aside from the Soviet Chairman of the Allied Control Commission—by a coalition government known as the “Fatherland Front”, composed of representatives of the Communist Party and the Agrarian and Union-Zveno parties, in which it appears that the Communists are steadily gaining the ascendancy, aided covertly by Russian occupation authorities. Although the Regency ostensibly perpetuates the monarchical form of government, there have been reports that the safety of the Queen Mother, and perhaps the boy-King, Simeon II, may be endangered.

Bulgarian Relations with Greece and Yugoslavia

Bulgarian foreign relations are in effect under the supervision of the Control Commission, meaning, for practical purposes, the Soviet [Page 242] authorities. Thus far we have not learned much about these relations, but we consider certain public statements and other manifestations relating to Greece and Yugoslavia to be of great significance.

The Armistice and its accompanying Protocol provide for the delivery of reparation and restitution goods from Bulgaria to Greece, but no appreciable progress has been made as yet. Two Greek delegations arrived in Sofia, but neither of them could show proper credentials or authority, and a duly accredited official representative to the Allied Control Commission has not yet been sent to Sofia, due probably to the political difficulties in Greece. While the Soviet chairman of the Allied Control Commission has indicated a willingness to have a Greek representative at Sofia, there may well be opposition, on the part of the Russians, to deliveries from Bulgaria to Greece on any such scale as the Greeks demand. Bulgarian relations with Greece are further complicated by the reported incursions of Bulgarian irregular forces into Greek Thrace and Macedonia.

In marked contrast to her relations with Greece, Bulgarian relations with Tito’s National Liberation Front in Yugoslavia are of a most friendly nature. Thus, Bulgarian atrocities in Serbia appear to have been forgiven by Tito and Bulgarian measures for Yugoslav relief have been announced, probably resulting from direct Yugoslav-Bulgarian negotiations sanctioned by the Soviet authorities in the name of the Allied Control Commission.