740.00119 Control (Bulgaria)/1–3045: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union ( Kennan ) to the Secretary of State

279. I have been somewhat puzzled by statements made in Barnes’ telegrams No. 17 (number to Department unknown46) January 25, 9 a.m. and No. 47, January 25, 10 a.m. to Department as well as a message from General Crane which was shown to me by our military mission, all indicating that Barnes and General Crane were both under misapprehension as to the position of the American representative on the Bulgarian Control Commission during the first period. I do not know what their original conception was or what documents they have now seen. Our JA [file?] is not complete on this subject for the reason that the matter was discussed in a preliminary way only between the British and the Russians on the occasion of the Churchill visit and was finally concluded in EAC. I gather from what the British Chargé tells me that a letter written by Eden to Molotov, in which reference was made to the British and American representatives “not taking their seats” in the Commission before the termination of war with Germany, may have been one of the causes of unclarity.

I should like to say that it was our understanding here that the position of the American and British representatives on the Control Commission in Bulgaria would be the same during the first period as that of their counterparts in Rumania, i.e., that they would take their seats as regular members of the Commission but the Commission would function as stated in the armistice under the general direction of the Allied (Soviet) High Command. In other words, their position would be comparable to that of the Soviet representatives on the Control Commission in Italy (please see Mr. Harriman’s 3911, October 12, 7 p.m.47 repeated to Caserta October 13, and my dispatch [Page 152] 1197 of November 1448 giving a review of the armistice negotiations in Moscow).

Since drafting the above I have received the Department’s telegram sent to Sofia49 and repeated to this Mission as 175, January 26, 11 p.m. and am glad to note that the Department’s understanding checks entirely with ours.

With respect to the possible effect of the Hungarian arrangements on Soviet treatment of our needs in Bulgaria mentioned in the last sentence of the next to the last paragraph of the Department’s message, I may say that two days ago the British Chargé acting on instructions of his Government50 expressed to Molotov the hope that the arrangements worked out for the Hungarian Commission would apply in the case of Bulgaria as well. Molotov’s reaction was instantaneous and highly negative. He maintained that these matters had no connection, that the concessions which the Russians had made with respect to the Hungarian Control Commission applied only to Hungary and that the United States position in Bulgaria was governed exclusively by the documents and conversations relating specifically to that country.

I personally believe that in giving this answer Molotov had in mind only the British and I do not think that his statement need discourage General Crane in any way from maintaining the position outlined in the next to the last paragraph of the Department’s telegram.

Repeated to Caserta as 15 and Sofia as 8 and London as 37.

  1. No. 46, not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 449.
  3. Not printed.
  4. As 21, supra.
  5. See also telegram 280, January 30, 1945, 2 p.m., from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 983.