The Department of State to the British Embassy 21


Reference is made to the British Embassy’s Aide-Mémoire of January 2, 1945, concerning agitation among certain Yugoslav and Bulgarian [Page 1307] circles in favor of a “Greater Macedonia” and a South Slav federation including Bulgaria as well as Macedonia and other areas of Yugoslavia. It is noted that the British Government does not wish any Macedonian state (or the Yugoslav Government speaking on its behalf) to annex or lay claim to Greek or Bulgarian territory, and that, while it would welcome a federation including all the Balkan states, the British Government would not favor an exclusive union or federation between Yugoslavs and Bulgarians.

The United States Government holds the view that the pre-war frontiers of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece in the Macedonian area must be considered as the legal boundaries, and that revision of any of them should be permitted only if it conforms to the freely expressed will of the populations directly concerned and has international sanction as a part of the general peace settlement.

If in the constitution of Yugoslavia the Government and people of that country desire to set up a regional and decentralized administration under which the area of southeastern Yugoslavia would have a certain autonomous character, there would of course be no ground for objection on the part of the United States Government. This Government concurs, however, in the view of the British Government that there is no legitimate basis for any claim made on behalf of “Macedonia”, whether as an independent state or as a part of Yugoslavia or of a larger South Slav federation, to territory within the boundaries of Greece on the ground that such territory is “Macedonian”.

With respect to the frontier between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, the United States Government favors the retention of the present boundary but would not be inclined to object to any settlement calculated to contribute to the peace, stability and general welfare of the region, if reached through free negotiation on the part of those two states at such time as it may become clear that their respective Governments are in a position to represent the real desires of the peoples involved, including also those inhabitants of the parts of Yugoslavia still under enemy occupation. It is the view of this Government that changes in the territorial boundaries of Bulgaria should not be made during the period preceding the general settlement with Bulgaria as an enemy state.

The United States Government believes that the union of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria to constitute a single South Slav federation would under present circumstances be a disturbing rather than a stabilizing factor in Southeastern Europe, since the neighboring non-Slavic states, including Turkey, would consider it a threat to their security. In the opinion of this Government such a union in any case should not be permitted before the conclusion of peace between Bulgaria and [Page 1308] the United Nations. This Government would be willing, however, to give consideration to a plan for regional understandings to include all the states of Southeastern Europe, rather than an exclusively Slavic bloc, should all these states decide, with the concurrence of the principal Allied Governments, that such a grouping would represent a contribution to the welfare and progress of that area.

  1. A detailed summary of this note was sent on February 24. 1945. as telegram 50, to the United States Representative in Bulgaria (Barnes), and repeated to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman), the U. S. Political Adviser on the Staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations (Kirk), and to the Ambassador to Yugoslavia, in London (Patterson).