768.74/7–2345: Telegram

The United States Representative in Bulgaria (Barnes) to the Secretary of State

376. For past several weeks anti-Greek tone which has formed a noticeable undercurrent in the Bulgarian press since last September has reached a new pitch. While extremist Greek claims against Bulgaria including a reported desire to occupy Plovdiv and Sofia, have frequently been aired in the Bulgarian press, present campaign is concerned primarily with alleged Greek persecution of Bulgarians in eastern Macedonia and western Thrace which is reported to have resulted in flight of an unknown number of refugees from Greece to Bulgaria.

This campaign reached a climax on July 19 with appeal published in all Bulgarian papers and signed by “Citizens Relief Committee” composed of veteran Macedonian leaders and editors of leading Bulgarian papers. Appeal asserts that current events in Greece are “in complete contradiction” to principles of United Nations and claims that [“]mad terrorism of Greek chauvinist circles” is driving many Slavs out of Greece. Bulgarian Govt is urged to inform “makers of international peace” of this state of affairs and ask for a prompt investigation. Instructions are also given for formation of local relief committees in south Bulgaria and suggestion is made former refugees from Thrace and Macedonia assume leadership this movement.

[Page 328]

Nature of this appeal and position of its signers are such as to make it little less than an official statement of policy. By this fishing in troubled waters the Bulgarian press and particularly Izgrev the organ of Zveno48 seeks to bolster an insecure internal political situation and at same time mask the fact that today pan-Slavism represents far more of a menace to Greece than does Greece to Bulgaria. The campaign also ignores completely Bulgarian atrocities perpetrated on Greek territory until less than a year ago. A similar use although in a more moderate degree has been made of various anti-Soviet statements appearing in Turkish press over signature of Yalçin49 and other commentators. It is significant this type of nationalist propaganda is quite successful in Bulgaria and that many other wise moderate persons are convinced that were it not for Russia’s protection and the benevolent rule of Tito in Yugo Bulgaria would now be a helpless victim of its traditional Greek and Serb enemies.

Repeated to Moscow as 195, to Ankara and Athens.

  1. A political combination of military officers, intellectuals, and politicians, known as the Zveno group.
  2. Huseyin Cahit Yalçin, eminent Turkish publicist.