C.F.M. Files: Lot M–88: Box 2079: CFM Documents

Memorandum by the Bulgarian Government to the Council of Foreign Ministers 9

In the course of the Paris Peace Conference, the Bulgarian Delegation had the opportunity of presenting their standpoint on the provisions of the Draft Peace Treaty with Bulgaria, both in the Plenary Session and in the Sessions of the respective Commissions. The deliberations which took place on these occasions made it possible to clarify many questions connected with this Draft Treaty. Some of the questions were solved adequately and fairly and the recommendation made on them are presented now for approval to the Council of the Foreign Ministers. Other questions, however, which were of no less importance were not decided definitely on the part of the Conference and were left either pending or with inadequate recommendations.

That is why the Bulgarian Government feel dutybound to present to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs the present Memorandum, hoping that the points of view contained in it would be reviewed favorably, when steps will be taken for the final elaboration of the Draft Peace Treaty with Bulgaria.

[Page 947]

With reference to the Preamble of the Treaty, the Bulgarian Government wishes to make two amendments. The first refers to the recognition of Bulgaria as a co-belligerent party by the United Nations. The reasons for this request were presented in detail before the Paris Conference and we do not find it necessary to have them repeated here. An impartial appreciation of these considerations should not, in our mind, but satisfy this perfectly fair demand of the Bulgarian people, who without denying the responsibility of Bulgaria for the criminal acts of the former fascist rulers, made a considerable contribution in the common struggle of the United Nations against Hitlerite Germany.

The second amendment in the Preamble, which the Bulgarian Government request, is concerning the exact date of the beginning of the Bulgarian military operations against Germany, i.e. 10th September 1944, instead of the erroneous date put on record in the Draft Peace Treaty.10 The admission of such an obviously inexact historical fact in a document like the Peace Treaty would be hard to understand. Actually, no one contests the very fact that Bulgaria started the war against Germany really way back on 10th September 1944, and not after signing the Moscow Armistice Agreement.

The deliberations and the vote on art. 1st of the Draft Treaty, which has reference to the Bulgarian frontiers, resulted in a peculiar situation at the Paris Conference. The political and territorial Commission for Bulgaria rejected on 1st October the Greek claims for the cession of new parcels of Bulgarian territory and accepted art. 1st of the Draft Peace Treaty in the form, as it was presented to the Council of the Four Ministers for Foreign Affairs, by 10 votes against 1 and 2 abstentions.11 Somewhat later, on 11th October, the Chairman of the Plenary Session of the Conference, stated that art. 1st was not accepted, because it was voted by 9 countries, while 12 countries abstained from voting.12 We do not find it necessary to dwell on the formal side of such manner of voting, which leaves us in a considerable amazement as to what actually was decided at the Conference, were we to admit that article 1st was rejected. Obviously so far as the substance matter of the problem of the Bulgarian frontier is concerned, no change has taken place nor could take place in the period between the two above mentioned votes. The Bulgarian Government believes firmly that the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs would reject the [Page 948] claims of the Greek Government for the acquisition of new Bulgarian lands. These claims are entirely unjustifiable.

The Bulgarian Government also hope that the Council would reconsider the demand of Bulgaria for an outlet on the Aegean Sea and for the restoration of Western Thrace. We understand that, very likely, considerations of political convenience, rather than objections on the substance matter of the problem, prevented the Paris Conference to take a definite and favorable standpoint on such a legitimate demand. This question is not new. It is not for the first time put before an international assembly. When after the first world war, Bulgaria was compelled to cede Western Thrace and was thereby deprived of any outlet on the Aegean Sea, the whole world had the impression that this was an abuse of power and authority made possible by the helpless situation of Bulgaria at that time. We should regret sincerely that once more a Peace Conference does not seem to be prepared in giving the only just a [and?] reasonable solution of this question: to recognize the incontestable right of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Government wish to believe that the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs would reconsider this question in a spirit of understanding and would take decisions, affording a legitimate satisfaction to the Bulgarian people and would, in this manner, become instrumental for the happy development of Balkan relations in the future.

The Bulgarian Government request the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs to omit the additional article 2, proposed by the United Kingdom, concerning the status of Jews in Bulgaria. It is well known that Jews in Bulgaria enjoy rights and liberties on the basis of equality with all other Bulgarian citizens. We trust, that the Council will bear in mind the actual state of affairs and will spare Bulgaria an undeserved offense. The Bulgarian Government also hope firmly, that some improvement should be introduced in regard to the military clauses, like, for instance, allowing Bulgaria to have for the defense of her Black Sea ports motor torpedo boats and would reject also Greek proposition for the demilitarization of the Bulgarian border. This proposition could serve no other purpose but to humiliate unduly Bulgaria, since there are no military fortifications and equipment built by the Bulgarians on the Bulgarian-Greek frontier.

And it is also inconceivable why such restrictions and such a demilitarized zone should be established, since by virtue of the Peace Treaty the entire territory of Bulgaria, so to say, is “demilitarized”, Bulgaria is left with insufficient forces even for the defense of the country, and, what is in no way less important, since present Bulgaria [Page 949] has given and continues to give all evidence that she is a solid factor of peace and order in the Balkans.

In connection with the question of reparations, the Bulgarian Government should express their regret, that the efforts of their Delegation to enlighten the Paris Conference widely on those reasons, which had to be taken into consideration in the determination of a fair amount and in conformity to the paying capacity of the Bulgarian people, did not succeed in preventing the Economic Commission for Bulgaria and Finland to adopt the total sum of 125 million dollars. The Bulgarian Government feel constrained to call the attention of the Council of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs once more on the reparation problem, especially, because the acceptance of the recommendation of the Conference adopted by 13 votes against 6 with 2 abstentions would inevitably lead to the undesirable reconsideration of the question of the inability of Bulgaria to pay such reparations? The Bulgarian; Government would merely draw attention in the present memorandum to the following major considerations affecting the reparation problem.

[Here follows a further portion of this memorandum dealing with the reparation problem.]

In connection with the economic clauses of the Draft Peace Treaty, the Bulgarian Government wishes to call more particularly the attention of the Council of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs on article 25, urging them to recognize Bulgaria’s rights on her properties and assets in Germany. These assets result from the commercial transactions between Bulgaria and Germany and there is no reason why they should be settled by the Peace Treaty.

The Bulgarian Government request the Council of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs to consider the points presented in the present Memorandum and to bear them in mind at the final elaboration of the Peace Treaty with Bulgaria. This will give a fair satisfaction to the Bulgarian people who are striving sincerely to build up their future on the foundations of democracy, liberty and peace.

[On October 19 and 22, 1946, the newly-installed Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pietro Nenni, and the Secretary of State exchanged telegraphic messages on the assumption of office by Foreign Minister Nenni and on the mutuality of peace aims of the United States and Italy. For the texts of these messages, see Department of State Bulletin, November 3, 1946, page 821.]

  1. This document was circulated to the Council of Foreign Ministers as CFM(46) (NY)7, November 11, 1946.
  2. October 28, 1944.
  3. The voting under reference occurred at the 15th Meeting of the Political and Territorial Commission for Bulgaria, October 1, 1946; for summary of the proceedings of that meeting, see vol. iii, p. 610.
  4. Regarding the voting by the Peace Conference on the articles of the Draft Peace Treaty with Bulgaria, see the Verbatim Record of the 42nd Plenary Meeting of the Conference, October 11, 1946, ibid., p. 796.