874.00/4–2546: Telegram

The Representative in Bulgaria ( Barnes ) to the Secretary of State, at Paris 15


17. Secretary General Bulgarian Foreign Office called on me last night and presented memorandum entitled “Bulgaria and Her Peace Problems” with request that I telegraph résumé of document to Secretary Byrnes in Paris and forward to him full text as soon as possible by airmail. He explained that his govt has no other means of securing presentation of its views to US delegation. Similar call on and request of my British colleague16 was made. There follows résumé on chief points of document:

Bulgaria has loyally fulfilled armistice terms.
Bulgaria’s war effort against Germany in Yugoslavia and Germany with losses of 32,000 killed and wounded is stressed. This effort highly commended by Soviet command.
Present Bulgarian regime has liquidated old internal order and reorganized public life and state institutions on truly democratic lines. Influence of German dominated dynasty removed. Elections held under model electoral law with new regime gaining crashing victory November 18 elections. Fascist leaders liquidated.
Recent reorganization of Cabinet achieved even more complete democratization and parliamentarization of government.17
Tyrannical pro-German policy of Coburg dynasty never in the permanent interests of people who always resisted this German influence. Resistance culminated in wartime Partisan movement which brought about general revolt and with aid of Red Army threw off chains of agents of Germany and their Bulgarian accomplices. Bulgarian people also resisted anti-Jewish laws of Germanophile leaders.
This blot which German agents and venal statesmen placed on fair name of Bulgaria wiped out and Bulgaria became in fact co-belligerent of democratic anti-Fascist coalition making war on Germany and Fascism. Therefore it would be unjust to punish Bulgarian people for crimes of its Fascist leaders.
Bulgaria prepared to restore United Nations’ property removed from occupied areas by previous regime and to pay reparations for losses and damages, but bill must be computed only on basis of established fact and not in accordance with arbitrary and unfounded claims of fantastic dimensions put forth by Greece. Bulgaria not responsible for damages in Greece or removal of Greek property by Germans, Greek demands should be reduced to losses actually caused by Bulgarian administration and subjects. Elementary justice demands compensation for improvements carried out in occupied territory and Bulgarian property left behind.
Bulgarian withdrawal from western Thrace was benevolent and organized. Therefore, Greek claims of evacuation destruction unfounded.
In connection with reparations, account should be taken of already heavily burdened financial and economic situation Bulgaria. Depleted treasury inherited by present regime; expense of Bulgarian war effort and fulfillment of armistice terms enormous; 1945 drought further burdened country. In this calamitous position to which nation reduced disaster can only be increased if already barely endurable burden is augmented.
Greek demand for correction of frontier in its favor refuted on grounds of Bulgaria’s moral position resulting from its contribution to common victory, on ethnic grounds, on historical grounds, and on military and strategic grounds. In fact, if reason exists to change frontier, change should be in Bulgaria’s favor, not Greece’s, Charge that Greece has three times been attacked by Bulgaria categorically refuted in each of three alleged instances.
Bulgaria’s historical claim to Thrace outlined and hope expressed that great Allied powers will insure Bulgaria actual access to Aegean as solemnly promised in treaty of Neuilly. Repeated study of this problem has always revealed that effective access must be territorial.

Foregoing résumé should reveal nature of special pleading represented by document. Nevertheless, it contains points worthy of serious consideration if govt here were to show any disposition to take into consideration entirely justifiable contention of US and UK that as now constituted govt is not representative of people’s will. On this point Russian influence and not Bulgarian hostility to views of western democracies except for Communist minority is controlling. Loyal fulfillment of armistice terms questionable but here again, Russian conclusions, not Bulgarian, hold sway. Document’s primary interest is as revelation of what Russian policy will defend at Paris meeting in so far as Bulgaria is concerned.18

Complete text will be dispatched by plane tomorrow.

Sent to Paris for Delsec as No. 17; repeated Dept as 339 and Moscow 155.

  1. Sent on the same date to the Department as telegram 339; received April 26, 1:41 p.m.
  2. William Evelyn Houstoun-Boswall, British Political Representative in Bulgaria.
  3. For a report on the Bulgarian Cabinet reorganization of March 31, 1946, see telegram 288, April 1, 1946, from Sofia, vol. vi, p. 96.
  4. In a letter of April 20, 1946, to the Secretary of State, not printed, General Vladimir Stoichev, the Bulgarian Political Representative in the United States, presented the case for Bulgaria along lines similar to those of the memorandum reported on here (C.F.M. Files, Lot M–88, Box 2082, Bulgaria-General).