CFM Files

Memorandum by Mr. Cavendish W. Cannon, Political Adviser, United States Delegation48

After Friday’s meeting of the Bulgarian Commission49 Mr. Novikov (U.S.S.R.) spoke to me about the Greek-Bulgarian frontier problem.

He said that his Delegation was sympathetic to the Bulgarian case, definitely opposed to the Greek claim, and really favored the present text of Art. I, i.e., no change in the present frontier. “This is not the time,” he said, “to begin changing frontiers in that region.” It was all right for all delegations to express their views, but now we are getting to the end of this, and why couldn’t we decide to bring the matter to a close by voting only on the text of the Article? He said he wanted to avoid a vote on the Bulgarian proposal, and as for the Greeks, they had not put in an amendment, and in view of the August 20 deadline such an amendment should not now be presented.

It may be that he felt that the Pijade speech,50 just made, calling for the unification of Macedonia, and amounting in substance to a Yugoslav claim to Salonika, was getting us into deep water. Or, on tactical grounds, he realizes that in the debate the Soviet bloc has shot its bolt, and he wants to keep the balance in the speech-making still tipped their way, since the U.K., U.S., South Africa and New Zealand, and perhaps Australia, are still to be heard from.

I said we were anxious to hear the other delegations and would have something to say ourselves. I used the substance of the Secretary’s remark to Mr. Tsaldaris, that we had an open mind on the question and would take our position on the merits of the case. I did not respond to his suggestion that the Greeks are now stopped from submitting an amendment. In any case they have put in a formal text, circulated subsequent to this conversation, and it should not be hard to argue that the August 20 deadline does not apply to this Article, in view of the wording of the note to the Article. Neither did I inquire by what method he proposed to prevent a vote on the Bulgarian proposal, which is formally before us.

The Bulgarian proposal would surely be defeated, and the Greek proposal would fall short of a two-thirds majority. Maybe Mr. Novikov could have some one from his bloc (the Czechs have not yet spoken) speak in favor of the present line; the Australians, on the [Page 856] other side, show no enthusiasm for the Greek claim, and they or another of the Dominions might then take the same line. If the other speeches swing in this direction Novikov would probably persuade the Bulgarians not to ask for a formal decision on their proposal. This would probably be conditional on the Greeks withdrawing their amendment, which would be harder to achieve.

We do not like the Greek proposal but are reluctant to vote against it. If the Greeks see the Dominions slipping away from them, they might be willing to put in a substitute proposal along demilitarization lines instead of their present all-out territorial claim. Could we let them know that if they are obdurate, and their present amendment comes to a vote, they would find us in the opposition?

  1. This memorandum was directed to Messrs. Matthews and Caffery.
  2. The reference is to the 7th Meeting of the Political and Territorial Commission for Bulgaria, September 6; for the United States Delegation Journal account of that meeting, see vol. iii, p. 380.
  3. Presumably the reference is to the remarks of the Yugoslav representative, Mosa Pijade, at the same meeting.