874.00/1–446: Telegram

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


13. Remytel 12, January 4.1 Petkov2 told me last night that he was pessimistic as to possibility of any real broadening of Government at present time but that he was optimistic with respect to future of real democracy in Bulgaria. He said that events of July and August last year had given opponents of Communist domination opportunity necessary to mobilize public opinion against one-party system of FF3 and that neither Bulgarian Communists nor Russia could ever regain ground lost by them during those two vital months in Bulgaria’s post war history. He said that he was not depressed by Moscow decision, although it might serve to delay somewhat further time when free elections will appear imperative to all, even FF and Russians. He said that by agreement to advise Government to broaden basis Russia has publicly acknowledged existence of important opposition and nonrepresentative character of present Government. This is a fact that cannot easily be erased from record.

Petkov expressed understanding of need to bring Russia into United Nations Organization so that ultimately collective opinion of all peace-loving [Page 47] nations may be brought to bear on Russian policy wherever it disregards will of world as whole to cooperate in interest of peace. He said that in this respect he was of opinion that Mr. Byrnes had attained considerable success at Moscow and that if Bulgaria could aid in exploitation of this success by further patience, he and his supporters were quite prepared to “take matters as they come” and not to insist upon immediate solution of Bulgarian problem. However, he made it clear that opposition is unanimous in opinion that it should not enter FF Govt unless Ministry of Interior is relinquished by Communists and agreement is reached for early dissolution of Parliament and holding of free elections on basis of separate lists.4 Sent Department; repeated to Moscow as 7.

  1. Not printed; it reported that on January 3, 1946, in accordance with the “friendly advice” given by the Soviet Government in connection with the decision of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, the Bulgarian Government had authorized the opening of negotiations with Bulgarian democratic opposition parties on the question of broadening the Bulgarian Government (874.00/1–446). The Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers at Moscow, December 16–26, 1945, had decided that the Soviet Government would assume the responsibility of advising the Bulgarian Government regarding the inclusion of opposition party representatives in its membership. For text of the decision, see item VI of the Report of the Conference, December 27, 1945, telegram 4284, December 27, 1945, from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 822. For additional documentation on the Conference, see ibid., pp. 560 ff.
  2. Nikola Petkov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian National Agrarian Union.
  3. Fatherland Front, a coalition of Bulgarian political parties dominated by the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (Communist). The current Bulgarian Government was formed from the Fatherland Front.
  4. In telegram 50, January 14, 1946, from Sofia, Barnes reported having been told by Petkov that “the opposition would not feel ‘let down’ with respect to Yalta if all limiting conditions in the matter of recognizing the Govt were dropped, except that general elections for a new ordinary assembly be held in the spring or early summer under the Govt’s guarantee of freedom such as now had been given by the Rumanian Govt and as was previously given by the Hungarian, Austrian and even the Albanian Govts”. (874.00/1–1446)