761.74/1–1346: Telegram

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

us urgent

48. I was called to Foreign Office yesterday afternoon by Stainov to listen to an hour and a half’s “song and dance” by him on subject of visit of Bulgarian Ministers to Moscow and Vyshinski’s activities here.11 I was followed by my British colleague12 for whose benefit same “ballet” was performed.

It was apparent from what Minister had to say, from way in which he said it and from his bearing of exuberance and elation in contrast to his somewhat deflated demeanor last time I talked with him at any length several weeks ago that Moscow had been quite as successful in impressing current crop of Bulgarian Ministers by mixture of flattery and display of pomp and circumstances as Hitler and his cohorts were with an earlier Bulgarian regime.

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Purpose of talks with me and my British colleague was obviously twofold, namely to dispel such clouds of doubt as may have gathered in our minds about political purpose of visit and to minimize in our estimate failure of Vyshinski’s mission to Sofia. Minister said that Georgiev, Yugov and he had not gone to Moscow because of Russia’s undertaking to advise broadening of Bulgarian Government; that when Bulgarian Ministers had gone to Moscow in 1944 seeking armistice they had been there as suppliants;13 that clandestine visit of PriMin and Yugov in January of last year (first official admission of this) had not really counted as mark of rehabilitation of Bulgarian Government by Russia as there had been nothing public about it, no fanfare, no display. Hence that visit just terminated had been on books as an official and above board gesture of Russia’s friendship for and support of Bulgaria ever since reestablishment of diplomatic relations between two countries.

He said that as visit had coincided with Russia’s fulfillment of obligation “to give friendly advice” PriMin had seized opportunity to tell Stalin of stalemated negotiations with Opposition. This was at first meeting with Generalissimo on night of Ministers’ arrival. Stalin is supposed to have observed that Bulgarian Government seemed to have gotten into deeper water than was intended by Moscow accord; that this agreement imposed only one obligation on Bulgarian Government, namely, addition of two Ministers to Cabinet from democratic parties not yet within Fatherland Front, and that at same time Russia had exacted a right for Bulgarian Government that is, complete freedom to decide who might be loyal and who would not be.

At this point according to Stainov Stalin picked up telephone, asked to be put through immediately to Vyshinski, then in Bucharest, and within 2 minutes was talking with him. He told Vyshinski to go at once to Sofia to tell the leaders of opposition what Moscow’s orders were. In other words to repeat to them what he, Stalin, had just said to Bulgarian Ministers in Moscow about the agreement to give friendly advice. Hence, said Stainov to me, Vyshinski was not here to act as broker between Government and opposition nor as he again put it later in talk “to mix up batter in Bulgarian political kitchen composed of opposition and FF ingredients”.

Stainov said that while in Moscow Minister had discussed with Stalin and his collaborators fulfillment of Bulgarian armistice terms, Bulgaro-Russian economic relations and general international political [Page 51] situation. He quoted Stalin as stating that Bulgarian Ministers need not be unduly alarmed by state of Russia’s relations with her allies, that Russia would not be at war with her present allies in the foreseeable future. He said that Stalin had then treated visitors to “tour d’ horizon” from which Ministers had gained impression that several “sensitive spots” exist in Europe and Asia but that Stalin was sure that Russian liniment would soon cure soreness. I judged that this was Stainov’s way of glossing over whatever may have been agreed to by Bulgarian Ministers with respect to problem of Russia’s relations with Turkey. I shall deal in separate tel with Stainov’s views on domestic political situation now that Vyshinski has left without success in implementation of Moscow’s undertaking to broaden Government.

Repeated Moscow as 24 and London as 16; sent Department as 48.

  1. Prime Minister Georgiev, Foreign Minister Petko Stainov, and Interior Minister Anton Yugov visited Moscow from January 7 to January 10, 1946.
  2. William Evelyn Houstoun-Boswall, British Political Representative in Bulgaria.
  3. The armistice between the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom and Bulgaria was signed in Moscow October 28, 1944. For text, see Executive Agreement Series No. 437; for documentation regarding the negotiations leading to the signing of the armistice, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 300 ff.