874.00/1–3146: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Counselor of the Department of State (Cohen), at London

u.s. urgent

1080. For Cohen.38 Since I discussed Bulgaria with Vyshinski,39 reports have continued to indicate a deterioration of the situation there. Particularly disturbing is a “warning” issued by the Minister of Interior that “reaction” will be punished, an announcement interpreted as presaging further Government campaign to crush the democratic opposition. Meanwhile, I am informed that Vyshinski told Bevin on Jan. 26 that Soviets had fulfilled Moscow obligation in regard to Bulgaria and that “all that remains is for U.S. and British to instruct opposition to join the Government” on latter’s terms.

I am not prepared to urge the opposition entirely to abandon its principles in order to obtain pro forma implementation of the Moscow Agreement, a course which was not contemplated in that agreement, and I believe Bevin will feel similarly. On the other hand, if Vyshinski considers that he has carried out his obligations and the next move is up to us, failure on our part to take some action might possibly be used by the Soviets as an excuse to delay further peace treaty deliberations by Deputies of CFM.40 In the circumstances I think it advisable that we take advantage of Vyshinski’s presence in London to explore with him possible further steps at this time.

In making such an approach it might be recalled that at Moscow Marshal Stalin suggested the inclusion in the Bulgarian Government of two members of the opposition as a compromise arrangement for the purpose of achieving our mutual desire to find a basis for the recognition of the Bulgarian Government. Vyshinski might then be told that as he has indicated that his efforts to implement the Moscow Agreement have so far been unsuccessful, it is our conviction that consideration should, as a consequence of this situation, be given to alternative measures to accomplish the objectives desired.

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It is provided in the Bulgarian Constitution of 1879 that the National Assembly on the recommendation of the Government may call for elections for a new National Assembly at any time during the four years of its normal tenure. There are a number of historical precedents for calling such elections well in advance of the four year period. We might suggest, therefore, that as an alternative to the specific provisions of the Moscow Agreement but as a measure which would provide a realistic hope of achieving the substantive purposes of that agreement the Soviet Government on behalf of the three Allied powers now advise the Bulgarian Government to propose to the present National Assembly that it make provision for the calling, immediately following the conclusion of the current session, of elections for a new National Assembly and that the Government give assurances that these elections will be held under conditions guaranteeing full civil liberties. It would be understood that the United States Government would be prepared to recognize the Bulgarian Government without delay upon the calling of such elections and receipt of assurances in that sense.

We feel that it could be pointed out that this proposal has the merit of being based on action under traditional Bulgarian constitutional practice taken by the present National Assembly and by a Government responsible to it, thus preserving the form of our recognition of the validity of the November 18 elections on which Stalin insisted at Moscow. We also believe that, if no public announcement of U.S. or U.K. participation in this suggestion were made, to which we are prepared to agree, and the Bulgarian Government should proclaim new elections apparently on its own initiative or as a result of friendly advice from Russia, such a development would redound to Soviet credit and receive wide approbation.

Unless you perceive objection please consult with Dunn41 and, if he concurs, discuss the matter with Vyshinski and Bevin along the foregoing lines.

  1. Mr. Cohen was serving as Senior Adviser to the United States delegation to the First part of the First Session of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in London.
  2. Reference is presumably to the Secretary’s conversation with Vyshinsky in London on January 23, 1946; see the memorandum of conversation, p. 60. The Secretary returned to Washington on January 26.
  3. The Deputies of the British, Soviet, French, and Chinese Foreign Ministers and the Secretary of State were meeting in London to prepare draft peace treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Finland.
  4. James C. Dunn, Assistant Secretary of State, serving in London as Deputy to the Secretary of State at Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers.