740.00119 E.W./2–746: Telegram

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


129. For first time Gen. Biryusov has put into writing what we and British have long suspected, namely that Russia intends to protect Bulgaria from full brunt of armistice rather than to impose armistice terms as they were agreed to between three Great Allies on one hand and Bulgaria on the other. Replying to a letter from Gen. Crane embodying contents of Deptel 18, Jan 18,53 Gen. Biryusov has written as follows:

“It is known that on Oct 28, 1944, Bulgarian Govt signed not an act of unconditional capitulation but an armistice agreement which was offered by Govts of USSR, UK and US. Therefore it is not quite correct to state as you have done that Bulgaria capitulated unconditionally to Three Powers and must execute everything that it is ordered to do, etc. etc. etc.

As to fulfillment by Bulgaria of article I of protocol to armistice agreement I am forced to remind you again of its contents: ‘The quantity of each product which must be furnished will be determined between the Three Govts and will be considered as part reparations by Bulgaria for losses and damages suffered by Greece and Yugoslavia.’

“In addition there is no basis for considering question of immediate supply of foodstuffs by Bulgaria because of extremely limited state of the food resources of country. With respect to this you have received [Page 73] information reflecting food supplies of country and which clearly establishes inability of Bulgarian Govt to furnish any foodstuffs.”

In other words, insofar as Gen. Biryusov is concerned, Greece cannot hope to receive any help at this time in form of Bulgarian foodstuffs delivered against reparations. This is no doubt sense of his report to Moscow in reply to earlier instructions that he, assisted by his US and UK colleagues, should seek to determine locally what supplies could be sent to Greece under article I of protocol. I therefore assume that subject is back on govt to govt level. Certainly Biryusov’s statement that Bulgaria did not capitulate unconditionally is question that can be dealt with only on govt to govt level.

Repeated Moscow as 65 and London as 56.

  1. Not printed; it set forth the Department’s view that article 9 of the Bulgarian Armistice obligated the Bulgarian Government to make reparations to the United Nations including Greece and, as the surrender was unconditional, the provision contained therein that the nature and amount of such reparation was to be determined later obviously was left for implementation by the Allied signatories and was not subject to Bulgarian concurrence. The telegram asked that General Crane bring these views before the Allied Control Commission which should entertain no further representations by the Bulgarian Government on the reparations protocol of the armistice. (740.00119 EW/12–1845)