740.00119 Council/6–2146: Telegram

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

top secret

469. Personal for the Secretary. I should like to be among first to congratulate you on yesterday’s decision that Russian troops shall evacuate Bulgaria 90 days after peace treaty signed.17 This is today’s big news in all Sofia papers. In this connection I should like also to recall suggestion made mytel 418, June 618 (repeated to Paris as 49 for Delsec) that very useful purpose might be served if you were to receive Vasil Kolarov President Bulgarian Delegation now Paris19 and have a frank talk with him about Bulgarian political situation.

Opposition leaders have for some time now accepted force of contention that benefits to all of treaty providing for withdrawal of Russian troops would in end far exceed any momentary advantage for Opposition to be gained by carrying policy of non-recognition to extreme of refusing to sign satisfactory treaty with Government that [Page 107] tolerates Communist excesses such as current tels have reported. Petkov has said to me on various occasions that most important is to gain treaty that specifies departure Red Army and that when agreement on this point has been attained situation would be ripe for Opposition to enter Government even if to do so would necessitate paring down considerably conditions of participation that have hitherto constituted insurmountable obstacle to implementation of Moscow decision. What Petkov has in mind is that presence of opposition in government would constitute greatest safeguard to execution of Russian commitment to withdraw forces. Being in government opposition could show facts about compliance or non-compliance as no other means could assure and at same time would have opportunity of bringing non-withdrawal or any subterfuge such as leased bases Varna and Burgas into open for public discussion and international action if necessary by threat of or actual resignation because of policy designed to circumvent treaty provision.

With this in mind I am disposed to believe that time is propitious for appeal to Kolarov to do his utmost to convince Government that it should now clear way to early recognition by US and UK. Simplest method would be implementation Moscow decision in view US and UK commitment to recognize Government upon inclusion two truly representative Opposition leaders. I am sure now that Russia is committed to withdraw her troops within 90 days after signature of treaty you could count on cooperation Opposition leaders. I think, however, that preliminary sounding would be good. This might take form of discreet action in line with Vyshinski’s statement last February to Mr. Cohen in London that we use our moral influence to induce Opposition to enter Government. This could be accomplished immediately upon hearing that suggestions contained this telegram in line with your views now that principal provisions peace treaty with Bulgaria seem to have been settled.

Sent Paris for Delsec as 67, repeated Department as 469 and Moscow as 198.

  1. Regarding the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers on June 20, 1946, on the withdrawal of American and British troops from Italy and Soviet troops from Bulgaria, see vol. ii, p. 547.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Kolarov was President of the Bulgarian National Assembly and a member of the Politburo of the Bulgarian Workers Party.