C.F.M. Files: Lot M–88: Box 2082: Bulgaria–Government

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Bevin) to the Secretary of State22

Dear James: I have been giving much thought to recent developments in the internal situation in Bulgaria and have been reflecting on the possibility of our making a further attempt to secure a broadening of the present Government on the lines of the Moscow agreement. The latest reports that we have had from Sofia indicate that political pressure by the Communist Party has greatly increased and that the country is now virtually controlled by the Communist Militia. The opposition parties are extremely alarmed at this turn of events and have submitted a protest to the three governments. But they appear now to be willing to participate in a re-organised government on much more moderate terms than those they stood out for last February. It seems to me that now is the time to make an attempt, before the situation deteriorates further, to obtain their participation in the Government.

As you may be aware, I received yesterday the Speaker of the Bulgarian Chamber of Deputies, M. Vasil Kolarov, and took the opportunity to express to him my concern regarding recent developments in Bulgaria.

I told M. Kolarov that the reports we had received from Sofia indicated that the Government were now conducting what amounted to a war against the Opposition. They were assisted in this activity by an armed militia which was being used by one party as a terrorist instrument against its political opponents. The people were not allowed freedom of speech; there were widespread arrests on political grounds; the Opposition press had ceased to exist.

I asked M. Kolarov if there was not some way in which this deplorable state of affairs could be remedied and whether the government could not come to an understanding with the Opposition Parties so that the Moscow agreement could at length be carried out.

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M. Kolarov protested that the Opposition Parties had been offered participation in the government but that they had first insisted that the Chamber, which had been freely elected by the people, should be dissolved.

I thereupon asked M. Kolarov whether, if this stipulation were withdrawn in view of the holding of elections in September the government would come to terms with the Opposition. M. Kolarov replied that if the Opposition were prepared to co-operate, the government would be glad to find a settlement on these lines.

I think it would be well if we could consider the advisability of asking our representatives in Sofia to make a joint approach to the Bulgarian Government and the Opposition on these lines and see what they can do to bring about a situation which would permit both the government and the Opposition Parties to participate in the September elections. I feel that the moment to do this is now and that there is a danger that, if we postpone our efforts to achieve solution, we may delay indefinitely the conclusion of a Peace Treaty with Bulgaria, with the consequence that the Soviet troops would have a pretext for remaining in the country.

I would not wish to take any step, however, without knowing that the United States Government share our views and would take similar action in Sofia. I should therefore be very glad to have your opinion.

Yours sincerely,

Ernest Bevin
  1. A reply to this message has not been found in Department files.