874.918/5–847: Telegram

The Acting Representative in Bulgaria (Horner) to the Secretary of State

confidential   urgent

308. Have discussed substance Deptel 167 May 61 with Sterndale-Bennett and Generals Robertson2 and Oxley.3 We feel that word “protest” used twice in that telegram is possibly too strong and I wish call attention to fact that in Mistel 291 May 3 I suggested notes should express our “concern” over nonappearance these newspapers. I believe this distinction important since it doubtful whether we have any legal grounds for “protest” now in view nonapplicability treaty whereas expression concern might legitimately be made because of expected early ratification.

Deptel 167 apparently crossed Mistel 301 May 74 which gave substance interview Sterndale-Bennett and I had with Kirsanov and also gave Gen. Robertson’s view that little would be gained by attempting discuss this issue in ACC. Meanwhile, Gen. Oxley has addressed letter to Gen. Biryusov5 asking for information re suppressions. It [is?] anticipated that reply, if received, will simply reiterate stock phrase that matter within internal province Bulgarian Government.

Mistel 298 May 66 reported reappearance Narodno Zemedelsko Zname May 6. Understand very limited number copies that issue printed (Mistel 306 May 86) and paper not published this morning. Since Prime Minister recently told Sterndale-Bennett he had ordered workers put out paper its nonappearance might be regarded by extremely naive observer as sign labor dissatisfaction with present regime.

All of us here believe that during this interim period between armistice and peace treaty our failure take official cognizance nonappearance these two opposition papers might be interpreted as acquiescence in their suppression thus rendering task of carrying out Article 2 [Page 156] of treaty all more difficult. We have no illusions that simple act of sending note will cause FF regime turn over new leaf but we do feel strongly that such note coupled with publicity US and UK would serve notice that we in earnest about implementation Article 2. With respect perversion Secretary’s speech on CFM I wish refer to Mistel 299 May 6.7 In recent days FF press has carried large volume Tass and Tan jug comment reflecting adversely on US policy at CFM. It would therefore seem all more necessary that we bring to Bulgarian Government attention unfortunate effect on US public opinion of mutilation of address made by responsible official of one of countries with which Bulgaria presumably hopes establish friendly relations.

Sent Department 308, repeated London 37.

  1. Not printed; it authorized Acting Representative Horner, acting in concert with the British Political Representative, to transmit to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry a protest regarding the suppression of opposition newspapers. Horner was also authorized to protest the Bulgarian press perversion of the Secretary of State’s radio address of April 28. (874.918/5–347)
  2. Maj. Gen. William M. Robertson, Chief of the United States Representation on the Allied Control Commission for Bulgaria.
  3. Maj. Gen. W. H. Oxley, British Representative on the Allied Control Commission for Bulgaria.
  4. Not printed; it reported that Soviet Minister Kirsanov had observed that the question of the suppression of newspapers was matter within the domestic jurisdiction of the Bulgarian Government (871.918/5–747).
  5. Gen. Sergey Semenovich Biryuzov, Soviet Chairman of the Allied Control Commission for Bulgaria.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.