874.00/8–2247: Telegram

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

urgent   niact

324. Dept cannot accept viewpoint Soviet ACC Chairman (Sofia’s tel 712 Aug 221) that Petkov case internal Bulgarian affair and desires pursue matter at governmental level on basis Yalta Agreement. Accordingly, immediately following tel authorizes Emb Moscow communicate urgently FonOff requesting three power consultation.2 Urgency action (press reports possibility expiration period for appeal and consequently likelihood execution Aug 23) precludes advance consultation Brit but we hope Brit will support this course. London should inform FonOff at once to this end.

Meanwhile, in Sofia, (1) Gen Robertson should address additional communication ACC chairman substantially as follows:3

“With reference to my letter of Aug 22 in reply to your communication no. 2608 of same date regarding matter of Mr. Nikola Petkov, I [Page 173] have now reed instructions to inform you that my Govt fully supports views I expressed therein.

US Govt cannot accept your view that a matter so vitally affecting establishment of representative Govt in Bulgaria, which USSR, UK and US agreed in Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe to be of mutual concern to the three powers, is a purely internal Bulg affair. In accordance with Yalta Agreement US Govt firmly believes that a concert of policies should be reached in this case, and consequently, in view of your rejection of my proposal of ACC consideration, US Emb in Moscow is being instructed to approach Soviet Govt in this sense. US Govt expects that pending agreement among the three powers sentence passed against Mr. Petkov will not be executed and it is so informing Bulg Govt.”

2. US Political Rep should address communication to Bulg FonMin along following lines:

“US Govt has taken note of sentence of death passed against Mr. Nikola Petkov leader of the elected opposition in Bulg Parliament and of method of conduct of trial by Bulg court which has led to imposition of that sentence. Issues raised by prosecution of Mr. Petkov appear to US to be of such fundamental importance to political structure and conduct of representative Govt in Bulg as to warrant a review of case by the three Yalta Powers and accordingly US Rep on ACC requested consideration of matter by that body. Brit Rep on ACC made similar request.

Soviet Chairman of ACC has now replied that he does not consider it possible for Commission to interfere in Mr. Petkov’s case inasmuch as it is purely an internal Bulg matter. US Govt cannot accept that view and, in the circumstances, US Emb in Moscow is being instructed to approach Soviet Govt to the end that three power consultations be undertaken and an agreed position be reached in accordance with the Yalta Declaration. US Govt expects that, pending such three power agreement, sentence passed on Mr. Petkov will not be executed.”4

Sent Sofia 324 London 3651 and Moscow 1635.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the text of Major General Robertson’s letter of August 22 to Lieutenant General Cherepanov referred to in the editorial note, supra (874.00/8–2247).
  2. The telegram under reference here is not printed; regarding the note delivered to the Soviet Foreign Ministry on August 23, see the editorial note, infra.
  3. Telegram 727, August 24, from Sofia, not printed, reported that Major General Robertson had addressed a letter to Lieutenant General Cherepanov on August 24 following the exact text given here (874.00/8–2447).
  4. The note to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry along the lines set forth here was dated August 23.