874.00/12–1947: Telegram

The Minister in Bulgaria (Heath) to the Secretary of State


1200. Dimitrov’s speeches at Plovdiv and Krimchin (Legtel 1199, December 191) in which he attacked “American imperialists” are the most emotional and violent he has made during recent months. In past century such attacks on a state enjoying diplomatic relations would have been regarded as probably prefacing rupture of relations if not something more drastic. I do not believe, however, that Dimitrov has any specific intention in these present attacks. Presumably he is merely following party lines as developed in Molotov’s more recent effusions and little aware or caring about any breach of international manners. It might be noted that while Tito and Hodja were emphatic in statements made during their visits2 against “imperialism”, they did not publicly libel the US.

The local (Bulgarian) correspondents of American press agencies and papers have, I understand, cabled these diatribes. I hope they receive some editorial attention in American papers since Bulgarian Government is sensitive to American press criticism.

Aside from any American press comment that may appear I do not believe that we should permit the incident to pass unnoticed. Accordingly, I intend unless urgently instructed to contrary, to make a simple oral or written inquiry whether the Prime Minister was correctly quoted by OF. The answer will probably be delayed and oral. The reply may be made that US Government was not specifically accused and almost certainly effort will be made to justify remarks on the ground that Department had criticized Bulgaria in public statements. Quite possibly Foreign Minister will bring up again Department’s accurate description of the Petkov execution as “judicial murder”. I shall decline, however, to be drawn into any polemic discussion or correspondence which would be inadvisable at this stage.

[Page 190]

I intend to call on new Foreign Minister3 Monday and Prime Minister next week. Calls have been delayed because of changes in Government and recent Hodja visit.4

  1. Not printed.
  2. Marshal Josip Broz-Tito, Yugoslav Prime Minister, visited Bulgaria in late November at which time a Yugoslav-Bulgarian Treaty of Alliance was signed. In this connection, see telegram 1031, November 7, from Sofia, p. 848. Albanian Prime Minister Enver Hoxha visited Sofia in mid-December.
  3. In the new Bulgarian Cabinet announced on December 11, Communist Party leader Vasil Kolarov was included as Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs. In telegram 1215, December 23, from Sofia, not printed, Minister Heath reported he had made his initial call on Foreign Minister Kolarov on the previous day but had not discussed major substantive issues (874.00/12–2347).
  4. Telegram 587, December 19, to Sofia, not printed, instructed Minister Heath as follows:

    Dept concurs your view as to inadvisability entering into polemical discussion or correspondence with Bulg Govt re Dimitrov’s tirades and believes your proposed call on PriMin offers most appropriate opportunity for oral expression US views on this and other recent scurrilous attacks on US emanating from Bulg officialdom and press.” (874.00/12–1947)