740.0011 EW (Peace)/10–3047: Telegram

The Appointed Minister in Bulgaria ( Heath )1 to the Secretary of State


990. From Heath. As result two telegrams from British Foreign Office to Sterndale-Bennett, Horner and I have had several discussions with latter respecting tactics and extent effort we should employ obtain implementation peace treaty.

Telegrams indicate, I understand, tentative views British Foreign Office that it would be hopeless and prejudicial other issues to multiply representations for any but important infractions human rights provisions [Page 42] Article 2 and that procedure (Articles 35 and 36) of submitting violations to arbitral commission should generally be reserved for concrete military and economic issues for which there would be some chance definite awards which might be carried out. Specifically Foreign Office rejected Sterndale-Bennett’s suggestion that arbitral procedure be utilized as logical extension of inconclusive exchanges notes between British Legation and Bulgarian Foreign Office in Petkov case.2

Apparently British Foreign Office inclined to believe that barrage of representations re treaty violations would be quickly subject law of diminishing returns while representations spaced and largely restricted to economic and military clauses might meet with some success.

We told Sterndale-Bennett that it our conviction that we should be prompt in bringing to Bulgarian Government’s attention all violations of treaty which come to our attention and not as British Foreign Office apparently proposes, concentrate on selected major violations.

We did not believe that withholding representations on human rights clauses would improve chances of implementation economic and military provisions. Our local view was of course subject to correction by Department which would take into account effect of our action here on similar issues in satellite area. Our notes would of course be fully documented and our presentation firm but not provocative. It would be futile limit ourselves to exchanges of notes and we felt strongly we should be prepared employ the further procedures laid down in Articles 35 and 36 where Bulgarian Government and ourselves failed reach agreement.

Foreign Office telegrams also suggested, I understand, that while maintaining closest cooperation and identity of objectives it would not be necessary and in certain cases positively inadvisable for both Legations send identical notes. We agreed such flexibility desirable.

Sterndale-Bennett inclines to our view that no violations Article 2 should be passed over and within next few days he will go to London to consult with Foreign Office. He also agrees that one of our strongest arms at present is public opinion and we should be prepared on all suitable occasions publish notes and issue statements.

To sum up, Horner and I realize that on short term we have little chance of integrally implementing treaty but believe constant representations on treaty violations may possibly, even over short term, [Page 43] exert some retarding influence on Communists. Meanwhile, we will be building up record for possible presentation to UN Assembly. Selected and spaced representations might well on other hand be interpreted by Communists here as half-heartedness on our part or even defeatism and encourage them to accelerate program of internal suppression and militant assistance Greek Communists.

We assume British Foreign Office will shortly take matter up with Washington. Department’s views or instructions requested.

Sent Department 990, repeated London 102, Budapest 34, Bucharest 54, Moscow 90.

  1. Appointed Minister Heath arrived in Sofia on October 25, 1947, but he did not present his credentials to the Bulgarian Government and take charge of the Legation until November 9.
  2. For documentation regarding the interest of the United States in the arrest, trial, and execution of Nikola Petkov, the leader of the Bulgarian Peasant Party, see pp. 159–183 passim.