874.111/11–747: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Bulgaria 1

confidential   urgent

501. Dept generally agrees line your suggested response Bulg note2 concerning travel in restricted frontier areas (urtel 1029 Nov 73). However, having in mind possible publication correspondence in matter it seems to us desirable that treaty responsibilities etc. to which your note would refer be amplified for clarity. Accordingly, Dept proposes alternative text along following lines:4

“Leg of US has taken note of FonOff communication delineating certain prohibited frontier zones in Bulg and notifying that as from Nov 7 members of Diplomatic and Consular corps as well members of various foreign delegations in general may not penetrate into such zones for any purpose without previous authorization from Ministry of Interior to be requested through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Treaty of Peace between Bulg and Allied and Associated Powers which entered into force on Sept 16,5 1947 provides that during a period of 18 months from that date the heads of diplomatic missions in Sofia of USSR, UK and US will give Bulg Govt such guidance, technical advice and clarification as may be necessary to insure the rapid and efficient execution of the treaty both in letter and in spirit. The treaty further provides that the Bulg Govt shall afford those heads of mission all necessary information and any assistance which they may require in the fulfillment of the tasks devolving upon them under the treaty. It is obviously inherent in the execution of these mutual responsibilities that the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and their representatives be entirely free to travel throughout Bulgaria to satisfy themselves concerning the status of compliance with applicable treaty commitments. It seems equally manifest that the imposition by the Bulg Govt of restrictions upon the movements of the three heads of missions throughout Bulg during the 18 months period circumscribes the freedom of action of those officials in the performance of their treaty functions and is thus inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the treaty and contrary to the treaty obligations assumed by Bulg in that connection. Consequently, the Leg has been instructed to inform the FonOff that the U.S. Govt will regard these regulations as [Page 47] inapplicable to the Chief of the U.S. diplomatic mission and his representatives acting under these provisions of the treaty and to express the confident conviction of the U.S. Govt that instructions will be issued to the appropriate authorities to the end that the Chief of the U.S. diplomatic Mission and his representatives may be permitted to travel freely throughout Bulgaria without hinderance or limitation for the purposes stated above.

“In bringing the foregoing to the attention of the FonOff, the Leg is instructed to add that, while the US Govt is not disposed at this time to take issue with the establishment of restrictions upon the travel of private US citizens in Bulg, which, in accordance with the language of the FonOff communication, are equally applicable to all foreign nationals without discrimination, the US Govt nevertheless considers that such measures do not fully accord with normal peace-time practice nor contribute to the implementation of those treaty provisions, particularly with regard to the reestablishment of trade, etc. which envisage the freest possible interchange between Bulg and US nationals.”6

Comments Leg Sofia, Embs Moscow and London and of Brit FonOff through latter will be appreciated.

  1. This telegram was repeated to London, Moscow, Budapest, Rome, and Bucharest. Embassy Moscow concurred in the draft text of the note contained here, and telegram 6163, November 24, from London, not printed, reported that British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin agreed that the draft note was suitable and appropriate (874.111/11–2447).
  2. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry note under reference here is summarized in the first paragraph of the memorandum by Barbour, November 10, supra.
  3. Not printed; it contained the proposed text of a note which Acting Representative Horner in Bulgaria suggested be sent to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry (874.111/11–747).
  4. With the revisions noted in the next two footnotes, the language that follows here was included in a note from the Legation in Bulgaria to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, delivered on December 2. A parallel note was delivered by the British Minister in Bulgaria shortly thereafter.
  5. A subsequent instruction corrected this date to read September 15.
  6. In the note delivered to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry on December 2, this paragraph was replaced by the following paragraph, proposed in telegram 1097, November 25, from Sofia, not printed, and approved by telegram 537, November 26, to Sofia, not printed (874.111/11–2547):

    “In bringing foregoing to attention of Minister of Foreign Affairs Legation instructed add that while US Government not disposed at this moment take issue with establishment of nondiscriminatory restrictions on travel private US citizens in Bulgaria, US Government nevertheless considers that such measures do not accord with normal peacetime practice and may in fact be contrary peace treaty particularly those provisions which concern re-establishment of trade, et cetera, and envisage freest possible interchange between Bulgaria and US nationals.”