874.00/1–1448: Telegram

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


40. According Legation’s information Prime Minister1 was listening in his office to radio broadcast of GNA proceedings when Lulchev2 Socialist (the seven remaining opposition Deputies whose heroism in speaking now against government is equalled only by blatant bullying of Prime Minister) criticized government’s budget proposal. Prime Minister rushed from his office and stamped melodramatically into the Chamber where he delivered himself of the crazed tirade quoted in my next following telegram.3 Speech is boldest and most cynical taunt flung by Prime Minister since execution of Petkov.4

[Page 286]

Despite emotion of language speech is candidly expressive of dominant Communist political thinking and succinctly enumerates points many times enumerated by Legation in past as sensitive spots in Bulgarian political structure which could have offered opportunity to impede Communist quest for absolute power now nearly final. He gloats over aid and comfort he received from efforts to “normalize” relations and to avoid “provocation”.

He has now reached this ultimate truculence and defiance to the point where he proclaims what fate will befall the last of the opposition when war comes or before and speaks of, final victory.

This speech in very words of Prime Minister himself shows how far the fortification of this Communist advance post has proceeded. But it also illustrates frantic reaction to movement of one US Marine Battalion.5

  1. Gheorghi Dimitrov, Bulgarian Prime Minister and Secretary General of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
  2. Kosta Lulchev, leader in the Bulgarian Independent Socialist Party and Deputy in the Bulgarian Grand National Assembly.
  3. Telegram 41, January 14, from Sofia, not printed (874.51/1–1448).
  4. Nikola Petkov, leader of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union who was executed in October 1947 on charges of alleged crimes against the state. For documentation on the efforts of the United States to intervene in Petkov’s trial and execution, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, pp. 167 ff.
  5. At the beginning of January 1948, units of the 2nd Marine Division left the United States for assignment aboard United States warships in the Mediterranean.