870.00/2–948: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State 1


253. 1. Embassy agrees that Balkan Federation2 under Communist domination has long been international Communist concept of political organization that area, particularly following concrete formulation this concept at Fifth Comintern Congress 1924.

2. However, this idea was contemporaneous with corollary Leninist concept of USSR as instrument of world revolution rather than Stalin’s concept of world revolution as instrument of Soviet state. Increase Soviet strength during and since war and possibilities direct domination opened up and exploited thanks to presence Red army, and particularly developments of past half year (e.g. rejection satellites for UN membership,3 Marshall Plan, Western Union4 on one side, and development orbit treaty network on other) have probably made any full-fledged Balkan political federation seem much less attractive. In our opinion, Soviet Control must be regarded as “final goal” or “ultimate aim”, and political combinations in eastern Europe will be weighed, adopted or rejected by Kremlin on basis effectiveness in achieving this end. (Deptel 152, February 4)5

3. Simplest and surest formula, administratively, would appear to be incorporation East Europe states in USSR under Soviet nationalities formula. This probably “eventual pattern of organization which Moscow foresees for area” and indeed for whole world, but its application is, of course, envisaged only for happy far-distant future, in [Page 294] view impact even partial application would have on world opinion all shades.

4. As long as Kremlin is fighting Western Union and even lesser potentially hostile combinations such as Saadabad pact, Arab League and Greater Syria, it follows propaganda line laid down in Pravda’s rebuke to Dimitrov6 and Molotov7 remarks on occasion signing Soviet-Rumanian treaty,8 binding the orbit countries tightly to USSR and to each other while decrying blocs.

5. At later stage, Balkan-Danubian Federation may appear useful tool to facilitate control, particularly as possible method to solve historic territorial conflicts in area by providing “autonomous” status for such districts and Macedonia, Transylvania and Dobrnja.

6. We doubt, however, that Kremlin would ever trust even the most subservient henchman to organize Baltic to Aegean Federation apparently contemplated by Dimitrov.

7. There has doubtless been federation talk among international Communists and Kremlin in recent months, and tentative plans for small or larger federation may well have been worked out. It is hard to believe, in fact, that Dimitrov would have made remarks he did unless such talk was in the air and he thought acceptable to Moscow. However, he was clearly caught under full sail by Bevin’s blast next day and had to be repudiated. Furthermore, there is too much evidence of Dimitrov not being full favor to discount idea opportunity taken to clip his wings. Once “faithful” warned by shot at Dimitrov against being caught off base without orders only natural Humanité9 try to create impression no basic split in party front (Paris 578 to Department February 2).10

8. Possible Soviet designs regarding future Poland and eastern Germany present considerations of special nature on which we will comment separately.

[Page 295]

Sent Department, Dept repeat Paris as 33, Belgrade as 10, Sofia as 5, London as 12, Bucharest as 5 and Budapest as 7.

  1. Telegram 195, February 14, from Sofia, not printed, stated that the Legation in Sofia was in full agreement with the analysis contained in this telegram (870.00/2–1448).
  2. On November 27, 1947, Marshal Tito and Bulgarian Prime Minister Dimitrov signed a Yugoslav-Bulgarian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance at Evksinograd (Euxinograd) near Varna, Bulgaria. The treaty formalized the terms of an agreement reached at a Tito-Dimitrov conference at Bled, Yugoslavia, in August 1947. The Yugoslav and Bulgarian press indicated that the treaty was a forerunner of a federation of the two countries. Similar treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance were concluded in January 1948 between Bulgaria and Romania and between Romania and Hungary.
  3. For documentation regarding United States policy toward the admission of new members into the United Nations, see volume i .
  4. For documentation regarding a possible Western European Union involving the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  5. Telegram 152, February 4, to Moscow, repeated to Paris, Belgrade, Sofia, London, Bucharest, and Budapest, not printed, requested comment regarding the possibility of a temporary shift or a fundamental repudiation of the allegedly hitherto accepted concept of a Balkan Federation under Soviet domination as a final goal of Soviet foreign policy (870.00/1–3048).
  6. On January 17 on his return to Sofia from Bucharest where he participated in the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Bulgaria and Romania, Bulgarian Prime Minister Gheorghi Dimitrov made a statement to the press in which he indicated support for a possible federation of Eastern European countries including Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and possibly Greece. On January 28 the newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Pravda, carried a note by the editors rejecting Dimitrov’s position on the possible creation of an Eastern European federation; for the text of the note, see Documents on International Affairs 1947–1948, selected and edited by Margaret Carlyle and issued under the auspices of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Oxford University Press: London, New York, Toronto, 1952), p. 297.
  7. Vyacheslav Mihailovich Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister.
  8. Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the USSR and Romania, signed in Moscow on February 4, 1948. For the text of this and other treaties constituting the Soviet alliance system in Eastern Europe, see Department of State Documents and State Papers, July 1948, pp. 219 ff. and March and April 1948, pp. 681 ff.
  9. The newspaper of the Communist Party of France.
  10. Not printed.