124.743/2–2948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Bulgaria

confidential   urgent

137. Dept concurs your representations re arrests (urtel 276 Feb 29 and previous)1 and authorizes you pursue matters along same lines. Suggest emphasis aspects relating interference functioning Leg and performance duties official personnel, discourtesy and inconsistency comity of nations in failure provide advance notification and new element involved Balabanov incident in respect unauthorized entrance diplomatic premises.2

Bulg Min Washington3 sailed for Bulg twenty-sixth and in circumstances Dept discussing Chargé Athanassov.4 In addition foregoing points, will also mention that militia action in face contrary assurances FonOff seems highlight independence and absence Govt control that organization.

In view these subsequent developments Dept reconsidering position (Deptel 131 Feb 25)5 re publicity and will appreciate your comment utility this juncture of a Dept statement summarizing circumstances four cases and Bulg reaction your representations.

Dept skeptical likelihood effective action diplomatic corps particularly insofar as “immunity” of arrestees concerned and suggest that before formal reference that body you report informal preliminary reaction friendly colleagues and await further consideration.

Sent Sofia, rptd London, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Hague, Stockholm, and Moscow.

  1. In early February 1948, Dr. B. Yantcbouleff and Velislave Spassoff, Bulgarian employees of the Legation in Sofia, were arrested by the Bulgarian militia, presumably as part of increased police measures involving almost all the Legation’s employees. In a note dated February 6, the Legation protested to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry regarding the arrests. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry rejected the protest in a note dated February 11 and accused the employees of alleged crimes endangering the security of the Bulgarian state. On the morning of February 27, Bulgarian militia entered the house of Dragan Peev, a Bulgarian employee of the Legation in Sofia, arrested him and searched the premises. Also on February 27 Bulgarian militia entered the quarters of Special Attaché Col. Ralph H. Wade and arrested his housekeeper, Mme. Balabanov. On February 27 and 28, Minister Heath protested in writing and orally to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry regarding these arrests and the earlier cases of Yantchouleff and Spassoff.
  2. In pursuance of these instructions, Minister Heath protested orally to Assistant Foreign Minister Kamenov on March 2 and to Foreign Minister Vasil Kolarov on March 4.
  3. Dr. Nissim Mevorah.
  4. Bulgarian Charge Boyan Athanassov was summoned to the Department of State on March 3 to hear a protest regarding the arrest of the four Bulgarian employees of the Legation in Sofia.
  5. Not printed.