Memorandum of Conversation, by Roy M. Melbourne of the Division of Southern European Affairs

Participants: Dr. G. M, Dimitrov
Mr. Barbour, Chief, SE
Mr. Melbourne, SE

Dr. Dimitrov called on August 11, by appointment made at his request. At the outset he asked aid for the Bulgarian group now held in Turkey in connection with the shooting aboard the plane in which they escaped from their country. Since he knows Turkish officials here, [Page 428] Dr. Dimitrov suggested he take up the subject with them and in response to his inquiry was informed we saw no objection.

Dr. Dimitrov then discussed the general position of Bulgarian political refugees and expressed the hope that, with reference to US displaced persons legislation, they would be placed in that category. Mr. Barbour replied that regulations on the matter were understood to be in process of drafting, and concurred in the hope that at leant some Bulgarian refugees would be able to qualify thereunder.

Turning to political matters, Dr. Dimitrov inquired whether there was any indication of the United States “becoming more politically active” upon Bulgarian affairs. He was informed that the Department at present envisaged no departure from its known policy of offering moral encouragement to the Bulgarian people. To this Dr. Dimitrov replied that he was most interested on the point since the Bulgarian émigrés were taking steps to form a Bulgarian National (“All-Peoples”) Committee to secure the cooperation of every Bulgarian democratic group, even those with very slight influence in Bulgaria. It was impossible, however, to use certain groups since some by their shady past would compromise the movement. Certain refugee members of Zveno, Dr. Dimitrov said, would be acceptable and he would also cooperate with, although not seek actual membership for, a Macedonian democratic movement but not IMRO. The Committee could not work with Tsankov,1 in view of his Axis record, and Velchev2 (Zveno) was a thorny problem. Opinions were sought of Mr. Barbour upon these groups and assorted politicians, to which Mr. Barbour replied that his opinions would not help greatly; that party labels now were unrealistic; that, after all, the Bulgarian people would decide eventually upon the merits of those concerned; but that the standard should be to work with all those persons and groups who have as their basic objective the attainment of genuine democracy. Dr. Dimitrov concurred.

In elaborating Free Bulgaria’s intentions Dr. Dimitrov asserted that it was not plagued with internal dissensions as were some other national committees, and that their tactics were unique in contrast with any other national group of like aims. They have secretly formed the fountainhead of the committee organization within Bulgaria and now have the mandate from it to get those from outside into a national committee. Dr. Dimitrov illustrated the extent of its development within Bulgaria by stating that it was now even possible that certain Zveno members might be admitted into the secret committee organization.

  1. Alexander Tsankov, exiled Bulgarian nationalist leader; Bulgarian Premier, 1923–1925; leader of a German puppet Bulgarian government-in-exile in 1944.
  2. General Damian Velchev, Bulgarian Minister of War, 1944–1946; leader in exile of the Bulgarian “Zveno” political group.