701.4174/3–1749: Telegram

The Chargé in Bulgaria (O’Donoghue) to the Secretary of State


225. Legtel 216, March 15.1 At reception which I gave last night [Todor] Gnenoff, Chief Political Section Foreign Office, and Boev, Chief Protocol, both cornered me for approximately 15 minutes to ask my views on Greenhill case. I said frankly I thought government making big mistake in declaring Greenhill non-grata and I thought charges made by Ziapkov completely false. I stated this connection Ziapkov’s misstatements re his contacts with Beck2 in 1946 absolutely without basis since Beck did not arrive here until March 1947. (This seemed to surprise them.) I added on basis such misstatement any court in US would have thrown whole thing out. I said also if Ziapkov made misstatements re Beck presumption was he also made them re Greenhill.

At Foreign Office this morning Andreitchin also raised question and I repeated my remarks as above.

I have informed British Minister of these conversations which evidence concern of certain officials over situation. Foreign Office has not yet replied British Minister’s representations but he feels they have gone too far now to back down. He also feels effort may be made to force reduction of his staff here, particularly if British Government retaliates by dismissing two Bulgarians London. I know that Ganovsky, Acting Foreign Minister, expressed concern over size our own establishment and I consider if any excuse given Bulgarian Government will endeavor force us cut down.

  1. On March 9 the Bulgarian Government declared Denis A. Greenhill, First Secretary of the British Legation in Sofia, persona non grata. Greenhill, together with several former and current members of the British and American missions in Sofia, had been implicated in alleged espionage activities in the testimony of Vasil Georgiev Ziapkov, representative of the United Protestant Churches and one of the major defendants in the trial of the fifteen Protestant pastors (see telegram 184, March 5, from Sofia, supra). The telegram under reference, not printed, reported that British Minister Paul Mason on March 14 presented a strong note to Bulgarian Acting Foreign Minister Sava Ganovsky rejecting the charges against Greenhill and warning of possible retaliation should the Bulgarian Government persist in demanding Greenhill’s recall. Ganovsky was incensed by the British note and insisted on Greenhiirs recall (701.4174/3–1549). Greenhill left Bulgaria in late April. At about the same time the British Government declared Bogomil Todorov, the Third Secretary of the Bulgarian Legation in London, persona non grata.
  2. Louis C. Beck, Attaché at the Legation in Sofia, one of the American officers implicated by the Ziapkov testimony (see the previous footnote). Beck was reassigned to the Embassy in Greece in May.