Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Peurifoy)

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I share the feeling expressed in your memorandum of August 301 concerning the treatment of our local employees in Sofia and the effects which it has on the US position in Bulgaria and other satellite countries. When our employees are subjected to threats and tortures, and some of them even killed, it is a very serious situation calling into question the desirability of maintaining relations with those countries under such conditions.

We never expected our diplomatic relations with the Soviet satellite countries to be conducted on the plane of international comity and decency characterizing our normal relations with other countries; we have felt that, in spite of this situation, we had more to gain than to lose by maintaining our representation. As in our dealings with the USSR itself, we have had a continuous series of restrictions and interferences with the work of our Embassies and Legations in the satellite states. Bulgaria has been the most flagrant example, indicating that the Soviets may be using that country to test our reactions and see how much pressure we will take.

As you may have seen by our recent telegrams to Sofia, we are trying to reach an early and unpublicized settlement of the present case of persecution of a local employee by getting agreement to his departure from the country. If no agreement with the Bulgarians proves possible, we shall have to review the entire situation. We are now undertaking to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining relations with Bulgaria (and approximately the same situation exists in Rumania) in the light of the increasingly severe restrictions placed on our Mission and the indignities to our personnel. A principal factor in the picture, as you know, is the information which we get from our representatives in these countries.…

George W. Perkins
  1. Not printed; in his memorandum Peurifoy suggested that drastic action was required to protect American employees, even if it meant the severance of relations (124.743/8–3049).