No. 615


The Department of State to the British Embassy 1


In view of the mounting evidence that the Bulgarian, Hungarian and Rumanian Governments are rearming in violation of the military [Page 1225] clauses of their respective Peace Treaties, the Department believes it would be advisable for the United Kingdom and United States Governments formally to charge the three Governments with violation of these clauses.

To do so would appear to be the proper next step in the enforcement procedures established by the Peace Treaties, and would be consistent with our policy of endeavoring to enforce the Treaties or expose the Governments concerned in their disregard of their Treaty obligations.

If notes formally charging the three satellite Governments with violation of the treaty limitations elicit the expected denial, and the Governments concerned refuse to consider the matter further, the subject would then be appropriate for discussion with the Soviet Union, either specifically as the next step in the disputes procedures provided by the Treaties, or generally as a matter requiring the attention of the major powers.

The Department is, accordingly, considering addressing notes to the Hungarian and Rumanian Governments. These would first describe efforts by the United States Government to acquire through formal channels information on their compliance with the military clauses of the Peace Treaties. The notes would mention the finding of the United States Government, publicly announced on March 16, 1949,2 that these Governments were then actually violating the military clauses. Stating that continued violation contributes materially to tension in the Balkans, the notes would then: (1) again draw the attention of the Governments concerned to their solemn obligations, which were included in the Peace Treaties to serve the interests of peace and security, and especially the security of the Allied and Associated Powers signatory to the respective Treaties; (2) mention that increasing evidence confirms the conclusion that treaty restrictions have not been, and are not being, observed; (3) call upon the two Governments to take the necessary measures to comply with the Treaties, and to provide all pertinent data and permit the necessary verification; (4) request the Rumanian and Hungarian Governments to inform the United States Government of the measures taken, and to endeavor to settle any disagreement through diplomatic negotiations. The notes could also point out that, following the 18 month period in which the three major Allies [Page 1226] had a special position in reference to the execution of the Treaties, any signatory clearly has the right to raise the issue of compliance.

The Department contemplates that the Soviet Union and the other signatories of the Treaties of Peace might be furnished copies of the several notes.

The Department would welcome the views of the British Government as to the desirability of raising the issue of violation of the military clauses directly with the satellite Governments at this time, and as to the procedure suggested. If the British Government is in agreement, is it prepared to deliver parallel notes to the Bulgarian, Hungarian and Rumanian Governments? In this event, as the United States Government is not in a position to deliver a note directly to the Bulgarian Government, the Department would be appreciative if the Foreign Office would include a statement in its note to the Bulgarian Government to the effect that the United States Government associates itself with the charges and requests made by His Majesty’s Government.3

A copy of this memorandum is also being given to representatives of the Embassy of France in Washington, with the request that the French Government express its views on the proposed course of action.

  1. Drafted by Marcy and Campbell (EUR/EE) and cleared in draft by L/EUR and WE. Regarding delivery of this memorandum, see Bonbright’s memorandum of conversations, supra.
  2. The reference here is to the statement issued to the press on March 16, 1949, by the Department of State denouncing the violation or nonperformance by the Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian Governments of their obligations under the treaties of peace. For the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, March 27, 1949, p. 391. For documentation on the events leading up to this announcement, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. v, pp. 223 ff.
  3. On March 8 the British Embassy informed the Department of State that the Foreign Office was opposed to the American proposal to send formal notes to the Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian Governments about the violations of the treaties of peace. The British argued that the suggested approach would not strengthen the case of the West in the Four-Power Exploratory Talks in Paris. The British believed it would be preferable to treat Balkan rearmament as a source of international tension in the wider context of the high level of armaments in the Soviet bloc as a whole, raising the question of peace treaty violations incidentally. The British were informed that the Department of State was not impressed with their argument that the proposed approach would “disclose our hand to the Soviets” because the main point of the maneuver was to prevent the Soviet Union from turning aside charges of violations of the peace treaties by claiming that the West had not used existing machinery to deal with the question. (Memorandum of conversation by Bonbright, March 8, 396.1–PA/3–851)