82. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Bulgaria1

140378. Subject: Zhivkova Visit—Conclusion. Ref: State 138102.2

1. Remainder of Washington tour was as impressive as first leg of visit. Highlight was Zhivkova’s attendance (accompanied by interpreter only) at White House reception for American artists afternoon of June 14. Mme. Zhivkova was on time (a first during the visit), and was escorted from the West Wing into the Reception Room by Vice President and Mrs. Mondale. She met with several artists and cultural leaders and was introduced to the President and Mrs. Carter by Assistant Secretary (CU) Duffey.3 Zhivkova told the President her trip was very well organized and she was enjoying it very much. She thanked him for the opportunity of bringing the Thracian exhibit to the US and signing the US-Bulgarian cultural agreement.4 The President responded by saying he was happy she was able to visit this country and asked Zhivkova to give his best wishes to “her father.” Clearly pleased, she said she hoped the President would visit Bulgaria “soon.” Next day’s Post and Star style sections reported on reception noting about 70 attended, including Warhol, Wyeth, Nancy Hanks, several art critics and collectors, and others, including Johnny Cash. Mme. Zhivkova’s presence was not reported.

2. Prior to White House reception Zhivkova and party toured and were visibly impressed by Air and Space Museum, Hirshhorn, and National Gallery. Informal and enjoyable luncheon hosted by National Gallery curator was in special area of gallery restaurant, where Zhivkova enjoyed exceptionally large chocolate sundae. Musical extrava [Page 242] ganza at Wolf Trap called “Fat Tuesday” about New Orleans at Mardi Gras time was enjoyed by all and was not marred by expected rain. Zhivkova, however, preferred Ibsen.

3. June 15 schedule was less hectic, with call on Acting Secretary Christopher at 10:15 (being reported septel).5 Noon tour of Library of Congress and luncheon with Daniel Boorstin, and afternoon of shopping. Boorstin agreed to put on exhibit of Bulgarian manuscripts at some date in near future which pleased Bulgarians very much. Evening reception hosted by Popov at Shoreham Americana Hotel (to which Zhivkova arrived one-half hour late) was attended by Ambassador Reinhardt, Assistant Secretary Vest, Nancy Hanks and about 200 others (including several Bulgarian Orthodox priests, a first at an Eastern European reception here as far as we are aware). Nothing was scheduled morning of June 16 beyond last-minute shopping for educational toys. Zhivkova, Damyanov, Minekov and Petrov were seen off at Dulles by EUR/EE Director Andrews at 12:45 p.m. for Concorde transatlantic flight. Others were taking jumbo jet later in the day.

4. Entire visit went quite smoothly, and Zhivkova was clearly impressed by the program, the level of reception the hospitality and the “attention” paid her. Generally speaking, she did not have much of substance to discuss (memcons with Reinhardt and some others being pouched) and did not herself raise matters outside her area of responsibility. We learned from interpreter, however, that Zhivkova regarded meeting with Acting Secretary as extremely valuable and substantive. In any event, we believe the Zhivkova visit has given impetus to the relationship—the degree to which it will really help depends on Zhivkova’s report on her return to Bulgaria and on the Bulgarian ability and will to take specific measures to improve our relations.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770215–1017. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Brown; cleared by Carol Owens (CU/EE); approved by Andrews.
  2. In telegram 138102 to Sofia, June 16, the Department reported on Zhivkova’s visits to New York for the opening of the Thracian Gold exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to San Francisco, and to Los Angeles as well as her first days in Washington. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770212–1000)
  3. On August 31 Carter signed a letter thanking Zhivkova for her gift of a book entitled The Kazanluk Tomb. (Carter Library, White House Central Files, Countries, Box CO–13, CO 24 1/20/77–1/20/81)
  4. In telegram 136816 to Sofia, June 13, the Department reported that the United States and Bulgaria signed a Comprehensive Agreement on Exchanges and Cooperation in Cultural, Scientific, Educational, and Technological fields in Washington. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Joseph D. Duffey signed the agreement on behalf of the United States. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770211–0386)
  5. See Document 83.