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



  • Demarche on Terrorism to Bulgarian Government.


  • A) Sofia 000922
  • B) 86 Sofia 02542.3
Secret—Entire text
Department provides the following information, which has inter-agency clearance, for use in a demarche to the Bulgarian Government protesting GOB support for international terrorism. Although the information is transmitted in the form of suggested talking points, the Department concurs in the Ambassador’s outline for a demarche presented Ref B and leaves to him the presentation of the information (including its precise wording) to the GOB in the manner which he believes will be most effective.
—The grenades used in the terrorist attacks in Ankara on the U.S. Officer’s Club in April 1986, in a planned Libyan attack on the American Embassy in Paris in March 1986, in the infamous attacks on the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, in the hijacking of the Egypt Air flight to Malta in November 1985, and in Rome at the Cafe de Paris attack in September 1985 were all made in Bulgaria.
Most of these attacks have another common element: all but two were carried out by the Abu Nidal terrorist organization.
The use of Bulgarian grenades in so many different heinous terrorist attacks cannot possibly be considered coincidence.
The Government of Bulgaria has thus contributed to terrorist attacks in which 78 innocent persons have been murdered and over 150 have been wounded.
It matters little to the victims whether they were killed because the GOB knowingly sold munitions to the Abu Nidal terrorist group, the bloodiest and most vicious terrorist organization in the world, or whether the GOB failed to exercise its minimal responsibilities to the international community to ensure that munitions it sold to a third party would not be handed over to terrorist groups.
The GOB has no end-user checks on its weapons sales; it has thus made no serious effort to ensure that weapons it produces and exports do not end up in the hands of terrorists.
We urge the GOB to put an immediate stop to the flow, by whatever route or means, of Bulgarian arms and other munitions to terrorists.
We urge the GOB to exert strong control over the Libyan People’s Bureau in Sofia to ensure that it is not used to assist terrorist attacks either in Bulgaria or in third countries.
We further urge that the GOB use its influence with Libya and other countries to stop their support for terrorism.
GOB links with the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) are amply documented. The visits of PFLP leader George Habash to Sofia are a matter of public record.
The USG has also documented that the PFLP was implicated in the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Francis Meloy, in 1976.
Ambassador Meloy was kidnapped on June 16 of that year and taken with two members of his staff to the headquarters of a PFLP unit. They were subsequently murdered, and their bodies found the next day.
The Government of Lebanon later arrested eight terrorists for the murder of Ambassador Meloy and his aides. All eight were connected with the PFLP.
You therefore can understand the revulsion with which my government views the warm welcome which Habash receives on his visits to Bulgaria.
My government would like to continue to make progress on specific issues with the Government of Bulgaria, and terrorism is a very important issue to us.
Your government and others which seek improved relations with the USG should understand that we will know if they help terrorists, and we will know if they stop helping them.
You will recognize that your government’s general statements of principled opposition to terrorism are meaningless unless accompanied by deeds.
We understand that Bulgarian authorities have cooperated in the past with the Federal Republic of Germany to return wanted German terrorists found in Bulgaria.
We would hope for further vigorous Bulgarian cooperation of this sort.
  1. Source: Department of State, Official Correspondence of Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead, July 1982–January 1989, Lot 89 D 139, JCW’s Eastern Europe Trip 1/27–2/7/87 Daybooks—Part III. Secret; Immediate; Exdis.
  2. In telegram 92 from Sofia, January 8, Levitsky renewed his recommendation that he deliver a démarche on terrorism to the Bulgarian Government. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D870019–0214)
  3. In telegram 2542 from Sofia, June 13, 1986, Levitsky recommended that the Department formulate a démarche on terrorism for him to deliver to the Bulgarian Government. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D860458–0213)