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Bulgaria (General Stanchev)

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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24.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations have been made to the Bulgarian Government by His Majesty's Government's representative in Sofia regarding the continued imprisonment of General Stanchev, formerly Commander of the 2nd Bulgarian Army, who was arrested in June, 1946; and, in view of the fact that no charges appear to have been substantiated against him and he has not yet been brought to trial, if he will call upon the Bulgarian Government to implement Articles 2 and 3 of the Peace Treaty.

The United Kingdom Political Representative in Bulgaria reports that inquiries of the Bulgarian authorities have elicited the reply that General Stanchev is in preventive imprisonment in connection with the discovery last year of an army conspiracy; that he has not hitherto appeared before any court because investigation of the case has not been completed and that the case against General Stanchev and others concerned in the conspiracy is in process of preparation and the date of the examination of the case remains to be fixed. We believe that this distinguished officer has been in custody for many months and we are not satisfied that he is being well treated. His Majesty's Government will continue to watch the situation carefully and should there appear at the appropriate time to be any breach of the terms of the Peace Treaty, will take consequent action.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that imprisonment without trial since June, 1946, is a curious reward for a man who fought with distinction against the Germans in Yugoslavia, who was extolled for his action by the B.B.C., and who received a high military decoration from the U.S.S.R. for the capture of Nish by the 2nd Bulgarian Army, which he commanded?

Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider refusing the ratification of this treaty if those essential Articles, Nos. 2 and 3, are not going to be observed?

Will my right hon. Friend take every opportunity to press this matter because of the really remarkable record of General Stanchev, who captured Sofia and won the victory against the Germans, and will he do everything in his power to make the Bulgarian Government realise how deeply we feel about this matter?