The Macedonian Tendency: Canada and Macedonians Circa 1944

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canada and Macedonians Circa 1944

Telegram 554

LondonApril 12th, 1944

From the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
To the Secretary of State for External Affairs Canada


Following for the Prime Minister. Begins:

The development of a Resistance Movement in Bulgaria has brought to the surface again the Macedonian question. There are a considerable number of Bulgarians fighting with Tito’s men in southern Serbia and Macedonia, and Tito’s programme includes the establishment of an autonomous Macedonia. The Bulgarian Resistance Movement proper is divided on the Macedonian question, some sections of it advocating an autonomous Macedonia and others not.

2. We are determined at all costs to avoid being involved in the Macedonian question at this stage, and our liaison officers in Bulgaria are to be instructed to make it perfectly plain that we decline to discuss the question with anyone, and that our only concern is in getting Bulgaria out of the war and freeing Greek and Yugoslav territory from Bulgarian forces.

3. The Macedonian question has been the bane of Bulgarian politics for many years. It involves all Balkan countries to a greater or lesser extent. The Greek Government from the early days of the war have been suspicious of any contact we have had with the Macedonians, and our support of Tito in southern Serbia and of the Bulgarian Resistance Movement has led to a renewal of this nervousness. An autonomous Macedonia would cut across Greek aspirations to a frontier rectification with Bulgaria in, for instance, the Struma Valley. Tito’s advocacy of an autonomous Macedonia is understandable as part of his programme of diminishing Serbian influence, since such a state could only be formed at the territorial expense of Serbia. Our support of Tito, however, does not include support of his anti-Serbian aims. Bulgarian interest in Macedonia is, of course obvious.

4. Our information regarding the present situation in Macedonia and the Macedonian movement is, however, far from complete and, since the Partisans operating in Macedonia are under Tito’s control, we are asking our liaison officers in Yugoslavia to supply us with a report on their activities. Ends.


Telegram 775

LondonMay 7th, 1945

From the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
To the Secretary of State for External Affairs Canada


My telegram Circular D. 52? of 29th March.


Ambassador, Belgrade, reports that Yugoslav Government decides on April 26th to recognize Hoxha’s Administration as Government of Albania and to establish diplomatic relations with that Government and with Bulgaria.

2. Yugoslav Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs informed Ambassador that he would receive an official notification of this effect. Ambassador replied that while decision aboutAlbania was comprehensive, he did not quite understand the position regarding Bulgaria as that Yugoslavia is still at war with that country. Under-Secretary explained as Bulgarian Army was fighting along side Yugoslav troops in the liberation of the country, it was natural that Yugoslav Government should wish to establish some kind of diplomatic relations with Bulgarian Government. He explained that the position of Yugoslav representatives in Sofiawould be analogous to that of Sir N. Charles in Rome.


Telegram 488

LondonDecember 12th, 1946

From the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
To the Secretary of State for External Affairs Canada


My telegram Circular D. 1150, 10th December.


Current discussion on alleged incursions over Greek frontier by her northern neighbours contain frequent references to Macedonian autonomous movement NOF. This organization is present day counter-part of former autonomous movement IMRO and OCHRANA; but it differs in being more closely allied with Yugoslav-Macedonian aspirations, in relation no doubt to suspected plans for Yugoslav and Bulgarian Federation after signature of Peace Treaty with later country. The following notes by United Kingdom Consul General at Salonica on NOF, may therefore be of interest, Begins.

1. During the enemy occupation of GreeceBulgaria, not content with Eastern Macedonia andWestern Thrace, was anxious to annex Central and Western Macedonia, and with German permission infiltrate OCHRANA agents who operated mainly in the area between Florina, Kastoria, Kozani and Edessa. Kalcheff, now serving a life sentence in Greece as a war criminal, was the chief of OCHRANA in Greece. OCHRANA’s aims were exactly the same as those of IMRO. At that time there was no collaboration between OCHRANA and EAM/ELAS. On the contrary there were frequent clashes, and ELAS disarmed OCHRANA bands wherever it could.

2. As, however, Axis power showed distinct signs of weakening another organization was indicated, this time an anti-fascist one, and about July-August 1944 SNOF (Slavomakedonski Narodni Osloboditelni Front) was founded, the members of which were the same as those of OCHRANA with a few additions. Directives now came from Moscow – though via Tito – and SNOF collaborated with EAM/ELAS until about October-November 1944 when a split occurred and Gotche (alias Gotseff) its military leader, and his men withdrew into Yugoslavia(Vardar Macedonia). It is said that this split was cause by EAM/ELAS insistence on bringing SNOF bands further south, presumably with the object of utilizing them against the Government and British in Athens, and by Gotcheff’s refusal to abandon his own are.

3. Subsequently SNOF dropped the S (Slavomakedonski), which was objectionable to a large section of KKE following, and became NOF. That this latter is merely the continuation of SNOF is admitted in a leader in “Deltion” of 20th February. “Deltion” claims to be the “official organ of NOF” and is believed to be published in Skopje. It is printed in Makedonski and Greek. In the same issue, an extract from a manifesto is published by ASNOM (Antifascist Council of People’s Liberation of Macedonia) urging “Macedonians” under Greece andBulgaria to participate in the “gigantic antifascist front” which is the only way “to win the right of self-determination and unity of the entire Macedonian people under the aegis of Tito’sYugoslavia”.

4. It is correct that NOF does not participate in “autonomous activities” in that it does not work for Macedonian autonomy in the true meaning of the work (which was the object of IMRO when first founded in 1891-1892), nor for autonomy and the incorporation with Bulgaria, which IMRO and OCHRANA subsequently stood for. For reasons best known to Moscow, Belgrade and Sofia, NOF now owes allegiance to Tito, and the means to ensure Macedonia passing under his “aegis” would be the union of “Vardar” (Yugoslav), “Aegean” (Greek) and “Pirin” (Bulgarian) Macedonia under the president of Vardar Macedonia at Skopje – to form a single unit of the Federal State. This is clear from another leader of “Deltion” of 15th March, where it is stated that “from the early days, the Macedonian people had expressed its will to live with the people of Yugoslavia, since the Yugoslav people esteem it (the Macedonian people) as a people, and since under Marshal Tito’s wise leadership the Macedonian people, in a common struggle with the people of Yugoslavia, won its national freedom for the first time”. In the same leader it is said that “the Macedonian people of Aegean Macedonia is right in wanting union with its supporter the leading Macedonia of Vardar”.

5. Nor is it only NOF which holds such ideas. Tito in his speech at Skopje on October 11th, 1945, as reported in the “Deltion” of 21st October, spoke of the unity of all Macedonians within Federal Yugoslavia and rebuked Bulgarian “reactionaries” who still spoke of “Greater Macedonia” i.e. “independent” Macedonia. Ends.


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