Jordan BAEV

Two Poles of the Cold War Confrontation in Europe: Bulgaria and the Nordic Countries

At first sight the theme thus formulated looks a bit exotic, and it seems somehow difficult to make it factually meaningful. This doubt was nearly confirmed when two months ago on the occasion of the first visit of a Norwegian Defense Minister in Sofia I had to make out a Memo on the 80 years development of the Bulgarian-Norwegian relations for my Minister. Very few were the events, finding place in the Memo which really deserved mentioning. Another argument in favor of a doubtful approach to the matter is that two Poles or rather two opposite Flanks in the global geopolitical confrontation cannot have particular crossing points and can only interact circumstantially. The study of considerably voluminous Archive collections, covering the postwar period, however, weakens the original skepticism and offers the researcher a number of interesting matters and problems, the solution of which might be only reached means of historical analysis and political modeling. Matters of this kind are, for instance: the part of the small countries in the development of the Cold war; the admissible and possible parameters of subordination to and alienation from the leading partners; use of the Party contacts within the frames of the foreign policy endeavors, etc.

The Balkans and Scandinavia are two European regions the comparison of which brings out certain common features from geopolitical point of view. First of all the geographic positions of both peninsulas put them in similar positions in the strategic conceptions of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. While Central and Western Europe are considered as the “front line of defense against the threat”, the North-West and the South-East European flanks of the global confrontation are more of a bridge-head/barrier to the communication lines towards the Atlantic and Mediterranean areas. Within the boundaries of both regions a variety and interaction of political systems, a smaller version of the postwar Europe, exist. Norway (and Denmark) are represented as the small loyal allies of Washington while Bulgaria (and Romania till 1964) - as the faithful small satellites of Moscow. Sweden occupies its due place owing to its economic potential and active policy of “neutrality” favoring the West. Yugoslavia is its Balkan counter-part with ideological roots in the Eastern type of Marxism and an ambitious policy of “non-alignment”, turned toward the Third World. Finland and Albania are “something special” within the frames of the Bi-polar confrontation. The history of the countries in both peninsulas are linked with the fate of two islands - Cyprus and Iceland. In view of the specific position of Finland in the Soviet Bloc policy, it will not be subject of consideration in this study.


Unexpected as it may look; interesting information evidencing the position of the Nordic countries at the eve of and in the initial period of the Cold War can be found in the Bulgarian archives. The documents on this matter are kept in the personal Records of the former Secretary General of the Comintern, Georgi Dimitrov. They are related not only to the positions of the Communist parties in the region, but consider also British-American and Russian policies there. There are about 50 Notes concerning Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in Dimitrov’s Diary (1933-1949). This important historical document registers conversations, meetings, letters and information with, from or about 25 personalities of these countries, among whom are - Martin Andersen Nexe, Alfred Jensen, Aksel Larsen, Martin Nilsen from Denmark; Orgersson from Iceland; Rolf Andvord, Henry Christijansen, Emil Levlien, Bromberg from Norway; Georg Branting, Sven Linderot, Anton Strand, Hilding Hagbert, Erik Karlsson, A. Vretlin, U. Erikson from Sweden. Under separate cover in the personal Records of Dimitrov letters and minutes of discussions on the situation in the Scandinavian Communist parties in the 30-ies and 40-ies are kept. The first documents concerning Sweden are dated 1909, and the last ones - 1948.

In relation to the preliminary of the Cold War certain Notes and Information in the Diary from the Second World War years are of interest. They are referred to the tactics of the communist movement and the British-American policy in Scandinavia. During the war the main contacts with these countries were effected via Stockholm. Coordinators of the ties with the Comintern were Sven Linderot, the Swedish Communist leader, and Jacob Rosner /Lang/, chief of the telegraph agency of the Comintern “SUPRESS”. For making the contacts and obtaining additional information the leadership of the Comintern [from 1944 on “International Information” Department at the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party] acted in collaboration with the NKVD’ First /Intelligence/ Department which is evidenced by Notes of meetings in this respect between Dimitrov and Gen. Pavel Fitin, Col. Pavel Sudoplatov and the Chief of Soviet Intelligence in Scandinavia Col. Boris Rybkin /Yartzev/. In certain cases the Secretary General of the Comintern was in direct contact with Alexandra Kolontai, Soviet Ambassador in Stockholm.

The attitude of the communists toward the “Anglo-Saxon allies” is evident from the directive sent by the Secretary General of the Comintern to the leadership of the Danish CP as early as September 1942: “We recommend an extreme caution toward the English. The connection with them is to be maintained by means of second parties... Do not let out any information of your inner affairs or intentions. You can accept material support from them but do not bind yourselves with any obligations toward them... Watch out for any penetration of British intelligence officers within a Party unit or their recruiting party people. Remember these people can create dangerous decay in your ranks.”

The drastic change in the Soviet position regarding the American military presence in Iceland at the end of the war from that held at the beginning of the war is rather significant. In July 13th 1941 V. M. Molotov sharply required Dimitrov to explain “the protest of the Icelandic communists against the enter of the American troops in Iceland”. In the spirit of the Soviet-British agreement for joint struggle against Nazi Germany signed the previous day, Dimitrov immediately sent a cable to London requiring a “correction in the position of the Icelandic communists”. Exactly opposite view was expressed in Dimitrov’s conversation with Orgersson, Icelandic Minister and Chairman of the Icelandic Communist Party in October 1945 in Moscow regarding the establishing of American military bases and airports on the territory of Iceland.

In the last days of the war in Europe Moscow was seriously concerned with the tendency of the Swedish government to prevent the repatriation of several thousand Soviet citizens of Baltic origin. In May 1945 a special material “On the anti-Soviet activities of the Baltic emigrants in Sweden” was published in the secret Information Bulletin of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party whose editor was at that time G. Dimitrov. A special attention was drawn to the position of the representatives of Great Britain and the USA in Sweden. A month later on this matter Dimitrov had talks with the head of the Soviet Repatriation Commission in Stockholm, Belyaev. The latter informed him of the “anti-Soviet campaign” in Sweden and the endeavors of the Swedish government and the English representatives “to detain these people and to use them later on against the Soviet Union”.

In the initial period of the Cold War the political and economic contacts of Bulgaria with the Nordic countries were fragmentary and were not of any particular interest. Among them the following could be mentioned: the participation of a Bulgarian Parliamentary delegation in the session of the Interparliamentary Union in Copenhagen in April 1946 and the courtesy meeting of the Chairman of the Bulgarian Parliament Vasil Kolarov with the Danish King Christian X; the visit of a Swedish senator Georg Branting in Sofia in May-June 1947 and his talks with the Prime Minister Georgi Dimitrov; signing of the first trade agreements with Denmark and Sweden in 1947. Information of more general character regarding the situation in Scandinavia were sent by the Bulgarian Embassy in Stockholm.

The repression against the anti-communist opposition in Bulgaria in 1947 brought about public comments and protests by different circles in Sweden and Denmark. An evidence to this is a cable sent by G. Dimitrov from Moscow to Sofia of 30th September, 1947. In it there was an Information about a collective message sent by the Social-democratic, Conservative and Radical parties’ youth organizations in Denmark: “The Danish youth was outraged at learning of the execution of the leader of the Bulgarian opposition Petkov… In the name of the democracy the youth organizations of Denmark protest against this outrage against the democracy, demonstrated execution of one of most liberty loving citizens of Bulgaria…”


The political and state relations of Bulgaria with the Nordic countries during the upheaval of the Cold War (1947-1955) did not mark a development of any significance. Till 1956 formal diplomatic relations with Sweden only existed. The information reports of the Bulgarian Embassy in Stockholm presented the country as fully tied up with NATO and the USA, they interpreted the country’s line of traditional neutrality with suspicion and derision. The attitude of the Bulgarian government toward the “active neutrality” of some European countries changed after the Warsaw Treaty Organization was established when the position of “positive neutrality”, adopted by countries like Austria and Finland, was given a positive evaluation in some Foreign Policy analyses. Till mid-50-ies the reports of the Bulgarian diplomats in Stockholm put the stress on the participation of various public organizations in the “Peace campaigns” then organized as well as on the activities of the leading figures of the Bulgarian anti-communist emigration in Western Europe.

In the spring of 1957 Marko Temnyalov, Bulgarian Minister in Stockholm presented his letters of credence consecutively in Oslo and Copenhagen. On 28th June 1957 on a conference held with the Bulgarian diplomatic representatives abroad in Sofia, chaired by Karlo Lukanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, problems of foreign and home policy of the three Scandinavian countries and their relations with Bulgaria were put forward for discussion. On the subject Temnyalov, the Minister in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, delivered a detailed report. In it special place was given to the Swedish policy of neutrality and non-participation in military and political unions while the anti-Soviet and pro-West position of the Social-democratic government of Erlander during the events in Hungary and Egypt in October-November 1956 underlined. The success of the Venstre Party in the parliamentary elections in Denmark in May 1957 was mentioned, too. It was also stressed that in result of the “Hungarian events” the Danish Communist Party was left by 16 % of its members. In respect of the relations of Bulgaria with the countries in the region, Temnyalov pointed out that the ministries of Foreign Affairs in the three Scandinavian countries had always been correct in their attitudes and has extended to him the necessary assistance. The interesting side of the report is the rather concrete criticism of the Bulgarian diplomat toward its own Ministry and some foreign trade companies which showed bureaucratic approach and used to deliver low quality agricultural products. The whole report on the relations with Denmark, Norway and Sweden is made out in pragmatic spirit, and the ideological patterns are followed within the obligatory minimum.

The activation of the inter-state and political contacts in the 60-ies is connected in a way with the introduction of new element in the Bulgarian foreign policy. From the end of the 50-ies the BCP used to realize its political purposes more and more making use of the activities of its smaller political partner - the Bulgarian Agrarian Union /BAPU/, a Party that accepted unconditionally the leading role of the communists in the management of the country as early as 1948. Differently from the previous period, after 1956 the Agrarian Party was permitted and in some cases even encouraged to show a more intensive international activity. In the early 60-ies the leadership of the BAPU established contacts with farmers’ unions, agricultural trade unions and other agrarian organizations at first in Western Europe and the Third World, and in the 70-ies its relations with influential Centrist, Radical, Liberal, Christian-democratic and other Parties, greater part of which were members of government coalitions in their countries, were strengthened Looking closely at the international activity of the BAPU one can definitely say that this Bulgarian Party showed far more intensive and much wider activities in comparison with similar Parties and organizations in the remaining East-European countries, being used in the last two decades of the Cold War as an organizer of representative international meetings and conferences for “détente, peace and international dialogue”. This policy was supplementary to the more limited possibilities for political contacts on the part of the Communist parties. Obviously, quite a few Parties in Western Europe, Asia and America did find it much more politically acceptable to maintain official relations with an agrarian rather a communist Party in Eastern Europe.

The activation of the relations of Bulgaria with the Scandinavian countries is with no doubt connected with the activity of one of the BAPU leaders - Lalyu Ganchev. As early as 1958 during the World Congress on Disarmament in Stockholm he had established contacts with important political leaders in the Scandinavian countries, and three years later he was once again in Sweden as a head of a Bulgarian trade delegation. His appointment as a diplomatic representative in Stockholm in 1964 coincides with the promotion of the diplomatic missions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway to the rank of embassies and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Iceland after the initial consultations carried out in the end of the previous year. In a special Situation Report of the Research & Analysis Department of Radio “Free Europe” it was mentioned on this occasion: “The appointment of Ganchev to Stockholm is interesting because he will be the first prominent agrarian holding an ambassadorial post abroad. In this connection it might be important to note the Agrarian Union seems to be developing a special role in maintaining contacts with the Scandinavian countries through the peasants’ parties and organizations of these countries. The most important step in this direction was an extensive tour of Sweden, Norway and Denmark undertaken by a delegation of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union in May 1963.”  

Lalyu Ganchev represented Bulgaria at the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway from 1964 to 1972 (his commission for Norway lasted till October 1970), and from March 1965 to August 1972 at the government of Iceland, too. That was the period of the most intensive inter-state relations of Bulgaria with the Nordic countries in history. In March 1967 a Bulgarian foreign minister paid an official visit to Denmark and Norway for the first time ever. Two months later Torsten Nilsen, Swedish Foreign Minister visited Bulgaria, and in September Jens Otto Krag and Per Borten, prime-ministers of Denmark and Norway respectively, had official talks with the Bulgarian Prime-Minister, Todor Zhivkov in Sofia. During the talks an agreement was achieved on the main international topics: the political settlement of the conflicts in South-East Asia and the Middle East; the necessity for calling up a conference on the European security; the signing of an treaty for limitation of the nuclear weapons. The favorable development on the visit of the Swedish Foreign Minister in Sofia declared explicitly that “there are no matters of controversy between the two states”. In April 1968 Ivan Bashev, Bulgarian Foreign Minister, visited Reykjavik. That was the first visit of a East-European Foreign Minister in Iceland. One of the practical results from these visits was the elimination of visa regime between Bulgaria and Denmark, Norway and Iceland. (Paradoxical it might sound, but just after the establishment of real parliamentary democracy in Bulgaria at the end of 1989 those agreements were denounced and the visa regime restored).

The intervention of Warsaw Pact troops in Czechoslovakia in August 1968 reflected on the Bulgarian-Scandinavian relations, too. Following a resolution of the governments of Denmark and Norway the visit of the Bulgarian Head of State planned for the end of 1968 was postponed, and the leaders of some leftist and centrist Parties in those countries also canceled their previously planned visits to Bulgaria. The visit of Todor Zhivkov in Norway, Iceland and Denmark took place from 21st to 30st September, 1970. Four years later Stanko Todorov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, paid the first Bulgarian state visit in Sweden.

In the early 80-ies the Bulgarian minister of Foreign Affairs, Petar Mladenov visited Oslo and Stockholm, and his counter-parts of Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, respectively - Keld Olesen, Olafur Johanesson and Lenart Budstrem visited Sofia. Among the main topics of discussions were: the continuation of the Helsinki process and the idea to create zones free of nuclear weapons in Northern Europe and on the Balkans. The renewal of the sharp political confrontation between the two military-political blocs in the early 80-ies had a negative influence on the development of the Bulgarian relations with the Nordic countries. Significant is the fact that in the 80-ies the Bulgarian Foreign Minister did not held even a single consultation with a Scandinavian counter-part of his during the sessions of the UN General Assembly in New York though these sessions are usually availed for annual consultations among the top diplomats of 30-35 states.

During the time when Lalyu Ganchev, representative of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union, was Ambassador in the region, the political contacts with Scandinavian Parties and organizations also marked an important development. In 1965-1968 Bulgaria was visited by leaders of some agrarian unions and federations as well as by Karl Skyute, President of the Danish Radical Party Venstre, Jon Austerheim, President of the Agrarian Party of Norway and Gunar Hedlung, President of the Center Party of Sweden. In the 70-ies the contacts with other centrist and radical Parties were widened, one of them being the Icelandic Progressive Party .

It is rather indicative that in his capacity of Bulgarian Ambassador Lalyu Ganchev was charged to bring the relations between BCP and the Communist Parties in the area closer (for which he showed a relentless personal initiative, too). The intensification of these contacts in the mid-60-ies was a result as well of the activation of the International activity of the BCP after the aggravation of the differences between the Soviet and the Chinese communists. The letter of Ambassador Ganchev to the CC of the BCP of 18th September 1966 is characteristic of his efforts to consolidate not only the international contacts of his Agrarian Party but also those of the lading Communist Party. With that letter the leadership of the BCP was informed of the meetings the Ambassador had held with the chairmen of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Communist parties - Jespersen, Larsen and Hermanson. In the end of 1965 contacts with the Unified Socialist Party of Iceland were established, and in the following year its Chairman, Einar Olgeirson visited Bulgaria. A grant for a Party activist to study in the Sofia University was agreed and a Party leader, Kiartan Olafson greeted the 9th Congress of the Bulgarian Communist Party in November 1966.

At its meetings with like-minded people of the Nordic countries the leadership of the BCP very often discussed matters not meant to be publicly announced by which reason those talks were definitely ingenuous. Therefore the shorthand minutes of the bigger part of such talks kept in the Communist Party archives were not marked “Classified”, “Secret” or “Strictly Confidential” by accidence. Rather indicative is, for instance, the conversation between Todor Zhivkov and the Chairman of the Norwegian Communist Party Reydar Larsen held in June 1970. The Bulgarian Party and State leader confidentially informed him of his differences with Ceausescu and other Romanian leaders on a number of Foreign policy matters, such as the evaluation of the Middle East situation or the intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968. In regard of the bilateral relations he stated: “As a government we maintain with Norway normal relations. As “normal” I mean that we are a socialist country, a member of the Warsaw Pact while Norway is a capitalist country, a member of NATO”. On his part the Norwegian communist leader informed of the nature of the division in the leadership of his Party. The appointment of a new Norwegian Foreign Minister was characterized by him as a “turn to the right in the Foreign policy” of his country.

The last document on the prospects of the international activities of the BAPU, adopted two years before the change of the political regime in the country, is the most eloquent evidence for the role it was given in the expansion of the political contacts with a wide circle of organizations in the Nordic countries. The document stated: “In the International activities of the Agrarian Union an import part plays our traditional collaboration with the Center Parties and their coalition partners in the Scandinavian countries. It can be definitely stated that these political formations are on positions closest to ours in respect of the development of the All-European process. At the preparation for and holding of the three European conferences in Helsinki as well as at the forums carried out in Bulgaria and other countries, we have also had their constructive support.” In the document data were enumerated regarding contacts with the Center Party and the Liberal Party in Sweden, the Center Party and the Left Radical Party Venstre in Norway, the Venstre Radikale Party and the Conservative People’s Party in Denmark as well as the Progressive Party of Steingrimur Hermansson in Iceland. The conclusive part of the document said: “In its future activity BAPU should by all means pay a special attention to their colleagues in the Scandinavia as there is concurrence in views and political positions of the partners on the main political relations and the All-European process. The Balkan initiatives of our country, and especially those for creating zones free from nuclear weapons, those concerning the problems of the protection of the environment and the idea of Olof Palme for creation of European corridor free from nuclear weapons, offer the possibility for finding new more original and consolidating forms of cooperation between the countries on the Balkan peninsula and those of the Scandinavian region.”



The most important problem, probably, keeping on for ever animated discussions and consultations among the states of the different European sub-regions in the course of the last three decades of the Cold War, is the one related to the development of the process of European Security. To a considerable extent the original inducement for initiating this process were due to the experience with the development of the Berlin Crisis (1958-1962). Therefore, the fact that the government of East Germany was one of the most active initiators for calling up an European Security Conference was not accidental. In the end of December 1965 the Deputy Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the GDR, Oscar Fischer was sent to Bulgaria with a special mission. He addressed a request to the Bulgarian leadership to undertake the role of a mediator by informing the Swedish government of the East German proposals for European Security.

The Bulgarian government showed an admirable activity at the renewal of the preliminary constitutions for organizing a conference for European Security during the period 1969-1970. In the course of a few months only the Politburo of the CC of the BCP was delivered four information Reports by the Foreign Minister Ivan Bashev and accepted special resolution on this matter. In the Foreign Minister’s reports the existence of definite differences in the positions of the leading NATO members and those of some smaller countries-members was analyzed. For instance, in the information report of 11th June, 1969 the “more favorable approach” of Italy, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium and the Netherlands to the development of the dialogue between the East and the West was pointed out. Considering the different points of view as within the NATO as well as the Warsaw Pact, in the report of 9th November, 1969 the conception that the European Conference, in process of preparation at that time, would be an “initial stage of a long-term process”, i. e. its “institutionalization” would most probably be achieved by means of a “certain regularity” in the negotiations held. The Bulgarian activity in this respect was made evident during the bilateral negotiations with the Nordic states. At a meeting with a delegation of Western Communist Parties in February 1971, the leadership of the BCP informed: “At the visits of comrade Todor Zhivkov and our Foreign Minister in a number of European countries, such as Denmark, Austria, Norway, Iceland, Belgium and the Netherlands, these matters [those regarding the preparation of the European Security Conference] were subject of serious considerations.”

Among the vast diplomatic and political documentation, connected with the preparation and the holding of the conferences for European Security in Helsinki, Belgrade, Madrid, Stockholm (1973-1985) a particular attention deserve the regular summary memos of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petar Mladenov addressed to the Politburo of the CC of the BCP; the Bulletins and the Subject Reports of Department “Political Research, Planning and Information” of the Foreign Ministry; the Information Reports on the discussions at the Political Consultative Council and the Foreign Ministers Committee of the Warsaw Pact. A great part of the documents from the last decades are still not declassified, by which reason it is impossible to quote the original archive signatures. For the purposes of the present research only some most typical information, evaluations and conclusions will be stated.

Even in his speech back at the Warsaw Pact PCC meeting in Prague on 25th January, 1972, Todor Zhivkov drew special attention to the “evolution in NATO” concerning the calling up of an European Security Conference, specifying the existence of three lines of approach in the North Atlantic Treaty: “states like France with positions close or coinciding with ours”; the group of the small West European countries with “hesitant” attitudes and the positions of London and Washington to exercise pressure on the smaller associates. In his information of the progress of European Security Conference in Helsinki in 1973-1975 the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mladenov several times particularly pointed out the role of Denmark in reaching of compromise and mutually acceptable terms of expression at the making out of the main documents.

At the Helsinki Conference and afterwards the significance of the neutral and non-aligned European countries is settling the controversies and finding common language on matters of dispute increased very much. This tendency caused a growing interest toward them, and was a subject of discussion in the Bulgarian diplomatic and political analyses. An information report of the Foreign Minister, Petar Mladenov for the Politburo of the CC of the BCP of 20th December 1976, on the execution of the Conclusive Act of Helsinki and the preparation of the Belgrade meeting, pointed out the “conscientious” attitude of the neutral countries toward overcoming the confrontation between Moscow and Washington. The document explicitly stated: “For the sake of clarifying the intentions and points of view of the remaining countries - participants our country had bilateral consultations with Sweden…” In another Report to Politburo dated 14th July 1978, informing of the results of the Belgrade meeting of the representatives of the countries-participants in the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, P. Mladenov examined the position of each separate group of countries, and concluded : “Since the meeting ran under the sign of confrontation between the East and the West, the possibilities of the neutral countries… to play the role of an intermediary in finding compromises were limited.” In November 1978 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a detailed analysis on the role of the neutral countries (Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Yugoslavia) in the European Security process.

During the Madrid meeting the Bulgarian leadership continued to follow with particular interest the demonstration of differences in the positions of the small and big NATO countries as well as the line of behavior of the neutral states. In some analyses special attention was drawn to certain proposals of the Nordic countries (for instance, the Swedish proposal for holding a conference on the measures for consolidating the mutual confidence in the military field; Proposal PM/E 13 of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland for intensification of the cooperation on environment protection, etc.). In an information to Politburo of 28th April 1981 about the debates at the Madrid meeting, the Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov definitely underlined: “During the second stage [of the Conference] the existence of a “hard” nucleus in NATO - the USA, the Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Holland, became evident as well as the differences of this nucleus with the smaller countries like Denmark, Belgium and Norway. These differences were also demonstrated through the lack of clear position of the Western bloc in regard of the direction in which the Madrid meeting should have been steered - closing with a concluding document specifying only the date and the place of the next meeting… of closing with a document of significance, reconfirming the vital power of the European process and the détente as a whole.” Similar conclusions are included in the assessments of the Stockholm Conference on the Measures for Consolidation of the Mutual Confidence and Security and the Disarmament in Europe. No doubt, these evaluations were in harmony with the views of the Soviet leadership which is evident from the documents of the frequent Bulgarian-Soviet consultations at different levels during the whole period of this research.



One of the interesting but still difficult for investigation problems (owing to the limited access to documentary sources) is that regarding the Intelligence military and political information of the NATO activity on the Scandinavia peninsula as well as the of the North and Baltic Seas area. From the data available one can draw the conclusion that nearly all the information of this period was not original but was coming through Warsaw Pact channels or from some East-European capitals. With considerable confidence one can say that during the Cold War period Bulgaria did not have its resident military and political Intelligence in any of the Scandinavian capitals. The efforts of the Bulgarian Special services abroad were directed mainly toward its Southern neighbors on the Balkans, in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Central Europe. Their main intelligence purposes in the Western Europe were not so much of military strategic but rather of political contents - to register the activities and the intentions of the Bulgarian anti-communist opposition there. Only in the 70-ies economic and scientific-technical Intelligence activities were set up.

In the first years the Head Quarters of the Warsaw Pact United Armed Forces used to send to Sofia information about the “subversive activities of the capitalist States against the countries of the People’s democracy” but those documents used to treat exclusively the activities of the leading Western countries. After the military and political structures of the Warsaw Pact had been finally built up in the late 60-ies and in the early 70-ies a practice was established on the discussions at the Committees of the Defense and Foreign Ministers as well as in some temporary expert groups, the interested countries to inform their partners of concrete and regional problems. The Bulgarian representatives usually acquainted their colleagues with the situation on the Balkans, in the Mediterranean and Near East areas. Apart from Moscow, their own information regarding some global topics concerning NATO and the European Security process delivered most frequently the representatives of Poland and East Germany.

In the regular annual and thematic diplomatic analyses on the NATO activities very little space was given to positions of the Nordic countries and the military exercises taking place in the Scandinavia and the adjoin seas area. In one of the first annual Reports regarding the activities of the Atlantic Treaty in 1952, it was pointed out that only the Nordic countries had not introduced the new limitations in the movements of the Soviet Bloc diplomats. In another information of 1957 about the discussion on the idea to admit Francoist Spain in the North Atlantic Organization, the words of the Norwegian Prime Minister E. Gerhadsen were quoted: “For the democratic countries of Western Europe this matter has not only a military but also a political aspect. We in Norway believe that the admittance of Spain will weaken NATO”. In an information after the establishment of the “black colonels” regime in Greece in 1967 special attention was given to the appeal of the Danish government to the other NATO members “to discontinue the military supplies to Greece till the restoration of the democratic conditions” in the country.

Bigger part of the data regarding sessions of the NATO Council or Military Committee as well as such regarding military maneuvers carried out were based on publications in the Western press and News agencies and in some rather infrequent cases on summary information Reports of the Bulgarian diplomatic representatives in Western Europe or Soviet diplomatic sources. In the diplomatic documentation data regarding the military annual exercises “Arctic Express”, “Bar Frost”, “Brave Lion”, “Northern Wedding”, “Wintex”, “Autumn Forge”, etc. can be found. However, the military and political events on the North-West flank of the Bloc’s confrontation did not fire up particular professional interest in the Bulgarian General Staff because the experts’ attention was concentrated predominantly at the development of the military and political situation of the “Southern European strategic line”.

How strange to sound, speaking of any kind of military collaboration between the Warsaw Pact and the NATO countries during the Cold War period, it should be mentioned that in the 70-ies Bulgaria established contacts with some Nordic states in the field of the military medicine. Therefore, for instance in September 1971 Col. Stoyan Filippov, Head of a Clinic at the Military Medicine Academy was sent on specialization in Oslo. Also in Norway, in 1974 the well-known specialists in military medicine - Major-General Prof. Gencho Krastanov and Col. Prof. Nikola Hristov - were sent on business trip.


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The research on the subject of the mutual relations between the two opposite flanks of the Cold War confrontation may bring about different conclusions, depending on the nature and the purposes of the research. On the one hand, there is no doubt that the interaction and the mutual influence of the Balkans and the Scandinavia are comparatively limited as the respective region is neither a factor of great importance nor a most crucial one in determination of the global and the regional positions of the countries of the opposite parts of the Continent. On the other hand, the development of the International relations in Europe in the last decades puts forward interesting problems related to the real role of the small countries in the European process for Collective Security. The all complex of leading and subordinate, nuances tendencies together with the compatibility of different purposes and intentions for finding mutually acceptable decisions, are important ingredients of the social stuff which will dominate more and more the development of the globalized Humanity.


Ivan Bashev Foreign Minister 3-7.03.67
Jens Otto Krag Prime Minister & Foreign Minister 31.08-4.09.67
Ivan Bashev Foreign Minister 6-7.04.68
Todor Zhivkov Prime Minister 27-30.09.70
Knud Andersen Foreign Minister 29.01-1.02.76
Petar Mladenov Foreign Minister 23-25.11.77
Keld Olesen Foreign Minister 22-23.10.81
Petar Mladenov Foreign Minister 17-19.09.85
Ivan Bashev Foreign Minister 8-11.04.68
Emil Jonsson Foreign Minister 14-18.04.70
Todor Zhivkov Prime Minister 24-27.09.70
Olafur Johanesson Foreign Minister 3-5.11.80
Ivan Bashev Foreign Minister 27.02-3.03.67
Per Borten Prime Minister 22-28.10.67
Jon Ljung Foreign Minister 12-15.03.70
Todor Zhivkov Prime Minister 21-24.09.70
Petar Mladenov Foreign Minister 10-12.03.82
Torsten Nilsen Foreign Minister 7-13.05.67
Ivan Bashev Foreign Minister 6-7.04.68
Stanko Todorov Prime Minister 10-13.06.74
Petar Mladenov Foreign Minister 8-10.03.82
Petar Mladenov Foreign Minister 16-20.01.84
Lenart Budstrem Foreign Minister 7-8.05.85
V.UNITED NATIONS General Assembly Sessions
Ivan Bashev Sweden and Denmark delegations 4.10.66
Ivan Bashev Ion Ljung - Norway 2.10.67
Petar Mladenov Knud Andersen - Denmark 25.9.75


Einar Olgeirson President, Unified Socialist Party 5.-15.09.66
Train Valdemarson Secretary General, Progressive Party 18-22.05.81
Gudmundur Bjarnason Secretary General, Progressive Party 22.8.84
Peter Jorgensen President, Small holders Federation 21.-29.09.65
Anders Andersen President, Farmers Union 21.-29.09.65
Carl Skyte President, Radical Party VENSTRE 20.-30.08.66
Knud Jespersen President, Communist Party 15-19.06.67
Knud Jespersen President, Communist Party 24.06-11.07.70
Knud Jespersen President, Communist Party 1-14.08.73
Gunar Andersen President, Radical Party VENSTRE 28.8.75
Jorgen Jensen President, Communist Party 3.8.78
Jorgen Jensen President, Communist Party 12-15.12.78
Torkild Moller President, Radical Party 1.11.78
Torkild Moller President, Radical Party 18-22.05.81
Jorgen Jensen President, Communist Party 15-18.06.82
Jorgen Jensen President, Communist Party 11.7.82
Bjarne Heervik President, Union small farmers 28.08-5.09.62
Trygve Kaldal Secretary General, Union of small farmers 22.04-1.05.67
Ion Austerheim President, Agrarian Party 28.09-9.10.67
Rejdar Larsen President, Communist Party 8-13.06.70
Ion Austerheim President, Agrarian Party 27.06-7.07.70
Dagfin Norvik President, Center Party 7.7.75
Martin Gunar Knutsen President, Communist Party 12-15.12.78
Gunar Stolset President, Center Party 3-17.07.78
Johan Jakobsen President, Center Party 7.8.80
Martin Knutsen President, Communist Party 29.06-19.07.81
Hans Kleven President, Communist Party 16-21.06.82
Trygve Brateli President, Workers Party 16-21.06.82
Hans Kleven President, Communist Party 25-30.10.84
Ane Lisa Berenhaim Secretary General, VENSTRE Party 20-23.05.86
Karel Hilding Haksberg President, Communist Party 14.10.58
Gunar Hedlung President, Center Party 15-21.10.66
Rolf Hagel President, Workers Party-communists 09-14.11.80
Rolf Hagel President, Workers Party-communists 29.03-5.04.81
Lars Verner President, Left Party-communists 29.03-5.04.81
Gunar Hedlung President, Center Party 18-22.05.81
Gunar Hedlung President, Center Party 18-26.10.81