In the period between the two world wars, the United States of America changes in depth the logics of its European politics. The first decisive attempt, undertaken by President Wilson in the period 1915 - 1919, his country to obtain in reality the status of an accepted Great Power with decisive vote on the world problems, does not give the expected results. England and France, actively supported by their Balkan allies Serbia and Greece, manage to preserve Europe as a "non- American sphere of influence". Paris and London do not permit, the well-known Wilson's Peace Program to become foundation of the post- war reconstruction of the old continent and the world. At the same time the accumulated, unseen before, antagonism between defeated and victors, after 1919, and especially the incredible escalation of revolutionary activity in post-war Europe, make this region of the world extremely difficult for balancing of the liberal American diplomacy. In view of all these circumstances, the new republican administration of President Harding, elected to office in November 1920, prefers to " withdraw" from the European matters. During the whole period between the wars, as far as Europe is concerned, the administrations and diplomacy of the United States follow the tactics of isolationism and non-involvement./1/
The arguments concerning the attitude towards the Balkans are multiple and grave. In Southeastern Europe, at that time have accumulated the gravest problems, created by the economic devastation, the unseen escalation of inter- state antagonism and the appearance of almost unsolvable minority and refugee problems, after the implementation of the artificial political / not ethnical/ borders provisioned by the 1919 Neuilly Peace Treaty. All this makes of the Balkan Peninsula the most complex and literary untenable knot in postwar politics. Thus, the change in the official Bulgarian- American relation becomes inevitable.
As sign of protest, that the peace-makers in Paris refused Woodrow Wilson's ideas on the post war reconstruction of the world, the United States of America, officially do not ratify the Neuilly Peace Treaty./2/ Thus, for a second time, Washington demonstrates the moral inacceptance of the legitimity of the forced Partition of Macedonia and the remaining of the Bulgarian population of Vardar and Aegean parts of the region in the boundaries of Yugoslavia and Greece. On the other hand, under the influence of the above-mentioned geopolitical circumstances, the State Department declines the December 1921 offer of the government of Alexander Stambolyiski, for a bilateral Bulgarian- American treaty, in which the USA to engage itself officially with the support of the Bulgarian initiative on procuring the Bulgarian minority rights in Yugoslavia and Greece./3/ Further more, even if such document were signed, the possibilities of the United States to help in reality for the implementation of the minority rights clauses of the Bulgarian population in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, were highly restricted, due to the fact that, the American administration refuses to participate in the newly created League of Nations./LN/ In the 20-ies and 30-ies, this organization is controlled by the anglo-french diplomacy. It is, however, the place where most frequently on international forums, the problems of the European minorities are discussed.
The neutral strategy of the American administration remains an element of the global politics of Washington until the beginning of the Second World War. Thus, the official governmental course, does not favor the immediate active interference of the American diplomacy in all internal problems of the Balkans. Included is the fate of the Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. At the same time, however, a parallel and contrary trend are noticed, mainly concerning the public opinion. Thanks to it, the interest on the new phase of development of the Macedonian question after 1919, among the scientific and political circles in the USA do not diminish. On the contrary, it increases in the period between the two wars, inspite of the fact, that the official authorities do not undertake any practical steps for realization of the rational ideas, born by it.
The causes for the appearance of this second tendency are various and very objective. Between the two wars many missionaries, former professors of Robert College, diplomats and travelers -- all mature people with stable opinions on the political history of the Balkans and the tragic outcome of the Macedonian problem after the First World war reside in the United States. The affiliation of Vardar Macedonia to Yugoslavia and the Aegean to Greece, suddenly diminished the possibilities of the Protestant missionaries to work in these parts of the Balkan peninsula. The governments in Belgrade and Athens demonstrated total inacceptance of the activity of the Evangelist Church. Bulgaria is the only country in the Balkans tolerating equally the Protestant denomination and the other religious cults. At the same time the Greek- Turkish War, the anarchy in postwar Turkey and the Kemalist revolution, greatly constrict the field of activities of the Robert College. All this causes the Americans, working in Macedonia and Constantinople, to return to the USA.
Meanwhile, in the beginning of the 20-ies, the revolutionary movement of the Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia is reactivated under the leadership of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. /IMRO/ Only this time, its blow is aimed at the policy and the representatives of the Serbian and Greek authorities in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. The "Macedonian Question" enters with new force the headlines of the international press, with the events of this new phase not leaving without work many of those Americans with knowledge on it.
The public opinion is constantly surprised by new and shocking facts on the cruel denationalization enforced by the Greek and Serbian state in the region. They expect explanations, and the medias, especially the American press, often seek the cooperation of the experts on the Macedonian problem, to comment on what is happening around and in Macedonia itself.
Several new political factors appear in the United States, additionally sustaining and even activating the internal American interest of the public opinion and the responsible politicians on the Macedonian question. In 1922, the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in North America organizes itself on a new basis. The well-known "Macedonian Political Organization "/MPO/ is created in USA and Canada./4/ Clearly expressing the Bulgarian national self-identification of more than 100 000 emigrants of Macedonia, this new patriotic structure quickly gathers strength in the United States.
In its annual congresses and by its printed organ "The Macedonian Tribune", it continuously brings up the Macedonian problem to the attention of the public in the United States. Meanwhile, the organization sends thousands of telegrams, statements, appeals and inquiries to the State Department, different humanitarian organizations, the League of Nations in Geneva, the Balkan capitals with demands for defence of the Bulgarian national minorities in Greece and Yugoslavia. The MPO turns into a powerful "internal American engine" for sustaining alive the American public opinion on the fate of the Bulgarian population in the forcefully partitioned parts of Macedonia, something lacking in this great country before the First World War.
As partner of MPO, an extremely favorable role plays the established in 1924, seated in New York, International Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners./ICDPP/. /5/ With it are linked the names of such notorious representatives of the American society as: Roger Baldwin, John Adams, John Sullizmann, Elisabeth Guillman, Arthur Haye, Oscar Jessy, David Star Jordan, Paul Kelloak,
David Mitrani, Norman Thomas, Guillermo Valentini, and others -- all eminent politicians, diplomats and scientists. Under the leadership of Roger Baldwin, this new American public-humanitarian structure in its turn constantly controls the observation of the human rights on the Balkans and frequently dispatches different documents to the governments and their diplomatic missions, in Washington, in defence of the violated human rights of the minorities. Close relations develop between MPO and ICDPP. Together with the activities of the Protestant missionaries, the former professors of Robert College, the diplomats of former Balkan stationing, travelers and journalists, in the period between the two wars, a small but active internal American lobby connected with the Macedonian question is formed. Since the 20-ies until the mid-40ies, it is consistently interested in Macedonia and states clear positions on all questions concerning the fate of the Bulgarian population of the Vardar and Aegean part of the region. This is irrespective of official Washington's inability to practically realize its ideas on the Balkans, due to the policy of isolationism.
The immediate stimulus for the formation and the activation of the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in the United States comes from the complete failure of the denationalization policy of the Serbian and Greek governments, carried out on Macedonia. Hardly eight years after the implementation of the unjust Neuilly Peace Treaty, partitioning the region in three parts, had passed, when the world once again understood that the Bulgarians do not reconcile with their new masters. In 1927, the Serbian police unravels in Scopije, the structure of a big secret Bulgarian students' liberative organization. A noisy process known as the "Scopije students' process" is staged. For half a year, this event is in the pages of the international press, including the American, as it shows the truth that even in the new conditions the Bulgarians continue their fight for liberty!
In October 1927,the Central Committee of MPO receives in Indianapolis, a detailed description of the Scopije students' process. The document has been sent by the National Committee of the Macedonian Emigrant Organizations in Bulgaria, with request for a wide international publicity. This document is translated in English and is given by the CC of MPO to the International Committee for Defence of the Political Prisoners in New York. Greatly impressed by the facts mentioned, Roger Baldwin reacts quickly and organizes a reception of representatives of the MPO in the State Department and the Senate in Washington, so that the truth is presented there. Thus, the first diplomatic mission of a delegation of the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in USA in front of the most influential factors of the American state, is made possible. The representative of MPO- Lazar Kisselintchev -- is received by the Secretary of State Kelloak/ November 4th,1927/ and by the Chairman of the Senate's Commission on Foreign Affairs- Bora/ November 6th,1927/. The responsible American statesmen listen carefully to the presented information on the crimes committed over the Bulgarian population in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, and agree to a continuous and current information of the State Department and the Senate's Commission on Foreign Affairs on all important issues connected with Macedonia./6/
At the same time, Scopije is a place of new scandalous events. In order to paralyze the activity of IMRO, the Serbian police kill the father and the brother of the leader of the revolutionary liberative organization- Ivan Michailov. The new bloodshed attracts the international public opinion and gives cause for new activities. The CC of MPO in USA and Canada prepares a separate statement on the new events in Scopije. Copies of it are sent to the Senators Bora and King, and to Roger Baldwin in ICDPP in New York, as well.
On December 27,1927, in Washington begins its work the annual congress of the American Historical Society, in which participate many outstanding specialists on European and Middle East history, including the Balkans./7/ For the first time, the problem of the situation of the population in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia is included for discussion in the agenda. As guests are invited the plenipotentiary ministers of the Balkan states, including the Bulgarian- Simeon Radev, while CC of MPO is invited to send its official delegate.
The main exposition on the Macedonian problem is presented to the participants of the congress by the well-known expert on Southeast Europe- Prof. Arthur Andrews. Before the session, he requests a meeting with the delegate of MPO - Lazar Kisselintchev, who informs him in detail on the processes taking place in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. As result, when the notorious American historian begins to comment the actual political aspects of the Macedonia topic he says; " Thanks to the wisdom and common sense of the government from Gorna Djumaya to Petrich and from Melnik and Bansko to Youndola, the Macedonian Bulgarians practically control all elected and appointed authorities, resulting in peace and order in this land. In "Greek Macedonia " and in the Macedonian territory controlled by the Serbs in Yugoslavia, there is selfadministration"/8/ This leads Prof. Andrews to conclude that the Balkan peace settlement will be possible, when the Serbian and Greek governments implement and strictly respect the minority rights of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, provisioned under the 1919 Neuilly Peace Treaty./9/
Prof. Andrews' report, excites the interest of the American historians and political scientists and observers, connected with the Balkan problems. Lazar Kisselintchev takes advantage of this. With the help of Vangel Sougarev, professor in the Texas Agricultural and Technological University, MPO's representative meets and talks with many American scientists. He clarifies for everybody the political situation of the Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia and Greece, presenting them with, the especially written for the occasion book " The Bulgarian Locarno and the Macedonian Question".
The representatives of the American scientific circles express their sincere sympathies with the struggling Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia and declare their readiness to discuss this problem in their lectures on European history. Extremely interesting is Prof. F. Laibayer of the Illinois University. In the period 1900 - 1907 he teaches in Robert College in Constantinople, and in 1919 is one of the experts, member of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Thus, this American scientist knows in details the Macedonian problem and the drama suffered by the Bulgarians in this part of the Balkans. This is why, in his conversation with the MPO's representative he declares: "The American people will always be happy to help the Bulgarian tribe, because the Bulgarians seem as though are very close to he Americans.... Therefore, having this also in mind, you will have to double the energy of your activity in the American society."/10/ Prof. Laibayer was so impressed by the new massacres of the Bulgarians in Vardar Macedonia, that promised Lazar Kisselintchev to explore the public opinion for the creation of a new "American Committee for Macedonia". On parting, the noble friends of the Macedonian Bulgarians declared that with readiness will answer any invitation to give a lecture or write an article in defence of the Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia.
Encouraged by the success achieved, in the beginning of 1928, the CC of MPO gives Lazar Kisselintchev, official status of representative of CC of MPO in America. His activity is now done through the Information Bureau of MPO, seated in New York. This circumstance improves the conditions of work with the friends of the Macedonian Bulgarians in the United States. Already, as head of the Information Bureau of the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in North America, in the winter of 1928, Lazar Kisselintchev is received for second time by the Senators E. King, P. Swason, E. Day, S. Blum and the Chairman of the Senate's Commission on Foreign Affairs- Bora. They all listen very attentively to their guest and agree with his evaluations, that the Serbian and Greek governments do not respect the rights of the Bulgarian minority in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. They give high estimation to the books and materials on the Macedonian problem, regularly sent to them by CC of MPO since 1927. Especially sympathetic is their opinion on the book " The Macedonian Slavs", which proves the Bulgarian national identity of this population. All of them, however, express their desolation that their sympathies for the enslaved Bulgarians in Yugoslavia and Greece, can not be transformed into practical steps of the American diplomacy, due to the accepted by the White House, policy of non involvement in the internal European and Balkan matters./11/ Inspite of everything, the Chairman of the Senate's Commission on Foreign Affairs - Bora- asks for help for the writing of a special speech on the Macedonian problem, which he is to give in front of the Senate. In this way, although indirectly, he wanted to show moral support for the Bulgarians of Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, fighting for liberty and civil rights.
In 1928, the activated interest of the influential circles in the United States, towards the Macedonian problem widens even more. For his aim, the CC of MPO develops a program for the provision of new books on the Macedonian question to important political institutions, university libraries, foundations, important city libraries and others. MPO begins the distribution on the above mentioned addresses with 500 copies of "La Macedonie", published by Simeon Evtimov in Geneva. In the winter of 1928, the second edition of the book " The Bulgarian Locarno and the Macedonian Question " is published. The book proves that until the Bulgarian minority in Yugoslavia and Greece does not receive its rights, settlement on the Balkans can not happen. This book, translated in English is sent to 2000 addresses in the USA. Later on, to all interested in the Macedonian problems, many other books are sent, mainly editions of the Macedonian Scientific Institute in Sofia. Thus, in the biggest library collections of the United States, begin the creation of independent collections on the Macedonian problem. Especially important collections are concentrated in the Archives of the State Department in Washington, The Library of Congress of USA, Hoover's institute at the Stanford University of California, the Municipal library of New York and others. This new step undertaken by the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in the United States stabilizes the information stream toward the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in the country and gives new practical results.
In the end of 1927, ICDPP in New York, decides to send to the Balkans on a special mission, its chairman Roger Baldwin.His is to verify, personally and on the spot, the facts on the minorities' conditions in this part of the world, in order to precise the future policy of the active right-protecting organization. The journey takes place in the winter of 1928. For the next three months, Roger Baldwin visits the capitals of the Great Power in Europe, the League of Nations Headquarters in Geneva and the Balkan states. In the League of Nation, Baldwin is received in the Commission on Minorities Questions, while in Sofia he has several meetings with the National Committee of the Macedonian Emigrant Brotherhoods. Full with rich personal impressions, in the end of February, the chairman of ICDPP returns to New York.
On February 27th, the Council calls a big public meeting in the well-known "Civil Club". Lazar Kisselintchev is invited as official representative of CC of MPO and Head of the Information Bureau.In the detailed report, prepared by Roger Baldwin on the Balkans, is said that the exact figure of" the number of political prisoners in Macedonia is not known, as both the Greek and the Serbians do not allow anybody to look into their dirty and unhygienic dungeons. Macedonian is populated by Bulgarians," reports the chairman of ICDPP," who are submitted to horrifying sufferings and tortures. After my investigations on the spot, it is clear for me, that the Macedonians are honest patriots, who are not satisfied only with the talking about human rights, but with readiness die for them ."/12/
Roger Baldwin's inquiry in the winter of 1928, gives reason to ICDPP to vote a special decision: the American human rights organization officially to present from its name to the League of Nations, the question of the violated human rights of the Bulgarian minorities in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia.On March 31st, 1928, ICDPP in New York sends a voluminous report to the Secretary General of the League of Nations in Geneva - Eric Drummand. It states that ICDPP supports the "appeal of the National Committee of the Bulgarian Emigration in Sofia for the inquiry on how Yugoslavia treats the minorities in Macedonia". As the only route for the future, is pointed out the necessity for the League of Nations to request from the government in Belgrade to guarantee the minorities' rights and freedoms of the Bulgarians in Vardar Macedonia.
The report to Eric Drummand is signed by Roger Baldwin, who in handwritten appendix adds that the author has verified personally the presented facts./13/ Thus, thanks to the formation and mobilization of the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in the USA, in the end of the 20-ies, for the first time since the implementation of the 1919 Neuilly Peace Treaty, an influential foreign human rights organization solidarizes publicly, in front of the League of Nations, with the demands of the Bulgarian government and the emigrant organizations in Sofia, for cease of the terror and chase of the Bulgarian minorities in Yugoslavia and Greece. This extremely important demand is backed by the reputation of such eminent American politicians, scientists and diplomats as : J.Adams, J. Sulliman, E. Guillman, A.Hey, O.Jessy, D.S.Jordan, P.Kelloak, D. Mitrany, N. Thomas, G. Valentini, their names being written with special letters on the official documents of the ICDPP in New York.
In the summer of 1928, new dramatic events take place in Yugoslavia. A Serbian nationalist shoots in coldblood the leaders of the Croatia's opposition, inside the building of Belgrade's parliament. Yugoslavian money is involved in the destructive activities toward the IMRO -- the main revolutionary- liberative organization on the Balkans, fighting for the defence of the Macedonian Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. Thus, an acute internal crisis is provoked in IMRO, as a result of which, is murdered one of its most influential leaders, General Alexander Protogerov. Once again, the world's attention is focused on Yugoslavia and its minorities' problems.
For the clarification of the logics of these new events in the Macedonian liberation movement, in November 1928, the State Department authorizes Prof. Herbert Gibbens to meet and talk in details with a representative of CC of MPO in the United States. Prof. Gibbens had worked as correspondent of " New York Herald " in Turkey and the Middle East in the period 1908 - 1018, and is highly respected in the circles of the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in North America.
The encounters between Prof. Gibbans and Lazar Kisselintcev, head of the Information Bureau of MPO in New York, take place on 14th and 15th of November 1928, in Chicago. In a detailed and open exchange of opinions, MPO's representative, clarifies the existing situation in and around IMRO, declaring that, the patriotic Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in USA does not approve of the political assassinations - a position in accordance with the official declaration of the Seventh Congress of MPO, of September the same year.Kisselintchev adds that MPO does not sympathize with the violent methods in the politics and has nothing to do with the assassination of Gen. Protogorov.
Satisfied bywhat he has heard, Prof. Gibbens declares that, the information received "will not be use for publications, but is for the State Department."/14/ At the end of the talks, he gives MPO the idea for a coalition with the numerous Croatian emigration in USA. A similar anti-Serbian political formation in the new world, would provoke more seriously the American public opinion.
No evidence exists, however, the idea to be induced by State Department's orders. The fact that Gibbens negotiates with Kisselintchev at the demand of the diplomatic establishment in Washington, however, can not exclude such possibility at all. More so, very soon, this idea will be proposed to the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration in USA personally by the Head of the Middle East Section of the State Department. After the talks with Gibbens, in the end of 1928, the CC of MPO orients its political course for unification of the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in America with the numerous Croatian patriotic emigration. The similar situations created by the policy of the Serbian authorities in Zagreb and Scopije, provide favorable conditions for substantial enlargement of the spheres of influence of the, sympathizing and supporting the struggles of the enslaved Bulgarians of Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, forces. In result, during the 30-ies the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby in USA, gains one of its most important strategic allies in the resistance to the denationalization and assimilation policy against the Bulgarians in Yugoslavia and Greece./15/ By declarations, articles in the press, public manifestations and delegations to the most authoritative institutions, the American citizens of Bulgarian and Croatian origin, in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and others raise their voice in the defence of the Bulgarian minority in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia./16/
The events in Macedonia in 1928, activate again the old friend of Macedonia - Albert Soniksen. Inspite of his already advanced age, he carries alive in his heart, the truth on the fate of this Balkan land. The crisis provoked by the assassination of Gen. Protogerov, is the motive for the editors of the authoritative "Social Encyclopedia" to contact the expert on the Macedonian question, Albert Soniksen, with the demand for a detailed article on the history of IMRO and it struggles' aims. On January 5th, Soniksen informs the Head of the Information Bureau in New York, Lazar Kisselintchev, on this favorable possibility and asks for the latest literature on Macedonia, so that he can fulfill the accepted engagement on time./ Soniksen reads, write and speaks very well Bulgarian./
The offer is accepted with gratitude. A detailed information is sent to the National Committee of the Macedonian Bulgarian Emigration in Sofia, on the prospective of Soniksen telling the truth on Macedonia,in one of America's most popular and authoritative encyclopedias. In response, the Macedonian Scientific Institute in Sofia immediately sends to Soniksen's address, all its important editions on the character of the liberation movement of the Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia. Soniksen fulfills his engagement and writes new valuable pages on the Bulgarians in Macedonia. For the following three years, until his death in 1913, this eminent American democrat and humanist, fulfills his last, voluntary engagement to the historical truth connected with the history of the Macedonian question. Thus, he leaves a bright example in the development of American slavistics, on how the political situation can not change the opinion of a specialist during his whole lifetime./17/ Meanwhile, publications of authors of his class, in the beginning of the 30ies, clarify the actual events on the Balkans and stimulate for new initiatives the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby.
In March 1931, the member of CC of MPO and Head of the Information Bureau in New York, Lazar Kisselintchev, undertakes , for a third time, a diplomatic raid on Washington in connection with the Macedonian Question.During the second half of the month, he is invited for talks with the Head of the Middle East Section of the State Department./18/ In details are discussed the perspectives of the Bulgaro-Croatian emigrant political front in the United States. Lazar Kisselinchev's impressions are that, as the State Department officially discusses this idea with a representative of the Macedono-Bulgarian emigration, it obviously considers such a coalition a strategic reserve of the American politics on the Balkans in the future./19/ Such a conclusion permits CC of MPO to increase substantially its cooperation with the main Croatian emigrant organization "Hurvatsko Kolo". On February 27th, 1929, a document for stable alliance in the anti-Serbian struggle is signed, giving new strength to the Macedono-Bulgarian lobby. In the beginning of the 30-ies, it organizes impressive joint celebrations of historic anniversaries, protest actions against Belgrade's policy, exchange of delegations for the annual congresses of MPO and Hurvatso Kolo.
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