3 SEPTEMBER 1943, Page 2

Bulgaria After Boris

The situation in Bulgaria has been thrown into confusion by the sudden death of King Boris, the cause of which is the subject of conflicting rumours. It occurred immediately after his visit to Hitler and the presentation of demands for yet more active help to Germany, which he may or may not have intended to accept. Certainly he had served Hitler well during the last three years, throwing his country into the war against the Western Allies (but not against Russia), offering his country as a base for German operations against Yugoslavia and Greece, and using Bulgarian troops to garrison and maltreat the Greeks of Macedonia. But his policy was dictated by political opportunism rather than liking for Germany. Just as in the early years of his reign lie steered his way among the stormy party politics of his country in order to preserve his throne, so in recent years he has played his cards internationally in the hope of being on the winning side. Since the invasion of Sicily there were signs that he was uneasy about his choice of alliances. However that may be, he died at the moment when his had been the real directing hand in the policy of the Government, and when it was associated in the minds of his people, a majority of whom deeply resented the war, with sub- ordination to Germany. The succession of his young son Simeon- necessitates a Regency, a question which -constitutionally needs to be settled by the election of a National Assembly. The Germans

are seizing points of vantage, and are bent on introducing the Gestapo. They had counted on the use of Bulgarian divisions in the Balkans, but it is doubtful whether they can now rely on any active help from Bulgaria. The situation presents them with one more embarrassment, and is almost certain to make fresh calls upon German troops.