BULGARIA: Black Kitten

BULGARIA: Black Kitten - Time, Monday, May. 21, 1934

No one of importance can arrive in Sofia, small Bulgarian capital, without everyone from the cab drivers at the station to the perfume dealers in their offices knowing it within half an hour. Before the smoke of the Belgrade express had cleared from the station rafters last week everyone knew that Boske Jeftitch was in town.

Boske Jeftitch is Foreign Minister of Jugoslavia. Even a year ago his presence in Bulgaria would have caused riots, for Jugoslavia is part of the French-inspired Little Entente. But things have changed in a twelvemonth. Spurred on by the menace of Hitlerism and the threat to the Balkan "succession states"* of a possible Habsburg restoration in Austria and Hungary, Boske Jeftitch has trotted up & down the Balkan corridor trying to organ ize a separate Jugoslav-Turkish-Bulgarian entente. The advantages of such an alliance to impoverished Bulgaria were obvious, but there was just one point on which Foreign Minister Jeftitch was insistent. Jugoslavia would join no pact unless the Bulgarian Government could prove its capacity to handle the noisy Macedonian minority that has made life hideous and uncertain in Sofia for many a year. On his honor, Premier Nicholas Mushanoff swore that Bulgarian Macedonians have been as mild as lambs since last June, though up to that time Bulgarian papers reported a Macedonian murder nearly every day. Last major operation was in December 1932, when a party of Macedonians, complete with rifles, pistols, bombs and bird dogs, went fowling for editors in front of the royal palace, one wounded eight people (TIME, Jan. 10 1933). Aside, Premier Mushanoff warned the Bulgarian Macedonians to be on their best behavior during the visit of Foreign Minister Jeftitch, then went to Sofia's Union Club to attend a great caviar champagne supper in honor of the visiting statesman.

In the midst of the reception the light: of all Sofia suddenly blinked out. Fearfully Union Club members tiptoed about in the dark. "The Macedonians!" All over the city everyone had the same idea. Out of their barracks poured squadrons of mounted police riding like Cossacks. Truckloads more roared up to the Union Club. Half an hour later the lights flickered on again. Engineers at the city power plant had found the trouble-small black kitten which had fallen against a switch and short-circuited the city. To stop all further Macedonian talk the animal's charred body was solemnly carried out by Government agents for exhibition to the Press and news photographers.

*States whose territory comes in whole or in part from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire: Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Jugoslavia, Rumania, Italy, Austria.

Source - Time

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