Understandable

Swire it was entirely understandable

For Swire it was entirely understandable that the army officer Velchev should be in tune with national feelings on military policy for, Swire believed, his hero represented popular aspirations of every sort. And, it must also be noted if a full record of Swire’s and Velchev’s views to be kept, Swire saw his friend as an important defence against the advance of Communism in Bulgaria, an advance which Swire, like so many of his generation, feared. He told the editor of The Daily Herald:

Velchev told me last year that he was not afraid of the Communists because he intended to introduce social legislation which would satisfy the masses, and then the real Communists, who are numerous, would be powerless.

In a letter to his father Swire described Velchev simply as ‘one of the few Bulgarians who puts the interests of the poor people before that of the “big business” interests’.17 And Swire was quite convinced that the people recognized Velchev’s concern for them, and gave him political support because of it. When Velchev was before the court in Sofia, Swire — then in Vienna en route back to Britain — wrote a memorandum on the significance of the trial then in progress.

The accused, who on 19 May, 1934 were hailed in Bulgaria as the liberators of the country from terror and sham democracy, are leaders of the movement for collaboration between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, whereas the forces behind the prosecution seem to stand for the old and dangerous order of things prevailing until two years ago. Thus, it is said, the whole future of Bulgaria, of the Balkans, and even of Europe, depends upon the outcome of the trial. The patience of the masses is becoming exhausted, and revolution and anarchy may be the consequence, it is thought, of any tendency to restore the old system. Meantime Velchev is hailed as a hero and martyr in all democratic and agrarian circles.18

Writing to the Foreign Editor of The Times

Two months later, in writing to the Foreign Editor of The Times, Swire again insisted that the Agrarian factions in Bulgaria were pro Velchev. He argued that Velchevs role in the events of 9 June, 1923 had been a Subordinate and even a moderating one for which the Agrarians were now grateful.

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