In 1862, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire allowed the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia to unite under the name of Romania. In 1866, Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen became Prince. Romania sided with Russia in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. In 1878, the Treaties of San Stefano and Berlin recognized Romania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Prince Charles became King in 1881.
During the twentieth century, U.S. relations with Romania have vacillated between warm (Romania fought on the side of the Allies in the Great War), and cold (Romania declared war upon the United States in 1941 and early Cold War era relations were frosty, at best). The nature of U.S.-Romanian relations began to improve during the 1960s when Romania began to distance its foreign policy from that of the Soviet Union, especially after the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The 1970s were also a period of warming U.S.-Romania relations fostered by greater cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges; however, during the 1980s criticisms of Romania’s human rights record served to once again strain relations.
Since Romania’s December 1989 revolution, which unseated the Communist regime, the United States has enjoyed a strengthened relationship with Romania.
U.S. Recognition of Romanian Independence, 1881.
The United States recognized the Kingdom of Romania on April 7, 1881, when U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Eugene Schuyler had an audience with King Charles and announced that the United States recognized the new kingdom. On April 3, U.S. Secretary of State James G. Blaine had authorized Schuyler to recognize Romania after the Great Powers of Europe had done so.
Early U.S. Consulates in Romania, 1866-1876.
The first U.S. Consul was appointed to Romania while it was still an autonomous part of the Ottoman Empire. Louis J. Czapkay, a native of Hungary but a resident of California, was appointed to Bucharest on June 20, 1866. He served from May 1, 1867 to February 1869.
His successor, Benjamin Franklin Peixotto, was appointed June 29, 1870, as an expression of U.S. concern with the status of Romania’s Jewish community, which was denied citizenship and subject to persecution. Peixotto, a San Francisco lawyer and a former president of B’nai B’rith, was financially supported by a consortium of American, British, and French Jews since there was little American commerce with Romania. His activities involved not only remonstrating on behalf of Romania’s Jewish community, but establishing schools and cultural societies. He served from February 20, 1871 to June 18, 1876. The consulate was abolished that September.
Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1880.
Eugene Schuyler was the first U.S. diplomatic representative to Romania. He was appointed Diplomatic Agent and Consul General on June 11, 1880. The Romanian Foreign Ministry indicated on August 13 that it was willing to enter into provisional relations with the U.S. Legation. Schuyler delivered his credentials on December 14, 1880. He was promoted to Chargé d’Affaires and Consul General on December 21, 1880, and presented his new credentials on January 25, 1881. Schuyler was reaccredited when Romania became a kingdom, presenting his new credentials on May 16, 1881.
Establishment of American Legation in Bucharest, 1882.
Schuyler was promoted to Minister Resident and Consul General on July 7, 1882, and presented his new credentials on September 8, 1882. However, he was also accredited to Greece and Serbia and moved his residence to Athens. Schuyler presented his recall on September 7, 1884.
Until 1921, no U.S. Minister was commissioned solely to Romania. From 1885 to 1905, their commissions were to Greece, Romania, and Serbia, being resident at Athens. John B. Jackson (1902-05) was also commissioned as Diplomatic Agent in Bulgaria in 1903. From 1905 to 1911, U.S. Ministers to Romania were also commissioned to Serbia but were resident in Bucharest. From 1907 to 1910 they were also commissioned as Diplomatic Agents in Bulgaria. John R. Carter (1909-1911) was appointed Minister to Bulgaria in 1910. From 1911 to 1918, the U.S. Minister to Romania was also accredited to Serbia and Bulgaria.
Peter Augustus Jay was the first U.S. Minister to be commissioned exclusively to Romania. He was appointed April 18, 1921, presented his credentials on June 30, and served until May 9, 1925.
Establishment of Romanian Legation in Washington, 1918.
Romania established its first diplomatic mission in the United States when Minister Constantin Angelescu presented his credentials in Washington on January 15, 1918.
Severance of Diplomatic Relations, 1941.
Diplomatic relations were severed when Romania declared war on the United States on December 12, 1941. The U.S. Minister, Franklin Mott Gunther, died in Bucharest on December 22 before he could leave the country; however, the U.S. did not declare war upon Romania until June 5, 1942.
Re-establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1946.
Diplomatic relations were reestablished on October 1, 1946, when Miha Ralea presented his credentials as Romania’s first postwar Minister to the United States.
Re-establishment of American Legation in Bucharest, 1947.
Rudolph E. Schoenfeld presented his credentials as the first postwar U.S. Minister to Romania on September 25, 1947.
Elevation of American Legation to Embassy Status, 1964.
The U.S. Legation in Bucharest was raised to Embassy status on June 1, 1964. John P. Shaw was Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the time. On December 4, 1964, William A. Crawford, Minister to Romania since 1962, was promoted to Ambassador. He presented his new credentials on December 24, 1964, and served until October 10, 1965.
Elevation of Romanian Legation to Embassy Status, 1964.
Romanian Minister Petre Balaceanu presented his new credentials as Romania’s Ambassador on August 14, 1964.
Treaties and Agreements
First Diplomatic Agreement Signed, 1881.
The first diplomatic agreement between the United States and Romania was a convention concerning the rights, privileges, and immunities of consular officers, which was signed in Bucharest on June 17, 1881. It entered into force on June 13, 1883.
- Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Romania
- Department of State Country Information: Romania
- Kennedy, Charles Stuart. The American Consul: A History of the United States Consular Service, 1776-1914. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
- Langer, William L. An Encyclopedia of World History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1968.