The Ambassador in Austria-Hungary ( Penfield ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: A month ago I advised you that the chances seemed to favor Roumania’s entering the war when the psychological moment arrives, unless the Russian advance can be checked. Today the prospect of having Roumania as an additional enemy is the dominating topic in the capital, and it is good opinion that Austria-Hungary is decidedly menaced by the danger of having a new foe. The Austrian press seems already to be preparing the people for the possibility of this new phase of the world conflict.

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The fear of Roumania as a combatant grows with each admission of new advances by Russia in Galicia and Bukovina. It is concrete fact that Russia has undisputed possession of 4,000 square miles of Austrian territory, and it is reported from Petrograd that the Czar will in a few days pay an official visit to Czernowitz, the capital of his “newly-acquired province of Bukovina.” These utterances day by day increase the belief that astute Roumania will decide to come in with the “winner.” In this connection it must not be forgotten that fifteen months ago Russia held three times as much Austrian soil as she now does, and that she was driven back to her own country.

Three days since Baron Burian told me that it was his judgment that when the Roumanians became certain that Russia was to be victorious over his country, Roumania would then come in. The Minister described the Roumanians as opportunists, who would strike at the moment when they believed they could secure territorial reward.

Yesterday I was visited by your friend Professor Lammasch, who volunteered the statement that the people of Roumania had much reason for disliking the Hungarians, as a consequence of the Hungarian Premier’s long persecution of their compatriots dwelling in Hungary. Professor Lammasch said that Count Tisza’s injustice to Roumanians had been harsh enough to almost decide the Roumanian Government to enter the fray.

Among military men the idea is growing that the Emperor Francis Joseph’s next foe will be Roumania.

Considerable feeling is coming to the surface against the Bulgarian Government, since Austria-Hungary’s request for troops to help combat the Russian advance in Galicia and Bukovina was denied. Thus far the press is silent on the subject, but individuals are expressing the opinion that King Ferdinand has again duped Austria.

If you could find time to glance at my despatch No. 1821,4 dealing with “Austria-Hungary after Two Years of War,” I would be pleased. Very great care did I take to present only reliable information and justified opinions in this strictly impartial report. It seems full of “meat.”

I am [etc.]

Frederic C. Penfield
  1. Not printed.