871A.014 Bessarabia/162

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Castle) of a Conversation With the Rumanian Minister (Davila)

The Minister came in to talk with me on the subject of Bessarabia. He talked very verbosely all around the subject, basing his remarks [Page 506] upon the Secretary’s letter to Senator Borah,4 and asking whether I did not feel that this agreement not to recognize changes in territory resulting from the use of force ought not to apply to a de facto as well as a de jure situation. He talked at great length about the question of Vilna and I do not know whether or not I was successful in persuading him that so far as we were concerned, the Vilna situation was a very different thing from the Bessarabia situation.

I told him that I could not possibly answer as to what our attitude would be in case Russia attacked Rumania for the sake of getting back Bessarabia. I said that naturally we should not, under the doctrine laid down by Mr. Stimson, recognize the annexation of any Rumanian territory, but that it was impossible for me to forecast what attitude we might take if Russia merely took back Bessarabia which we had never recognized as an integral part of Rumania. I pointed out to him that the situation was made even more complicated by the fact that we had not recognized Russia.

The Minister went into a rather long disposition of the general situation in Bessarabia and the apparent impossibility of ever coming to any agreement with Russia on the subject inasmuch as the plebiscite would be political, not ethnical.

I am afraid the only point he definitely got before the end of his call was that I did not propose to commit myself as to probable American action in case of a very hypothetical and improbable attack on the part of Russia.

W[illiam] E. C[astle, Jr.]
  1. Dated February 23, 1932: see telegram No. 50, February 24, 1932, to the Consul General at Shanghai, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 83.