871.00/561: Telegram

The Minister in Rumania (Gunther) to the Secretary of State

2. My No. 1, January 5, 3 p.m. The Government has been slow in drawing up concrete measures in spite of rumors to the contrary. The change of government was so sudden that I do not think they had time to formulate any program other than to “take the wind out of [Page 673]the sails” of the Iron Guard by seeming to be even more nationalistic than they. I have talked again today with the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and some officials of the Foreign Office and can assure you, as already reported, that the Government is going to proceed in the matter of the Jews most cautiously. It has been explained to me on various occasions by the members of the Government that such measures as may eventually be taken will be directed only against those Jews who have in recent years flocked to Rumania from Germany, Poland and Hungary without treaty right and who have not since obtained Rumanian naturalization; a floating population attracted here by lack of immigration restrictions and by reputed opportunities of gainful occupation. Those who have rightfully obtained naturalization are not under consideration.

I understand that the formation of a commission will shortly be announced to deal with the Jewish question which will include the Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior, formerly one of the leaders of the National Peasant Party whom I have also talked with and who has assured me that no illegal action nor one not in accordance with the Constitution will be taken. Moreover I understand that an order will be issued forbidding the taking of independent action by any Minister and provides that any proposed action must be submitted to the Cabinet for decision after it has first been passed upon by this commission.

There must have been some very wild stories in the outside press; those in France it is said here were maliciously inspired by the disgruntled Titulescu.2 The Minister for Foreign Affairs leaves tomorrow night for a day’s shooting to which he invited me but which I declined, and then for Praha and eventually Geneva. It has been semi-officially announced by the Prime Minister that Parliament will be dissolved by February 17th and new elections held later, perhaps in March.

There have been no threats to American owned or controlled business activities else I would have informed you, in fact no expropriations whatsoever have taken place and even in the case of the closing of the three Jewish-controlled newspapers it has been made clear that property rights will be respected.

Evidently there have been reports that this Government is moving very rapidly toward the Rome–Berlin Axis. With this I do not concur. My impression is that this Government, feeling that French policies do not spell complete security, desires friendly relations with all but will work for no radical change and will probably continue as a member of the League of Nations. Also I have a feeling that the [Page 674]King has concluded that the present is not a bad time to give nationalism a little rope and better to try it out now with this Government than to have to later with the Iron Guard.

  1. Nicholas Titulescu, former Rumanian Minister for Foreign Affairs.