740.0011 European War 1939/3344: Telegram

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

237. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. My No. 226, May 23, 10 p.m., and 231, May 25, noon.13 I have just seen the Minister for Foreign Affairs14 at his request. He said that his Government was frankly perturbed by the realignment of Russian troops facing Rumania, the intensive building of roads and rail facilities towards Rumania from the railroad connections with Russia in Russian-occupied Poland and the moving away from the frontier of peasant populations. Further he admitted to me personally for the first time that the German Government was using this situation to press for a hundred percent alignment of Rumania with Germany for protection.

He recalled that Ambassador Steinhardt when here recently had said that if at any time the Rumanian Government was desirous of a clarification of Russian intentions he would be glad to endeavor to obtain this. Gafencu is now desirous of just that but naturally he does not want either the German Government or the Soviets to know that he has asked us to obtain it. He asked me if I would telegraph to our Chargé d’Affaires at Moscow to endeavor to elicit from the Government of the U. S. S. R. a statement of its real intentions regarding Rumania. I replied that I would submit the matter to you. I shall not telegraph Thurston regarding this as I have not got the extra confidential codes which he has. Gafencu added that if the Russian Government wished to open discussions he was ready to do so. Naturally he is seeking a way out of succumbing to German offer of protection with all the consequences which that would entail. He did not mention Italy and I doubt if it has figured in this matter to date. It is clear that he appeals to us in the light of our declared desire to prevent extension of area of conflict and in view of the interest which Ambassador Steinhardt was good enough to show in the matter. May I have a direct reply to this message in due course. I might add that there have been unconfirmed reports from official Greek and other sources of recent discussions in Moscow concerning the Balkans between the Soviet Government and representatives of Germany and Italy and that the former is alleged to have declared that it wants all of Rumania. Also a theory is held here as to the workings of Stalin’s mental processes whereby since he is presumably aghast at the extent [Page 469] and [rapidity?] of German military success he has decided to occupy as much of Rumania as possible now while Germany is otherwise engaged in order to be in a better bargaining position vis-à-vis Germany later on.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Grigore Gafencu.