840.51 Frozen Credits/708: Telegram

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

605. Department’s No. 333, October 11, 8 p.m. Foreign Minister Sturdza asked me to come to see him late yesterday when he complained banteringly of our having sequestrated Rumania’s “gold”. The Finance Minister14 joined us in a few minutes and stated specifically that he would be needing immediately some 10,000,000 dollars for payments to Greece for tanning fluid and to Turkey and Iran for cotton and wool without which money Rumania would be ill equipped for the winter. He referred also to payments of salaries of Rumanian diplomats such as Gafencu15 which had to be paid in dollars. He made reference to seeming “discrimination” in our decision and both stated that Rumania was neither invaded nor occupied. I could, however, get no precise figures of number of troops but was assured that General Antonescu16 who desired to see me on this matter would himself give them to me today. It was of course alleged that the German officers and men were here by invitation and arrangement.

I replied that I have not been consulted and really knew very little about the matter, showed them a paraphrase of the only telegram from you on the subject No. 333, October 11, 8 p.m., and left with them a copy of Executive Order 8389 of April 10, 1940, as amended by Executive Order 8405 of May 10, 1940,17 with both of which I [Page 781] had armed myself in anticipation. I pointed out that licenses for specific payments might presumably be obtained in much the same manner as with the licensing system prevailing here.

When they asked me to present the true facts to you I replied that I had already done so in so far as I was able to ascertain them due to the seeming mystery which shrouded the presence of German forces but would not fail to report this conversation and recommended that they take the matter up with their representative in Washington. I added upon leaving that quite possibly this had been an independent decision of the Treasury Department without prior consultation with you.

The Finance Minister estimated that the total amount of Government funds blocked was something under 30,000,000 dollars although he did not know how much private individuals had in America over and above this amount and also referred further to Jewish black bourse operations here to that end.

For my own information has this decision been actuated more especially by reported instances of growing domination of German party’s Economic Central in Rumania’s internal and foreign economic policy?

  1. Georges Cretzianu.
  2. Grigore Gafencu, Rumanian Minister to the Soviet Union.
  3. Ion Antonescu, Rumanian Chief of State, Prime Minister, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Federal Register, May 10, 1940, p. 1677.