740.0011 European War 1939/7498: Telegram

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

15. My 13, January 6, 4 p.m.; 10, January 4, noon,4 and other related telegrams. Please communicate the following also to the President:

As already emphasized, I consider the largely increased amount of German war material in this country of greater importance than the number of German troops. There are, however, plenty of the latter already here—probably well over 100,000—for Balkan pressure purposes and to ward off Russia. My latest information from reliable persons who have just come from Brasov and Sibiu in Transylvania is to the effect that the great bulk of the German troops at both places—possibly amounting to over 25,000—have been sent south to Giurgiu, Oltenita and other bridgeheads on the Danube where they face Bulgaria with pontoon and bridge equipment (see my December 13, 10 a.m.5). It would therefore seem full pressure is being mobilized to impress Filoff6 during his Vienna visit.

Incidentally obtained for the first time [information that?] German [troops?] are appearing at such places as Roman, Jassy, etc., in Moldavia as a warning it would seem to Russia.7

I am still of the opinion that German policy is purely opportunist, preventative and mandatory. Germany is not desperate and need not adventure rashly for instance by forcing passage through Bulgaria or by coercing Russia to retire from her aggression in Rumania. Germany wishes to be prepared for all contingencies, safeguard her left flank, and to play the old game of pressure politics which has sometimes resulted in “peaceful penetration” and to take advantage of the opportunities which may present themselves. Furthermore, a very heavy winter has descended upon the Balkans and transport is beset with major difficulties. Yugoslavia and Bulgaria are, however, in for a period of peaceful bullying and I wonder whether it is not time for a few words of direct encouragement. This, however, to be effective should be backed with British assurance of real aid.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Telegram No. 808, not printed.
  3. Bogdan Filov, President of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers.
  4. For correspondence regarding relations between Germany and the Soviet Union, see pp. 116 ff.