661.7131/16: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State

182. The Rumanian Minister told me this morning in the strictest confidence that his trade delegation had yesterday received a telegram from Bucharest instructing it to withdraw the offer previously made to the Soviet Government to deliver gasoline under the proposed Soviet-Rumanian trade agreement.29 He expressed the opinion that this action had been taken under German pressure and that inasmuch as it [Page 283] was impossible for more than one-half of the total Rumanian production to be imported into Germany under existing conditions of transport the desire of the Germans to retain the very large balance within Rumania could only indicate a German intention to move southward with mechanized columns and aircraft on a large scale. He also expressed the opinion that the refusal of Rumania to deliver gasoline to the Soviets might cause a collapse of the present negotiations as Rumania would not be able to pay for the desired Soviet imports other than by the shipment of petroleum products. He added that he had discussed the subject yesterday with the German Ambassador who has expressed sympathy for the Rumanian position and had promised to take the matter up with his Government.

The Minister also told me that the Iron Guard had blown up one of the main oil lines in Rumania, but that he did not regard this as particularly serious as repairs could probably be made in a short time.

  1. The Ambassador subsequently reported in telegram No. 302, February 18, 1941, that the offer of petroleum products had been renewed and “as was originally intended, formed the basis of the trade agreement”. (661.7131/17)