740.0011 European War 1939/8644: Telegram

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

180. I am informed by a Rumanian officer in close touch with headquarters that the Germans have given notice that at any time now the one main hard-surface highway from the Hungarian frontier to Giurgiu and Oltenita via Brasov, Ploesti, and Bucharest must be cleared and kept free of all traffic whatsoever, longitudinal or transverse, and turned over exclusively for German use. My informant feels that this may portend the passage of heavy tanks and a double file progression southwards of other mechanized equipment. Should there be large tanks on the way, it will be interesting to ascertain if possible whether they are for the most part deflected towards Moldavia from Ploesti or continue on towards the Danube. Since that word was passed, it has begun to snow again in Transylvania which may retard matters somewhat.

I am further told by my informant that a complaint has been lodged with General Antonescu that there is insufficient food available for the German forces here and that the [statement?] was made at the same time that the population of Rumania should therefore be strictly rationed.

Certain friendly Rumanian officers in a position to judge have always told me that our successive estimates of the number of German troops in Rumania were too low and each time they were right. They now insist that there are a million German soldiers in the country, one even going so far as to place the figure at 1,200,000. Whether this is true or not the fact remains that trainloads of men and matériel are still entering Rumania or all that the traffic will bear.

Like others I have come to be impressed with the seemingly limitless wealth of matériel and faultless organization and discipline of the Germans. If all this is just for Greece and even Turkey, then the Germans are driving tacks with sledge hammers. One of my friends who is in constant contact with German officers says that there is talk among them that the Suez Canal is the German objective. I have asked him to find out if there are supplies of light uniforms in reserve. He also infers the proportion of shock troops to maintenance and grapple troops among the German forces now here is 5 to 1 which in his opinion would indicate preparation for very long lines of communication.

Gunther