740.00119 European War 1939/2294: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Yugoslav Government in Exile (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State

Yugos 61. See my Yugos 60 of March 16, 6 p.m.30 Conversations with Stirbei began this morning, there being present Lord Moyne,31 [Page 150] Novikov and myself together with Steel32 of the Foreign Office, the British [Soviet] and American counselors33 and a secretary. The official minutes will be telegraphed34 as soon as typed and approved. Meanwhile, the following is from my notes.

Stirbei stated that he represents Maniu and not Marshal Antonescu, though he “knows” what the latter thinks and that the Marshal has been in touch with the Allies both in Madrid and Stockholm. He said that the Government and the King as well as the opposition are desirous of making a change of front and that the Government is in a better position to do this than the opposition because it disposes of greater effectives and enjoying the confidence of the Germans could manage more adequate secret preparations. He said he thinks Antonescu would be willing to lead such a movement since “he knows that the war is lost and like every Quisling all he wants to do is save his skin”. On the other hand, should the Allies desire immediate action, the Maniu interests are willing to stage a coup d’état but before undertaking this would like assurance from the Allies on the following points: (1). That Rumania’s independence would be maintained. (2). That her territorial rights would be respected. (3). That she would be granted a cobelligerent status and (4). That if attacked by Bulgaria or Hungary she would be helped by the Allies in such ways as might be possible to them, such as air bombardment, sabotage and so forth. When asked about “territorial rights” he said this covered Transylvania and that the [future of] Bessarabia [should] eventually [be decided] by a plebiscite but that Rumania had no pretentions to the part of the Dobrudja ceded to Bulgaria in 1940.

Further as regards the coup d’état he said that plans are prepared and that these include participation by the King and officers of all ranks and added that even if not wholly successful it would have a useful effect in disorganizing the German rear. On the other hand, the alternative of a strictly governmental coup under the Marshal would permit the full use of 10 or 15 divisions. He said the Germans have now only 40,000 men in Rumania but that these control all the key points including the air fields and the railways on the Bessarabian side. Immediate help from the Allies would be expected consisting of air support and debarkation at Constanza. When asked who would undertake this last operation he said that obviously only the Russians are in a position to do so.

In conclusion he was informed that what he had said would be reported to our respective Governments. He said he cannot return to [Page 151] Rumania “except with the Allied forces” but that he can communicate with his principals through the Rumanian Ambassador to Ankara.

  1. Not printed; it reported Prince Stirbey’s arrival (740.00119 European War 1939/2458).
  2. Walter E. Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne, British Deputy Minister of State, Cairo; Minister Resident in the Middle East.
  3. Christopher Eden Steel, British Acting Counselor, Cairo.
  4. Daniel Semenovich Solod, Counselor of the Embassy of the Soviet Union, and Harold Shantz, Counselor of the American Embassy near the Greek and Yugoslav Governments in Exile in Egypt.
  5. Transmitted to the Department in despatch 22, March 23; not printed.