740.00119 European War 1939/2234: Telegram

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

Yugos 65. See the Department’s Greek No. 45 of March 17, 6 p.m.35 My Russian colleague feels that Stirbei’s mission lacks practicality. He points out in the first place that Stirbei brought with him no credentials of any kind which would qualify him as a negotiator even for Maniu while his connection with Antonescu is even more tenuous. In the second place he lays emphasis on the fact that Stirbei stated that a coup d’état by the opposition would be quickly quelled by the Germans and that action by Government itself would be the only really hopeful procedure. This he thinks would make it appear that there must be an approach by Antonescu himself if real results are to be obtained. In addition Mr. Novikov points out that a landing at Constanza would present great difficulties while the Russian naval bases are still as far away as the Caucasus. He says that the above represents his comments to his Government.

On the other hand Lord Moyne is more optimistic. He finds nothing out of the way or suspicious in Stirbei’s status and has told me that he believes he might be told that if Rumania will “work her way home” her independence at least will be saved though boundary questions cannot be gone into at this time. He says he thinks that such an answer might lead to Antonescu’s “saving his skin” by flight after turning over the Government to Maniu for the volte-face suggested. However, he has made no comments to London, preferring to await conversations with General Wilson36 and Mr. Macmillan37 who are expected here today.

I am inclined to agree with Lord Moyne that a definite channel exists here through which an attempt at least could be made to galvanize the defeatism in Rumania which must be very strong to have brought together such strange bedfellows as Maniu, Stirbei and Antonescu. In any case the conversations would appear already to have revealed, if we accept Stirbei’s honesty which neither Lord [Page 152] Moyne nor I have felt moved to doubt, that (1) recognition of Rumania’s desperate position is common to all parties; and (2) no movement short of a thorough reversal on the Government’s part is likely to achieve real results. To this extent our talks so far may have had some value even if it is decided not to give them any sequel.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater (SACMED).
  3. Harold Macmillan, British Minister Resident at Allied Headquarters in Northwest Africa.