740.00119 European War 1939/2351: Telegram

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

1003. The British Ambassador has given me a letter dated March 22 which he has received from Molotov in reply to his own letter of [Page 154] March 20 regarding the talks between Allied representatives and Prince Stirbey in Cairo.

Molotov explained that from the preliminary reports received by the Soviet Government regarding these talks, Prince Stirbey does not appear to represent Maniu and has no authority from him to carry on conversations with the Allies; that it is now clear Maniu is not one of those leaders who might oppose Antonescu and that it is more probable that his actions are taken with Antonescu’s permission, Maniu thus being a tool in his hands. Molotov adds that it is not at present clear either from Stirbey’s statements or from other information that Antonescu shows interest in or a desire for negotiations with the Allies leading to Rumania’s withdrawal from the war and her taking the side of the Allies against Germany.

In view of the above, Molotov concludes that, based on available information, “there are no grounds for attaching importance to Stirbey’s statements” and Molotov expresses doubt “as to whether the negotiations which have been in progress with Prince Stirbey during the past few days in Cairo can lead to positive results”.

The British Ambassador is giving me his reports of the conversation and has read me a cable just received describing the communication received by the British Embassy in Turkey from the Rumanian Minister there regarding Antonescu’s invitation to meet Hitler and the prompt reply dispatched by the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean theatre.

It would be helpful if I could be informed of our views regarding the developments in Rumania in the event that Molotov raises the question with me.