740.00119 European War 1959/2367: Telegram

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

Yugoslav Series 69. Prince Stirbei has received a message from Maniu despatched from Bucharest March 22 and from Ankara March 24 of which the following is a paraphrase:

“With the consent of the King, I ask you to place the following before the British and American representatives knowing there is every indication that Rumania, like Hungary, will be asked to accept German troops in the country and that Germany will strive for still closer collaboration and make every attempt to force Rumania to greater military effort against the Soviet Union.

The occupation of Rumania following that of Hungary, which certainly will be followed shortly by occupation of Bulgaria, will mean completion of Germany’s preparations for defense of the Balkans.

To have some basis on which to organize a possible attempt at resisting the German occupation we must know if we can count on a minimum of help from the Anglo-Americans. We realize we can not count at once upon a large military operation but they should at least consider giving limited but immediate help from airborne troops and airforces.

The zone of attempted resistance would be at Oltenia and the Banat in order to have the possibility of eventual retreat into Yugoslavia.

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It is not impossible that large scale invasion of Rumania by the Germans may be delayed a short time until the Germans are completely installed in Hungary; therefore it is not yet too late to organize Anglo-American military assistance.”

Lord Moyne has informed Stirbei that this message cannot be accepted because it is addressed only to the British and Americans and not to all three negotiating powers; and that negotiations will be resumed upon receipt of a message addressed jointly to the British, Russian and American representatives.

My Soviet colleague called on me yesterday afternoon and expressed surprise, not unmingled with indignation, that General Wilson should have sent his telegram to Antonescu (see my Yugoslav Series 68, March 24, 5 p.m.) without previous consultation with him. He ascertained that I also had not been consulted but when I pointed out that the General had acted in his capacity as Allied Commander he replied that, while the General may be Allied Commander in the Mediterranean, the area concerned is in the Eastern and not the Mediterranean theatre. He admitted that the General’s strong warning might have a salutary effect in stiffening Rumania’s resistance to German demands but, though somewhat mollified when he left me, he appeared to be still of the opinion that there should have been a consultation before any action was taken through an emissary with whom the three powers have entered into contact jointly.

Lord Moyne has informed me that when the Foreign Office received a copy of General Wilson’s message it immediately telegraphed to ask whether the Soviet Ambassador had been consulted in the matter. In his reply Lord Moyne explained all the circumstances connected with the sending of the message, on which occasion I understand he and Mr. Macmillan and their Foreign Office advisers were present with General Wilson.