740.00119 European War 1939/2351: Telegram

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

710. Your 1003, March 23. Since the Department had not been led to believe that Prince Stirbey would be authorized to negotiate an agreement or to sign a document of surrender or armistice with the Allies, it has not felt that his lack of credentials necessary for such a purpose need be construed as indicating that he could not be considered as representing Maniu in the Cairo conversations. While it cannot be assumed, in view of recent events, that these talks will lead swiftly [Page 158] to a concrete solution of the Rumanian situation, it is believed they may prove to be useful and afford a possible implement for facilitating Rumania’s elimination from the war.

The Department’s further views are contained in the following telegram sent to London:41

“The Department shares the satisfaction expressed by the Foreign Office regarding the unexpectedly realistic approach as indicated by the Rumanian proposals. Whereas we feel it is for the Rumanians to decide whether a Maniu coup or a government volte-face should be employed to bring about a change of front, it is recognized that Antonescu would if he is willing and prepared to act without delay dispose of more effective means and have the greater chance of success.

“The Department believes that the particular points raised by Stirbey would not seriously conflict with the terms the Allies may be able to work out among themselves. The American military authorities consider that the Rumanian stipulations are unobjectionable from the United States military point of view. They have also indicated their belief that Rumania’s withdrawal from the war and the assumption by Rumania of a status of co-belligerency with the Allies should be of cardinal importance in the further prosecution of the war and that the earlier an agreement can be concluded for such withdrawal the greater should be the magnitude of the loss inflicted on the German armies. In dealing with the situation, of course, full account must be taken of the rapid evolution of events in Southeastern Europe.

“Please communicate the foregoing to the Foreign Office and say that a full expression of the United States view giving attention to the specific points contained in the Rumanian proposals is being formulated in consultation with the American military authorities and will be forwarded as soon as possible. The Foreign Office should not feel, however, that it need await the receipt of a more detailed statement of the American view if on the basis of the foregoing general expression it should be found possible to address a communication to Stirbey which might be useful in convincing the Rumanians that they should act now before it is too late.”

  1. No. 2221, March 23, midnight.