740.00119 European War 1939/2376: Telegram

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

Yugos 70. See my Yugos 65 of March 18, 8 p.m. I have been informed by Lord Moyne that while Molotov’s reactions to the Stirbei proposals were in line with my Soviet colleague’s remarks, he received late yesterday the 26th a message from London quoting a further letter from Molotov which has brought the Soviet Government very decidedly into the picture. This letter states that while “the Soviet Government have little hope of usefulness of premature contact with Marshal Antonescu since his Government have behaved generally worse than the Finnish and Hungarian Governments by leaving their troops in the front line against Soviet troops in the Crimea”, they are “willing to try to establish the status of [contact with?] Antonescu”, and “consider that measures already taken by General Wilson should be supplemented” in the respects quoted below.

Apparently accepting this as Soviet approval of British approach to Antonescu through Maniu, Lord Moyne early this morning radioed “to Mr. Maniu from HMG” the following message containing the substance of Molotov’s letter:

“HMG is informed by the Soviet Government as follows:

The Soviet Government is now ready to try to establish contact with Antonescu.
In addition to measures already urged by General Wilson they state the following:
Antonescu should order Rumanian troops in contact with Soviet troops to lay down arms and surrender to Soviet troops. If this order is issued and carried out by Rumanian troops in the Crimea or Dniester area, Soviet Commander undertakes to send surrendered troops to one of Pruth areas to be handed over to Antonescu for organization by Rumanian Government for resistance to the German troops.
Direct contact should be established between Soviet command and Rumanian supreme command for the settlement of practical problems connected with mutual military aid against the Germans. For this purpose Antonescu should appoint authorized person or give necessary authority to one of the Rumanian generals who are prisoners in Russia.

Message ends. Please pass this message to Antonescu by quickest means and advise us immediately when you have done this.”

Lord Moyne has sent my Soviet colleague copy of the above message which was despatched without prior consultation with Mr. Novikov or myself on the grounds that immediate action was vital and the clandestine [Page 161] radio channel operates only in the very early morning hours. For the same reason General Wilson was not consulted since he is no longer here.

On March 25 Maniu telegraphed that the two Antonescus had gone to Hitler and that General Wilson’s message had arrived after their departure. In a further message received today, Maniu indicates that the Antonescus have returned and that he has no precise information regarding the decisions taken but that “the occupation of Rumania appears to have been avoided”.