871.00/2–2345: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the American Representative in Rumania ( Berry )45

86. The War Department has brought to the attention of the Department General Schuyler’s telegram concerning his conversation with the King and his mother.46 The War and State Departments agree that this is primarily a political matter and that the present telegram, which has been cleared with the War Department should serve as instructions for both Schuyler and yourself.

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The Declaration on Liberated Europe issued at Yalta on February 12 set forth the joint responsibility of the three Governments to enable the people of the former Axis satellite states to choose the form of government under which they will live. The three Governments agreed to concert their policies, where in their judgment conditions so require, to assist these peoples in establishing conditions of internal peace and in forming interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of governments responsive to the will of the people. Accordingly the security of the King and his mother, which is a question closely related to the form of government, becomes a matter of direct concern to the three Allied Governments under the present system of control. This would not prejudice the operation of democratic processes at a later date if the Rumanian people should then desire to raise the question of their governmental institutions.

We think the Queen may be unduly apprehensive in believing that the Russians would hand her over to the Communists. In view of the Molotov statement of April 2, 1944,48 that the Soviet Government was not pursuing the aim of “changing the existing social structure of Rumania” and in view of the Soviet signature of the Crimea declaration, the Department could not take a position on the institutional question which might imply the expectation of a departure from those principles on the part of the Soviet Government.

We believe that if the Rumanian Communists do make an attempt to seize power, a matter which would be of concern to the three Allied Governments, and if the personal safety of the King and his mother is threatened, responsibility for insuring their safety by providing either protection or the means of departure from the country, should rest with the ACC. Even though the Soviet element normally exercises administrative and executory functions in the ACC it is reasonable to suppose that the representatives of the three Governments would now act in a tripartite capacity on a question of this kind. The United States Government would therefore not be in a position to act independently in offering protection, but General Schuyler might participate with his Soviet and British colleagues in concerting on whatever plans future developments may require.

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Using the foregoing for your guidance in any future conversations with the King or his mother, you or General Schuyler may say that this Government acknowledges the value of the King’s part in the events of August 2349 and his loyal support of the Allied cause since that time; and that we have no reason to believe that our Allies do not share our view that the King has played a worthy role and has been a stabilizing factor in Rumanian politics. He must himself be the judge of his responsibilities to his people. If the turn of events gives him reason to expect violence, this Government would prefer that the procedures then to be adopted should be concerted with the British and Soviet Governments along the lines envisaged by the tripartite declaration referred to above. It could be explained that General Schuyler would not have authority for protection of the Royal family beyond his capacity as a representative in the ACC, and that except in an extremity requiring emergency protection from physical violence, which he may give, he should first present the matter before the ACC for the consideration of his Soviet and British colleagues. The assistance which your own office might be called upon to extend would be limited of course by the informal nature of your mission.

Grew
  1. The substance of this message was transmitted to London in telegram 1433, to Moscow in telegram 422, and to Caserta in telegram 164.
  2. In telegram M–442, February 19, to the War Department, General Schuyler reported on his conversation with the Queen Mother of Rumania and King Michael in which the former expressed some apprehension as to the safety of herself and her son in view of recent developments in Rumania (Department of the Army Files). The substance of the General’s message was also reported to the Department of State in telegram 667, February 23, from Caserta (871.00/2–2345).
  3. For text of the Molotov statement regarding Rumania, as transmitted earlier to the Department by the Soviet Embassy, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 165.
  4. The Rumanian palace coup d’etat of August 23, 1944, in which the pro-German, dictatorial regime of Ion Antonescu was overthrown and replaced by a government representing the four major political parties.