740.00119 Control (Rumania)/3–245: Telegram

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

154. At 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon Prince Stirbey informed the King he could not form a government. Shortly afterward Vishinsky sent him word that Groza74 was the Soviet choice. Nevertheless the King proceeded to consult party leaders. Maniu was absolutely opposed to a Groza government. Bratianu75 in view of Soviet desire was willing to accept Groza provided historic parties were equitably represented in such a government. Petrescu76 was willing under similar circumstances. The Communists of course were pleased with Groza but they desire an entirely new government.

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At 10 o’clock last evening the King was informed personally by Vishinsky of Soviet wishes. At that interview Vishinsky’s manner was firm but not brutal. Rumanians attribute this to my visit and that of the British representative to Vishinsky in the afternoon. Perhaps these had some effect although I believe Vishinsky will carry through his program until Moscow alters his instructions.

This morning the King plans to consult Tatarescu,77 Lupu78 and Mihalache79 and after noon to give Groza a limited mandate for the formation of a government. He will tell Groza of the Soviet desire Tatarescu be Vice President then proceed in the normal way to inform him of the opinions of party leaders. He will instruct Groza to form a government “broadly representative of all democratic elements in all parties”.80

Throughout the crisis the King has proceeded as a constitutional monarch. The pressure upon him for a contrary action has been tremendous. (Reference my telegram 146, February 28, 7 p.m.; 150, March 1, 5 p.m.;81 and 152, March 1, 11 p.m.82) This Mission informally has been able to extend some encouragement to him and has stressed importance of proceeding constitutionally but in absence of explicit instructions I believe it would be a mistake to suggest he delay beyond the schedule indicated meeting the Soviet demand.83

Repeated to Moscow as 35.

  1. Petru Groza, leader of the Plowmen’s Front Party (one of parties constituting the National Democratic Front) and Vice President of the Council of Ministers in the Radescu government.
  2. Dinu Bratianu, long-time President of the National Liberal Party.
  3. Constantin Titel Petrescu, President of the Social Democratic Party.
  4. Gheorghiu Tatarescu, member of the National Democratic Front, one-time leader in the National Liberal Party (before World War II), and Prime Minister 1933–37.
  5. Niculae Lupu, member of the Executive Committee of the National Peasant Party.
  6. Ion Mihalache, member of the Executive Committee of the National Peasant Party.
  7. Telegram 160, March 2, from Bucharest, stated that events had proceeded according to the schedule outlined in this paragraph (740.00119 Control (Rumania)/3–245). Groza was given the mandate to form a government on March 2. There followed several troubled days of conferences and negotiations between party leaders, between these leaders and the King, and with Soviet officials until the completed Groza government was named on March 6. The new Groza government included 14 members of the National Democratic Front out of a total of 18 Ministers. The Communist Party gained the Ministries of Interior, Justice, War, and Communications.
  8. Not printed; it reported that on February 28, Soviet authorities, acting in the name of the Allied Control Commission, had reduced the strength and armament of the Rumanian police force in Bucharest; Soviet foot patrols, tanks and aircraft were very much in evidence (740.00119 Control (Rumania)/3–145).
  9. Not printed; it reported authoritative information that Vyshinsky had told the King on the evening of March 1 that the person who had the confidence of the Soviet Government was Groza who alone could unite the truly democratic elements of other parties; Vyshinsky allegedly also named Tatarescu as a Vice President who would undertake a policy of friendship with the U.S.S.R. (871.00/3–145).
  10. With regard to this paragraph, the Department, in telegram 104, March 3, 7 p.m., informed Bucharest that it had been informed by the British Embassy in Washington that the British Foreign Office had instructed its representative in Bucharest to advise the King “not to take irrevocable step if he can possibly help it.” (740.00119 Control (Rumania)/3–245)