The Representative in Rumania (Berry) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 13—6:38 p.m.]
48. Prime Minister Groza in a conversation with Ambassador Clark Kerr yesterday reiterated his statement that the Rumanian elections should not be held until late summer. He, however, changed his reasons from the “technical” reasons he cited in an earlier conversation with Ambassadors Harriman and Clark Kerr to what is, in fact, a simple political reason. He stated that the month of May would mark the climax of suffering in Rumania from food shortages and therefore it would not be a good time for holding an election.
If Groza wins his point and avoids holding the election in the spring, there will be little chance of it being held before October as from May until October the Rumanian peasantry is occupied full time [Page 569] in harvesting the barley, the wheat and finally the corn crop. Such a delay would give the Communist dominated Govt time to nullify the effect of that part of the Moscow decisions which recognizes the National Peasant and Liberal Parties as democratic parties. The opening move is likely to take the form of a maneuver designed to force a split in the Bratianu Liberals and a later merger between one faction and the Tatarescu Liberals.29 Although no direct assault is expected on the National Peasants, yet it is expected that the Govt will attempt to exploit and merge at least two of the splinters from the party which are now headed by Lupu, Alexandrescu, and Nottara-Viforernu.
To prevent the torpedo which Groza is aiming at the Moscow decisions from reaching its mark and at the same time to force the Rumanian Govt to live up to its pledge for holding elections “as soon as possible”, the Brit Minister30 has suggested that his Secretary of State31 attempt to secure Mr. Vyshinski’s cooperation “in persuading” the Groza Govt to hold elections in the late spring. Although the recent negotiations in Bucharest do not indicate the presence of sufficient good faith to justify much optimism for the success of such a move, I believe, nonetheless, particularly as Mr. Vyshinski is soon due in London, that it is worth trying before attempting an alternate local solution for the success of which an analysis of recent events shows even less justification for optimism for a satisfactory solution.
Repeated to Moscow as 14 and London for Secdel and Harriman as 11.