871.00/3–1046: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman)56


2605. It seems clear from recent reports from Bucharest (Bucharest’s tel 297, March 10, and previous) that Groza Govt, while making some effort to mount a fagade of compliance with the assurances it has given with regard to freedom of expression, assembly, etc., and the early holding of elections, is countenancing and from all indications actively engineering the practical circumvention of those commitments. Two months after the reorganization of the Govt, not only has no date been fixed for the elections which it was hoped would be held at the end of April or early in May but no electoral law for such elections has been promulgated. In the meantime, while a measure of free expression has been provided by the authorization of publication of a limited number of opposition newspapers, the exercise of censorship has in certain notable instances prevented the free dissemination of important public pronouncements and the suspension and [Page 585] suppression of opposition papers on unsubstantial issues has further restricted the free expression of political views.

The treatment accorded the address of the United States Secretary of State on Feb. 28 is a case in point. Reliable information in our possession confirms that official Rumanian Govt “advice” was given to newspaper editors which resulted in the suppression of the text of that address. Subsequently important passages were deleted by censorship from an address by President Truman on March 6. Publication in whole or in part of speech by Senator Vandenberg on Feb. 27 was prohibited.

Concurrently, official suspensions and suppressions of individual newspapers have been ordered on grounds which seem to us clearly of a repressive character and there has been obvious discrimination along political lines in the distribution by Govt services of newsprint paper. As regards the abridgement of freedom of assembly, political violence is increasing. Traditional party clubs taken over by the Govt have not been returned, meetings of democratic elements are disrupted by organized bands of hooligans whose activities bear unmistakable evidence of Govt instigation, and legal proceedings against Peasant and Liberal Party members charged as responsible for demonstrations on Nov. 8 are continuing despite Groza’s promise to Ambassadors Harriman and Clark Kerr to dismiss them.

It is our view that this situation should not be allowed to continue without protest. Accordingly, you are requested to discuss the matter with Fonoff and inquire whether in circumstances Brit are disposed to join in possible three power request to Rumanian Govt 1) to fix firm date for elections and 2) to take immediate measures to correct abuses in compliance with guarantees Govt has given. If Fonoff is agreeable to proposal, we will approach Soviet Govt with view to latter’s association with Brit and ourselves in appropriate communication to Rumanian Govt. It would be our intention, in event of Soviet disinclination to join in three power action, to consider advisability of U.S. or concerted U.S.-Brit representations to Rumanian Govt along this line.57

Sent to London, repeated to Moscow and Bucharest for information.

  1. Telegram 720, April 17, to Moscow, instructed Ambassador Smith to communicate with the Soviet Foreign Ministry along the lines set forth in this telegram. Ambassador Smith was further asked to indicate to the Soviet Government that the British Government had also been requested to participate in such an approach. (871.00/4–1146) Telegram 1275, April 21, from Moscow, reported that a letter had been sent to Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov inviting the Soviet Government to join the United States and British Governments in a possible three-power approach to the Rumanian Government (871.00/4–2146).
  2. Telegram 4012, April 11, from London, reported the receipt of a note of April 9 from the British Foreign Office which stated that the British Government was agreeable to the American proposal and was prepared to make a joint approach to the Rumanian Government in company with the United States Government should it prove impossible to obtain Soviet agreement to a three-power approach (871.00/4–1146).