The Second Secretary of the British Embassy (Solly-Flood) to the Acting Chief of the Division of Southern European Affairs (Barbour)


Ref: 266/38/47

My Dear Wally: The Foreign Office are becoming increasingly concerned about the persecution of the Opposition in Roumania and about the wide-scale, indiscriminate arrests which have been taking place.

The Foreign Office are of the opinion that if the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government remain silent on this issue the Communists may be encouraged to go still further in complete disregard of Article 3 of the Peace Treaty, and as a result, the non-Communists in the Government as well as the Opposition parties may throw up the sponge. The Foreign Office are therefore inclined (a) to instruct Mr. Holman to make it clear in government circles, and indeed as widely as he can, that His Majesty’s Government are alive to what is afoot and are not in a mood to remain silent about arbitrary arrests, either now or after the treaty has been ratified, (b) to give the facts as we know them to the press, including a description of the conditions in which the arrested men are being detained, (c) to inspire a further question on the subject in Parliament, (d) to ensure that this publicity is given full weight on the B.B.C. transmissions to Roumania, (e) possibly also to send for the Roumanian Political Representative and to tell him in forthright terms how ill an effect these measures of the Roumanian Government are bound to have on the attitude of British public opinion towards Roumania.

Once the Treaty has been ratified the Foreign Office foresee that frequent reference will have to be made to Article 3 and they think that there is much to be said for establishing straight away the interest which His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government intend to maintain in seeing it implemented. The Foreign Office would be grateful for your observations on these proposals, and they also wish to know whether you would be prepared to take action on similar lines.

Yours very sincerely

P. Solly-Flood
[Page 489]

[At its meeting on June 9, the Secretary of State’s Staff Committee considered possible measures to protest political persecution in the Balkans and the use, in that connection, of recognition as a diplomatic weapon. For the minutes of this meeting, see page 163.]

[On the occasion of his signing of the instruments of ratification of the treaties of peace with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania on June 14, President Truman issued a statement expressing his regret that the commitments undertaken by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union at the Crimea Conference remained unfulfilled in Bugaria, Hungary, and Rumania. For the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 22, 1947, page 1214.]