Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Horace J. Nickels of the Division of Southern European Affairs

Participants: General Nicolae Rǎdescu, former Prime Minister of Rumania.
Charles A. Davila, former Rumanian Minister to the United States.
V. V. Tilea, former Rumanian Minister to Great Britain.
Mr. Nickels, SE.

General Radescu, who had come to Washington for an appointment with Mr. Armour on the following day,1 called upon me accompanied by Messrs. Davila and Tilea. Pursuant to instructions to express to all the principal Rumanian exiles, as occasion afforded, the general attitude of the Department concerning its relations with them and the Department’s reaction to their divisive activities, I took the opportunity to explain our position to this group.

I told Radescu, Davila and Tilea that, in arranging the requested appointment on the next day with Mr. Armour for four Rumanian [Page 419] exiles to discuss a matter of importance affecting Rumania, we had been especially pleased to note that, although these four Rumanians were coming as individuals, the group had a character representative of various elements among the exiles of that country. We hoped that this was a good omen.

I said that we had been disturbed for some time by reports of the discord among the Rumanian exiles and of maneuvers by some of them against others. I reiterated that our policy had been to treat impartially all of the Rumanian exiles who were favorably known to us; but this discord had become a matter of increasing concern and, on occasion such as the visit of King Michael, of embarrassment to us. With special reference to that visit, I remarked that luckily this state of affairs had not yet come to public attention, as it might unfortunately if it persisted.

I stated that it has appeared to us that the Rumanian exiles would be well advised, and we certainly would welcome it, if they would compose their differences on as broad and comprehensive a basis as possible and work together without exclusions based upon personal animosities or the antipathy of some political segment of the Rumanian opposition-in-exile.

I voiced our feeling that, in the light of the tragic situation in which Rumania finds herself, the Rumanian exiles might better devote their energies and abilities to concerns of greater consequence than efforts to obtain personal or partisan advantage and to more constructive purpose than that of exploiting the differences among themselves.

I said that we had not wished to express any opinion as regards the question of whether or not a Rumanian National Committee should or should not be formed by the Rumanian exiles. But whether or not such a committee were formed, I said that we felt the Rumanians should put an end to their feuds and devote themselves to more significant activities. I said that, in general, we welcome activities of the Rumanian exiles on behalf of an independent and democratic Rumania, with a regime based upon law rather than upon arbitrary authority, with the possibility for its peoples freely to elect a broadly representative government, responsive to their will. We would be happy to have the Rumanian exiles who are here as visitors or residents engaging in any such activities as are consonant with our laws and with the general principles of our foreign policy.

I explained, however, that it is not our intention to show favoritism as between groups of the Rumanian exiles. I said that, in fact, I thought our relations with all of them would be easier and afford more of mutual advantage if we were not confronted by these factional discords.

Mr. Davila inquired whether this meant by implication that, if the Rumanians were to compose their differences, greater opportunities would be available to them for their appropriate activities.

[Page 420]

I replied that I believed this would be so. For example, I said there might be a greater possibility for reciprocity with us in relation to the Voice of America if preference for one group of Rumanians as over against another could be obviated.

We understand, I said, that some of the Rumanians have maintained that the control of activities on behalf of Rumania by the opposition-in-exile should be absolutely in the hands of representatives of certain traditional parties. We understand further that some who are so-minded are interpreting our position in relation to the Moscow Conference of 19452 and the references to these parties in some of our notes to the present Rumanian Government as evidence of an exclusive commitment by us to those parties.

I said that, in view of this, it seemed desirable to make our position in this regard clear to all concerned. We had, indeed, viewed very sympathetically the National Peasant Party, the National Liberal Party and Petrescu’s Social Democratic Party in their deprivation from a rightful participation in Rumanian political life after the war. This did not mean, however, that we regard our policy as tied exclusively or perpetually to these parties or to particular groups in control of these parties at any given time or to those claiming to be the “true” heirs of such controlling groups. So far as we were concerned, it appeared that, when the Rumanian peoples might be in position to participate freely in political activities, they would and should determine what party formations they would support at that time.

I expressed the opinion that whether Maniu survived or not he would remain a respected figure and very likely a political hero. I said I presumed that, considering its economy and the nature of its population, some sort of Peasant Party would exist in a Rumania of the future; but whether it would correspond to the old National Peasant Party could not be foreseen. Whether the other traditional parties would survive or, if so, whether they would be patterned on former lines was speculative; but as I had said, from our point of view, these matters should be left to the Rumanian people to decide. And I remarked that it seems to us highly unrealistic, in the present circumstances, that certain elements should be insisting that the absolute control and veto over the work of the Rumanian exiles for the welfare of their country should be in the hands of some individuals or groups claiming to be the true and only proper representatives of the parties of the past. This contention seems to us especially unrealistic when it is carried to the point of exclusion and personal attacks on some whose [Page 421] special abilities and energies might be profitably employed to constructive ends.

With the reservation that obviously I could not in any way speak for Michael or the Queen Mother, I said that I gained the impression that the discord of the exiles was a source of embarrassment to them and that they would wish to see it resolved and this, I said, we also would welcome.

[The remainder of the conversation was largely given over to a review by General Radescu of his efforts since his escape from Romania in 1946 to organize a united Romanian group abroad.]

  1. Telegram 1032, July 23, to Bern, not printed, stated that the Department had no record of Assistant Secretary Armour’s conversation with Romanian exiles on June 11. It was believed that Armour had discussed the rumored incorporation of Romania into the Soviet Union but had not spoken of the divisive activities of the Romanian exiles (871.001 Mihai/7–2148).
  2. For documentation on the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Moscow in December 1945, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 560 ff.