Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Balkan Affairs, Office of Eastern European Affairs ( Campbell )


During a call made by Mr. Visoianu1 at his request to present the views of Rumanian exiles on certain matters now before the UN, Mr. Visoianu said that he wished to bring me up to date on developments concerning the Rumanian National Committee. He said that the Radescu-Gafencu-Caranfil-Farcasanu2 group had not attended the meeting of September 9 in New York and had refused to go along with the proposal for an executive committee of three (Gafencu, Visoianu and Popa3) which had been made by the King.4 Therefore the majority (Visoianu, Cretzianu, Popa, Bianu, Zissu,5 to which has recently been added Crihan, who is still in Europe) had no alternative, Visoianu said, to carry on as the Rumanian National Committee although regretting the absence of those who refused to accept the King’s decision. He then complained strongly of the attitude of the NCFE, which he said had from the start listened only to Radescu and Gafencu and never consulted the Committee as such or the other members individually. He showed me a letter he had recently received [Page 361] from the NCFE which stated that the NCFE had “found that the former Rumanian National Committee is in a state of dissolution” and accordingly would not continue its financial support. Mr. Visoianu said that this letter would have very unfortunate consequences throughput the Rumanian immigration. He said that the NCFE had placed itself in a position of opposition to the King by refusing to accept the way in which he had dealt with the situation. Rumanians throughout the world would take this as a sign that the US did not have confidence in the King. This he said would be most unfortunate because the King still had great prestige in the country and was essential as a national symbol. He said that the Rumanian Committee was not in a state of dissolution, that it had taken certain decisions on the basis of the King’s proposals by majority vote, and that it intended to go ahead and do some constructive work. I said that while I could not speak for the NCFE, I wished to point out that the NCFE in defining its attitude toward groups and committees which purported to speak in the name of one or the other of the captive nations of Eastern Europe, had to consider (1) whether such groups were in fact broadly representative of the people of that nation and of the emigration, and (2) whether they actually were engaged in constructive work or gave promise of doing so. He agreed, but said that it was the fault of Radescu that the Rumanian Committee had done nothing for the last six months. He said that the Committee would continue to be broadly representative and gave as his personal opinion that the four who refused to cooperate had no substantial following anyway. He said that Radescu might still have some prestige in Bucharest, but that in any case his senility made it impossible for anyone else to work with him. He said that Gafencu was well thought of in international circles but not in Rumania, where he was remembered as a loyal servant of King Carol. He said that Caranfil was unknown in Rumania and that Farcasanu had been taken on the Committee originally as representative of the Liberal Party only because a better representative with more standing had not been available at the time.

I said that I was not in a position to make any comment on this situation as an officer of the Department. I said that in general the Department had favored the idea of cooperation among the émigré leaders of each Eastern European nation as a means of maximizing the contribution which the émigrés would make to the general cause of freedom. I said that the NCFE had to base its attitude toward individual groups and exiles in large measure on what they were doing or could do to further the common cause. I said that, if at some time in the future it became apparent that the Rumanian Committee was a going concern and was broadly representative, the NCFE might have a different view than that which was expressed in the letter referred to above. I asked Mr. Visoianu what were the possibilities [Page 362] of patching up the differences with the other group and reconstituting the Committee. He said that there was no possibility at all of working with Radescu, but he did not feel so strongly about Gafencu and the others.6

[John C. Campbell]
  1. Constantin Visoianu, former Romanian Foreign Minister and a member of the émigré Romanian National Committee.
  2. Gen. Nicolae Radescu, former Romanian Foreign Minister (1945–1946) was President of the Romanian National Committee, and Grigore Gafencu, Nicolae Caranfil, and Mihail Farcasanu were members of the Committee.
  3. Augustin Popa, an exiled leader of the Romanian National Peasant Party, was also a member of the Romanian National Committee.
  4. King Michael (Mihai) who abdicated the Romanian throne on December 30, 1947, and went into exile.
  5. Alexander Cretzianu, a former Romanian Minister to Turkey, Cornel Bianu, a leader in the Romanian National Peasant Party, and Iancu Zissu, a leader in the Romanian Social Democratic Party, were also members of the Romanian National Committee.
  6. Alexander Cretzianu called on Campbell on December 6 to express in strong terms his views on the recent actions of the National Committee for Free Europe in dealing with conflicts within the Romanian National Committee. He repeated most of the same points made by Visoianu. In his memorandum of the conversation, not printed, Campbell summarized his rejoinder to Cretzianu as follows:

    “I told Mr. Cretzianu that the Department had not concerned itself with the details of the developments within the Rumanian Committee or its relations with, the NCFE. I said that the Department had welcomed the original formation of the Rumanian Committee as a means whereby Rumanian exiles could work more effectively for their country and for the cause of freedom, and that accordingly we regarded as unfortunate the recent events which had split the Committee and reduced it to quarrelling factions. With regard to the King, I said that the Department had not changed its views in any way; we were fully aware of the significant role which he had played in 1944 and in the period up to his abdication; while we did not recognize that he had any special constitutional rights in connection with the affairs of Rumanian exiles in this country, we continue to regard him as an important factor in Rumanian affairs.” (740.00/12–650).