139. Telegram From the Department of State to the Legation in Romania 1

164. Lazareanu2 assurances re performance consular functions gratifying as possible indication new attitude on Rumanian part but [Page 339] scarcely constitute satisfactory settlement consular problem within meaning US note August 29 (Legtel 197).3 We appreciate Rumanian desire open consulates New York and Detroit but in light Rumanian past record and reputation US we believe it would contribute more to establishment solid foundation for improved relations if Rumanians would first seek develop record favorable performance on existing obligations. You may note in passing US has no present intention open consulates Cluj, Timisoara, Ploesti or Constanta for example (presumably acceptable Rumania under Art 1)4 and would be satisfied have full consular rights Bucharest. Similarly assume Rumanian Government would be pleased enjoy appropriate consular rights and privileges Washington which US prepared grant. Meanwhile however while not refusing consider Rumanian requests re New York and Detroit we believe Rumanians will appreciate reasonableness present US position and will not press demands for consulates outside capital at this time.

Re new consular convention US prepared consider formal proposal for renegotiation but believes this best accomplished in light Rumanian performance on existing obligations (Deptel 142).5 Meanwhile text presumably submitted preliminary formal proposal (Legtel 199)6 will receive appropriate study within Department. In further discussion this topic you should avoid any implication US agrees to renegotiate (we merely agree consider proposal renegotiate) or any suggestion decision imminent (such as reference next session Senate). US objective is implementation present Convention. If Rumanians refuse, this becomes further evidence lack good faith.

Department position on consulates governed largely by policy rather than legal considerations. Even before current disturbances in Soviet bloc it was determined this is not time for increasing prestige present Rumanian regime and permitting enlargement its activity US. As you aware we did not enter talks as suppliant. Meetings were proposed by Rumanians and we merely enlarged scope to permit discussion some topics of interest US. Accordingly we are under no [Page 340] obligation make concessions and under no pressure reach agreements. We merely accept or reject Rumanian proposals or suggest means by which for example improved relations (cited by Rumanians as primary objective) can be approached (better treatment US nationals, observance treaty obligations, permission open US reading room, etc). In latter respect US position of course not wholly negative and we are in fact prepared offer some inducements in return for Rumanian cooperation. These however limited. Offer commercial representation NY for example only in return US reading room Bucharest, not as substitute consulates NY and Detroit on which decision deferred (FYI albeit perhaps indefinitely) pending improvement Rumanian performance.

Department gratified news Placa release. Assume you continuing press for Nabokoff and Samuelli.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.6641/10–2456. Confidential; Niact.
  2. Alexandru Lazareanu led the Romanian delegation in talks aimed at improving U.S.-Romanian relations. Robert H. Thayer led the U.S. negotiating team in the meetings which took place October 15–November 3. Among the subjects discussed were cultural relations, consular and diplomatic problems, trade, claims and assets, and modes of settlement of these. Documentation on this subject is ibid., 611.66 and 611.6641.
  3. Telegram 197 from Bucharest, August 30, indicated that on the previous day the U.S. note expressing willingness to enter into negotiations with the Romanian Government on matters outstanding between the United States and Romania had been delivered to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ibid., 121.662/8–3056)
  4. Article 1 of the Consular Convention of 1881 (23 Stat. 711) specified the right of Romania to open consular offices in New York and Detroit and gave the United States access to Constanta and Bucharest.
  5. Telegram 142 to Bucharest, October 18, stated that the Consular Convention of 1881 had to be made operative as part of any normalization of consular activities. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.6641/10–1656)
  6. Telegram 199 from Bucharest, October 24, contained the draft text of the Romanian proposals. (Ibid., 611.6641/10–2456)
  7. The United States wanted the release from prison of former employees Sylvia Placa, Catherine Nabokov, and Nora Samuelli.