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

445. At Rumanian Assembly reception for visiting members Supreme Soviet I had half hour talk with Gheorghiu-Dej. Present were chief delegate Supreme Soviet who is General Secretary Central Committee Leningrad, and Soviet Ambassador Yrpishev with Foreign Minister acting as interpreter. Conversation in Russian with Soviets attentive but not participating.

Dej opened discussion by asking why US against disarmament. I replied this not the fact as evidenced by President’s proposals and all our efforts Disarmament Subcommittee. Dej said as former naval officer I must know navigation and importance steering proper course. I agreed but said first duty navigator look out for shoals, particularly hidden ones not appearing above surface. Dej shifted his metaphors and asked me if doctor gave patient pills to cure him and patient refused pills and remained ill was not patient at fault and not doctor. I replied that depended upon nature pills; if pills were poison patient showed justifiable intelligence not taking them. Dej said but supposing pills are accepted by entire world as being a definite cure. I told him that under those circumstances it wouldn’t be necessary to have doctor but just buy pills and most intelligent course anyway is to take necessary precautions against becoming ill.

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Dej said US-Rumanian relations showed improvement but were not moving fast enough. He commented on fact I was permitted to travel everywhere I wanted in Rumania without being followed and yet Rumanian envoys in US constantly tailed. I replied this information inaccurate since on recent motor trip to northern Rumania I was under constant surveillance by Securitate car. He replied that possibly my professional experience as prosecutor gave me preconceived notion all cars were Securitate. I told him Securitate easily identified and travel restrictions were childish and required only by nations lacking confidence in their international security and asked him why he did not lift all travel restrictions. He said that [he] would soon but emphasized our own reluctance to grant visas to many Rumanians and Soviets who desired enter US.

He said it was necessary for us to get down to specifics in discussing present Rumanian-US problems and set up detailed balance sheet of these problems so that they could be carefully examined and discussed. I told him that was exactly what US had proposed in its note2 and that we would welcome such balance sheet from Rumanians. He looked blankly at Foreign Minister who was obviously embarrassed. (Foreign Minister had earlier told me answer to US note out of his hands and awaiting higher action. Prime Minister Stoica, however, had later told me it was in Foreign Minister’s hands. Believe this indication Politburo to date preoccupied with political matters and have not yet reached question reply US note.)

Dej particularly stressed commercial relations saying it was essential Rumanians obtain technical assistance and machinery necessary for its development best supplied by US. He urged agreement for increased technical and cultural exchanges. He emphasized Rumanians making sincere effort normalize Rumanian-US relations.

Dej in particularly good humor, bubbling over with self-confidence and cordiality. Insisted on having photograph taken with me and Soviet Ambassador. He had spent large part evening in earnest conversation with [garble—Yugo?] and Soviet Ambassadors. All members Politburo present and no outward signs any international disagreements.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.66/6–456. Confidential.
  2. The U.S. note was in response to a Romanian suggestion of March 7 that economic negotiations between Romania and the United States should be initiated. The discussions were to concern U.S. claims against Romania, Romanian assets blocked in the United States, and trade exchanges. The United States replied in a note (transmitted to Bucharest in telegram 232, April 23) that it would discuss these issues along with others such as the establishment of a USIA reading room in Bucharest and a loosening of restrictions on American diplomats in Romania. (Ibid., 411.6641/3–756)