74. Telegram From the Legation in Romania to the Department of State1
5. At 4 July reception Gheorghiu-Dej engaged me in long conversation on variety of topics.
He opened by inquiring impression General Twining had received from observation “Soviet air might.”2 I said I had not seen report but assumed he must have had interesting trip. He stressed such visits important. I suggested our Army Attaché would be interested see Rumanian military and air force installations access to which he had not so far been permitted. Dej replied Rumanian military and air force so small could not be of much interest to great country like United States. However, saw no reason why this could not be arranged.
I asked him how he felt about Tito’s visit.3 He said it was enormous success and of tremendous importance since it showed how countries building socialism could completely resolve their differences peacefully. I pointed out some countries like Poland were having serious difficulties building socialism. He dismissed Polish situation as small matter of economic adjustment which had been taken advantage of by some elements hostile to socialism. I asked him what he thought of rumors that Stalinist elements in Poland had fomented outburst in order prove their point that too quick relaxation tensions might have disastrous consequences. Gheorghiu-Dej said to interpreter in [Page 195] Rumanian “I will not discuss this question further,” which interpreter translated to me as “I do not believe there is yet sufficient information on Polish question to justify such rumors.”
He immediately launched into question of exchange agricultural attacheś. I told him I understood basis for Rumanian suggestion agricultural attaché exchange was desire keep abreast American agricultural processes. He agreed. I pointed out Dumitru visa granted and visits already exchanged to each other’s agricultural areas and saw no reason for necessity establishing rigid formality of attaché exchange. Furthermore, I emphasized that creation of new diplomatic relationships must necessarily depend upon more normal general relationships between our two countries. I said that it was ridiculous in midst of all these protestations of friendship for United States and desire for closer relations to have my Legation staff constantly trailed by secret police wherever they went and refused permission to travel wherever they wanted to in Rumania. Dej thereupon engaged Foreign Minister in earnest whispered conversation and promptly said, “there is no reason why these things cannot be eliminated.” I said that furthermore we should be permitted to have reading room and disseminate accurate information on United States to Rumanian people who now only read false and absurd statements made about United States in Rumanian newspapers. Although I convinced Rumanian people did not believe what they read they remained completely in dark re current developments in American life. Dej launched into tirade against VOA and RFE broadcasts. I made usual reply that jamming prevented me listening to broadcasts and was unaware their content. Dej smiled and said that he was sure I knew very well that jamming was completely ineffective and that vast majority of Rumanian people were listening to these broadcasts, but fortunately information they received was being corrected by Rumanian radio and other media. I replied that I had told Foreign Minister who nodded assent I would be glad to take up any factual misstatements made by VOA but United States Government had no control over RFE. He asked where RFE money was coming from and I replied voluntary contributions from American people who have strong sympathy for inability Rumanian people to obtain information of what is going on in world. I remarked Rumanians knew nothing of present Polish situation since Polish newspapers banned for last two months. Dej said this internal affair with which United States not concerned. I said I had heard many expressions of friendship from him and other Government officials but that it was time to produce actions rather than words. He said Rumanian Government had made many gestures recently toward United States and I replied it was time stop making unimportant gestures in small matters and that Rumanian Government should show by some substantive fact such as granting permission to United States to open reading [Page 196] room, that it was sincere in its profession of friendship. I reminded him that effects of 10 years of bad relationships would not be overcome by words or gestures but only by meaningful action.
Gheorghiu-Dej then proceeded make elaborate statement on importance of satisfying desires of Rumanian people for close economic, agricultural and cultural ties with United States. I said that U.S. people had great difficulty in believing that Rumanian people were independent and free to express their desires or that Rumanian Government itself was free to act without Soviet direction. I said if Gheorghiu-Dej could give me any specific facts indicating this was not the fact which I might report to my Government I was sure it would have tremendous effect upon our relations. He replied he knew there were certain circles in United States who had created word “satellites” and insisted on using it in an effort to undermine natural friendship existing between Rumanians and Soviets and that he was not interested in catering to views these few people, but he was sure that majority of American people were familiar with independence Rumanian people had finally obtained after many hundreds of years of occupation by foreign powers and interests. He proceeded into ideological discussion winding up with statement Americans must see inevitability of eventual triumph of socialism even in United States itself. I told him I doubted he really understood American system and emphasized rigidity of Communists’ insistence that theirs is only perfect system. I said I was willing agree there were imperfections in American system but we were progressive people and constantly changing system and improving it. I was convinced Communist system was in process of undergoing first of many inevitable changes and assumed Rumania would keep pace with these changes. Gheorghiu-Dej agreed his system not perfect but denied there would be any substantial changes in Communist system based as it was on entirely different concept of man and approach world problems.
In further discussion he again pressed upon me agricultural attaché idea and emphasized there should be no difficulty in our getting together on normalization diplomatic relations.
Above conversation dispersed with much friendly banter and exchange of barbs conducted in atmosphere of cordiality.
Gheorghiu-Dej was accompanied by almost entire Politburo including Stoica, Bodnaras,4 Chisinevschi, Moghioros,5 and Salajan.6 [Page 197] Very large crowd outside residence applauded Gheorghiu-Dej departure and security agents permitted crowd to close around car as he entered which I am told most unusual.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.66/7–556. Confidential.↩
- U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan F. Twining was in the Soviet Union at the invitation of the Soviet Government to view the extensive ceremonies marking Soviet Air Force Day, June 24.↩
- Tito visited Romania June 24–26, after an extensive visit to the Soviet Union, June 2–23.↩
- General Emil Bodnares, a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers.↩
- Alexandru Moghioros, a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers.↩
- Colonel General Leotin Salajan, Minister of the Rumanian Armed Forces.↩