34. Memorandum From Secretary of State Herter to President Eisenhower 0


  • Raising the Diplomatic Missions at Bucharest, Rumania and Sofia, Bulgaria From Legations to Embassies

The United States has followed the practice in the postwar period of raising virtually all of its diplomatic missions to Embassy status. Our only remaining Legations in Europe are at Budapest, Hungary, Bucharest, Rumania, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Our current relations with Hungary are anomalous and wholly negative. Therefore, I do not recommend any change in the status of our Legation at Budapest.

In view of the positive development of our relations with Rumania and Bulgaria in recent months, I believe that United States interests [Page 131] would be served by raising our Legations at Bucharest and Sofia to Embassies at an early date. Such action would strengthen our diplomatic presence in Rumania and Bulgaria and place us in a better position to influence the Rumanian and Bulgarian Governments toward more active and positive relations with the United States and a less dependent relationship with the Soviet Union. I enclose a memorandum outlining recent developments in our relations with Rumania and Bulgaria and further discussing the proposal that our Legations there be raised to Embassy status.

I recommend that you authorize the elevation of our Legations at Bucharest and Sofia to Embassies.1

Christian A. Herter




  • Relations with Rumania and Bulgaria

Several positive developments have occurred in our relations with Rumania and Bulgaria during recent months. During the past year an agreement settling American financial claims against Rumania was concluded.3 This agreement may facilitate expanded contacts in the economic field. We are presently engaged in talks with the Rumanians on cultural and other exchanges, and a student exchange program is already in operation. The Bulgarians have recently expressed interest in undertaking negotiations for the settlement of financial claims and the conclusion of arrangements for cultural and other exchanges.

The elevation of our Legations to Embassy status would signify that we attach increasing importance to our relations with Rumania and Bulgaria and intend to pursue an active policy with respect to these countries. [Page 132] As Ambassadors, our Chiefs of Mission would be in a more favorable diplomatic position in terms of personal prestige and would be placed on the same level as the Soviet bloc diplomatic representatives in Bucharest and Sofia. The raising of our Legations to Embassy rank would also serve to re-emphasize our interest in the peoples of Rumania and Bulgaria and in the future course of development of these nations.

We anticipate that certain quarters within the United States may contend that a change in the status of our Missions from Legations to Embassies would be a step lending new prestige to the Rumanian and Bulgarian Governments. We do not consider such a contention justified. We are confident that it can be answered by making clear that this step does not connote approval of the policies of the Rumanian and Bulgarian regimes but rather affirms more strongly our interest in the welfare of the Rumanian and Bulgarian peoples and our intention to enter upon more active relations with them. We already maintain Embassies at Moscow, Warsaw and Prague, and it is accepted that the status of these three Missions in no way implies approval of the policies and character of the governments concerned.

The problem of bringing about peaceful evolutionary change in Eastern Europe in the direction of freedom from Soviet domination is one of the major challenges we face in our foreign policy. We believe that we now have certain opportunities for projecting our influence more actively and effectively in Rumania and Bulgaria toward this end. The elevation of our Missions to Embassy status will, in our judgment, afford us a more solid basis for the pursuit of our policy objectives in these countries.

We would, of course, plan to consult with the British and other of our allies and to inform other NATO Governments before taking action.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles-Herter Series. Confidential. The source text bears Eisenhower’s handwritten initials “DE.”
  2. In a conference on November 15, the President rejected this request. The memorandum of the meeting, prepared by John S.D. Eisenhower, reads: “The President said that the State Department must be thinning out automatically with all the new embassies they are creating. He knows of no increase in personnel of the foreign service. Just that day he had received three requests for new embassies, which requests he had turned down. He had specified that money can be saved if these offices remain legations. To top it all, these locations are behind the Iron Curtain.” ( Ibid ., DDE Diaries)
  3. Confidential. Prepared in the Department of State.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 30.