159. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Conversation with Romanian Ambassador: US-Romanian Relations;NPT; European Security
- His Excellency Corneliu Bogdan, Romanian Ambassador
- Mr. John M. Leddy, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
- Mr. Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
We lunched April 11, at his invitation, with the Romanian Ambassador, who was not accompanied by any member of his staff. The following subjects of interest came up during our conversation.
The Ambassador referred to the recent trade agreement signed in Ottawa between Romania and Canada.2 This provided for Canada granting Romania MFN treatment in exchange for a general commitment on Romania’s part to make purchases in Canada of no less than $9,000,000 annually. The Ambassador said this latter commitment had been very difficult for Romania to make since it was not the usual practice to provide such an undertaking; however, the Canadians had insisted on it.
With regard to US-Romanian economic relations, the Ambassador said he understood the problems caused by the current political situation in relation to Viet-Nam, although he hoped that progress could be made. [Page 441] In particular, he hoped that something could be done with regard to obtaining a synthetic rubber plant from Goodyear, a subject he had mentioned to the Under Secretary.
2. Nuclear Plant
With reference to his recent urgent consultation in Bucharest, the Ambassador said this had been primarily to engage in discussions in his capital with regard to decisions which must be made in the near future concerning Romania’s five-year plan. Of special concern in this regard is the planning for nuclear installations to produce electric power. Romania has decided to go in the direction of obtaining plants which can utilize Romanian uranium and this will involve obtaining heavy water plants. The Ambassador indicated that this subject had been taken up with the Canadians and that there was some interest in obtaining a heavy water plant from Canada, although the Canadians themselves had not had extensive practical experience in this field.
The Ambassador recalled that Romania had approached a US concern sometime ago in connection with obtaining heavy water technology, but that this apparently had encountered some problems on the part of the American Government. Given the urgency of their own planning process, the Ambassador hoped that this question might be resolved favorably in the near future.
Mr. Leddy noted that, with the progress which has been made concerning the NPT, it might be considered that we were in a new situation and it was conceivable that something could be done. In any case, he assured the Ambassador that we would take another look at the problem.
There was some discussion of the visit to Washington of Deputy Foreign Minister Macovescu to present Romania’s views on the NPT.3 The Ambassador reiterated many of the points made by Mr. Macovescu, noting that, while Romania has a positive attitude toward the NPT, they are concerned about certain aspects of the proposed treaty. In some respects, the treaty seems to freeze many inequalities which presently exist between nuclears and non-nuclears. Also, Romania is concerned about possible adverse economic effects of the NPT and, in addition, believes that the formula which has been advanced to cover the question of assurances to non-nuclear states is inadequate.
Mr. Leddy reviewed in some detail the many consultations we have had with interested countries about the NPT over a long period of time. [Page 442] These consultations became particularly intensive beginning in December 1966, when it appeared for the first time that the Soviets were serious about an NPT. As a result of these consultations, many improvements have been made in the draft treaty and our feeling is that many of the earlier concerns which countries have expressed have been met. For example, the FRG seems much less worried about the adverse economic effects of an NPT. We recognize that the draft is not a perfect instrument, but we feel that its approval by a large number of states would be a significant step forward. On the other hand, to open up the draft to a large number of amendments would risk having the project fail entirely. We are concerned that the momentum which has been built up for the NPT should not be lost and we therefore hope that following discussions at the resumed General Assembly there will be agreement to approve the treaty.
4. European Economic and Political Integration
In response to the Ambassador’s questions, Mr. Leddy said that he anticipated that economic integration in Western Europe would continue to be strengthened through the Common Market and that Great Britain eventually would join this organization. He foresaw an increase in contacts between Western Europe and the countries of Eastern Europe, but he did not think it was practical to expect that there would be an over-all integration between the two areas. Mr. Leddy stressed that he felt the Common Market is here to stay and that the Eastern European countries will have to deal with it to an increasing extent.
Ambassador Bogdan acknowledged that this probably was the case, although he said Romania would prefer to deal bilaterally with other countries. There was a brief discussion of COMECON and the Ambassador seemed to deprecate the possibility that COMECON would play an important role vis-à-vis the Common Market. In this context, he stressed Romania’s desire to be as independent as possible in all respects.
5. European Security
Responding to the Ambassador’s queries on this subject, we outlined our view that the process of achieving European security would be a slow one, proceeding by small steps with no practical possibility that one over-all conference would solve basic security problems. We also noted US interest in the question of European security which, after all, is part of a global problem.
The Ambassador said he recognized the US interest in this subject and he noted that the Bucharest Declaration of July 19664 had not commented [Page 443] specifically on the question of US participation in a European security conference but left this question vague. He felt that the US-Soviet presence in Europe was a fact which must be recognized. He thought it was desirable to change this situation and that such change was inevitable, but the question was how this change could get started in a political sense. He felt this was a complicated and difficult problem but that it should be given serious attention.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL ROM–US. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Stoessel. The meeting was held at Ambassador Bogdan’s residence. A typed note on the source text indicates that this was a “draft.” No cleared copy of the memorandum was found.↩
- For text of the agreement, signed on March 22, see 870 UNTS 9.↩
- Macovescu visited March 1. A memorandum of his conversation with Secretary Rusk is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Romania, Cables, Vol. 3.↩
- For text of the Bucharest Declaration on European Security, July 5, 1966, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, pp. 351–359.↩