163. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Eastern European Situation


  • Romania:
    • Ambassador Corneliu Bogdan
  • United States:
    • Deputy Under Secretary Bohlen
    • George R. Kaplan, EUR/EE

Ambassador Bogdan said he was calling without specific instructions to exchange views on the Czechoslovak situation. Mr. Bohlen said that he wanted Ambassador Bogdan to know that the Secretary desired to maintain communication with him whenever conditions warranted. Ambassador Bogdan should feel free to call the Secretary directly in case anything warranted such contact.

Mr. Bohlen asked if the Romanians could confirm rumors of troop movements affecting their country. Ambassador Bogdan said he knew nothing of this and had received no information on it. Ambassador Bohlen asked whether “full mobilization” had taken place in Romania. Ambassador Bogdan again replied that he had no word of this.

Ambassador Bohlen said that the world was indignant over the Soviet invasion, and he wondered who, other than the participants and two Asian Communist regimes, actually supported it. In a brief exchange of views about the actual decision-making process in Moscow, Ambassador Bohlen conjectured that the decision to intervene militarily may have been made at the last moment and on the basis of a plea from Ulbricht and some developments in Czechoslovakia.

To a question by Ambassador Bohlen concerning the Romanian role in the Warsaw Pact, Ambassador Bogdan replied that there was no Romanian intention of leaving it. On the contrary, he thought it would be most useful for Romania to remain in the organization.

Ambassador Bogdan reiterated the Romanian position on the Czechoslovak affair as a “clear-cut stand in which Romania states its firm opposition.” He said that the Romanian leaders had not approached the other Warsaw Pact members about the invasion.

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Summing up the U.S. view, Ambassador Bohlen reiterated the substance of the President’s statement.2 He added that there had never been any question of spheres of influence, either at Yalta or now. Ambassador Bohlen handed Ambassador Bogdan a Department press release to this effect.3 Ambassador Bohlen reiterated the Department’s and the Secretary’s desire to stay in close touch on these developments.

  1. Source: Department of State, Bohlen Files: Lot 74 D 379, Memoranda of Conversation—General. Confidential. Drafted by Kaplan and approved in G on August 27.
  2. For text of the President’s August 21 statement, see Department of State Bulletin, September 9, 1968, p. 261.
  3. Department of State press release No. 196, August 23; not found.