179. Intelligence Information Cable1

TDCS DB–315/02773–69


Rumania/USSR/Eastern Europe


June–July 1969


  • Comments of a Rumanian official abroad concerning Rumanian reaction to President Nixonʼs projected visit to Rumania, and considerations affecting the Rumanian decision to invite the President


July 1969


[9 lines not declassified]

In early July 1969 a Rumanian official stationed abroad commented concerning the Rumanian reaction to the announcement made on 28 June 1969 that President Richard M. Nixon planned to visit Rumania in early August, and the various considerations which had affected the decision of the Rumanian Government (GOR) to extend the invitation to the President. He stated that his remarks reflected the “official” views of the GOR. The Rumanian official said that the Rumanian leadership is very pleased that President Nixon made a positive response to the invitation. He commented that the Presidentʼs decision to visit Rumania in the immediate future and to stop in no other Eastern European country had exceeded the most optimistic expectations of the Rumanian leadership: the Bucharest regime had judged that in the event President Nixon decided to visit Rumania, the trip probably could not be arranged until the last quarter of 1969 at the earliest, and that the stop in Rumania undoubtedly would be within the context of a tour of the general Eastern European area. The Rumanian official said that the GOR had assumed that any visit to Rumania would almost certainly be accompanied by similar stops in Moscow and, probably, Belgrade; the fact that Rumania has now been singled out for special attention by the United States is source of major gratification for the GOR.
In response to a query as to whether the GOR had any fears that the Presidentʼs visit might adversely affect the delicate position Rumania occupies in Eastern Europe and its relations with the Soviet Union, the Rumanian official replied, “absolutely not.” With respect to Rumaniaʼs relations with the Soviet Union the Rumanian official stated that before making the decision to invite President Nixon to Rumania, the GOR leadership had carefully weighed the risks involved. The GOR concluded that, should there be an adverse Soviet reaction, any retaliatory gesture from the Soviet Union would be outweighed by the “moral and psychological” benefits of the Presidentʼs visit. The GOR judges that the Soviet Union will not carry out any form of “retaliation” such as the cancellation of the projected visit of Soviet leaders to Rumania in the late July 1969,2 because this would only be construed by world public opinion as an admission of Soviet weakness. ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: The Rumanian official stressed that there had been no such threat concerning the visit of Soviet officials, and that he had only cited it as an example.) The Rumanian official added that the GOR has no intention of “balancing” President Nixonʼs visit by granting concessions to the Soviet Union, either within the framework of CEMA (Council of Economic Mutual Assistance) or the Warsaw Pact, e.g., agreeing to the holding of Warsaw Pact maneuvers on Rumanian territory.
In discussing the Rumanian thinking prior to the extension of an invitation to President Nixon the Rumanian official stated that once the GOR had decided that it was worthwhile to accept the risk of Soviet displeasure at the action, the GOR had attached little weight to the possible adverse reactions on the part of the other Warsaw Pact countries other than Czechoslovakia. In the case of Czechoslovakia, the GOR judged that on a whole the liberal cause in Czechoslovakia would be well served by the Rumanian invitation to Nixon, regardless of whether or not he accepted it. The GOR reasoned that the invitation might create difficulties for the pro-Soviet Husak regime in the CSSR, and this in turn would aid the liberal cause.
[less than 1 line not declassified]
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 702, Country Files—Europe, Romania, Vol. I—8/69. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad; Background Use Only. Prepared in the CIA and sent to agencies in the Intelligence Community.
  2. The Soviet leaders eventually visited Romania July 6–8, 1970, to sign a treaty of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance.