207. Memorandum for the Presidentʼs File1


  • The Presidentʼs Meeting with Romanian Ambassador Corneliu Bogdan


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
[Page 512]

Ambassador Bogdan had requested an appointment in order to convey President Ceausescuʼs concerns at recent Soviet pressures against Romania. The President made an exception to his usual practice of not receiving foreign ambassadors, and met with Ambassador Bogdan in order to symbolize our interest in Romania.

The President opened the conversation by assuring Ambassador Bogdan of the United Statesʼ strong interest in Romania and stating that he was always ready to hear the personal views of President Ceausescu.

The Ambassador began his presentation as follows: President Ceausescu felt that the general trends in the world today were positive. Reason seemed to be prevailing more and more. The Presidentʼs moves to normalize relations with China, the Berlin accord, and the possibility of a SALT agreement were examples. Romania welcomed this. But Romania also hoped that there would be no agreements at the expense of third countries.

“You need have no such fears,” the President said emphatically.

The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for this. While these positive trends were hopeful, President Ceausescu wanted at the same time to invite President Nixonʼs personal attention to certain negative developments in Eastern Europe. Romania was very concerned at the campaign of threats and pressures which the USSR had been waging against her. This took the form of threats of Warsaw Pact military maneuvers in neighboring Bulgaria, press attacks on Ceausescuʼs visit to Peking, the exclusion of Romania from a bloc gathering in the Crimea, and other harassments.

“What can we do?” the President asked the Ambassador. Any visible signs of the U.S. commitment to Romaniaʼs support would be valuable, the Ambassador replied. Favorable action on Most-Favored-Nation treatment for Romanian trade, or steps by OPIC to encourage investment in Romania, were possibilities. In short, anything that let the Soviets know that détente with the U.S. was dependent on their restraint vis-à-vis Romania.

The President began his response by asking the Ambassador to convey his very good personal wishes to President Ceausescu. He assured the Ambassador that Romania had our promise on MFN, and indicated that Dr. Kissinger would ride herd on these economic matters to insure that our promises were carried out. The President then asked Dr. Kissinger to repeat, on the Presidentʼs behalf, the three principles of American policy which Dr. Kissinger had stated to Ambassador Bogdan in San Clemente on August 31.2 Dr. Kissinger stated the [Page 513] following: (1) The United States has a major interest in the independence and autonomous policy of Romania. (2) The United States will do nothing directly or indirectly that amounts to collusion that would enable a great power to abrogate the independence of Romania. (3) The United States will make clear in its way to the Soviet Union that unilateral pressures or military actions are not consistent with a relaxation of tensions. The Ambassador expressed his appreciation for this statement and promised to report it directly to President Ceausescu.

As the conversation moved on to other aspects of European security, the President indicated that the U.S. was inclined to go slow on the convening of a Conference on European Security because we were not clear what substantively it would accomplish. We were interested in concrete talks on substantive issues, such as MBFR, the President said. On this we were willing to negotiate.

Dr. Kissinger added that anything that Romania could do to help cool things in Vietnam would be of great benefit to U.S.-Romanian relations. Our economic measures on Romaniaʼs behalf depended on there not being any increase in Romanian economic aid to North Vietnam. The President then emphasized that his patience with North Vietnam was running out. “Never underestimate what I will do when I am pressed.”

The Ambassador then characterized Romaniaʼs position on Vietnam as being in favor of a political solution. President Ceausescu had made this point to the Chinese. At the same time, Romania thought that the NLF 7-point proposal3 had been a constructive step forward.

The conversation ended with the Ambassadorʼs thanking the President again for receiving him, and the Presidentʼs asking the Ambassador again to convey his personal greetings to President Ceausescu. Press photographers were invited in at the close. Mr. Ziegler announced the meeting at his late morning press briefing.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1025, Presidential/HAK MemCons, The President and Amb. Corneliu Bogdan. Secret. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The conversation took place in the Oval Office.
  2. See Document 206.
  3. See footnote 8, Document 206.