- President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania
- George Macovescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Vasile Pungan, Counsellor to the President
- Corneliu Bogdan, Romanian Ambassador to the U.S.
- President Ford
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Amb. Harry Barnes, U. S. Ambassador to Romania
- Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Bilateral economic relations; CSCE; Middle East; Korea; Spain; Disarmament.
THE WHITE HOUSE
MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, June 11, 1975 3:00 p. m. - 4:15 p. m.
PLACE: The White House
The Oval Office
[The press took photographs]
Ceausescu: You had quite a trip.
President: You have just completed a trip to Brazil and Mexico.
[The press was dismissed]
President: Let me say, Mr. President, it is very nice to see you. It is particularly nice of you to stop so we could have this opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest on your way back to Romania after your trip to Latin America.[Page 2]
Ceausescu: I, too, am pleased, Mr. President, to have this meeting on my way through and I hope there will be positive results from it.
President: I do want to thank you for sending an emissary right after I became President. It happened rather suddenly and I appreciated your gesture.
Ceausescu: Since this is our first meeting after you became President I want to extend to you my most sincere congratulations. I hope you occupy this post for a long period of time. I have heard that you will be a candidate next year, and I hope that we will be able to continue our collaboration in the period that follows.
Bilateral Economic Relations
President: Thank you. I will be a candidate. I think we will win so I look forward to working with you in the future. I am most anxious that we, during my Presidency, expand the relations established by the U. S.-Romanian Declaration of 1973.
We are of course most anxious, Mr. President, to implement the Trade Agreement between Romania and the United States. I have submitted the necessary documents to the Congress to get Congress to take the action which would bring about the benefits of the Trade Agreement which are important to the United States and to Romania and to our relations.
Ceausescu: Of course we await with great interest the entry into force of this Agreement. I can guarantee to you there will be no opposition to it in Romania, and I hope that it will be approved in the United States as well. We would want the results of our good economic collaboration over the past four years to continue, and if this agreement will come into force would expect our two-way trade to reach a billion dollars.
Kissinger: The President is meeting with some Congressional people this afternoon and also with some Jewish leaders.
President: If I might make a suggestion, but first let me comment. We are most anxious that Congress approve this Agreement which we submitted on April 24. They have until July to take the necessary action. We do want MFN for Romania. We want Export-Import Bank credits and trade benefits for Romania. I think I have to be very frank and say that the Congressmen will probably raise difficult questions with you, as they have with our own people.[Page 3]
They are very interested in Jewish emigration to Israel and the United States. We of course disapprove of that requirement in the law. We think it is unnecessary, but it is the law and we must go through these procedures. The way to get favorable action by Congress is to get some evidence that there is some increase in emigration to Israel and to the United States.
Ceausescu: I will be very frank. As far as the United States is concerned, there is no problem. There are still some humanitarian cases. We will solve these as we have been solving others.
As far as Israel is concerned, there are not very many Romanian citizens left who are of Jewish nationality. The great majority of these are married to Romanians. Therefore the problem is that it is not likely that a substantial emigration will continue.
In the last four years 18, 000 people applied. And there were a couple thousand more who applied in the years just before that. 18, 300 have left. Right now there are still about 2, 000 who have been approved, some of them as much as two years ago. But with the tension in the area and the war, although they have approval to depart in their pocket, they have given up the idea or put off their departure. Therefore, in this instance too there is no longer a major problem. We will try to solve those cases that remain favorably.
As a matter of face we have now a fairly large number of cases of those who want to return to Israel and we haven’t been able to find a solution to this situation yet.
I have discussed these questions already with Deputy Prime Minister Allon and at his time of departure he made a favorable declaration. He even met with the Chief Rabbi.
President: This is very encouraging, Mr. President. I just believe it is very important that you are able to provide this information, this factual data, to the Congressional people and to the Jewish leaders because they could hamstring and make it difficult for us to get the necessary action by Congress.
Ceausescu: I hope that with your efforts, Mr. President, and with the explanations which I will be giving we will convince the Congress to give its approval more rapidly.[Page 4]
Kissinger: When the President finishes, he will have convinced the Congressmen to adopt an amendment to permit free immigration into Romania.
Ceausescu: No thanks. I am not interested.
President: I know you are concerned about the European Security Conference and about the problems that held up the agreement. We of course have had some reservations about Baskets I and III. I would appreciate hearing your own appreciation about the prospects and what you anticipate.
Kissinger: Macovescu and Gromyko are the only ones who have read all the documents.
Ceausescu: First of all, I would like to come back to some bilateral questions in connection with your forthcoming visit to Romania.
Aside from the problem of this Agreement which I hope will be adopted by the Congress, perhaps it would be well on the occasion of your visit to Romania to resolve other problems also. I previously raised the question of concluding a long-term economic cooperation agreement and had also raised the matter of granting Romania the special conditions of trade given to developing countries. I do not want to get into a discussion now, and do not insist on an answer now, but in connection with your visit I would hope to be able to solve these problems, to give your visit to Romania concrete content. I had previously extended an invitation for you to visit Romania, to be sure, but I wanted to use this occasion to make the invitation personal.
President: Mr. President, I appreciate your personally delivering the invitation to come to Romania. There is a distinct possibility and I would like to do it. If there is a European Security Conference Meeting in July or August it might be possible to stop for a visit in Romania after the conference in Helsinki.
Ceausescu: Following the European Security Conference?
Kissinger: Mr. President, on the question of long-term cooperation, we have discussed this previously and agreed on it in principle and we can announce it at any point you consider desirable. Our plans have been to get MFN through Congress first without any extraneous debate, so this would fit in with the schedule you are discussing.[Page 5]
President: If the European Security Conference is in late July and Congress would act on the Trade Agreement for Romania by August 1.
Amb. Barnes: It could come out of committee by July 15, but they may not take action until early September because they have 60 legislative days and the August recess may intervene.
Kissinger: You do not have to link these two things that closely for your visit.
President: But it would be helpful to get the Trade Agreement done and not have it complicated by any announcement. This reinforces the need to get favorable consideration and action before the Congressional recess.
Otherwise there will be five weeks delay. So it is important to get Congress to act, preferably prior to the visit, and then we could announce we would be having a long-term agreement.
Ceausescu: As far as European Security is concerned, we are concerned not so much by the fact of delay as by the content and expected results of the Conference. For us, it is not a problem of the dates, but of the results of this Conference. Of course, if it can take place in July, that is fine, or if it is in August or even September, that is fine. The principal thing is to get results which will contribute to the strengthening of confidence and will enhance detente. Therefore, it is not Basket III which is essential, the question of now many journalists or artists travel. That is for the experts. This isn’t what is so essential. As far as we are concerned, let as many as want travel around. The essential problems are in the first Basket. On this hangs the movement toward detente and for that matter the conditions of things like cultural exchanges.
In connection with this we see some problems which must be solved if the Conference is going to wind up with good results. First of all there should be firm engagements of states on the renunciation of force and noninterference in the internal affairs of other states. Secondly, there is the problem of certain military aspects. Granted it is not a question of resolving basic problems, but we have sought nonetheless to make sure that there will not be interference in the internal affairs of other states. It is a question for example, of these engagements regarding military maneuvers. And even here it is not so much whether it will be 250 or 180 kilometers or 10 to 20 thousand men, but the very fact that the content of these measures should be obligatory and not something voluntary. Therefore if all these problems [Page 6] are going to be reduced to something voluntary, it no longer makes any sense to waste time and energy over 100 kilometers of distance here and there. But what we are doing is introducing into international law certain rules which have existed up to now. When a group of states arrives at certain understandings, these would be mandatory and not voluntary. That is important.
Macovescu: One of the other principal problems is that connected with continuity of the Conference, the follow-up.
Ceausescu: I don’t know what your opinion is but we believe the most dangerous situation is still in Europe where there are the two military blocs with modern armaments, huge concentrations of troops, atomic weapons as well. Therefore we would want to have the summit meeting represent not the conclusion but rather the beginning of European security. For this reason we are in favor of an organism, a process for assuring the continuity of this conference.
President: How often do you see it meeting? Every year, every two years?
Ceausescu: Once a year, once in two years, any time when it is necessary. If there should appear some tense situation, if something should happen, then it could discuss what might be done to prevent things getting worse.
Kissinger: What do you think of the idea of a review conference in 18 months or two years?
Ceausescu: In our opinion that is a good idea. We think as a matter of fact that this sort of permanent organism could have the role of preparing such a conference. I don’t have in mind something that would be set up with a lot of bureaucracy, but rather something that would meet periodically once a year or every six months. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of one of the countries would have the role of coordinator, and this could be on a rotational basis.
Kissinger: For example, rotating?
Ceausescu: United States, Soviet Union, Romania.
President: [Smiling] Romania.
Kissinger: We have explained to Romania and we have been in close touch with the Romanian delegation to the Conference, that the very reason Romania wants this is why we are not agreeable. We are not eager to grant to [Page 7] countries the right of permanent interference in the West. Quite frankly, this is the problem with a permanent mechanism. I understand why you want something to which you could appeal, but we do not want established structures in the West to be exploited. We are sympathetic, though, to your concerns.
Ceausescu: We don’t think of this organism as having any sort of right to do this, and in order to avoid this problem we could regulate the basis on which it would act to exclude such possible intervention. We see it as preparing for new conferences and for solving such problems as will appear. We don’t want any Eastern intervention in the West or Western intervention in the East or Western intervention in the West or Eastern intervention in the East. I would ask you to reflect scene more on this problem and to review your position.
[Both Presidents and the Secretary nod agreement.]
[Omitted here is discussion of the Middle East, Korea, and disarmament. During the discussion on Korea, Ceausescu told Ford that he had talked to Kim Il Sung, who told Ceausescu that “he doesn’t want any tension in the area, that he realizes that unification only come through peaceful means, and he understands the need for a durable peace can and that will take some time.”]
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 12, Ceausescu. Secret; Nodis. The meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House. Ceausescu’s meetings with members of Congress are summarized in a memorandum from Secretary Kissinger to President Ford, enclosed as Tab A under cover of a June 13 memorandum from Janka to Scowcroft. (Ibid., NSC Staff for Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs: Convenience Files, Box 20, Country File, Romania, 1975 (6) WH)↩
- Presidents Ford and Ceausescu met to discuss bilateral relations and CSCE.↩