39. Telegram 3953 From the Embassy in Romania to the Department of State, August 13, 1975, 1505Z.1 2

SUBJ:

  • ROMANIAN INTEREST IN MILITARY EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

REF:

A.
BUCHAREST 3675
B.
DAO BUCHAREST 0231 301535Z JUL 75 (BUCH 3663)
C.
STATE 182142
D.
DAO BUCHAREST 0232 301638Z JUL 75 (BUCH 3671)

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ACTION SS-25

INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 SSO-00 /026 W

053223

R 131505Z AUG 75

FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4100

CONFIDENTIAL BUCHAREST 3953

EXDIS

EUR FOR ACTING ASST SEC ARMITAGE FROM AMBASSADOR

E.O. 11652: GDS

TAGS: TECH, RO

1.
THIS MESSAGE IS IN REPLY TO YOUR AUGUST 11 PHONE CONVERSATION WITH DICK SCISSORS REQUESTING FURTHER COMMENT ON REFTELS A AND B. WITH GENERAL WEYAND'S VISIT COMING UP, WE HAD BEEN PLANNING ADDITIONAL COMMENT WHICH THIS MESSAGE REPRESENTS. THE SUBJECT INCIDENTALLY WAS NOT BROACHED DURING THE PRESIDENT'S VISIT AND WE HAVE RECEIVED NO FURTHER APPROACHES FROM THE GOR SINCE REFTELS NOR DO I REALLY EXPECT ANY.
2.
DICK SCISSORS SAID YOU ALSO MENTIONED PRESS INQUIRIES ON THIS SUBJECT. WOULD YOU ENLIGHTEN ME BY CABLE ABOUT THE NATURE OF THEM? THE POSSIBILITY THAT THIS SUBJECT MAY HIT THE PRESS CONCERNS ME SINCE THE GOR TO DATE HAS BEEN GIVEN NO REASON TO BELIEVE WE WOULD NOT TREAT THE MATTER WITH UTMOST CONFIDENTIALITY, AT LEAST DURING THE INITIAL PERIOD THE REQUEST IS UNDER REVIEW. I KNOW WE HAVE NO CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 BUCHAR 03953 131554Z INTEREST IN ANY PRESS PLAY AT THIS STAGE, SO I TRUST WE ARE RESPONDING TO ANY PRESS INQUIRIES IN A COMPLETELY NON-COMMITAL MANNER.
3.
ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE MATTER, I REMAIN PERSUADED THAT THE BEST POSTURE FOR US TO TAKE AT THE TIME OF GENERAL WEYAND'S VISIT IS THAT THERE OBVIOUSLY ARE POLITICAL, MILITARY AND LEGAL PROBLEMS INVOLVED IN PRO-VIDING ANY MILITARY-RELATED EQUIPMENT TO A MEMBER OF THE WARSAW PACT WHICH REQUIRE THOROUGH ANALYSIS AND REVIEW BY THE USG. WE SHOULD NOTE THAT WE EXPECT AN EXPANSION OF CONTACTS BETWEEN OUR MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS TO BE USEFUL FOR BOTH SIDES. AS THESE CONTACTS EXPAND WE WILL CONSIDER, AS WE CURRENTLY ARE DOING WITH COMMUNICATIONS GEAR FOR PRESIDENT CEAUSESCU'S AIRCRAFT, THE PROVISION OF NON-LETHAL MILITARY RELATED EQUIPMENT. FYI BGEN ADAMS, WHO HEADS WHCA, TOLD DCM DURING PRESIDENT FORD'S VISIT HE HOPED TO BE ABLE TO FORWARD SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS ON AIRCRAFT COMMUNICATIONS PACKAGE TO EMBASSY WITHIN A WEEK AFTER RETURN TO WASHINGTON. PLEASE ADVISE STATUS. END FYI. I BELIEVE WE SHOULD DUCK FOR THE TIME BEING ANY MORE SPECIFIC RESPONSES TO THE MORE AMBITIOUS REQUESTS BY SAYING THAT WE ARE STUDYING THEM AND ASKING ROMANIANS FOR THEIR RATIONALE IN LIGHT OF THE OBVIOUS DIFFICULTIES. THOSE WHICH CAN BE CLEARLY TIED TO ROMANIAN INTERESTS IN SPACE ACTIVITIES (REF D) AND TO THE COOPERATIVE PPROGRAM WITH NASA SHOULD BE NOTED BY GEN WEYAND AS HAVING GOOD PROSPECTS FOR APPROVAL. BEYOND THAT, I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER ANY MEANINGFUL DISTINCTION, GIVEN OUR CONSIDERABLE EXPERIENCE IN MILITARY SALES, CAN BE DRAWN BETWEEN THE LETHAL AND NON-LETHAL OR OFFENSIVE AND NON-OFFENSIVE ITEMS OF THE MILITARY SHOPPING LIST (REF B).
4.
THE IMPACT OF AN ARMS RELATIONSHIP ON ROMANIAN-SOVIET RELATIONS WOULD OF COURSE BE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE NATURE AND MAGNITUDE OF THE RELATIONSHIP. IT SHOULD BE SAID AT THE OUTSET THAT I DO NOT BELIEVE CEAUSESCU HAS TAKEN LEAVE OF HIS SENSES BY HAVING THIS HERETOFORE UNTOUCHABLE SUBJECT BROACHED WITH US. THE GOR HAS TRADITIONALLY HAD AN UNCANNY SENSE ON HOW FAR IT COULD PUSH THE SOVIETS. AND ON PAST RECORD IT IS HARD TO ARGUE CONFIDENTIAL

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THAT THE ROMANIANS DO NOT HAVE THE MEASUREMENT OF THEIR LEASH PRETTY ACCURATELY CALIBRATED DOWN TO THE LAST MILLIMETER. ADDITIONALLY, AS YOU WILL RECALL THE GOR HAS BEEN ON THE SEARCH FOR ARMS FROM WEST ERUOPEAN NEUTRALS SINCE AS EARLY AS 1973. THE ROMANIAN RETIONALE THAT BY BUILDING UP ITS OWN DEFENSIVE CAPABILITY (FROM WHATEVER SOURCE) IT THEREBY ENHANCES THE CAPABILITY OF THE WARSAW PACT IS A TOUGH ARGUMENT TO PARRY - AT LEAST BY ITS PACT PARTNERS. I CONCLUDE THAT THE ROMANIANS HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE SCALE OF THE SUPPLY RELATIONSHIP THEY SEEK WITH THE U.S. (WHICH THEY PROBABLY DEFINE AS EXTREMELY LIMITED) IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO SUFFICIENT IDEOLOGICAL AND MILITARY ARGUMENT TO COVER ANY CONCEIVABLE SOVIET RETALIATORY THREAT.

5. THE COST TO THE U.S.-SOVIET RELATIONSHIP IS ONE I BASICALLY LEAVE FOR YOU AND YOUR ASSOCIATES TO ANALYZE, THOUGH I DO NOT SEE HOW IT WOULD PLEASE THE SOVIETS AND COULD SPAWN ENDLESS SOVIET AND WARSAW PACT SPECULATION ON WHAT ADDITIONAL POTENTIAL THERE IS FOR U.S.-ROMANIAN MILITARY COOPERATION. AT A MINIMUM I WOULD ASSUME ANY SUCH MOVE ON OUR PART WOULD BE VIEWED BY THEM AS A PROVOCATIVE EXTENSION OF U.S. MILITARY INFLUENCE TO A STATE ON ITS BORDER AND AT LEAST AN ELASTIC DEFINITION OF THE HELSINKI DOCUMENT.

6. FURTHER FACTORS ABOUT WHICH I SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION TO COMMENT AT ANY LENGTH BUT WHICH ARE OBVIOUSLY RELEVANT ARE OUR OVERALL ARMS SUPPLY POLICY AND OUR EMERGING ARMS SUPPLY RELATIONSHIP WITH YUGOSLAVIA.

7. I AM CONVINCED WE HAVE A VALID AND CONTINUING STAKE IN AN INCREASINGLY INDEPENDENT ROMANIA, BUT I AM NOT CONVINCED THAT THIS NEEDS TO TAKE THE FORM OF A MILITARY SUPPLY RELATIONSHIP, WHICH MIGHT REINFORCE THE REPRESSIVE NATURE OF THE CEAUSESCU REGIME.

8. THUS I COME OUT WHERE I CAME IN. LET'S MOVE AHEAD WITH A TANGIBLE DEMONSTRATION OF INTEREST IN THE NON-LETHAL, COMMUNICATIONS AND SPACE RELATED ELEMENTS OF THE ROMANIAN REQUEST. ON THE REMAINDER OF THE ROMANIAN SHOPPING LIST I CONCUR WITH THE STATE/DOD APPROACH

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CONTAINED IN REF C AND STRONGLY RECOMMEND WE SIDESTEP ANY RESPONSE UNTIL (A) WE HAVE A CLEARER IDEA OF THE DIMENTIONS OF THE GOR'S PERCEPTION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND (B) THEREAFTER UNTIL WE HAVE MORE CAREFULLY EVALUATED THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE U.S.-SOVIET RELATIONSHIP, DETENTE, MBFR, AND OUR STAKE IN YUGOSLAVIA.

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NNN

BARNES
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; EXDIS.
  2. Ambassador Barnes commented on the prospect of an arms sales agreement with Romania and recommended a “tangible demonstration of interest in the non-lethal, communications and related elements” of the Romanian request but counseled against lethal arms sales.