41. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, June 18, 1976, 5:10-6:10 p.m.1 2


  • Meeting with RCP Secretary Andrei


  • US
  • The Secretary of State
  • Counselor Helmut Sonnenfeldt
  • Assistant Secretary Arthur Hartman
  • Ambassador Harry Barnes, Jr.
  • Romania
  • RCP Secretary for Foreign Affairs Stefan Andrei
  • Ambassador (appointed) Nicolae Nicolae
  • Mircea Mitran, Counselor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Interpreter)


Memorandum of Conversation

DATE: June 18, 1976 5:10 - 6:10 p.m. Secretary’s Office

DISTRIBUTION: S (Aherne), S, S/S, WH (Rodman), C (Sonnenfeldt), EUR (Hartman)

Andrei: First of all, I have a message of friendship for you from President Ceausescu.

Secretary: Thank you.

Andrei: He speaks of you often, recalling the meetings you have had.

Secretary: You know, I am a great admirer of your President. I think that the relations between the United States and Romania are among the more important things I have done since I have been in Washington.

[Page 2]

Andrei: I want to express my own personal appreciation because my visit here is linked, indirectly at least, with the invitation you extended at the dinner my President gave for you and with the discussion I had had earlier with Messrs. Sonnenfeldt and Hartman. The main idea of my visit is to discuss how we can develop these relations still further.

Kissinger: I didn’t know Sonnenfeldt had any friends left in Romania.

Andrei: I am surprised that, knowing what you know, you could have reached that conclusion.

Kissinger: You used Sonnenfeldt as an opportunity to say things you wanted to say. We understand.

Andrei: This is a question we consider to have been closed for some time already. It’s a matter which was connected with the idea of spheres of influence and all the consequences thereof.

Kissinger: But all our policies toward Romania prove that we don’t accept this idea.

[Page 3]

Andrei: That’s correct. The President asked me to remind you of the discussions at Sinaia and Bucharest on this issue, especially with regard to his saying that we welcome the development of relations between the US and the USSR, with the condition that nothing affecting our interests be done behind our back. He said you’d remember this.

Secretary: I remember very well. But we told him he had no reason to be concerned.

Andrei: He didn’t mention that.

Secretary: Excessive trust in what people tell him is not characteristic of your President.

Andrei: He just gave me the message of what I was to say and not to tell to you what to say. We consider our relations to be good. The President asked me to mention three questions. First of all is that dealing with our economic relations. He specifically asked me to tell you that although there now exists a situation where Romanian exports exceed the value of imports from the United States, there are [Page 4] contracts being negotiated which will equalize things. And we are extremely interested in importing goods and equipment from the US especially in the industrial field. It is true that this year in any case imports of grains will be down somewhat. The President hopes that we can reach our target of $1 billion in two-way trade before 1980.

Secondly, he asked me to say, and this is something he would like you to keep on the agenda for after the Presidential elections, namely the reexamination of our requests for credits, on concessional terms, for the importation of equipment from the US. I repeat this is something for after the elections. We proceed from the fact that the consolidation of Romania’s situation has been helped very much by Presidents Ford and Nixon and that for the further consolidation of Romania’s independence, as the President asked me to tell you, the most effective sort of help will be strengthening our [Page 5] bilateral relations, working together on international problems, intensifying our trade and in other ways with the result that Romania develops more both materially and spiritually.

Secretary: Spiritually?

Andrei: You know well of course what is required when it is a question of industrialization, of providing services for the population, developing agriculture in order to raise the material level. You know these efforts we have been making and we see them also as a political “conduit” as it were (to raise the spiritual level). In fact, we tell other developing countries that the most important factor for making progress is their own efforts toward development. Thirdly, our President was somewhat unhappy (“amarit”) over the demonstrations on Transylvania that have taken place in the US and he has asked me to express the hope to you and to President Ford that, within the framework of the laws in the US, this sort of attitude could be discouraged by the administration, especially since it raises territorial [Page 6] questions. It’s a delicate problem and I really don’t want to go into much detail.

Fourthly, actually this is my third point, With regard to MFN, so far as emigration to the US is concerned, we have resolved the major part of the problems and will settle those remaining. We don’t have any important problems with regard to emigration to Israel, and we will solve those that remain. We don’t want to create conditions that make it difficult for the administration. With the help of the State Department I have had some meetings already with members of Congress and will have some more. We will take action at home along the lines I have told you.

Secretary: How long will you stay?

Andrei: That depends on the President.

Secretary: Your meeting will definitely take place.

Sonnenfeldt: We’re still waiting to hear exactly when.

Secretary: It will definitely take place.

Andrei: I have to be in Berlin Thursday in connection with preparations for the European Communist Party Conference.

[Page 7]

Secretary: You won’t delay your departure for a meeting with the President?

Andrei: If I did, I wouldn’t be able to say that I had succeeded in avoiding being subject to too much US influence.

Secretary: I’m positive the President will see you. I think it’s Monday.

Hartman: Probably Tuesday.

Secretary: You see. I run a bunch of African tribes here. They keep going around trading information with each other.

Andrei: And you’re the last to hear it. Finally, I can affirm that for a variety of reasons we are interested in seeing our relations with the US develop and I hope that we will continue to find from the American side the same receptivity toward their expansion both bilaterally and with regard to international problems that concern us both.

Secretary: With respect to the issues you raise, we have attached considerable importance to the development of relations between our countries and it would be totally inconsistent with the strategy which we are pursuing [Page 8] to establish spheres of influence. The whole purpose of the visits to Romania has been to demonstrate that we don’t accept the establishment of spheres of influence.

On economic issues, we would welcome the goal you have set for overall trade. On matters that require legislation, I agree it is better to wait until after the elections.

On MFN, you know the position the Administration has taken on this issue. We have to meet certain tests which the Congress has imposed. We also recognize you can’t throw people out of your country on account of the prescriptions others set for you. Still, some progress, particularly with respect to emigration to Israel, would help. What particular steps are up to you to decide.

On the demonstrations, I frankly didn’t know about those at the UN until several weeks ago. I’m always so relieved [Page 9] when they’re not directed against me which is usually my fate and it’s usually a Greek group. In fact, I thought they were demonstrating against me and was amazed to find it was one of the few not aimed against me. I asked our Ambassador there to see what they can do. The fact is, as you know, that the US Government has no sympathy with the object of these demonstrations. Sometimes we could understand the objectives of some protests but the methods would not be acceptable. But we consider that the territory of Romania is not a proper objective. We support the territorial integrity of Romania. There are other difficulties on account of the Federal-State relationships. It is very difficult to impose restraints on the states. I’ve told our Mission to the UN to do whatever they can do. Have the demonstrations been peaceful?

Hartman: So far. Some of the signs are awful.

Secretary: Is there anything we can do?

[Page 10]

Hartman: Unless they incite violence, no. The police do keep them away from the buildings.

Secretary: How long has this been going on?

Hartman: For the last few months. Congressman Helstoski asked me about the Hungarian minority last year. He’s under indictment now. He’s of Polish origin, from Newark.

Mitran: He has some Hungarian constituents, too.

Secretary: We’ll do what we can through our Mission in New York.

[Omitted here is a discussion unrelated to U.S.-Romanian relations.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs Staff, Country Files, Box 21, Romania 1976 (3) WH. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Barnes; cleared by Armitage; and approved on July 7 by Collums (S). The meeting took place in the Secretary’s office.
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger met with Andrei and newly-appointed Ambassador Nicolae on a broad range of issues, including MFN, Jewish emigration, and Romanian-U.S. bilateral affairs.