189. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Romania1

23063. Subject: Inter-agency Group Meeting on Romania, Jan. 20.

1. Summary. Inter-agency group meeting to begin preparations for the Ceausescu visit2 was held on January 20, chaired by Nick Andrews of EUR/EE. Participants included a wide range of Department bureaus as well as representatives from Commerce, Treasury, USIA, CIA, DOD, and EXIM-Bank. Discussions dealt with international, economic, political, human rights, nuclear and other issues. A communique and other documents for signing during the visit were considered. End summary.

2. Andrews identified the dual U.S. objectives for Ceausescu’s visit: to reinforce Romania’s independent foreign policy line and, perhaps even more important, to get some positive movement in the broad area of human rights. The important question was to identify specifically what we want to get from the Romanians. Representatives from S/P and HA recommended that we seek progress on emigration cases and other human rights issues before the Ceausescu visit, and then perhaps include some reference to these concerns in a joint declaration or statement issued during the visit. It was pointed out that it is difficult to identify at this time specific human rights concerns that the Romanian authorities can be asked to resolve, since dissident writer Paul Goma and most others of the “passport-oriented” group of dissidents have left Romania. Andrews said we will have to identify those human rights issues which merit the President’s attention and which he should raise with Ceausescu. In this context, Andrews noted that EUR/EE is working on a specific human rights action plan for Romania and would welcome suggestions from HA or other bureaus. The question of what [Page 567] incentives the U.S. could offer Romania in seeking improved human rights performance was also raised, but without conclusive answers.

Multilateral issues. Andrews commented that given Ceausescu’s interest in international issues, at least one perhaps one-and-a-half of the two meetings between the two Presidents would be devoted to such topics as international security issues including SALT, East-West relations, the Middle East, nonproliferation, and the new international economic order. The upcoming UN Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD) was identified as a particularly appropriate topic that the President might raise. President Ceausescu might also be expected to express an interest in MBFR.

4. Trade agreement renewal/MFN waiver. Andrews said these issues will be major focus of Romanian concern before and during visit. There was general agreement that the GOR should be disabused now of any lingering expectation that a formula for multi-year MFN can be found in time for the visit (or, for that matter, this year). Reference was made to Senator Stevenson’s talk with Ceausescu and his blunt linkage of any revision of Title IV of the Trade Act with progress in U.S.-Soviet relations.3 Despite such evidence that the GOR at highest levels should by now have understood the US difficulty with revising Title IV. It was agreed that Pungan’s VIP visit will provide another useful opportunity to pour cold water on any Romanian hopes to use the Ceausescu visit as a vehicle to pry out multi-year MFN. Andrews also urged all present to make sure that, in conversations with the Romanian Embassy, they or their principals remain very firm on this issue. There will also be some GOR targets in economic area (such as creation of bilateral cooperation projects) for which Romanians will push, but in which USG cannot play a major role. We will have to repeat this message at a high level. It was also recognized that since we have gone about as far as we can in the economic/commercial area (export controls, MFN, credits, GSP, government support for cooperative ventures), we can expect major problems in fending off the inevitable Romanian requests for much more.

5. On Decree 223, it was suggested that if the renewed assurances of Romanian action do not translate into settlement offers in a reason[Page 568]able time (once we have presented the cases to Patan), we should warn the Romanians that we may have to raise this during the visit.

6. World Bank/Human rights. Following a discussion of how we have so far used this linkage with Romania, it was agreed that any negative US action before the visit on a World Bank loan for Romania would antagonize the GOR to such an extent that it would completely undermine the chances of using Ceausescu’s visit itself to advance our human rights goals. Nevertheless, we will explore this linkage further in the context of the human rights action plan currently being revised.

7. Exchanges. It was pointed out that even the exchange program had a human rights aspect. For example, some American scientific organizations have complained that travel restrictions prevent Romanian scientists from carrying out their exchange activities. OES recommended that the difficulties with the NSF exchange agreement be raised with Pungan during his visit to the US in February.

8. Consular. A Circular 175 request is still pending for a dual-national agreement with Romania. Efforts will be made to complete this process quickly so that negotiations can begin.

9. Nuclear. It was agreed that it is important to complete action on the Romanian request to purchase highly-enriched uranium fuel for their research reactor and the related question of additional assurances before the April visit. Also pending is the Romanian request to purchase US heavy water manufacturing technology. In this connection, the example of Argentina raises some important questions. It was agreed that an update was needed on the status of Romanian-Canadian negotiations for heavy-water power reactors. Commenting on the possibility that the Romanians might ask to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement, OES said that the benefits to the US of such an agreement were not readily apparent. However, if there were to be a joint declaration or communique issued during the time of the visit, a reference to the need for nuclear safeguards and to nonproliferation might be useful.

10. Documents to be signed. Commerce suggested that we exchange economic information during the Ceausescu visit. The updating the December 1973 Joint Statement of Presidents Nixon and Ceausescu was also suggested4 and it was noted that the Romanians can be expected to want to sign a number of documents during the visit. Andrews commented that from the US point of view perhaps it would be best to limit ourselves to simply issuing an unsigned joint communique, in the event we cannot get the language we want in a statement of principles or a signed communique.

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11. Action requested: Embassy is requested to provide Department with best estimate of what will be on Romanian agenda for the Ceausescu visit.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780043–0777. Confidential. Drafted by Silins and Fromowitz; approved by Andrews.
  2. In telegram 20 from Bucharest, January 4, the Embassy conveyed Aggrey’s conversation with Macovescu on December 30 and reported growing Romanian concern that the date of Ceausescu’s visit was not settled. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780006–0538) In telegram 9383 to Bucharest, January 13, the Department informed the Embassy that the NSC had proposed April 12–13. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780019–0362) On January 21, telegram 459 from Bucharest reported Ceausescu’s acceptance of the dates and conveyed the Romanian request that the visit might be announced at an early date. Aggrey suggested that while “timing of Ceausescu visit to U.S. has been conditioned by timing of that of another Eastern European visitor”—President Tito visited Washington in March 1978—he hoped that “announcement of Romanian President’s visit could be scheduled or made in such a way as to avoid obvious link or priority consideration.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780037–0064)
  3. Senator Adlai Stevenson met with President Ceausescu at Ceausescu’s mountain retreat in Predeal on January 10. In telegram 302 from Bucharest, January 17, the Embassy reported Stevenson’s comment to Ceausescu that the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act was a consequence of U.S.-Soviet relations. The Senator “indicated that relationship of Eastern European countries with Soviet Union continued to appear to be impediment to the U.S. desire to pursue kind of natural relationships we would like to have with other Eastern European countries.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780024–0722)
  4. On December 5, 1973, Nixon and Ceausescu signed a Joint Statement of Principles following their meeting at the White House. (Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 997–999)
  5. In telegram 748 from Bucharest, February 3, the Embassy responded to the Department’s request with a preliminary list of topics, including the Middle East, China, MFN, and emigration. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780066–0160)