204. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Summary of the President’s Second Meeting with President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania


  • President Jimmy Carter
  • Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • O. Rudolph Aggrey, Ambassador to Romania
  • George S. Vest, Assistant Secretary of State
  • Jerrold Schecter, NSC Staff Member
  • Herbert J. Hansell, Legal Adviser to the Department of State
  • Robert R. King, NSC Staff Member (Notetaker)
  • Mrs. Huffman, Interpreter
  • President of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu
  • First Deputy Prime Minister, Gheorghe Oprea
  • Foreign Minister, Stefan Andrei
  • Presidential Counselor, Vasile Pungan
  • Minister of Machine Building Industry, Ion Avram
  • Ambassador to the United States, Nicolae M. Nicolae
  • Mr. Celac, Interpreter
  • Mr. Mateescu, Notetaker

The President was pleased with the private discussions with President Ceausescu just prior to this meeting. He briefly summarized some of the matters that had been raised: He will propose renewal of MFN for Romania, and though it cannot be granted for more than one year at a time, we will seek to minimize public discussion; the two presidents will inform each other of the results of their international visits without violating the confidence of other states (Ceausescu’s forthcoming visits to China and Korea were mentioned in this context); both sides understand each other’s views on the division of Korea; and oppose the intervention of foreign military forces.

President Ceausescu said there have been delays and rejections granting permission for technology licensing for Romania. Agreements with US firms are thwarted by delays and problems, particularly involving electronics and nuclear matters.

The President asked George Vest to respond. Mr. Vest said this matter had been discussed earlier with Ceausescu by Under Secretary [Page 637] of Commerce Harmon, and Secretary Vance and Foreign Minister Andrei had also considered it. The [Assistant] Secretary said he would look into the problem in order to expedite the handling of such requests from the Romanians.

The President expressed his desire to be helpful and said he would send Ceausescu a letter on this subject after it has been looked into.2

President Ceausescu said he would write only if there were problems, but he hoped it would not reach the presidential level.

The President said a letter would be sent in the next week. He indicated an interest to work with the Romanians in preparation for the Madrid CSCE review in order to avoid disappointment similar to that over Belgrade.

President Ceausescu expressed interest in cooperation to create a better climate for Madrid. He also noted the importance of consultation in the next weeks on the UN Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD). Contacts have already taken place, but further ones would contribute to a positive result.

The President expressed hope for the success of the SSOD, and noted that a number of government leaders will attend the session. He expressed a willingness to share ideas with the Romanians.

Ceausescu asked for better cooperation in dealing with underdevelopment and establishing a new international economic order.

The President said this problem has come up in discussions with other leaders, who have suggested a more constructive forum for an exchange of ideas between the industrial and developing countries. The structure of the Group of 77 does not seem conducive to a constructive dialogue. If these issues can be dealt with through less rhetoric and more communication, it will result in progress.

Ceausescu suggested that the UN would provide a suitable framework.

The President said it was an appropriate time to consider meeting the needs of the developing countries. He considered the exchange a fruitful one and is desirous to strengthen ties between the two countries. [Page 638] The discussion of human rights was useful. Although the two countries have different perspectives, they share similar goals.

President Ceausescu expressed thanks for the talks and the visit and hoped that relations will further develop. Other questions remain to be discussed, but they can be tackled when the President accepts the invitation to visit Romania.

Following the talks at 12:00 the two presidents were joined by their wives for the signing of the Joint Declaration.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 36, Memcons: President: 4/78. Secret. Drafted by King. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
  2. In a letter to Ceausescu on April 22, Carter informed the Romanian leader that he had looked into the issue of export control for Romania and found Romania received “the most favorable treatment possible” under U.S. law. He also stated that he tasked agencies responsible for approvals to make special efforts to speed up the process for all countries, including Romania. The same day, Brzezinski sent a memorandum to the Secretaries of Commerce, State, Defense, and Energy informing them of Carter’s letter and his instructions. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File, Box 16, Romania: President Nicolae Ceausescu, 2/77–12/78)
  3. See Public Papers: Carter, 1978, Book I, pp. 743–745.