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> 28. The USA and the Restauration of Romania’s Sovereignity..
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Posted: January 27, 2004 01:01 pm
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28. The USA and the Restauration of Romania’s Sovereignity over Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina

by Florin Constantiniu

On the 4th of September, 1941, Brutus Coste, Romania's charge d'affaires in Washington, was received by the Secretary of State of U.S.A., Cordell Hull. The Romanian diplomat handed over to the head of the American diplomacy a note of the Romanian Government concerning both the recovering of Northem Bukovina and Bessarabia, as a result of the military operations started on the 22nd of June and the historical, ethnical and juridical foundation with refference to the belonging of these Romanian territories.

The above mentioned note was underlining the following idea: "The annexation by U.S.S.R."

According to Brutus Coste's statement, when he asked for this meeting he had in view "to set part upon the directions of his government regarding the ongoing hostilities in Bastern Europe". He said that joining Germany in waging the war against U.S.S.R., Romania's only purpose was to regain the teritories that U. S. S.R. had occupied a year before, namely Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia and that these military operations therefore were not representing an aggression; a change had occured in the character of the Romanian participation as regaining the occupied territories, Romania's operations would reduce themselves from that moment on to the obligations pursuant to an occupation force. He also stated that from strategical reasons, the Romanian Army had been obliged to move forward beyond the claimed territories but even as occupation force. The area of its operations would be reduced to the region between Dniester and Bug rivers. Following the directions he was given, he stated that Romania was not claiming any territories and that the occupation of certain areas had happened due to strategical requirements and "indirectly" to the damages caused by U.S.S.R. in Bessarabia. He was also given orders to inform the Secretary of State that his Government had officially notified the German Government about its standing point and explained the Germans properly that Romania would not agree with any expansion in East in exchange for giving up her revendica-tions concerning Hungary in Transylvania which continued to be a primordial problem of her national policy.

The Secretary of State thanked Mr. Coste for this communication and asked Mr.Canon (an oficial of the State Department) who was present at the meeting to draw up a memorandum for the Secretary of State.

Then Mr. Coste asked permission to add some more personal remarks to his statement. He said that Romania had always supported the principle of collective security and it had been one of the most passionate adherents of the Nations League.

In his view, the fact that Romania, unlike Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria, had rejected Germany's invitation to invade and divide up Jugoslavia was not given enough appreciation abroad.

After a whole generation lived'in the shadow of the "red threat" at the very border and after the invasion, much of the Romania's policy was related to the enormous danger represented by U.S.S.R.

He added that the Romanian Government had actually proved that U.S.S.R. intented to occupy further Romanian territories and that one of the reasons of the limitation of the Romanian military operations at that time was the intention to preserve the army for the future security of the country.

The Secretary of State mentioned that the spreading of the communist system is a problem in itself, while the American Government considered hitlerism to be the world's enemy; that since before 1938, the U.S. had promoted and constantly put into being the principles of international agreement and cooperation, which are no longer necessary; also in the same period the hitlerism proved to be the eriemy of the peaceful nations destroying them one by one. He mentioned the fact that the U.S. concentrated its energy and would spend thousand millions of dollars in order to defeat hitlerism and this state of affairs brings about our attitude towards the countries supporting Hitler's views or sirnply prolonging the conflict against his purposes.

In reply, Mr. Coste said that Romania hopes to be free again to peacefully cooperate with other countries and that he considered that Romania's special problem at that time relating to her relationship with U.S.S.R. seemed not to be understood as it followed from Mr. Churchill's statement who grouped her together with Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria, considering these countries to be "jackals of the tiger".

The Secretary of State mentioned that this was Mr. Coste's and British Government's problem.

The dialogue between Romania's representative and the Secretary of State reveals the limits within which U.S.A. understood our country's position. During the negociations between Coste and Hull, the Roosevelt administration engaged itself to provide stipulated support to the Soviet Union.

Beside the material assistance, U.S.A. endeavoured to support the U.S.S.R. persuading Romania and Finland to give up participating in the Antisoviet war.

A few days following Brutus Coste's audience at the State Department, Cordell Hull suggested Finland's minister in Washington, Hylmand Procope, that his country should follow Romania's example specifying its objectives.

On the 25nd of September, 1941 the American Subsecretary of State, Summer Welles, sent Brutus Coste a note in which he was confirming the receiving of the note had of the 4th of September, 1941 where he called Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina "the Romanian provinces". Conveying this to Bucharest, Brutus Coste draw Mihai Antonescu's attention to the fact that "not overestimating the signifiance of the term Romanian provinces, one had firmy reason to consider it the proof of a friendly gesture. Mr. Summer Wells has the reputation of a diplomat both reserved and cautious in his expression and very accurate in his wording. Even in a receiving confirmation he would not leave the considerations and statements opposite to the point of view of the Department without making com-ments or an attitude of reserve. In other words I think that if the Department had fundamental objections to the idea in the above mentioned quotation, he would have confirmed himself to a vague indi-cation concerning the context of our note mentioning only what was strictly necessary in order to identify it".

Maybe Brutus Coste was right insisting upon the idea that the formula "Romanian provinces" was not used by chance in the note signed by Summer Wells. However, U.S.A.'s attitude had to be explained - as it was already mentioned - by her concern to determine the ceasing of Romanian's and Finland's military operations against the Soviet Union. Cordell Hull let Brutus Coste know that the American Government considered nazism to be its deadly enemy and whoever joined it was to face U.S.A.'s hostility; as long as Romania would not go beyond her old borders she could count on a certain comprehension from the American Government's part who even if de facto - had already given the acknowledgement of the Romanian - Soviet border as mentioned in the Country Council (Sfatul Tarii) in Kishinev on the 27th of March/9th of April 1918. Indirectly the Roosevelt administration required Romania to cease any military operation against U.S.S.R. once the "Romanian provinces" regained.
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