Soviet Communization of Romania

Today’s post reproduces an article that, according to the official archives, was written by George Manu in 1947. The article analyses the developments in Romania after the end of WWII. According to a note, Manu had handed the article to Col. John R. Lovell – military attaché at the United States legation in Bucharest, Romania in 1946 – 1949. The author’s intention was to get the article published in American newspapers.

Some parts of the text are missing (and marked accordingly) because they were not visible – the text was edited starting from scanned images of the original documents.

Abrupt communization in the Russian zone

            The political change accomplished in Romania represents a link in a general scheme of abrupt communization which is now being achieved in the entire Russian zone of influence in Europe. Indeed, until the Paris Economic Conference clearly revealed in July past that the Continent was split into two camps, the Russians had persistently attempted to convince Western public opinion that the governments they had imposed upon the countries submitted to their control were not purely communist ones. In fact, these governments were supported by coalitions of parties or small groups led by the Communists but bearing reassuring names like “National Union” in Poland, “National Democratic Front” in Rumania, or Fatherland’s Front” in Bulgaria. The coalitions sometimes happened to comprise determined anti-communist parties or personalities who had been constrained to collaborate under American or British pressure. At that time the Western powers still acted under the illusive outlook that had prevailed at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, according to which Communism could be used as a candid ally against Fascism. Thus, Mr. Mikolajczyk was induced to enter the Polish government, M. Subasich to trust Marshal Tito’s good faith, Messrs. Tildy and Nagy to give up the administration of Hungary to the communists, and M. Petkov to act as minister of foreign affairs at Sofia. Moreover, M. Maniu’s refusal to compromise with the Rumanian Communists was openly qualified as narrow-minded obstinacy. The Russians fully availed themselves of this Anglo-Saxon naivety and, under the cover of the broad democratic conditions thus set on foot, methodically promoted their plan of gradual communization. Besides, the resistance of the middle classes and the farmers was discouraged and the reluctant but yet actual collaboration of the anti-communist parties only helped to compromise and dismember them. The best example was that of the Hungarian Smallholders Party.

During 1947 the Russians apparently became less interested in concealing their purposes. They probably considered the communist regime imposed in their zone of influence strong enough to throw off the mask of democracy. Consequently, the anti-communist parties, whether collaborating or not, were involved in “fascist” conspiracies incidentally discovered by the Russian secret police, evicted from government, implicated in repeated trials, dissolved and outlawed. Messrs. Mikolajczyk and Nagy were compelled to flee abroad, nothing was ever heard of M. Subasich, M. Petkov was hanged and M. Maniu sentenced to life imprisonment. The only country where this operation has not yet been carried through is Czechoslovakia, seemingly on account of M. Benes widespread international relations. Nevertheless, “fascist” conspiracies have already been mentioned, M. Ursiny, Slovakian vice premier of the Gottwald cabinet, has been compelled to resign, and the regional government of Slovakia is now presided over by a Communist.

M. Tatarescu’s dismissal

The changes which recently affected the composition of the Groza cabinet illustrated this process of communization. As, on March 6, 1945, M. Vyshinski in his usual rude manner imposed upon the King of Rumania the appointment of that puppet government, he only [missing text]. In 1942, under Marshal Antonescu, M. Tatarescu was the only prime minister who attended the festivities held in Chişinău, chief city of Bessarabia, in order to commemorate the liberation of that province. Three years later, probably fearing his being prosecuted as a war criminal, M. Tatarescu entered the Groza cabinet as vice premier and minister of Foreign Affairs, subsequently playing the part imposed upon him by Russia. However, in May 1947 he attempted to oppose the first measures of frank communization proposed by his communist colleagues. The latter bluntly rejected his objections and asked him to resign. At that time Russia was still interested in fooling Western opinion and still needed the presence in the Rumanian government of a pawn assumingly representing the middle classes. Consequently, M. Tatarescu was asked to withdraw his objections and allowed to remain in office. Six months later, as the partition of Europe had become an accomplished fact, the Russians had no more reason to keep M. Tatarescu and abandoned him to his own fate.

Mme Ana Pauker

Besides, the strained international situation demanded a narrower Russian control over Rumania’s foreign policy. Indeed, Rumania commands all Russian ways of access and expansion to the Mediterranean. Being now engaged in a war of nerves and a diplomatic offensive against Italy, Greece and Turkey, which could at any moment involve her in international complications, Russia is bound to assure her backlines and consequently to supervise very strictly Rumania’s foreign relations. In view of this, Russia imposed upon her tools of the Groza government the appointment of Mme Ana Pauker as minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mme Ana Pauker was born in Rumania of foreign parents about 55 years ago. She first married a bookseller and later Marcel Pauker, a communist engineer who worked in Germany for a certain time and later went to Russia where he was shot in 1936 under the charge of being a Trotzkyst. His wife is said to have denounced him. Mme Ana Pauker spent several years in Russia where she became a Soviet subject, was a member of the former Comintern and was appointed a honorary general in the Red Army. She returned to Rumania in 1944 as communist chief leader and, in September 1947, attended the Warsaw Conference of the Communist Parties which re-organized Comintern. Thus, Mme Ana Pauker may be safely trusted by the Russians as their most reliable representative in the Rumanian Communist Party.

As soon as she was appointed minister of Foreign Affairs, Mme Ana Pauker ordered all the officials of the ministry to leave their offices. The latter were locked for about ten days and searched one by one. All the documents and the slightest scraps of paper were meticulously examined by Mme Pauker’s trusted persons under her own superintendence. As a result, 170 diplomatists and officials were dismissed within a week. Few days later several dozen more were compelled to resign. M. Tătărescu having previously dismissed 240 persons the Rumanian diplomatic service was entirely removed. They were constituted by communist outsiders, most of them belonging to the alien minorities, who had gone through a special school the Communist Party had organized a fairly long time previously under Russian supervision. The Russian purpose of eradicating any Rumanian outlook from the Rumanian ministry of Foreign Affairs was thus accomplished. Mme Pauker will now conduct this ministry as a Russian official acting at the [missing text]. Mme Pauker has been entrusted with the task of carrying through the negotiations for the entry of Rumania into the future Soviet Danubian Confederation. Actually, these negotiations have already reached an advanced stage. The Rumanian prime minister, M. Petre Groza, paid official visits to Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia and Prague during the summer of 1947, and signed political, economic and cultural agreements. The Bulgarian prime minister Dimitrov paid an official visit to Yugoslavia in August 1947 and closed at Bled an agreement with Marshal Tito preparing the creation of a Greater Yugoslavia comprising Bulgaria. During the last days of October 1947, M. Groza and Marshal Tito met secretly in a country house at Banloc, a Rumanian village near the Yugoslavian frontier, and had long negotiations which alterned with enormous revelry. Few weeks later, General Dinnyes, the Hungarian prime minister, travelled to Bucharest while Marshall Tito and M. Dimitrov met again in Bulgaria.

The future Danubian Confederation as contemplated by Russia should comprise Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. The latter two countries would be probably united into a Greater Yugoslavia which would become in this manner the most important partner in the future Confederation and would naturally be entrusted with its leadership. Thus, Belgrade would become the siege of both the central government of the Confederation and the central committee of the recently re-established Communist International. Russia would dispose on the Danube of a strong first-line position watched by her trustworthy tool, Marshal Tito, and enabling her to interfere with European affairs without too openly unmasking herself. Besides, she would definitively establish her domination up to the gates of Vienna and Trieste without disclosing her imperialistic ambitions as would be the case if the concerned countries were merely invited to enter the Soviet Union as “free and independent” partners, like the Ukraine or Bielo-Russia. The future Confederation would comprise 60 million inhabitants of whom 35 million Slavs and 25 million non-Slavs. The former might be used in order to crush the national resistance of the latter, Rumanians and Hungarians who have as yet brought much trouble to the Russian plans by their stubborn opposition, in spite of their being governed by subservient tools.

A Soviet Kingdom?

            In fact, another problem may trouble the Russian plans. Rumania still is a Kingdom and King Michael still keeps on his throne. According to the Constitution, he might appoint or dismiss the government at his will and thus legally overthrow the communist regime as soon as an opportunity would occur. In doing this, he would certainly be supported by all the Rumanian people. As a matter of fact, King Michael is beloved by his subjects since he attempted to dismiss the Groza government in August 1945, in compliance with an Anglo-American note asserting that this government did not fulfil the conditions settled at Yalta. Soon after, the Western Powers abandoned the King to his own resources and, according to the Moscow agreement of December 1945, obliged him to resume relations with a government they had attempted to overthrow four months previously. Being thus deceived by the Western powers, the King has become very careful. He was often compelled to yield before Russian pressure and to sanction measures he strongly disapproved. None the less, it seems unlikely that the Russians might accept the idea of a Soviet Kingdom. Thus, they will most probably constrain King Michael to abdicate as soon as they will be in a position to realize their projects concerning the Danubian Confederation that would be the last political change undergone by Rumania before her final disappearance into the Soviet world. At that point, Rumania and the whole of South – Eastern Europe would presumptively become free from fear, as nothing worse could ever happen to them.

Bucharest

25th of November 1947

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