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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 07, 1966

NOTE OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN FOREIGN MINISTER OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF ROMANIA CORNELIU MANESCU AND UNITED STATES PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UN ARTHUR GOLDBERG

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    Following a Romanian delegation to the 21st Session of the UN General Assembly, the Romanian Foreign Minister summarizes discussions between the Romanian delegation and Arthur Goldberg, US permanent representative to the UN.
    "Note of Conversation between Foreign Minister of the Socialist Republic of Romania Corneliu Manescu and United States Permanent Representative to the UN Arthur Goldberg," October 07, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 176/1966, October 10, 1966: file 1-8. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122585
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Note of Conversation

September 30, 1966

On September 30, 1966, Corneliu Manescu, foreign minister of the Socialist Republic of Romania, received Arthur Goldberg, permanent representative of the United States of America to the UN, at the office of the Romanian Mission. Participants in the meeting were Mircea Malita, deputy foreign minister, and John A. Baker, senior counsel to the permanent Mission of the U.S.A. to the UN. S. Celac, third secretary in the MFA was also present.

The conversation lasted 45 minutes.

At the beginning of the conversation, Corneliu Manescu remarked that, although Ambassador Goldberg had not come to Romania in conformity with the communication made in August this year, he now has the occasion to meet everyone on Romanian territory, in the place of the permanent Mission of Romania to the UN.

A. Goldberg explained in general terms the way in which his initiative to visit some countries for an exchange of views on the Vietnamese problem was conceived and evolved, as well as the motives that determined the annulment of his journey. After a detailed discussion, President Johnson decided to send Ambassador Goldberg as his personal emissary to Warsaw, Bucharest, Belgrade and Sofia. A. Goldberg insisted on emphasizing that the choice of capitals was not accidental, since it was a matter of only “some certain” socialist countries. He did not consider stopping in the USSR because the Soviet side had made it known before that it is not disposed to hold conversations in Moscow at a high level except through the regular diplomatic channels.

Referring to the responses received to feelers put out to the respective governments, A. Goldberg underscored that the response of Romania was the most prompt and the only one that was completely positive, and he expressed cordial thanks for the attitude showing the good-will and understanding of the Romanian government. A favorable response, although somewhat delayed, was also received from the Bulgarians. Polish Minister A. Rapacki communicated that he preferred to discuss this problem in New York on the occasion of his arrival for the General Assembly session, and President Tito explained that in the respective period he had an extremely full program of visits. Because of the prolongation of the negotiations in Geneva, regarding space, up until the middle of the month of August, and since the responses of the respective governments were not known except around September 1, A. Goldberg was forced to cancel the trip, having in view also the beginning of the debates within the UN Security Council, as well as the necessity of preparing for the upcoming session of the General Assembly. The American Ambassador declared that he would have happily undertaken the trip even if it had only been to Romania, if major elements had not intervened that blocked the realization of this desideratum. Nevertheless, in case the Romanian government considers that it would be possible and opportune to receive his visit, he will be ready to come to Romania after the end of the current UN session.

A. Goldberg affirmed that he understands fully the significance and value of the gesture of goodwill shown by the Romanian government in its prompt acceptance of the American demarche regarding his visit and he considers it a manifestation and confirmation of Romania’s policy of genuine independence. In the United States the original policy of the Romanian state enjoys respect and appreciation among the general population and in official circles. The American Ambassador underscored that he is a man with his own political vision and conception, but in light of firm personal opinions that he has, he follows with profound sympathy and special interest the political evolution and concrete actions undertaken by Romania.

Corneliu Manescu explained that in his discussion with the U.S. Ambassador in Bucharest, the ambassador remarked that, probably, A. Goldberg would be in the situation of presenting some new proposals and ideas on the occasion of his visit to Romania of a nature to facilitate and approach the just resolution of the Vietnamese problem.

According to information of which the Romanian delegation disposes, the American diplomats were inclined to interpret some of the reactions registered after the discourse of Ambassador Goldberg as an indication that the ideas expressed in that discourse would be considered correctly as new proposals of the U.S.A. of a nature to facilitate the regulation of the conflict in Vietnam. However, we must say with all sincerity that this is not also the opinion of the Romanian side.

A. Goldberg intervened at this point of the discussion, announcing that he also would be participating in the dinner offered by Secretary of State Dean Rusk on the evening of October 5 in honor of Minister C. Manescu. Bearing this in mind, it would be desirable, perhaps, not to anticipate the contents of the communications that Dean Rusk and myself personally will have the occasion to make during the course of the dinner. (In this context A. Goldberg underscored with insistence that both Dean Rusk and he personally have access to the same sources of information, that their opinions on this problem coincide fully and that he would not like to produce repetition before the joint discussion will take place.)

He added that Secretary of State Rusk cherishes the contacts with his Romanian colleagues and awaits with interest the exchange of opinions that he will have with Minister Corneliu Manescu. The American administration and President Johnson personally accord a great attention and importance to the development of U.S. relations with the countries of Eastern Europe, and especially with Romania.

Corneliu Manescu explained that Romania is not an enemy of the United States but, on the contrary, according to its conception of maintaining normal relations with all states, sincerely desires that progress should be realized on the path of developing Romanian-American relations. If at present these relations are maintained at a reduced level, that is not the fault of the Romanian side. This appreciation comes from the most authorized source – it was made by the General secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, Nicolae Ceausescu, in a longer declaration made last year.

Truly, the Romanian side has show goodwill, manifesting its desire to improve relations with the U.S.A. A Romanian governmental delegation led by a vice-president of the Council of Ministers visited the U.S.A., where discussions were held and were concluded with a series of understandings that the Romanian side has respected and fulfilled to the letter. What was the attitude of the American side? Responsible representatives of the U.S. government made numerous promises and gave an equal number of assurances that – we must note with regret – have not yet found expression in deeds. Under these conditions the Romanian side sees the need to view in a differentiated way, on the one hand, the affirmations of the U.S. government and, on the other hand, concrete deeds. In the situation created the question can be logically asked as to whether the U.S.A. is not awaiting for a change of regime to be produced in Romania before taking the decision to proceed with the normalization of economic and commercial relations. But this is not and will not be possible.

A. Goldberg said that as a member of the Johnson cabinet and as a former member of the Kennedy cabinet, he is in a position to declare that it is a question of principle for the American government to understand and respect the different political regimes of countries, which must not constitute an obstacle in the path of their relations with the U.S.A. This thesis was affirmed by President Kennedy, in a speech edited with the participation of A. Goldberg, and it has the same validity at present as well.

The American ambassador explained that the U.S. administration respects and views with understanding the political processes that have taken place in the socialist countries and it is desirable that the same attitude be adopted in examining the structural realities and internal evolution of American society.

In the first place, the fact that, as they say, the American Constitution was not conceived in order to make life comfortable for the executive branch of the government must be taken into consideration. Given that the lack of concordance and sometimes even divergence among the different compartments of the leadership of the affairs of state – the Administration, the Congress and the judicial apparatus – creates difficulties and leads to delays in the resolution of some important issues.

In the second place, it must be said with all sincerity that there are some difficulties of an internal order generated by the mood of certain sections of the population. As demonstration, A. Goldberg related he recently gave a speech at the request of Secretary of State Rusk to a large gathering formed in the majority by Americans of Polish origin. The speech, which had as its principal theme the necessity of developing U.S. relations with the countries of the East, was not received with very much enthusiasm. It is true that the respective Poles had, possibly, special motives for nourishing some dissatisfaction towards their old fatherland, however, in essence this fact illustrates the idea that in the democratic process the American administration sometimes had to confront the negative sentiments of a part of its population. Given that, it would be more indicated to appreciate the attitude of the U.S. administration no only on the bases of concrete results obtained, but also of whether it did all that stood in its power in order to realize the objectives desired by both sides.

Corneliu Manescu remarked that the Romanian government does not have the possibility to address the U.S. Congress but only to treat with the persons invested with official state functions, with Dean Rusk, Arthur Goldberg, etc. “We are not so imaginative as to suggest any changes in the way that you work” – C. Manescu added.

Regarding the negative reactions of some part of the population, it can be noted that the American authorities become at present the victims of the images that they themselves have promoted about the socialist countries.

C. Manescu explained that he awaits with interest the interview with Secretary of State Dean Rusk in the framework of which, certainly, there will be a possibility to pass in review the issues discussed in the current meetings and he requested the American ambassador to transmit his respects to President L. B. Johnson.

A. Goldberg said that the remark of the foreign minister anticipates his final observation. Even in the course of this morning he had an interview with President Johnson in which he informed him about the upcoming meeting and the President requested him to transmit his greetings to the foreign minister of Romania.

On departing, A. Goldberg said in a jocular tone: “Please do not be too harsh with me in your general speech at the U.N.”

C. Manescu responded that the Romanian delegation would express its opinion frankly, but without insult or injury, because such procedures are not appropriate to our mode of action.

The interview developed in a good, working atmosphere.

October 7, 1966

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