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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 01, 1967

TRANSCRIPT OF THE DISCUSSIONS ON THE OCCASION OF THE RECEPTION BY COMRADE NICOLAE CEAUSESCU OF UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR IN BUCHAREST, RICHARD H. DAVIS

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    This document is a transcript of a meeting between Nicolae Ceausescu and Richard H. Davis, US Ambassador to Bucharest, in which Davis defends the American position in regard to Vietnam in terms of defense of South Vietnam against aggression of North Vietnam and recognition of the National Liberation Front.
    "Transcript of the Discussions on the Occasion of the Reception by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu of United States Ambassador in Bucharest, Richard H. Davis ," February 01, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 2/1967, f. 1-20. Translated by Larry L. Watts https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122593
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January 31, 1967

The Discussions began at 1200 hours.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: Thank you, Mr. General Secretary, for receiving me. I know how busy you are and I appreciate this opportunity to have, for the first time, a conversation with you.

The origin of my request to see you, Mr. General secretary, derives from the conversation I had on 22 January with the President of the State Council, Chivu Stoica, and with Foreign Minister Manescu, on the train, after the hunting trip organized for the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest

One of the questions raised on that occasion by Foreign Minister Manescu was whether the U.S. government correctly understands Romanian policy. I replied then – and I would like to underscore now as well, in the conversation with you – that the U.S. government and administration truly understands the policy of the Romanian government, that we have followed with great interest the steps undertaken by Romania in the last years regarding the consolidation of its national independence, we have followed the measures undertaken by Romania with a view to establishing good relations with all countries and, likewise, the efforts and positive contributions brought by Romania for diminishing tensions, considering that this represents, at the same time, a contribution to the regulation of litigious problems and the improvement of relations among all countries.

However, especially one aspect of our conversations, in connection with Vietnam, was the motive for which I solicited this meeting, in order to have the possibility of explaining our position. In the train, we discussed with the President of the State Council, Chivu Stoica, and Foreign Minister Manescu the issue of Vietnam and other related problems. I reported this conversation to Washington, just as the foreign minister requested. Precisely because of that I have requested to be received by you, because the government of my country continues to manifest an acute interest in any step that could lead to a peaceful resolution and to the installation of peace in South Vietnam.

I do not want to take too much of your time, with explanations of our opinions in connection with the origin and history of the evolution of the situation in Vietnam, because I know that this is an issue in which our opinions differ. However, I would like to mention several essential elements of our position.

In the first place, we and our allies are in Vietnam by virtue of an obligation, on the basis of a treaty, in order to act to counter the danger of aggression against South Vietnam. Our objective, however, remains that of putting an end to all of the fighting, to all of the hostilities and manifestations of violence. We, as I have said, pursue the realization of honorable and lasting resolution in this part of the world, and the Geneva Accords of 1954 and 1962 can represent a basis for such a resolution. This was mentioned, likewise, in the Declaration of the Warsaw Pact members in July last year.

The question is how do we begin?

We have tried frequently, through all of the means that we could imagine, to bring this problem to the negotiation table.

If you permit me, I will present very briefly our position. We are prepared to conduct discussion or negotiations, without any prior conditions, or on the basis of the Geneva Accords, as I mentioned before. The reciprocal reduction of hostilities or the declaration of a cease-fire could be considered a first step for the beginning of any discussions. The United States of American remains prepared to withdraw its forces from South Vietnam as soon as this country will be in a situation to decide its own fate, without any interference from abroad. In connection with this, I would especially like to draw your attention, Mr. General secretary, to paragraph 2/9 of the Manila Communication, which says that we are prepared to withdraw all of the troops within six months, as soon as these conditions are met.

The United States of America does not desire to continue, under any form, its military presence in South Vietnam. We think the political structure of South Vietnam should be determined by the South Vietnamese themselves, through a democratic process, and that the problem of the reunification of Vietnam must be decided on the basis of a free decision of the two peoples.

In short, with a view towards achieving a peaceful solution of this problem, we are ready to try anything, with the exception of abandoning South Vietnam in the face of foreign aggression.

I referred at the beginning of the discussion to the conversation that I had with President of the State Council, Chivu Stoica, and with the Foreign Minister. Minister Manescu said that, in connection with the necessity of ceasing the bombing of North Vietnam, the U.S.A. always asks for a signal that shows what will happen after that. He explained that the cessation of bombing could lead to negotiations in view of achieving a peaceful settlement and, in fact, that such a signal was already given.

Here I must mention two essential points.  The United States of America can in no case stop the bombing in exchange for a simple agreement to engage in talks. The reciprocal response that we await on the part of Hanoi must be concrete and must contain, in some form, the promise of real stops for the beginning of a process in the direction of de-escalation.

I would like to make several observations on the margin of these two points, in order to try and clarify them. We do not think in terms of a written or categorical declaration on the part of Hanoi. I understand the difficulties that Hanoi has in openly recognizing what it is doing in South Vietnam. However – especially after the failure of the bombing pause a year ago and of other various attempts that we have made, through various methods, through the approach of different governments, in order to try nonetheless to arrive at the negotiation table – we cannot be satisfied with a simple declaration that something could happen if we cease the bombing.

What interests us is some substantial information, received from a trustworthy source, regarding position of Hanoi. In other words, we would like to have a more or less clear tableaux beforehand, which would allow us to understand what Hanoi would undertake in response to the measures undertaken from our side.

At the same time, I have received instructions from Washington to draw attention especially to the declaration made by Ambassador Goldberg in the United Nations, on 22 September, when he referred to the possibility of ceasing the bombing, before the other side undertakes opportune measures in response. This aspect is especially important, with the condition that we have assurances, given privately or otherwise, that the other side will undertake similar actions. What Goldberg said then remains an authoritative declaration on the position of the United States of America.

Thus, in conclusion – having in view the discussion with President Chivu Stoica and Foreign Minister Manescu, that fact that your government is current with the position of Hanoi, and that my government continues to manifest a profound interest in reaching a long-lasting, peaceful solution and not a military victory – I am sure that my government would appreciate very much any comment or observation that you, Mr. General secretary, would like to make.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: I would like first of all to express my pleasure for this discussion with you, Mr. Davis, as ambassador of the United States of American in Bucharest.

Although you began with several appreciations of the policy of Romania, I will leave that to the end and I would like to begin directly with the problem of Vietnam.

Of course, our position on the causes and manner of how this conflict came about is known and I do not wish to further present this position. In the same way Mr. Ambassador also underscored that here our positions differ.

Certainly it is very difficult to explain why the U.S.A. finds itself in Vietnam. Indeed, it is not understood even by all American citizens, not to mention by other governments and other peoples who do not understand – and it is difficult for them to understand – why the U.S.A. sends its troops into Vietnam. This motive of the defense of Vietnam against foreign aggression finds, at least according to my knowledge, no justification. I know of no other country that should be threatened in one way or another by an independent Vietnam. I refer to a military threat.

Regarding the objective of the actions of the United States of America, I would like to express my considerations to you without much diplomacy. I know little diplomacy and, in this case, it is a problem where matters must be stated with the utmost clarity. Mr. Ambassador has presented the current objective of the U.S.A., in the sense that it pursues an end to the fighting and the realization of a lasting peace in Vietnam.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: That we should act in the direction of a lasting peace and obtaining an end to hostilities.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Yes.

If this is the objective of the United States of America in Vietnam, I do not see what impedes it from realizing this objective?!

In the first place, regarding the acts of war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Here, in fact, is a unilateral action. In no way does the D. R. Vietnam conduct any war against the American army or against the United States of America, aside from the operation of its anti-aircraft troops in order to defend against U.S. bombardments. However those are acts of defense, and not of war against the U.S.A.

Thus, you see how it would be very easy and very simple for the U.S.A. to realize its first objective, by ceasing the bombing against D. R. Vietnam. To do so would be a very serious step on the path of realizing the objective that you affirm. Followed also by other steps, it would arrive to the realization of the objective affirmed by Mr. Ambassador, as that which the U.S.A. pursues.

In my opinion, and generally-speaking in that of the Romanian government, the problem of ceasing the bombing would constitute the beginning of the best way for finding the path of ceasing the acts of war in Vietnam in general. From what I know, D. R. Vietnam also accords attention to this rather important problem and it considers it, in the same way, one of the essential measures in order to reach negotiations and the general cessation of acts of war in Vietnam.

You have referred to the fact that the American government wants certain guarantees. For me at least, it is not clear what “certain guarantees” the United States of America would desire?!

The unconditional cessation of bombing would only bring advantage to the United States of America. It is no secret for anyone that the continuation of this bombing enjoys no support from any state and I do not believe, if it continues, that the bombing will bring support from anyone in the future either. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam does not request that the cessation of bombing should be considered as an obligatory or forced renunciation on the part of the U.S.A., but that it should result from a deliberate decision of the U.S.A. itself. This would contribute not to a loss of prestige of any sort by the U.S.A. On the contrary, [it would contribute] to the strengthening of that prestige. I believe that very many people would see this action as a wise, rational and useful measure in the cause of peace and, at the same time, it would create conditions for arriving at negotiations.

You see, you insist upon the prestige of the U.S.A., although the continuation of this bombing does not strengthen that prestige. Do you believe that you will succeed in determining the government or the people of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to capitulate in any way? You see, you must also think in a way to the prestige of Vietnam. Truly, it is a smaller country, but it has given proof, in the course of history, that it knows how to defend its independence, both for the very long period of Chinese occupation and during the French occupation. Then, if you want an honorable exit, why not give the others the possibility of finding an honorable exit?!

I know that in the U.S.A. there are people who think that this bombing should be continue. However, from what you have affirmed, there are also those who desire to arrive at a peaceful solution. Do you think that in other countries, regardless of their social regime, there are not also some people who think in one way and others who think otherwise? Through the continuation of these acts of war you do nothing other than demonstrate that there can be no trust placed in the foreign policy of the U.S.A. and that those forces taking more rigid positions should be strengthened. Generally speaking.

Thus, in my opinion, the first step that should be taken would be that the U.S.A. ceases the bombing without any condition.

In the second place – connected with the situation in South Vietnam – is the issue of recognizing the National Liberation Front. Negotiations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam are not sufficient for the resolution of the situation in South Vietnam. The National Liberation Front is an independent organization, it has its own program, you know it, and without recognizing and discussing with the National Liberation Front one cannot arrive at a peaceful solution in South Vietnam. The government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam cannot and could not in the future discuss and negotiate in the name of the National Liberation Front.

In my opinion and, from what I know a similar opinion is held by the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, in the end a political solution must be reached on the situation of Vietnam; if one starts off from the desire to put an end to this war. In this way it could have a very long duration, with consequences that are not always foreseeable.

If you want me to tell you my sincere opinion, the conditions now exist for achieving, through well-thought actions on the part of the United States of America, a solution that would be acceptable both for the U.S.A. and for Vietnam. Events, however, may intervene that render this not quite as possible.

Of course, Romania is not, so to speak, close to the theater of war. You know our relations with North Vietnam. I do not want to present them to you. We accord support to North Vietnam. We have ties also with the United States of America, which could be even better but about that we will talk later. Starting off from this, we are interested to arrive to a solution of this conflict in Vietnam with as little delay as possible. In my opinion, this corresponds also with the interests of the U.S.A., the interests of Vietnam, the interests of the other countries and, thus, also with the interests of Romania. The existence of this conflict constitutes an obstacle at the current moment on the path of improving international relations in general and the relations of various states with the U.S.A. Given that, we, as other countries, are interested in reaching a solution of the war in Vietnam with as much haste as possible.

And those, in short, are the considerations that I wanted to express in connection with this problem.

Mr. Richard Davis: Would you allow me to make one or two comments on the margin of what you have said, Mr. General secretary?

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Please.

Mr. Richard Davis: You had spoken, Mr. General secretary, about the acts of war against the D. R. V., especially referring to our bombing, and you mentioned that this is a unilateral action. However, we cannot consider this issue of bombings as being separate from the actions that North Vietnamese has undertaken in South Vietnam. I mentioned that in South Vietnam there are 19 regiments of the North Vietnamese regular army and that at present the infiltration of military materiel and soldiers from North Vietnam into South Vietnam continues. Given that, we wait a gesture of reciprocity. We have stopped the bombing a year ago now and we sought all paths for beginning negotiations.

If the United States of America would cease bombing now, unconditionally, we must think about what will happen if nothing happens. I believe that our government would find itself in a very difficult situation, if it would cease bombing, as it is asked to do by many people, hoping that this will lead to a peaceful resolution, and after that nothing happens.

Given that, we have need of some assurance. I always referred to the difficulties that Hanoi could have in this regard. Precisely because of that I also drew attention to the declaration made by Ambassador Goldberg with regard to a cessation of the bombing before any action by other parties, on the condition that we have an assurance, privately or otherwise, that after that something will happen.

There is a second observation that I want to make. You have spoken, Mr. General secretary, about the problem of recognizing the National Liberation Front. For a long time we have been situated on the position that the presentation of the opinions of the National Liberation Front does not raise any problems, but we cannot accept the National Liberation Front as representative of the people of South Vietnam.

In the discussions that we will have with them, however, we are ready to discuss both those four points of the D. R. Vietnam and those five points of the National Liberation Front. The only issue that we desire in connection with the negotiations is that all of the points can be discussed at the negotiation table.

For exactly that motive we wait for a more concrete sign than that which we have received until now, in order to know if, truly, the cessation of bombing would lead forward in the direction of establishing peace.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: Certainly, the problem is not an easy one. However, I believe that it would not be bad, if the U.S.A. would listen to the very many requests on behalf of very many countries, which are in general friends of the U.S.A. Among us there is a proverb. I do not wish to offend Mr. Ambassador, but it goes like this: When many friends are advising you to go home, it is well that you listen to them and you go home. Even if you consider that these friends are not right. Nevertheless, it is well to listen to them. We also consider ourselves among the friends of the U.S.A., regardless of the differences of social regime and the differences of opinion on some problems. At least in the current circumstances, as I cannot say what may happen in the future.

The assurances that the U.S.A. desires I cannot obtain for them. I want to state matters as I see them. I do not want to discuss motives and causes and why not. But I can say that the cessation of bombing will clear the path toward negotiations.

From what I know, neither the National Liberation Front nor the Democratic Republic of Vietnam propose the immediate reunification of the country and both consider it a problem of the future. Regarding this, their position almost corresponds to the U.S. position, meaning that unification must be the result of the decision of the two Vietnamese states and should be produced along a peaceful path. So it appears that you also have points of view similar with those of the Vietnamese, including with regard to the structure of South Vietnam.

Such that, look, there are two problems on which you have the same point of view, including in regard to the political solution of the conflict the points of view are close.

In my opinion, the obstacle that arises is more the problem of prestige, which, in my opinion, is not well understood by the U.S.A.

In regard to the National Liberation Front, if you declare that want to speak with, to listen to the opinions of the National Liberation Front, it must also be recognized, and seated at the negotiation table and one must discuss with the representatives of this Front.

You have declared that you agree that the four point and the five points should be discussed, but that other proposals must also be taken under discussion. I believe that, when one arrives at the negotiation table, many problems will certainly be debated. It cannot be otherwise: when two sit down to discuss, both one’s opinion and the other’s must be heard, and in the end an acceptable solution for the respective parties will be reached.

From what I know, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam would like to have as few intermediaries as possible and to discuss as directly as possible. Intermediaries always complicate matters. I believe that the Vietnamese leadership is right not to accept too many intermediaries, taking into account that always, no matter what you want, it is difficult to find intermediaries that are quite so disinterested and that do not seek to draw certain uses [from their involvement].

Mr. Richard H. Davis: In connection with the last point that you mentioned, Mr. General secretary, I received similar instructions to say to you that we want to have direct and discrete contact with Hanoi and we would appreciate if you found yourself in a situation to say this to them.

We also understand that all of these matters must be discussed. In fact, you have very correctly remarked, Mr. General secretary, that there are some points that will not meet with great difficulties in reaching an understanding with Hanoi. Only point three is one that creates certain difficulties for us. However, these are truly matters on which we must meet and over which we must discuss and resolve.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: What impedes you from ceasing the bombing so that you can meet? You have a very well developed diplomacy. You can find diplomatic modalities of such a nature so that this measure, taken on the initiative of the U.S.A., will strengthen the authority of the United States of America and win more friends. I have told you these things without much diplomacy. Certainly, however, in the end you decide.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I appreciate very much your frankness, Mr. General secretary. For my part I have tried to explain the position of my government and the motive for which we want to have an indication about what will happen. Maybe I was not sufficiently eloquent in this regard.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: I was very attentive and you were very eloquent. In regards to yourself, you explained very clearly the position of the U.S.A. but, to tell you truthfully, it is a hard position to explain, because it is difficult to understand. The United States of America is a great military and economic power. Why must it bombard [and] destroy a small country that has only just liberated itself from the French yoke several years ago and that has hardly begun to organize its economy, to construct a better life for itself?

As you well know, we have had discussions with personalities of various political conceptions, up to and including the liberals of Japan, and we have found among none of them, it is well that I tell you, any understanding for U.S. policy, and these personalities cannot be even suspected of being communists. There are matters that cannot be understood. The fact that you have not succeeded in convincing me is no fault of yours. You have proven much capacity, but [your failure to convince] is due to this policy that is hard to understand.

Regarding the request to transmit the desire of the U.S.A. to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, we have no wish to give the impression in any way that we want to become intermediaries between the U.S.A. and Vietnam. However, taking into account our relations that we consider good with the U.S.A. and the relations that we have with the D. R. Vietnam, we will transmit this to them.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: Once more I want to thank you, Mr. General Secretary.

I want to tell you, in connection with this lack of understanding toward the policy of the U.S.A. in Vietnam by certain people, by certain countries, that we are convinced, on the basis of all of the evidence at our disposal, that there also still exists the desire and will on the part of North Vietnam to acquire South Vietnam through force, and this, for many historical motives and due to other arrangements, we cannot permit.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: In the first place, both one and the other are Vietnamese – both those of the North and those of the South. And so one cannot absorb the other.

Regarding the regime that those in the South will adopt, it cannot be imposed by force of arms and from what I know there is no such preoccupation nor desire to do so on the part of North Vietnam. There is, however, a legitimate desire, that of achieving the unification of the two parts of Vietnam. For our part, we understand this desire as a legitimate desire and in the end it will be realized.

You see, the French stayed in Vietnam for a long time. Nevertheless, they had in the end to draw the conclusion that it is better to find a peaceful solution. They also stayed for a long time in Algeria – and they had a rather powerful army in Algeria, you know well all of this – but they were compelled to reach the conclusion that they should leave Algeria and they did well by so doing. Their relations with Algeria are now better than they were before and the prestige of France has not suffered. On the contrary, the fact that de Gaulle found the courage to act for the cessation of the war in Algeria lead to the growth of his prestige, both in France and in the entire world.

Certainly, you can say: “but the U.S.A. is a greater power than France!” Yes, but that is even greater reason for it to proceed, so to speak, more generously. You will gain prestige, both the U.S. government and the U.S. president, both in the country and abroad, and you will gain more friends in Vietnam than you have now.

You must not be afraid of what will happen if the communists have power in South Vietnam. It is evident that you still do not know communists very well. In no way will the communists in Vietnam threaten the United States of America. They may even have good relations with the U.S.A. However, that is a problem outside the framework of our discussions.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I agree with you, Mr. General Secretary, concerning your remarks with regard to Algeria and the result of this action for France.

We would also like to see a reunification of the Vietnamese people. However, at present there are two Vietnams, two Koreas and two Germanys. We do not believe that their reunification can be realized through the use of force and this is what we see happening in South Vietnam.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: For our part: we have the same point of view regarding reunification as you. Neither Vietnam nor Korea nor Germany can be reunified through the resort to arms. But, from what I know, this is also the opinion of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We must understand the realities, but we cannot oppose natural processes from arriving in the end to the unification of this people. There is a similar example in the history of the U.S.A. itself, although it is true that it is somewhat older. We also have such an example in the history of Romania when, with all of the efforts of the great powers to obstruct the union of the Romanian Lands, it was realized nonetheless, and the fact that Romania then realized a national state unit threatened and threatens no one. On the contrary, in my opinion, this constitutes a factor of stability in this part of the world. If Vietnam will achieve unification, it will be in the service of peace in this part of the world; in any case, a unified Vietnam that conducts a policy of peace and independence. Of course, this is a long-term problem. But if we appeal to history, history proves that we should not be afraid of this unification, because so long as this people lives divided in two, there will be permanent motives for discussions and agitation.

If you want to know my opinion, in the end not even Korea can remain forever divided, and so long as it is divided in two it will constitute a factor of disquiet and a danger of conflict. A unified Korea will become a factor of peace. People in both North Korea and South Korea who are not satisfied with the current state of affairs and those who are preoccupied with finding a path toward reunification will always be found. Of course, moments could intervene when some consider that they can do this with force as well. So long as this state of affairs is maintained the danger of that certainly exists. No one can give guarantees in this regard. Do you think that if Germany remains divided in two for a long period, there will not be permanent troubles?! Of course, it is not a current problem. However, the Germans will not be forever reconciled with their division in two. I have expressed these considerations bearing in mind that you have referred also to the situation of Germany, Korea and Vietnam.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I am sure, Mr. General Secretary, that my government will be entirely in agreement with your appreciation that no people could be satisfied or pleased with a long-term division of its people in two, and that this will always represent a source of disquiet. However, this is a problem of the future.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: In connection with Vietnam, it seems that we could stop here.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I thank you for the considerations that you have presented, Mr. General Secretary.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: You referred at the start to the policy of Romania. You are perfectly correct that Romania is preoccupied with conducting a policy that strengthens its economic development and assures the independence and sovereignty of the country and of its people. These principles are the point of departure in our relations with all countries. We consider that, in today’s conditions, this corresponds to the general interests of security and peace.

We have the opinion that for some time to come nations and national states will have an important role to play in the world, and life proves this. Given that we consider that all during this period international relations must be based on trust between nations, between national states, on the respect for the independence and sovereignty of each one and on the noninterference, in any form whatsoever, in the internal affairs of other states.

Given that, we develop, as you know, relations with all states, regardless of their social order. In Europe we do not yet have diplomatic relations with the F.R.G., but probably these days we will also resolve that problem, in the sense of establishing these relations. We consider that this will contribute to the creation of a better atmosphere in Europe. Likewise, we seek to normalize and to establish diplomatic relations with all of the countries on all continents, and the results are encouraging in this direction as well.

I would like to say several words about our relations with the United States of America. In general one could say that they are normal; we have economic relations, we have diplomatic relations, recently we have increased the volume of delegation exchanges in various domains of activity, but they are not quite so normal, especially regarding economic relations. I do not know the figures, however, in any case, the volume of commercial exchanges has reached several million dollars annually. With the F.R.G., despite that we do not have diplomatic relations, the volume of these changes has reached hundreds of millions of dollars. And with France, and with Italy, and with Japan more recently, these relations develop well.

I do not understand, why only with the United States of America things are so difficult. Nor have our countries had direct problems with each other in the past and, from what I know, we have none now. I do not know, maybe the United States of American has certain issues with us, which we do not yet know.

Of course, as I have explained earlier, the existence of the war in Vietnam constitutes a certain impediment, however, economic relations between our countries could develop much better, because, in the final analysis, the relations between states, between peoples materializes in various domains of activity. Certainly, it is true, there can be relations of only a general nature, general declarations of good relations, of friendship, however, as you know, platonic love also has a short lifespan. Given that, the development of economic, scientific and technical relations has a great importance in the development and strengthening of friendly relations between our peoples.

I would like to be well understood. Certainly, we desire to develop these relations, to the degree in which this desire also exists on the part of the U.S.A. What we cannot buy from the U.S.A., we buy in Europe or Japan; in any case, we will not remain behind nor will we stand in place just because we cannot buy certain things from the U.S.A., nor will we simply wait until the U.S.A. wants to develop these [economic] relations. Of course, when these conditions will ripen, as they now say, we could then further develop these relations. We understand, if businessmen, if the U.S. government does not consider these relations useful or desires to maintain them only at a certain level, we do not view this with any sort of resentment. Thus, from this point of view, there is no impediment to the development of relations between Romania and the U.S.A.

Regarding the problems of Europe, you know our opinion. We have an opinion somewhat more revolutionary regarding Europe, in the sense that we desire that the European countries should realize the relationships among them in an independent way, without any interference from outside. From this derives our position towards military blocs, towards [the presence in Europe of] foreign troops as well. This does not mean that we consider that the European states must not preserve and develop their relations with the U.S.A. or with other non-European countries. But they can be very good relations and even better relations than today, when they are not based on military blocs or on [the presence of] certain troops and military bases. You know, we have a saying: it is good when a friend visits, but if the friend forgets to leave, then the friendship spoils. I think you understand to what I refer.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I understand.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: So, the departure of American troops or of those of other countries from Europe will not cool the friendship between those countries and the U.S.A. On the contrary, it will strengthen the relations of friendship. Of course, this is a problem that belongs to the future, but it also must find a resolution, because, as long as the existence of military blocs is prolonged, relations that can imperil peace will be created. Given that, we have called for and we continue to call for the dissolution of the military blocs – both NATO and the Warsaw Pact. This position is not directed against anyone and is, in our opinion, a requirement of today’s international situation, whose realization will help the development of better relations between peoples and the cause of peace generally.

These several considerations I wanted to present to you Mr. Ambassador.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: Thank you very much.

I would like to mention especially the speech of President Johnson in the recent session of Congress, in regard to our policy, especially towards the countries of Eastern Europe. We recognize that we are not in agreement on all matters, however, at least, if we are in disagreement, we should be in disagreement quietly and we should try to develop our relations in those domains where it is possible to realize the best progress.

Of course, our president agrees with what you have expressed, Mr. General secretary, with regard to the necessity of extending our contacts and economic, scientific, technical and cultural exchanges.

We do not want under any form to influence in any way the relations of the countries of Eastern Europe with the Soviet Union. We desire that these relations should be the best possible. We have not desire to influence the social system or regime of the countries of Eastern Europe.

We consider, as do you, that the improvement of the atmosphere and reciprocal rapprochement can contribute to the satisfactory resolution of the large problems.

We understand the position you have adopted towards the military blocs, military alliances and military bases. On the other hand, this is a problem connected with the basis of security in Europe, the assurance of the conditions in which both the West and the East feel secure, and for this we must create a basis of mutual understanding and trust. Of course, closely connected with these matters is the problem of Germany and its reunification.

Passing to our mutual relations, we recognize that Vietnam was probably the motive for which new steps or new initiatives were not undertaken. Nevertheless, President Johnson has proposed to Congress that it take some measures, which all of us, those who are preoccupied with Eastern Europe, recognize should have been taken long ago.

To be sincere with you, the news that I have received from Washington is not too optimistic, in regards to the fact whether Congress will undertake favorable measures within the current session. We spoke with the U.S. Congressional delegation that was here recently. I did everything in my power to convince them, however I am not certain that I was sufficiently eloquent. Some of them see where the problem lies, however, others among them interpret the sentiments of the American population, which is interested in the problem of Vietnam, which leads them to the appreciation that this year it will not be possible to undertake any positive action in this domain. With all of that, we want to undertake the measures that we can take under the current conditions.

We are on the path to begin negotiations with the Romanian government regarding the renewal of our cultural exchanges. We desire to continue and to develop these contacts and relations in all domains.

I have taken, likewise, note of the fact that the Romanian government has decided to send to the U.S.A. three groups of specialists, comprising personalities both from government as well as from economic organizations, and I have recommended to Washington, at the senior level, that it take measures in view of assuring the success of these visits, so that the visitors should have both the possibility of making contact with competent persons and of seeing everything they desire to see.

I can say, likewise, that I was amazed by the large number of American businessmen, who in the recent period begin to come to Bucharest, in order to discuss with your organs, for example, in the last six months their number was much greater than in the first six months of my presence here. I can assure you, Mr. General Secretary, on behalf of the Embassy, that they receive only encouragement in the realization of their contacts.

Thus, we try to undertake actions, to the degree possible, in order to develop relations in the domains where possibilities exist – economic, cultural – which you have also mentioned, Mr. General secretary.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: We appreciate the contribution and effort that Mr. Ambassador makes and we are well aware of it.

You see, it is difficult for some matters to be understood even by the U.S.A., but in the end possibilities will be found and matters will be understood. In general, I and optimistic in every direction and I believe that in regards to the relations with the U.S.A. there are favorable perspectives and they will be achieved.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: I have already taken much of your time. I appreciate very much the possibility to have had this very comprehensive conversation on the problems between the two nations. Permit me, however, to mention one thing.

My government has no intention of publishing anything about my coming to you, however, in case it becomes known, I would like to tell you, Mr. General secretary, what I intend to tell my colleagues here and ask you whether this seems appropriate to you. I intend to say to my colleagues that I requested an audience with the General secretary, after I spent a year here, in order to pass in review our general relations and to speak about various international problems, including the problem of Vietnam. This is all I will say.

Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu: I agree that we should not give it any publicity.

Mr. Richard H. Davis: Thank you.

1.II.1967

Mc/3 ex.-

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