On The Eve Of The Romanian Revolution (IV) The Romanian Nuclear Threat

Larry L. Watts

In May 1989, when the Hungarian Ambassador in Bucharest first accused the Romanian Armed Forces of preparing to attack his country, Budapest began claiming that Bucharest was developing nuclear warheads and acquiring missile systems in order to use against Hungary.[i] Although treated lightly by Western analysts, these allegations had deadly serious implications under international law. After denying Romania co-belligerent status in spite of its contribution of over 540,000 troops (incurring more than 169,000 casualties) during the last eight months of World War II, Soviet authorities had imposed a number of restrictions upon their new partner as former “ally of Hitlerite Germany” in the 1947 Peace Treaty. Article 14 of that Treaty specifically states that Romania “shall not possess, construct or experiment with any atomic weapon, any self-propelled or guided missiles or apparatus connected with their discharge.”[ii] Thus, independent acquisition of a nuclear weapon or a medium-range missile to carry one, by whatever means, unilaterally abrogated the Treaty, including its second article returning northern Transylvania, which had been under Hungarian occupation during 1940-1944, to Romania.[iii]
Almost simultaneously a sensational report was published in a popular West German journal alleging that the Munich-based firm Messerschmidt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) was constructing a “huge” intermediate-range nuclear missile factory in Romania.[iv]Appearing several weeks after Ceauşescu’s latest public declaration that “from a technical standpoint, we have the capacity to manufacture nuclear arms,” the story exploited that comment as proof of an alleged nuclear weapons development program, while conveniently eliding over the immediately following restatement of his country’s policy for nuclear disarmament and the destruction of nuclear weapons.[v]
Harriman and Gaston Marin, 1964
The American Intelligence Community had, in fact, been aware that “Romania had the capacity to go nuclear” if it chose to do so since at least 1964.[vi] However, Washington was not unduly concerned because Bucharest had already informed President Kennedy in October 1963 that Romania did not and would not permit nuclear weapons on its territory, and had even invited the United States to send its own teams to verify that fact.[vii] The same insistence on Romania’s option to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear power was expressed clearly to Averell Harriman by the president of Romania’s State Committee for Nuclear Energy, Gheorghe Gaston Marin in May 1964 As Gaston Marin explained, his country had significant uranium deposits, “which it prefers to put into electric power rather than in fissionable material.”[viii] On this point Romanian declaratory policy and actual behavior showed remarkable consistency.

A decade later, in the mid-1970s, Ceauşescu made his first public declaration regarding Romania’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon if it so desired.[ix] In 1976 American analysts again concluded without any particular concern that if Romania so desired it could acquire the necessary expertise and equipment within a few years from either Western suppliers like West Germany, Great Britain or France, or from the People’s Republic of China.[x] Indeed, West Germany, Great Britain and other NATO allies provided Romania with components for its nuclear program under U.S. authorization; with Henry Kissinger personally signing off on some of the transfers.[xi]
U.S. authorities proceeded from three basic assumptions regarding Romanian nuclear aims. Two of them, “to acquire technology necessary to ensure internal manufacturing capability for all nuclear power requirements” and “to develop export capability in field of nuclear power generation systems,” reflected accurately Bucharest’s position as stated to Washington.[xii] The third possible aim, never expressed as an intention by Bucharest, “to preserve and strengthen option of producing nuclear weapons at some unforeseen point in the future,” was an unverifiable but logical U.S. postulate – and specifically noted as such in U.S. assessment, which also noted the pledge of some Romanian authorities that their country would “never go this route.”[xiii]
            Ceauşescu himself very consistently underscored that he could guarantee Romanian policy only for the foreseeable future, and that radical changes in the international environment could always prompt corresponding modifications the policy of his country under future leaders. Even with that hypothetical possibility, however, the United States still considered support of Romania’s nuclear program worth the risk. Driving that calculation in the late 1970s was more than 15 years of responsible Romanian international behavior. According to the U.S. assessment in 1976:

Considering these Romanian objectives, including the possibility that GOR [Government of Romania] may later elect to develop nuclear weapons, we still believe that our assistance to GOR’s nuclear power program will on balance strongly promote our bilateral and regional interests. … We judge from our assessment of Romanian capabilities that, if Romania were to opt to produce nuclear weapon, it can acquire necessary know-how and materiel over reasonably short span of years from Western suppliers such as Germans, British, or French, or even Chinese. …[And] we would argue that we should provide equipment and technology to Romania under conditions no more rigorous nor restrictive than we apply to other non-nuclear weapon states, in other words that we do not discriminate against Romania.[xiv]

The American gamble paid off. Throughout the rest of the Cold War Romania never faltered in its militancy for the reduction and destruction of all nuclear weapons, and it never acquired the bomb. Moreover, Romanian archives confirm that the anti-nuclear militancy of the regime was not only pursued “for show,” in international forums like the United Nations. Bucharest’s campaign for the halting, reduction and elimination of nuclear arms was consistently evident in senior leadership discussions with Europeans on both sides of the curtain, with China, with the Soviet Union, with the North Americans, and with the leaders of the developing world.[xv] Thus, Ceauşescu’s very clear statement in July 1984 that "if we wanted to manufacture a nuclear weapon today, we could do so,” provoked very little concern in Washington.[xvi] As usual, the Romanian leader immediately followed up that statement with a reaffirmation of his country’s policy against the acquisition and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, for their reduction globally and for their complete withdrawal from Europe.
Romanian declarations on this point remained highly credible because Bucharest had shown no interest in acquiring Soviet nuclear missiles after the Cuban Missile Crisis, nor had it hosted any Soviet nuclear devices ever since it first called for de-escalation and disarmament at the January 1965 summit of the Warsaw Pact. The veracity of its public positions is attested in Communist-era archives of the other alliance members, which demonstrate Bucharest’s persistent and singular campaign for nuclear de-escalation and disarmament within Warsaw Pact councils from the 1960s through the 1980s.[xvii]
Likewise, there was no claim of intent in Ceauşescu’s August 1988 declaration to Karoly Grosz, Hungary’s communist party leader and Prime Minister, that Romania had the know-how “to produce and manufacture anything, even nuclear devices.” [xviii] Nor was such intent expressed in his April 1989 statement to the Plenum of the Democracy and Socialist Unity Front that: “From the technical perspective, we have the capacity to build nuclear arms.”[xix] Only through the most egregious “cherry-picking” and deliberate misrepresentation could Ceauşescu’s speech be interpreted as indicating an intent to pursue or acquire a nuclear weapon. A fuller citation from that speech makes this clear. According to the Romanian leader:

We can produce any kind of equipment. There is, however, a single domain in which we do not want to produce anything: the domain of nuclear armament. Yes, we have the technological capacity; but we will not set out upon this path because we are firmly opposed to nuclear weapons whose use would mean the destruction of life on our planet; and we seek the elimination of nuclear weapons from all states of the world and we want a world without weapons and war.[xx]

In fact, every one of Ceauşescu assertions regarding Romanian ability to produce a nuclear weapon also stipulated that his country would not do so because it opposed their very existence. Privately with other world leaders, and with the Canadian firm that was building the CANDU reactor in Romania, Ceauşescu was even more frank. The policy of his country, like that of any other state, was conditioned by international circumstances and leadership preferences. Consequently, one could not swear the same policy would hold from one millennium to the next. As Ceausescu phrased it: “We do not have that intention now. But what will happen in the year 2000 is hard to say. No one can give guarantees regarding what will be in the year 2000.”[xxi]
At the same time, the Romanian leader very clearly pledged to the Canadians that they would never have to worry that their nuclear technology was used to produce a Romanian nuclear weapon:

I can guarantee that you will never face the accusation that due to this reactor, Romania has obtained a nuclear bomb. … Nuclear energy is not used by Romania for other than peaceful purposes.[xxii]

In 1992, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a finding of “non-compliance” against Romania, essentially placing it among the ranks of the rogue states (consisting at the time of Iraq, and later of North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria as well). It appears, however, that the finding of non-compliance was issued only at the insistence of Romanian officials for evidently political purposes. [xxiii] This plutonium, one-tenth the amount (1 gram) that required mandatory reporting to the IAEA, had been separated from spent fuel in December 1985 and then apparently forgotten until it was discovered by the new nuclear program authorities in April 1992.
Mohammed ElBaradei
According to Mohammed ElBaradei, then legal advisor to the IAEA Secretariat and future IAEA director general, "following Ceauşescu’s ouster, the new government requested a special inspection to show that, under Ceauşescu’s rule, Romania had reprocessed one hundred milligrams of plutonium without informing the IAEA." 
Some Romanian officials and media then extrapolated an entire “secret” nuclear weapons program from this incident, insisting that the former regime – in fact, Romania – be condemned for it.[xxiv] In another uncharacteristic demonstration of voluntary transparency, Russian intelligence declassified its report of a vast Romanian covert weapons acquisition program that allegedly began in 1985 and would have achieved a bomb by 2000.[xxv] Russian intelligence (and a part of the Romanian media) then insisted that the alleged “secret program” was possible only because of the reactor and highly enriched uranium fuel (HEU) supplied by the United States at the end of the 1970s.[xxvi]
However, subsequent research at the IAEA has revealed that Bucharest’s experimentation was not nearly so covert as claimed by authorities in 1992. In fact, the Romanians had gone about it in exactly the right way, formally requesting a safeguards exemption for experimentation on a specific quantity of spent fuel.[xxvii] And the IAEA had granted that exemption.[xxviii] In addition, the spent fuel used in the experiment had no connection whatsoever to the HEU provided by the United States, as Russian intelligence insisted. It was provided by the Soviet Union, and its transfer to Romania had been officiated by the IAEA itself.[xxix] Romania had not, in fact, misused any of the HEU provided by the United States.

Moreover, the extraction of 100 milligrams of plutonium occurred only once.[xxx] It was not repeated. Nor was there any continued acquisition of plutonium by other means that would have signaled the existence of a nuclear military program. The December 1985 extraction of a miniscule amount of plutonium was not the “beginning of a covert program” to acquire the bomb; it was the end of an experimental cycle whose results were left to be forgotten on a shelf for the next seven years.[xxxi]
In addition, it appears that the IAEA was made aware of the experiment that resulted in the separation of the plutonium at the time.[xxxii] There are only two reasons why that information would not have caused the IAEA to react more forcefully, at least to the extent of implementing continued monitoring. Either the Romanians satisfied the IAEA by heeding an informal caution to cease and desist or the incident was considered merely a “technical” transgression, given that the quantities produced were so inconsequential as to belong to the gray zone of reporting requirements.[xxxiii]
General Stănculescu
According to General Victor Stănculescu, a senior officer responsible for military technology at the time (and later defense minister), his department prepared feasibility studies on nuclear, biological and chemical deterrent options during the late 1970s.[xxxiv]  However, on completion of his study on “developing nuclear capacities for the defense of the country,” the army was ordered not to pursue the nuclear option further and it remained “the least advanced” of all three potential deterrent options under study.[xxxv]
What “least advanced” meant can be gleaned from the fact that Romania did not produce either of the two other deterrent options. After cultivating possible viral components in the Army's research laboratories, the biological option was dropped from consideration, although studies did continue of the best responses to feared biological attacks on Romanian water supplies and population centers.[xxxvi] And once the technical challenges of producing sufficient material for a chemical weapon were resolved that program was also halted, with no chemical agents stockpiled or chemical warheads produced; their absence confirmed by post-1989 international monitors.[xxxvii]
It would appear that Romanian consideration of a nuclear weapon never left the initial stages of exploration, qualifying it neither as military nor even as “program.”[xxxviii] Indeed, the closer one looks at Romania’s alleged nuclear weapons program, the less there is to see. Hans Blix, the IAEA director general in 1992, chose the most informal of methods to argue for the finding of non-compliance some authorities in Bucharest seemed to desire so ardently. He delivered a “single, oral report” to the IAEA Board of Governors, and explicitly acknowledged that the safeguards agreement with Romania was not designed to deal with such “very small quantities of nuclear material.”[xxxix] 
Hans Blix

Although not formally described as such, the IAEA considers Romania one of the less serious of the non-compliance cases, along with that of Egypt and South Korea. Only Egypt and South Korea were not found to be non-compliant. And of all eight cases brought before the IAEA's Board of Governors as of 2016, only Romania has the distinction of having had no written report submitted to the IAEA. Even Egypt and South Korea did. 
The process by which the discovery of the Romanian transgression and the finding of noncompliance came about, and the manner in which it has been recorded by the IAEA, suggests that something was not quite right. It appears as though the Agency may have been leveraged by Romanian officials into doing something it might otherwise not have done. As one researcher observed:

Little publicity was given to the case at the time or subsequently. Unlike other non-compliance cases, Romania does not have a special section on the IAEA website explaining the case. The Safeguards Statements for 1992 and 1993, incorporated in the Agency’s annual reports for those years, make no mention of it. Nor does the comprehensive verification chronology for 1992 compiled by the London-based non-governmental organization (NGO), the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC). The Secretariat was pre-occupied with the Iraq, North Korea, and South Africa verification cases at the time, but it is still puzzling that little publicity was given to the Agency’s use of a special inspection, even if only for demonstration purposes.
     One senses a certain reluctance to draw attention to the case. Mohamed ElBaradei says bluntly the aim of the new Romanian government in seeking the special inspection was “to further discredit the former Communist president.”[xl]

[i] See e.g. Nepszabadsag, 17 May 1989; János Juhani Nagy, “Bonn-Bucharest Missile Business,” Budapester Rundschau, 29 May 1989; MTI in English, 5 June 1989.
[ii] The Treaty of Peace with Romania was signed on 10 February 1947 and entered into force on 15 September 1947. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949, Volume 4, Compiled under the direction of Charles I. Bevans LL.B., Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1969.
[iii] Article 2 of Treaty of Peace with Romania in Bevans (1969). Presumably, Moscow turned a blind eye to the SCUD-B and FROG-7 missiles it had supplied Romania with earlier. Romanian SCUDs were part of its contribution to the Warsaw Pact and were deployed according to Pact strategy, for possible future use against an invading, presumably NATO force coming northward through Bulgaria and or Yugoslavia. They were not deployed as part of Romania’s national territorial defense strategy.
[iv] “‘Dieselbe Fabrik entsteht’ in Rumänien” [The Same [Missile] Plant is Under Construction in Romania], Der Spiegel, No. 19, 8 May 1989, pp. 166-168, translated in JPRS Arms Control, May 17, 1989, pp. 54-55. Intermediate-range ballistic missiles have an operating range of 1,000 to 3,000 km. The reach of short-range missiles is between 300 and 1,000 km. Missiles with operating ranges 300 km and below are considered tactical.
[v] Vladimir Socor, “Ceauşescu Claims That Romania Could Make Nuclear Weapons,” Romanian Situation Report/4, RFER, 4 May 1989, item 4; Mihail E. Ionescu and Carmen Rîjnoveanu, “Percepţia României asupra descurajării nucleare” [Romania’s Perception On Nuclear Discouragement], Revista de Istorie Militară, vol. 5, no. 6 (2007), p. 6.
[vi] Francis J. Gavin, “Same As It Ever Was. Nuclear Alarmism, Proliferation, and the Cold War,” International Security, vol. 34, no. 3 (Winter 2009/2010), p. 17; R. Eliza Gheorghe, “Romania’s Nuclear Negotiations Postures in the 1960s: Client, Maverick, and International Peace Mediator,” Romania Energy Center, 2012, pp. 21-22. Gheorghe’s basic premise is that Romania was a Soviet Trojan horse and its independence a sham (e.g. “if there was a maverick leader in Europe, it was de Gaulle and not Ceauşescu.” (p. 24)). Caution is advised in that Gheorghe’s claims of a Romanian nuclear weapons program, and of Ceausescu’s desire to acquire a bomb, are not supported by the archival documents she cites.
[vii] Raymond L. Garthoff, “When and Why Romania Distanced itself from the Warsaw Pact,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 5 (Spring 1995), p. 35; “Convorbiri neterminate cu Corneliu Mănescu” [Unfinished Conversations with Corneliu Mănescu] in Lavinia Betea, Partea lor de adevar [Their Side of the Truth], Bucharest, Compania, 2008, pp. 499-501. The United States found Romania’s repeatedly stated policy and consistent behavior against nuclear weapons persuasive. Consequently, it was “seldom” concerned that “Romania would divert its civilian program to military purposes.” Gheorghe (2012), pp. 21-22. Given the lack of evidence for any military nuclear program after the collapse of Communism in Romania, American faith seems to have been well-placed.
[viii] Memorandum of Conversation between Gheorghe Gaston-Marin and Averell Harriman, Washington, May 18, 1964, Document 142 in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Vol. XVII, Eastern Europe, p. 392; Gheorghe (2012), p. 19. After noting, in 1964that Romania, along with Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Yugoslavia, was either building or “considering the construction of nuclear power reactors which could be used to produce plutonium,” and that therefore “might reach a stage where they could initiate a weapons program in the next decade,” the U.S. intelligence community declared its belief that “none of them will do so.” National Intelligence Estimate: Prospects for a Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Over the Next Decade (NIE 4-2-64), 21 October 1964, p. 14, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CIA Mandatory Review Appeal. Obtained and contributed by William Burr.http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115994.
[ix] U.S.-Romanian Nuclear Cooperation, SecState Washington D.C. to AmEmbassy Ottowa, 3 February 1976, Margaret P. Grafeld, Declassified/Released U.S. Department of State EO Systematic Review, 4 May 2006, pp. 2-3, NARA, Access to Archives Database,http://aad.archives.gov/aad/createpdf?rid=106853&dt=2476&dl=1345.
[x] Ibid; Gheorghe (2012), p. 35.
[xi] E.g., German Reactor Components to Romania, SecState Washington D.C. to USMission OECD Paris, 8 March 1976, and German Uranium to Romania, SecState Washington D.C. to USMission OECD Paris,  10 April 1976,  Margaret P. Grafeld, Declassified/Released U.S. Department of State EO Systematic Review, 4 May 2006, pp. 2-3, NARA,http://aad.archives.gov/aad/createpdf?rid=106853&dt=2476&dl=1345.
[xii] U.S.-Romanian Nuclear Cooperation (1976), http://aad.archives.gov/aad/createpdf?rid=106853&dt=2476&dl=1345.
[xiii] Ibid. According to the assessment, “We postulate but cannot verify a third goal of GOR policy,” namely that of keeping the nuclear weapon option open. This U.S. postulate, along with Romania’s support of Chinese nuclear weapon acquisition in order to counterbalance the Soviet nuclear monopoly within the communist bloc, has been misinterpreted as representing an aim Romania actually sought for itself. For example, absent the “trigger” indicators of a weapons program (actual plans, budgeting, weaponizing of fissile materials, military involvement, etc.), one author simply asserts “that Romania had a nuclear weapons program in the late 1970s and 1980s.” Not surprisingly, the claim is unsourced. See Gheorghe (2012), pp. 3, 13-14, 21-22, 35. See also Eliza Gheorghe, “How to Become a Customer: Lessons from the Nuclear Negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Romania in the 1960s,” Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, Issue Brief #2, 24 April 2013, p. 2. Gheorghe also claims Ceausescu expressed the desire and intention to procure a nuclear weapon in conversation with John S. Foster, the President of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd, and Vice-President A. M. Aiken, in June 1976. However, the transcript of that meeting (at the Romanian National Archives: ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 79/1976, f. 10) indicates the very opposite, reaffirming Romanian commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear power while warning that nonproliferation was bound to fail unless the nuclear powers stopped accumulating more weapons and moved to their reduction and elimination. Eliza Gheorghe, “Frenemies, Nuclear Sharing, and Proliferation: The Eastern Bloc, 1965– 1969,” paper prepared for the Nuclear Studies Research Initiative workshop, Warrenton, Virginia, April 30 to May 2, 2015 available atwww.academia.edu/14848234/Frenemies_Nuclear_Sharing_and_Proliferation_The_Eastern_Bloc_1965-1969. 
[xiv] U.S.-Romanian Nuclear Cooperation (1976), http://aad.archives.gov/aad/createpdf?rid=106853&dt=2476&dl=1345.
[xv] The Romanians repeatedly expressed to the Chinese that non-proliferation would work only “if it is tied to a general process that encompasses non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, the interdiction of the use of nuclear weapons, and the destruction of nuclear weapons.” But if it was “not tied to an entire process of halting and destroying nuclear arms” then it would create a monopoly, allowing those possessing them to keep them, “increase their number and develop them further” without restriction, and granting a “political preponderance” to “whoever has such a powerful club in hand” that could be imposed on non-nuclear states. In consequence “every country that can build a nuclear weapon and that considers it necessary to possess one will do so.” See e.g. the discussion between Romanian Vice-President Emil Bodnaras and the Chinese Ambassador, January 28, 1965, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 4/1965, f. 43-58. Ceausescu explained this in even greater detail to former Vice-President Richard Nixon on March 22, 1967, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 15/1967, f. 4, 16-20. For the USSR see Ceausescu’s conversation with the President of the Soviet State Committee for Nuclear Energy, Andronik Petrosiants, May 16, 1981, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 53/1981, f.3, 7-12. For India see Ceausescu’s discussion with Indira Gandhi, October 19, 1967, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 88/1967, f. 4-6. For North Korea see the official Romanian-North Korean talks, May 20, 1978, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 66/1978, f. 2, 51-52 and Ceausescu’s discussion with Kim Il Sung, May 10-11, 1980, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 62/1980, f. 1, 26-27, 29-32. For Libya see Ceausescu’s conversation with the Libyan Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Abdel Magid Al-Kaud, December 2, 1981, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 91/1981, f. 3-5.
[xvi] Nicolae Ceauşescu in Hearst Interview and British Broadcasting Company (BBC), 9 July 1984. Interestingly, the analyst did not report the rest of Ceauşescu’s comment stipulating that Romania would not do so because it was against nuclear weapons. Vladimir Socor, “Soviet-Romanian Programs in Nuclear Energy Development,” RAD Background Report/129, RFER, 18 November 1985, pp. 1-2. Socor specified that all of his information came from Soviet sources.
[xvii] See e.g. Ceausescu’s statements in Minutes of Discussion of Report by the Supreme UAF Commander at the PCC Meeting, December 1978; Speech by the General Secretary of the PCR (Nicolae Ceausescu), 4 January 1983; and Records of the PCC Meeting in Bucharest: Speech by the General Secretary of the PCR (Nicolae Ceauşescu), 7 July 1989, all Courtesy of PHP, www.php.isn.ethz.ch, by permission of the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich on behalf of the PHP network.
[xviii] Reuters (Budapest), 15 November 1988.
[xix] Ceauşescu’s May 1989 declaration was made before a Plenum of the Democracy and Socialist Unity Front in Bucharest. Ionescu and Rîjnoveanu (2007), p. 6. On the other hand, as former Romanian Foreign Minister Stefan Andrei observed, Ceausescu’s statements on this point proved to be a major diplomatic “gaffe” since they were easily be spun as affirmations of dangerous intent and used against Romania by Moscow and Budapest. Lavinia Betea, I Se Spunea Machiavelli: Stefan Andrei in Dialog cu Lavina Betea [The Call Me Machiavelli: Stefan Andrei in Dialogue with Lavina Betea], Bucharest, Adevarul 2011, p. 254.
[xx] Radio Bucharest, 14 April 1989, 2100 hrs. See also Romania Situation Report/4, RFER, 4 May 1989, item 4.
[xxi] Transcript of Reception by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu, President of the Socialist Republic of Romania, of the President of Atomic Energy Canada, Ltd (AECL), John S. Foster and of the Vice-President of the Agency, A. M. Aiken, June 16, 1976, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Sectia Relatii Externe, dosar 79/1976, f. 1-15. Presumably, the already ailing 82 year-old Ceauşescu was referring to the fact that he would no longer be determining policy.
[xxii] Ibid.
[xxiii] Mohamed ElBaradei, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2011, p. 42.
[xxiv] See e.g. Petre T. Frangopol, Mediocritate Si Excelenta: O Radiografie a Stiintei si Invatamantului din Romania [Mediocrity and Excellence: An X-Ray of Science and Education in Romania], volume II, Cluj-Napoca, Casa Cartii de Stiinta, 2005, pp. 125-126. See also “Baietul’ lui Ceausescu, Mort in Fasa” [Ceausescu’s ‘Little Boy,’ Dead in the Womb,” Evenimentul Zilei, Dec. 10, 2002, http://www.evz.ro/articole/detalii-articol/513785/Baietelul-lui-Ceausescu-mort-in-fasa/.
[xxv] Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service, The Nuclear Potential of Individual Countries, 6 April 1995, at http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/svr_nuke.htm. The “disclosure” was made in 1995, when Romania suddenly appeared as a viable candidate for first-round NATO admission.
[xxvi] Ibid. See also “Officer Died at Explosion of Nuclear Object in Romania,” Omkpытaя Элekтproнная Газeтa [Open Electronic Newspaper], February 25, 2009, http://forum-msk.org/english/material/eng_news/769077.html and “Ceausescu Effort to Build Nuclear Bomb Reported,” Bucharest, Evenimentul Zilei, May 19, 1992, in FBIS-EEU-93-092, May 14, 1993, p. 14. (“Romania Planned Atom Bomb”, Rompres, 26 May 1993 is a synopsis of this article). See also “Baietul’ lui Ceausescu, Mort in Fasa,” Evenimentul Zilei, Dec. 10, 2002.
[xxvii] As one authority reported, the Romania’s Safeguards Agreement with the IAEAprovided “for material up to certain quantities to be exempted from safeguards” and the “Romanians had asked the IAEA to exempt a small quantity of spent fuel and had then conducted plutonium separation experiments in a hot cell.” Trevor Findlay, “Proliferation Alert! The IAEA And Non-Compliance Reporting,” Project On Managing the Atom, Report #2015-04, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, October 2015, p. 5, footnote 87. Under the Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/180) reporting the presence of one or more grams of plutonium was mandatory (at the time 8 kg were thought necessary for a bomb). In its “definitions” section of the agreement on transferring spent fuel to Romania for experimentation, the IAEA identified the “units of account” as “grams of contained plutonium” and “kilograms of contained thorium, natural uranium or depleted uranium.” See the agreement concerning the IAEA's “Assistance to Romania for the Transfer of Enriched Uranium for Irradiation Studies in a Research Reactor,” INFCIRC/307, December 1, 1983, article 98, point d., pp. 10,https://www.iaea.org/publications/documents/infcircs/text-agreement-1-july-1983-concerning-agencys-assistance-romania. The December 1985 experiment produced only one-tenth that amount (100 milligrams), granting more room for interpretation then the finding of non-compliance suggested. Moreover, INFCIRC/307 allowed that Romania could remedy any determinations of non-compliance – “take fully corrective action within a reasonable time” – before the IAEA Board would “take other measures.” See article VI “Safeguards,” point 4., in Ibid, pages 3-4. Hans Blix signed INFCIRC/307.
[xxviii] Ibid; Findlay (2015), p. 5.
[xxix] According to the preamble, “arrangements have been made between the Agency and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (hereinafter called the “Soviet Union”) for the provision of uranium dioxide powder containing enriched uranium for use in the project.” See also Article II, 1. & 2., INFCIRC (1983), p. 2.
[xxx] Findlay (2015), p. 53; Ann MacLachlan, “Romania Separated Tiny Amount of Plutonium in Secret in 1985,” Nucleonics Week, Vol. 33, No. 26, June 25, 1992, p. 16.
[xxxi] MacLachlan, “Romania Separated Tiny Amount of Plutonium in Secret in 1985” (1992), p. 16
[xxxii] Suzanna Van Moyland, Sustaining a Verification Regime in a Nuclear Weapon-Free World, Research Report No 4, London, Verification Research, Training and Information Centre, June 1999, pp. 14-15,http://www.vertic.org/media/Archived_Publications/Research_Reports/Research_Report_4_Van_Moyland.pdf; Leonard S. Spector, Mark G. McDonough with Evan S. Medeiros,Tracking Nuclear Proliferation, New York, Carnegie Endowment, 1995, pp. 83, 86.
[xxxiii] Van Moyland (1999), pp. 14-15. Van Moyland’s third hypothesis, that the IAEA remained silent in order to protect a source, is improbable given that the IAEA would still have monitored the country more closely or at least recorded its suspicions and would not have ignored the transgression.
[xxxiv] Alex Mihai Stoenescu, In sfirsit, adevarul … General Victor Atanasie Stanculescu in dialog cu Alex Mihai Stoenscu [Finally, The Truth … General Victor Atanasie Stanculescu in Dialogue with Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Bucharest, RAO, 2009, pp. 210-214.
[xxxv] Ibid.
[xxxvi] Stoenescu (2009), pp. 210-211. According to Stanculescu, “the Unit in Bacau, the 404th Reconnaissance, was designated and instructed to handle a bacteriologic attack against our major cities and in case the large water reservoirs were hit.”
[xxxvii] Author’s interview with General Ioan Talpes, former Director of Romanian Foreign Intelligence (SIE) during 1992-1997, June 16, 1995.
[xxxviii] Proliferation specialists are divided on how to classify Romania given, on the one hand, the insistence of Russian intelligence sources and Romanian media that Ceausescu was pursuing and on the verge of acquiring a bomb and, on the other, the lack of concrete evidence to that effect. Some place Romania in the same category as Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany, Italy, Norway, Australia, Japan, Argentina, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Taiwan, all states that seriously studied the possibility and desirability of acquiring a nuclear weapon and then renounced the project as not worth the cost. See for example, Matthew Kroenig, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons and Nonproliferation: Is There A Link?” Georgetown University, October 30, 2014, p. 22, footnote 14, p. 38,http://www.matthewkroenig.com/Kroenig_U.S.%20Nuclear%20Weapons%20and%20Nonproliferation.pdf.  See also Sonail Singh and Christopher Way, “The Correlates of Nuclear Proliferation,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 48, no. 6 (2004): 859-885. Others, relying on the Romanian media and/or Russian intelligence and/or the defector Ion Mihai Pacepa (who admits that he was a Soviet agent working for the KGB while deputy head of Romanian foreign intelligence), classify it along with those pursing a nuclear bomb, even while acknowledging that details of the program are woefully “incomplete.” See e.g. Jacques E. C. Hymans, “Estimating the DPRK’s Nuclear Intentions and Capacities: A Comparative Foreign Policy Approach,” EAI Working Paper Series #8, East Asia Institute, April 2007, p. 23. Still others start out citing Romania as a case study of non-compliance only to consign it to a mere footnote because of the lack of evidence or identifiable logic behind such an alleged program. See e.g. Nuno P. Monteiro and Alexandre Debs, “The Strategic Logic of Nuclear Proliferation,” International Security, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Fall 2004), pp. 21, 23 and footnote 28.  See also Jacques Hymans, Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 67, 241.
[xxxix] Findlay (2015), pp. 24, 37-38; IAEA, Record of GOV/OR Meeting 780, Tuesday, June 16, 1992, 10:05 a.m.
[xl] Findlay (2015), p. 38. See also J.B. Poole and R. Guthrie, editors, Verification 1993: Peacekeeping, Arms Control and the Environment, London, Brassey’s/VERTIC, 1993, pp. 11-22.


On The Eve Of The Romanian Revolution – Some Considerations (III)
Larry L. Watts

Visit of Romanian leaders to Budapest in the mid-1960s

Hungary and the ‘Aggressive Romanian Military Threat’: June 1989

During the late 1980s allegations of Romania’s terrorism-provoking nationalism and aggressive military impulse were so persistently repeated and widely disseminated as to persuade many Western intelligence services that a domestic military coup and chauvinist attack against ethnic Hungarians (and other minority groups) in Transylvania were quite possible.[i] According to a mid-1988 assessment by the CIA, for example, a “widespread uprising” resulting in “near-anarchy could lead to a seizure of power by the military,” while domestic violence could “turn into ethnic violence directed at the Hungarian minority in Transylvania.”[ii] The assessment continued that only “incipient anarchy” – or a threat “to remove Romania from the Warsaw Pact” – would render Soviet military intervention a “plausible contingency.”[iii]
Kadar and Ceausescu, May 1967
CIA analysts also expressed the belief that succession “may invite East-West rivalry as Moscow attempts to reassert influence” over the regime “most defiant of Soviet strictures,” and that even moderate disorder “would offer [Moscow] opportunities for restoring lost influence.”[iv] However, the CIA then affirmed somewhat contradictorily that “Romania’s problems were homegrown,” as if Soviet efforts to impose its influence and control on Bucharest were unrelated to Romania’s problems.[v]
In mid-June 1989, Hungarian Politburo member and reform economist Imre Poszgay publicly confirmed one of the circumstances that would provoke an incursion by the Soviet Army within the Soviet Bloc:
Imre Pozsgay
"A Soviet military intervention could occur in only one case: the outbreak of a civil war, which would threaten the security of Europe by upsetting the balance of forces. This is a danger that we can avert if we here are able to bring about a phase of peaceful transition."[vi]

Privately, Hungarian authorities suspected as late as November 1989 that an attempt to leave the Warsaw Pact would provoke Soviet military intervention.[vii] Indeed, Soviet military standing orders for its units in the Odessa Military District, which Romanian intelligence obtained during the mid-1980s, indicated exactly the same two precipitants for a military (or paramilitary) intervention into Romania identified by the CIA – an attempt to leave the Warsaw Pact or general instability.[viii]  According to former Deputy Soviet Foreign Minister Ivan Aboimov, who in December 1989 was also the Warsaw Pact Secretary General and the head of the Crisis Cell on Romania (together with the Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Moiseyev and KGB foreign intelligence chief Leonid Shebarshin), the Romanian debate over the possible public release of this document prompted Moscow to uncharacteristically rush the declassification of the December 24, 1989 meeting in which Ambassador Jack Matlock expressed U.S. understanding of a possible Soviet intervention following U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s apparent acknowledgment of the same on U.S. television earlier that day.[ix]
Ivan Aboimov
Moscow quite evidently became so dedicated to this bit of “transparency” as a means of preempting reputational and possible political repercussions should knowledge of Soviet contingency plans regarding Romania were made public.[x] Aboimov failed to note that the White House officially denounced (i.e. “clarified”) Baker’s statement (thus underscoring the questionable nature of the State Department instructions to Matlock to make that approach) the following day.[xi] The controversy over how those instructions were generated and transmitted continued to be debated among U.S. principles within diplomatic and intelligence circles into the new millennium.[xii] 
At the end of the 1980s there was – and, interestingly, continues to be – a generalized reluctance to acknowledge that Moscow (or other bloc members) had contingency plans for intervening militarily that would become operational in case general instability ensured (or was provoked) within other members of the Warsaw Pact. In contrast, an entire mythology was created regarding alleged Romanian violence against its citizens seeking to escape the country. The Hungarian media printed numerous reports claiming that scores and even hundreds were killed while attempting to flee Romania, even after they had reached the Hungarian side of the frontier.[xiii] Such reporting in the local and central media, common enough during 1988 and 1989, implied that Romanian authorities were responsible for killing refugees within Hungary – an act of war requiring forceful response – consequently inciting anti-Romanian sentiment.
On more than one occasion Hungarian authorities publicly denied these reports. The Hungarian police did so, for instance, regarding a January 1989 accusation made by the Hungarian Democratic Forum to the head of the Hungarian National Assembly that the bodies of eighteen “escapees from Romania” had been found at the frontier.[xiv]However, such denials by necessity appeared in later editions and broadcasts and rarely as lead stories. In the meantime, the damage had been done and Hungarian audiences were imprinted with images of refugees stumbling across the bodies of dead children on the Romanian-Hungarian border, where crows were “already picking at their corpses.”[xv]
Soviet, Hungarian and other Warsaw Pact sources reported a “rush to the exits” that had Romanians of all ethnicities fleeing the country under a hail of fire.[xvi] These reports then re-surfaced in Western media, including Radio Free Europe analyses, alleging, for example, that “the Romanian-Yugoslav border had become the bloodiest in Europe” and that some 400 Romanian citizens had been shot while trying to escape to Yugoslavia.[xvii] According to one RFE analyst there was even a “spill-over effect across the Romanian-Soviet border” that confronted “Soviet authorities with the unprecedented problem of how to deal with refugees from a neighboring communist country” and compelled Moscow to seek “solutions to the ethnic and social tension behind it.”[xviii]
However, as another journalist noted, it was “difficult to reconcile these stories with the fact that some 6,500 people managed to escape illegally in 1988 by crossing the border into Hungary.”[xix] Rather than questioning why such allegations might be made, given that so many similar reports regarding the Hungarian border had proven false repeatedly, the journalist suggested instead that the “inconsistency itself could possibly have been devised [by Bucharest] to keep the would-be escapees as insecure as possible.”[xx] Thus, Romania authorities were alleged to be responsible for spreading false stories of their own brutality at the border in the international media in order to discourage citizens from attempting escape. The simpler explanation, that those reports were intended to discredit Romania and to advance the interests of Budapest and Moscow as opposed to those of Bucharest, was deemed far-fetched.
Of course, successful propagation of the image of Romanian violence, especially anti-minoritarian violence, suited those members of the Hungarian leadership in Budapest seeking support for a transfer of sovereignty over the region of Transylvania; if not to Hungary than at least away from Romania. Such allegations were anchored to a scenario of increasing violence, and neither Hungarian nor Soviet sources were reticent in making explicit references to its inevitability. Indeed, throughout this period Soviet and other Warsaw Pact media were consistently prejudicial in their coverage of Hungarian-Romanian tensions, ignoring or deriding Romanian positions and denials while giving full voice and support to Hungarian allegations.[xxi]
In August 1988, for example, Hungarian television invited Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky and Soviet Historian Roy Medvedev for a discussion regarding the necessity of territorial autonomy for the ethnic Hungarians of Transylvania.[xxii]  The Soviet diplomat likened “Romanian-Hungarian tension and the nationality situation in Transylvania to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh,” over which Azeris and Armenians were already violently clashing in 1988.[xxiii] Devolving into full-scale war, the death toll of that conflict would reach 28,000-38,000 by the early 1990s.
Vladimir Petrovsky
Medvedev took the Romanian regime to task for alleged “repression of the Hungarian minority” and then advocated the reconstitution of Stalin’s “Autonomous Region in Transylvania” as the solution the problem.[xxiv] Reinstatement of the autonomous region thenceforth became a slogan that Hungarian leaders would repeat through Romania’s December 1989 Revolution and well into the new millennium. Stalin had originally imposed the Hungarian Autonomous Region on Bucharest in order to better control the Romanians (and Hungarians); not to extend human and civil rights guarantees to beleaguered populations.[xxv]
In July 1989, after insisting that the extension of Hungarian sovereignty over Romania’s ethnic Hungarians “did not imply revisionist intentions” – Budapest having proclaimed its “duty to feel responsible for Hungarians who had found themselves living outside Hungary’s present borders after the First and Second World Wars” – International Department chief Mátyás Szűrös, who since March was also speaker for the Hungarian Parliament, expressed to a Radio Free Europe journalist his belief that “the best solution to the problem would have been to grant Transylvania ‘autonomy’ after World War II.”[xxvi] Seemingly lost to the Hungarian speaker was the fact that the wartime occupation of that region by Hungary had resulted in the complete disenfranchisement of the Romanian majority, the confiscation of their property, and a systematic execution of the elites in Romanian settlements.[xxvii]
Mátyás Szűrös and Istvan Csurka    
Szűrös avoided specifying “what kind of autonomy he had in mind” when pressed by the journalist, claiming instead that Hungary did not suffer from the blight of extreme chauvinism while insisting that Romania pursued such policies towards its minorities and towards all of its neighbors. According to Szűrös:

"We must do everything to protect the equal rights of the Hungarian national minority in Transylvania …In Hungary there are, in fact, no truly irredentist or revisionist tendencies. It is, however, possible that nationalism is present in the minds of some individuals or within small groups. This is not the problem. The problem begins when nationalism is raised to the status of official policy. This is what has happened in Romania. Romanian policies are not only anti-Hungarian but are also directed against the Soviet Union and against the southern Slavs."[xxviii]

One of the first measures undertaken at the start of Romania’s December 1989 Revolution by then-ad interim Hungarian President Mátyás Szűrös was to unilaterally abrogate the 1948 Hungarian-Romanian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty that formally established the frontier between the two states.[xxix] According to President Szűrös, Hungary could now with “clear conscience” support and assist Transylvania to “become an autonomous region” with its “rightful independence.”[xxx] Side-stepping the question from a New York Times correspondent as to the aim and consequences of abrogating the only agreement in which Budapest officially recognized the post-World War II Hungarian-Romanian border, Foreign Minister (and former International Department security section head) Gyula Horn claimed that the “the bases which created the agreement have ceased,” rendering its further existence “untenable.”[xxxi]
Gyula Horn
A principal active measures theme propounded throughout 1989 was that of the rising Romanian military threat towards various other Warsaw Pact members. In discussion with his Western and Israeli colleagues in Bucharest, for example, Hungarian Ambassador Szűcs insisted on an impending Romanian armed aggression against his country, claiming that the Romanian Army had been placed on alert “several times” in preparation for such an offensive.[xxxii]First introduced during the Polish crisis of 1980, by May 1989 the Soviet active measures theme that Ceauşescu secretly advocated military intervention against other alliance members in the service of ideological orthodoxy was now becoming a regular feature of Western analyses.[xxxiii]
During the spring and summer of 1989, Mátyás Szűrös, Gyula Horn, Géza Kótai, and Csaba Tabajdi; all senior alumni from the Hungarian communist party’s (HSWP) International Department – the Central Committee’s coordinating center for Hungarian active measures – repeatedly claimed on-going atrocity and aggressive Romanian military preparations, setting the stage for confrontation and justifying beforehand forceful counter-measures. In mid-June 1989, Tabajdi, the deputy chief of the International Department’s section for relations with ruling parties, told the Italian journal La Stampathat “the great majority of Hungarians know that an attack would not come from the west but from the southeast,” in other words, from Romania.[xxxiv]  HSWP Politburo member Imre Poszgay, soon to become deputy head of the HSWP in its new incarnation as the Hungarian Socialist Party, seconded Tabajdi, explaining that the “radical revision” of Hungarian Defense Policy had been driven by Budapest’s “recognition that any foreseeable attack” would originate from Romania and not from NATO.[xxxv]
Csaba Tabajdi
As one RFE analyst observed, the new Hungarian military strategy necessitated the redeployment of “troops that for four decades have been stationed on the frontier with Austria” in the west towards the “southeast region”; thus “from the frontier with Austria to that with Romania.”[xxxvi]Tabajdi received a slap on the wrist from the Hungarian communist leadership following his statements to La Stampa. Ironically, he did not receive it for misrepresenting Hungarian policy but for revealing that policy to foreign observers. While Tabajdi’s immediate boss, Geza Kótai, noted that his subordinate had “not invented anything new,” Szűrös explained that “Tabajdi had made a ‘tactical error’ in talking about such matters while he was abroad.”[xxxvii] 

[i] President Antall told a German journal that “Romanians simply need an enemy [and] that’s us.”  He further claimed that Romanian nationalists sought to annex parts of eastern Hungary and the Soviet Union. Der Spiegel, 21 May 1990, pp. 172-176; Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Joint Publications Research Service, East Europe (FBIS, JPRS-EER)-90-092, 26 June 1990, pp. 18-20.
[ii] “Romania: Impending Crisis?” in Soviet Policy Toward Eastern Europe Under Gorbachev: National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 11/12-9-98), 26 May 1988, p. 16,https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/at-cold-wars-end-us-intelligence-on-the-soviet-union-and-eastern-europe-1989-1991/16526pdffiles/NIE1112-9-88.pdf. Even after the revolution American intelligence believed that “chronic political instability” would be “accompanied by outbreaks of ethnic violence.” Outlook For Eastern Europe in 1990: Interagency Intelligence Memorandum (NI IIM 90-10001), 8 February 1990, p. 37,http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/89801/DOC_0000265642.pdf. The single outbreak that occurred in Târgu Mureş in March 1990 was evidently orchestrated to portray Romanians as the aggressors to international opinion. See the candid interview with British director Patrick Swain describing that orchestration and his unwitting role in it, in Mihai Mincan, “Culisele manipulării conflictului româno-maghiar din 20 martie 1990” [Behind the Scenes of the Manipulation of the Romanian-Hungarian Conflict of 20 March 1990], Adevărul, 14 March 2010, athttp://adevarul.ro/news/eveniment/exclusiv-culisele-manipularii-conflictului-romano-maghiar-20-martie-1990-1_50ad49937c42d5a663924d61/index.html. See also Dorin Suciu, “Postscriptum la o manipulare” [Postscript to a Manipulation] athttp://roncea.ro/2010/03/22/dupa-20-de-ani-post-scriptum-la-o-manipulare-dorin-suciu-prezinta-noi-dovezi-de-la-targu-mures-ungurii-au-reusit-sa-blocheze-pe-youtube-documentarul-despre-ororile-din-1990/ . For the portrayal of Romanians as extreme chauvinist aggressors see e.g., Blaine Harden, “Hungary Protests Romanian Mob Action; Ethnic Hungarians Slain, Injured in Transylvania, Budapest Says,” The Washington Post, 21 March 1990; “A Bitter Blood Feud: Angry Mobs Attack Ethnic Hungarians,” The Washington Post, 22 March 1990; Elöd Kincses, Marosvásárhely fekete márciusa [Black March in Targu Mures], Püski Kiadó, Budapest, 1990, (English) Black Spring: Romania’s Path from Revolution to Pogrom December 1989-March 1990, Budapest-Munich, Present, 1992.
[iii] Romania: Impending Crisis?” in Soviet Policy Toward Eastern Europe Under Gorbachev: National Intelligence Estimate (1988), p. 16.
[iv] Ibid, pp. 14-16.
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Kevin Devlin, “Hungary’s New Defense Doctrine: ‘Enemy Not The West But Romania,’” RAD Background Report/101, Radio Free Europe Research (RFER), 16 June 1989, p. 3. Likewise, Szűrös noted that Moscow would not tolerate Romania’s departure from the Warsaw Pact. As he told an RFE journalist in July 1989, “the Soviet Union considers it essential for Romania to remain a [member of] the Warsaw Pact.” Moscow’s “priority is to maintain the [present] system of alliances for as long as NATO exists.” Interview of Hungarian Parliamentary spokesman and former HSWP CC International Department chief Szűrös by Nestor Ratesh in Michael Shafir, “Matyas Szűrös’s Interview with RFE’s Romanian Service,” RAD Background Report/127, RFER, 20 July 1989a, p. 6.
[vii] See e.g. Jacques Lévesque, The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1997, pp. 139-142.
[viii] The Soviet standing military order was discovered in 1993 and its public release debated in several meetings of Romania’s Supreme Defense Council (CSAT) at the beginning of 1994. This author, then working as security sector reform consultant with the Romanian defense ministry, general staff and foreign intelligence agency, was made aware of that debate. Several CSAT members subsequently confirmed the main elements of the Soviet standing order.
[ix] Interview by correspondent Marina Kalashnikova with former Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Aboimov, “The Country's Leadership Regarded the GDR as Self-supporting Unit,” Vlast (Moscow), 26 April 2005.http://www.kommersant.com/p570876/r_1/The_Country_s_Leadership_Regarded_the_GDR_as_Self-supporting_Unit”/.
[x] To quote Aboimov: “When I became the Ambassador in Budapest, I was informed that Iliescu was about to accuse the USSR of preparing intervention in the Romanian affairs during the revolution in 1989. Then the Russian Foreign Ministry decided to declassify the record of my talk with the US Ambassador Jack Matlock.” Ibid. Aboimov served as Soviet and then Russian Ambassador to Hungary during 1990-1996.
[xi] Statement by the Press Secretary, White House, December 25, 1989 cited in Robert L. Hutchings, American Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War: An Insider’s Account of U.S. Policy in Europe, 1989-1992, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, p. 381; Thomas Blanton, “When Did The Cold War End?” Cold War International History Project Bulletin, No. 10 (March 1998): 184-191. Evidently unaware of Aboimov’s revelation that Romanian actions prompted the uncharacteristic voluntary declassification, Blanton observed that: “In 1994, the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation declassified and published these selected documents, for the obvious reason that the Soviets come off quite well in the exchange with the Americans.” (p. 185.)
[xii] Blanton presents the basic elements of this debate with Robert L. Hutchings, at the time the U.S. National Intelligence Officers responsible for coordinating the National Intelligence Estimates issued jointly by the U.S. intelligence community, criticizing the message as “unfortunate,” and the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, Jack Matlock, defending the message (despite the official White House disapproval at the time). Blanton (1998), pp. 185-188, footnote 17. See also Hutchings (1997), p. 86.
[xiii] Judith Pataki, “The Problem of Transylvanian Refugees,” Hungarian Situation Report/3, RFER, 24 February 1989, pp. 35-36. Radio Budapest, 18 December 1988, 2400 hrs; Nepszabadsag, 25 December 1988; Magyar Nemzet, 9 and 14 January 1989.
[xiv] The Gyula branch of the Hungarian Democratic Forum sent the letter on 9 January 1989. “Weekly Record of Events in Eastern Europe,” RFER, 13 January 1989, OSA, Box 120, Folder 2, Report 293, p. 7. There was a shooting incident at the Romanian-Hungarian border in May 1988 that resulted in at least one casualty. However, the cause of the incident and the identity and location of the victim(s) remain unclear. Ceausescu referred to the incident briefly in the 18 June 1988 Central Committee meeting in a manner that suggested its singularity.
[xv] Radio Budapest, 18 December 1988, 2400 hrs; Nepszabadsag, 25 December 1988; Radio Budapest, 10 January 1989, 2200 hrs; Pataki (1989), pp. 35-36.
[xvi] See e.g. the statements of ethnic Hungarians in the Ukrainian SSR. Interview with Magyar writers from Uzhgorod, Radio Budapest, 16 July 1988, 4:00 P.M.; Erdelyi Magyar Hirugynokseg [Hungarian Press of Transylvania] (Satu Mare/Szatmar Nemeti), 22 June 1988, as cited in Vladimir Socor, “Soviet Reactions To The Hungarian-Romanian Dispute,” RAD Background Report/162, RFER, 18 August 1988, OSA, Box 37, Folder 5, Report 60, pp. 2-3.
[xvii] Magyarorszag, 20 January 1989; Pataki (1989), p. 36.
[xviii] Socor, “Soviet Reactions to the Hungarian-Romanian Dispute” (1988), pp. 3-5.
[xix] Magyarorszag, 20 January 1989; Pataki (1989), p. 36.
[xx] Ibid.
[xxi] Socor, “Soviet Reactions to the Hungarian-Romanian Dispute” (1988), pp. 3-5. See also Budapest Television, 24 June 1988, 7:30 P.M.;  “Vremya,” Moscow Television, 1700 hrs, 28, 29, and 30 June 1988; Pravda and Izvestia, 23, 29 June and 1 July 1988; “Standpoint,” Ekho Planety, no. 12, June 1988, p. 24; “From Differing Positions,” Ekho Planety, no 15, July 1988, pp. 18-19;  “Romania-Hungary: What Is Going On?” Moskovskie Novosti, no. 28, July 1988, p. 5; “Hungary-Romania: Stating the Case,” Novoe Vremya, no. 29, July 1988, pp. 37-38; “Hungary-Romania: Problems and Prospects,” Literaturnaya Gazeta, no. 30, July 1988, p. 9. For the partisan coverage from the other Pact members see Vladimir Socor, “East European Media Treatment of the Hungarian-Romanian Dispute,” RAD Background Report/161, RFER, 19 October 1988, OSA, Box 37, Folder 5, Report 56, pp. 1-4.
[xxii] See the comments of Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Petrovsky and historian Roy Medvedev to Hungarian Television in Socor, “Soviet Reactions to the Hungarian-Romanian Dispute” (1988), p. 3.
[xxiii] Ibid, p. 3; Hungarian Television, 5 August 1988, 9:30 P.M.; see also Hungarian Situation Report/13, Radio Free Europe Research, 17 August 1988, item 3.
[xxiv] Socor, “Soviet Reactions to the Hungarian-Romanian Dispute” (1988), p. 3; Hungarian Television, 5 August 1988, 9:30 P.M.
[xxv] See e.g. Larry L. Watts, With Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania, Bucharest, Military Publishing House, 2010, pp. 103-111. See also, Stefano Bottoni, “The Creation of the Hungarian Autonomous Region in Romania (1952): Premises and Consequences,” Regio- Minorities, Politics, Society, no. 1 (2003), Teleki László Intezet, pp. 71-93.
[xxvi] Shafir (1989a), p. 4.
[xxvii] See e.g. the reports of the German-Italian commissions of inquiry (Altenburg-Roggeri, October 1940, and Roggeri-Hencke, February 1943) presented in Vasile Puşcaş, Al doilea Război Mondial: Transylvania şi aranjamentele europene (1940-1944)[The Second World War: Transylvania and European Arrangements (1940-1944)], Cluj, Fundaţia Culturala Română [Romanian Cultural Foundation], 1995. The United States also obtained the final report of the second, Roggeri-Hencke commission inquiry. See “Report by the Special Italo-German Commission sent to Hungary and Romania.” Berlin, 8 February 1943, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), General Records of the Department of State, Division of South-East European Affairs, No. 871,000/1-3045, U.S. Consul in Geneva, Paul Squire, to Secretary of State, 30 January 1945.
[xxviii] Shafir (1989a), pp. 4-5.
[xxix] The intention to unilaterally abrogate the Hungarian-Romanian Friendship Treaty was floated publicly in July 1988, almost a year and a half earlier, as a recommendation to the Hungarian National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Committee. The reason given at the time was the closing of the Hungarian Consulate in Cluj. Reuter, 29 June 1988; AP, 30 June 1988. See also Dan Ionescu, “Chronology of Hungarian Protests at Romanian Rural Resettlement Plans,” RAD Background Report/129, RFER, 9 July 1988.
[xxx] Arpad Zengo interview with Szűrös on Budapest domestic radio in Hungarian, 20 December 1989, 0545 hrs GMT, in FBIS-EEU-89-243, 20 December 1989, p. 47. The day before, soon-to-be-named deputy defense minister of Hungary, Ernő Raffay, stated to the same journalist that since the Hungarians in Transylvania “have never wanted to live on Romania’s territory,” he could say, “as a National Assembly deputy, that I will do everything to fulfill, sooner or later, this wish of Magyardom in Romania.” Op. cit., p. 46. See also Costache Codrescu, coordinator, Armata Română în revoluţia din decembrie 1989: Studiu documentar [The Romanian Army in the Revolution of December 1989: A Documentary Study], revised 2nd edition, Bucharest, Editura Militară, 1998, p. 43. This call was echoed by the former senior Romanian Communist Party official, Károly Király.
[xxxi] “Officials Give Briefing,” Budapest Domestic Service, 21 December 1989, 0950 hrs GMT, FBIS-EEU-89-245, 22 December 1989, pp. 39-40. Having opened up the issue of new border delineation, Hungary did not formally renounce territorial claims against Romania (or Slovakia) until after the mid-1994 Conference on Stability in Europe. Nicholas Denton, “Hungary Acts on Borders,” Financial Times, July 15, 1994, p. 2; Patrick Worsnip, “Talks On Stability Fan Old Enmities,” The Independent, May 28, 1994, p. 7; Cyrus R. Vance and David A. Hamburg, co-chairs, Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1997 Final Report, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, p. 205.
[xxxii] Yosef Govrin, Israeli-Romanian Relations at the End of the Ceausescu Era, New York, Routledge, 2002, pp. 8, 119.
[xxxiii] See e.g. Michael Shafir, “Revisionism under Romanian General’s Fire: Ceauşescu’s Brother Attacks Hungarian Positions,” RAD Background Report/86, RFER, 17 May 1989b, OSA, Box 53, Folder 11, Report 32, pp. 6-7. For similar interpretations during the 1980 Polish crisis see Larry L. Watts, Extorting Peace: Romania and The End of The Cold War, 1978-1989, Bucharest, RAO, 2013, pp. 278-303. Regarding allegations of Romanian aggressive intent see Larry L. Watts, Dennis Deletant and Adam Burakowski, Did Nicolae Ceausescu Call for Military Intervention Against Poland in August 1989?, Cold War International History Project e-Dossier No. 60, February 3, 2015 at https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/did-nicolae-ceausescu-call-for-military-intervention-against-poland-august-1989#watts
[xxxiv] Kevin Devlin, “Hungary’s New Defense Doctrine: ‘Enemy Not The West But Romania,’” RAD Background Report/101, RFER, 16 June 1989, p. 1; Interview of Csaba Tabajdi by Guido Rampoli, “Friends of Moscow, but in Command of our Army,” La Stampa, 14 June 1989.
[xxxv] Devlin (1989), p. 1; Rampoli (1989).
[xxxvi] Devlin (1989), p. 1.
[xxxvii] Geza Kotai to Radio Budapest, 26 June 1989; Mátyás Szűrös to Magyar Hirlap, 29 June 1989.