In the late evening of August 19, 1989, barely one month after Budapest’s allegations of Romanian offensive preparations against it had been verified and debunked by Western analysts, new life was given the active measures theme projecting Romania as an “aggressive encampment” and imminent military threat. Seriously alarmed about the ultimate fate of socialism if the Hungarian and Polish party leaderships continued moving toward greater power-sharing with non-communist entities, Ceauşescu began advocating a meeting of all socialist states to discuss the basic issues of the “socialist construction” with renewed vigor already by 1987.[i]
|Gyula Horn, May 1989|
Romanian intentions were discussed by Hungarian communist leader Karoly Grosz and Foreign Minister Horn during a meeting of the Politburo in Budapest in May 1989. When Grosz predicted that Ceauşescu would attack Hungarian reforms and invoke the Brezhnev Doctrine at the Warsaw Pact’s up-coming July 1989 summit in Bucharest, Horn corrected him, explaining that the Romanians did not in fact wish to discuss the problem “within the framework of the Political Consultative Committee” at all.[ii]
Continuing to maintain the illegitimacy of any foreign military intervention within the Warsaw Pact, Ceauşescu sought a conference of all socialist countries in Europe to discuss the current state and future of socialism [since when]. As he underscored at the July 1989 PCC meeting:
[W]e are of the view that it is especially important for the socialist member-states of the Warsaw Pact and for all the socialist countries to jointly analyze and jointly establish the current issues of Socialist construction, how we can better work together, preparing the ranks for crisis and securing the social and economic development of every peoples on the socialist path.[iii]
Editor of Solidarity newspaper, 1981
A new opportunity depicting the Romanian leadership as hell-bent on military intervention was presented after the Solidarity electoral victory, on August 19, 1989, when Tadeusz Mazowiecki was appointed prime minister and given the task of forming the Polish government. That midnight, after Ceauşescu had personally presented his regime’s position on the matter to the Soviet ambassador, the Romanian foreign ministry called in each of the other Warsaw Pact ambassadors in turn and proposed an urgent meeting to discuss the fate of socialism in Poland, in Europe and globally. According to the version of this “oral declaration” published in the Polish press, Ceauşescu stated that:
|Mazowiecki elected, 1989|
As a Communist party and socialist country, [we] cannot consider this to be solely a Polish internal affair. [We] believe it concerns all socialist countries. … Given the above, the party leadership and government of Romania consider that the Communist and workers' parties of socialist countries, Warsaw Pact members must take a stand and insist that that Solidarity not be entrusted with the mission of forming a government. (...) The RCP leadership has decided to appeal to the PUWP [Polish United Workers Party] leadership, to political bureaus, [to] the leaders of many Warsaw Pact countries and other socialist countries to express grave concern and to act together to prevent the serious situation in Poland, on the defense of socialism and the Polish people.[iv]
The Romanian leader was urgently calling for a “conference of Party leaders, political forums, and other socialist state leaders” in order to prevent the collapse of socialism in Poland.[v] This was promptly spun as a call for military intervention in the very public protests disseminated widely by Warsaw and Budapest, as well as in the only slightly more discreet comments of Soviet officials to Western interlocutors.[vi] Ceauşescu, they claimed, had reversed Romania’s two-decades-long opposition to the Brezhnev Doctrine and had abandoned the “principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states and parties” upon which Bucharest’s elites had insisted since the early 1960s.
As Ceauşescu explained to his party’s Political Executive Committee the following day, a conference of all socialist countries “would constitute a powerful manifestation of the unity of our socialist countries, the affirmation of their solidarity and their decisiveness in strengthening that solidarity,” particularly since the Polish moves had been taken “in agreement with the Soviet Union and, I believe, one could say even more, even following the advice of the Soviet Union.”[vii] For this reason, he continued, “first of all the Soviets were addressed” because only they could “determine the leadership of the Polish United Workers Party to take a firmer position.”[viii] Through his declaration Ceauşescu sought to pressure the Kremlin in the full knowledge that the Jaruzelski leadership was firmly ensconced in Moscow’s pocket and not acting on its own.[ix]
Warsaw soundly trounced the proposal, expressing its dismay that Bucharest was not more supportive, while the Polish press advertised Ceauşescu’s initiative as advocating foreign military intervention against it.[x] Following the Polish media, communist authorities in Budapest protested Ceauşescu’s call for “a common action ‘using all means necessary in order to obstruct the liquidation of socialism in Poland’,” highlighting those aspects of the Romanian leader’s declaration that could be misconstrued as implying advocacy for foreign military intervention.[xi] Budapest even announced that “intervening militarily or with any other means in the domestic affairs of another country” was “in total contradiction” to Romania’s long-held stance against the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, as if that is what Ceauşescu had advocated.[xii]
Ironically, Budapest debunked its own recent and extremely categorical campaign alleging Romanian preparations for a military intervention against it during April-July 1989. Now Hungarian officials were willing to acknowledge that prior to August 19/20, 1989, Bucharest had “permanently” and “systematically promoted” the principle of “non-interference in the internal affairs of other states,” before then insisting that the Romania’s alleged advocacy of military intervention in Poland stood “in total contradiction” to their former position.[xiii]
|Anatoly Dobrynin, head|
of CPSU International Dept.
Soviet officials at the time (and long afterward) did their best to convince American and European interlocutors of Romania’s aggressive military threat within the Soviet Bloc. Citing Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze’s personal aide as his source, International Department chief Anatoly Dobrynin claimed that Ceauşescu “demanded a Warsaw Pact military intervention in Poland because the anti-communist party Solidarity had won the elections.”[xiv] Dobrynin’s deputies at the International Department – which also coordinated the construction and dissemination of Soviet disinformation themes – propagated the same to U.S. officials and academics. One of those deputies, a former GRU officer, insisted to an American historian that “the Romanian government secretly urged the other Warsaw Pact states to join it in sending troops to Poland.”[xv]
The Soviet foreign ministry was equally diligent. Sergei Tarasenko, one of Shevardnadze’s chief aides (and eventual deputy foreign minister), a specialist on the United States, falsely claimed to an influential former CIA and State Department analyst that the Romanian leader was “unaware of Gorbachev’s encouragement” of Polish reforms when he made his alleged call “for Warsaw Pact military intervention in Poland.”[xvi] The extent of this campaign and the insistence with which it was propagated persuaded many analysts in both government and academia that Ceauşescu was “advocating military intervention across the East Bloc.”[xvii]
The combined effect of cognitive bias, organizational pathologies and targeted disinformation ensured that the details of Romania’s role in ameliorating dangerous confrontation during the Cold War was known to relatively small circles of administration officials in the United States from Kennedy to Reagan. Among the broader analytical communities of U.S. intelligence and academia the perception of Romania hovered between the competing equine images of “maverick” and “Trojan horse” for most of the Cold War. Much of what Romania undertook and accomplished was simply too improbable and implausible to be accepted or understood without direct observation or involvement. And Soviet-sponsored disinformation came in confirmation of opinion that those accomplishments were not, in fact, real.
Romania had become the target of a Soviet Bloc-wide La Leyenda Negra; a scapegoat whose denigration relieved the other Warsaw Pact members from much critical Western attention.[xviii] And, at the same time, it had become a potentially disastrous problem for U.S. policy, which actively sought a fundamental transformation of the East-West relationship where the “East” was led and represented by the USSR. In consequence, the country and its regime could be depicted in the blackest and most outlandish of terms without serious challenge or verification. The policy imperative of neutralizing or removing obstacles to the end of the Cold War, which many in the West viewed as synonymous with Gorbachev’s opponents, bled into and even superseded the requirements of analytical accuracy.[xix]
Whittaker Chambers, the self-confessed Soviet agent who spied for the USSR during the 1930s, described this phenomenon with considerable eloquence when his testimony regarding the extraordinary degree to which U.S. federal institutions had been penetrated by Soviet intelligence met with powerful resistance on the part of U.S. officials to accept the extent to which they had deceived.[xx] According to Chambers, there was a “universal inability to distinguish true from false,” especially “when the false is cast in the image of the world’s desire and the true is nothing that the world can fathom, or wants to.”[xxi] The Romanian “villain” was convenient for the USSR, for the Soviet-loyal leaderships of Eastern Europe, and, increasingly during the late 1980s, for the United States and the major Western European states as well. Clearly, the Ceauşescu regime was behaving villainously (or so dysfunctional as to appear villainous) to its own population. And the “black box” of isolation surrounding it made more profound understanding of the dynamics driving its behavior virtually impossible.
Consequently, allegations of Romanian military aggressiveness were not subject to serious scrutiny or verification.[xxii] For similar reasons, post-1989 analyses were less concerned with what Romania actually had done or intended to do (according to internal Romanian discussions and documents) than they were with collecting re-affirmations of the same allegation from essentially the same sources that alleged them in the first place.[xxiii] It became common practice to assert Romania’s aggressive preparations and intent on the basis of Soviet, Hungarian and Polish documents and declarations while misrepresenting or ignoring altogether the “best evidence” of Romanian internal documents and policy declarations.[xxiv]
|Locations of Nuclear Plants in Ukraine, 1989|
As Romania became increasingly isolated, analysts of Soviet and East European affairs began accepting third-party reports regarding Romanian intention and actions at face value, with little or no independent fact checking. One historian, for example, considered credible reports of “threats by the Romanian state security agency (Securitate) to blow up nuclear power stations near the Soviet border” in December 1989.[xxv]
That would have been far more difficult than suggested given that Romania had no nuclear facilities near that frontier (all were located in the south of the country) and that the Soviet nuclear facility nearest the Soviet-Romanian border was more than 300 kilometers away as the crow flies, the South Ukraine II Power Plant at Yuzhnoukrains'k in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The distance was greater still if roads or railways were used, and it well over 400 km if the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was circumvented.
|Location of Paks Nuclear Plant, Hungary|
Likewise, official Hungarian sources claimed at the end of 1989 that the Romanians were targeting the Hungarian nuclear power plant at Paks with missiles deployed at the
Floreşti Air Defense Base near Cluj.[xxvi] One problem with this scenario was that Romania’s longest-range missiles were the SCUD-Bs supplied by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, which had a maximum range of 300 km.[xxvii] The Paks nuclear facility was 492 km from Floresti. Another problem was that none of those missiles were ever deployed at the military base in Floresti. And all of Romania’s thirteen SCUD-B missiles were part of its contribution to Warsaw Pact defense missions and aimed southward, to fend off a hypothetical NATO offensive through Bulgaria and/or Yugoslavia.[xxviii]
In 1976 Ceausescu had indeed instructed the military to develop plans for a Romanian ballistic missile with an operating range of 500 km, but a workable project never materialized.[xxix] By the beginning of 1979 the project had been dropped from military planning altogether. Nor did Bucharest purchase the Soviet upgrade of the SCUD-B - the 500 km range SS-23 "Spider." Moscow later admitted that it had secretly provided the SS-23 to its other Warsaw Pact allies during the mid-1980s, making Romania possibly the only Warsaw Pact member without such a capacity.[xxx]
|SCUD-B in the Balkans|
To obscure these rather cumbersome details, Soviet and Hungarian sources disseminated a variety of rumors and reports that Romania had either secretly produced its own missile or acquired Chinese or North Korean missiles with a maximum range of 500 km.[xxxi] However, military authorities and international verification on the ground after 1989 both confirmed that Romania had not acquired Chinese or North Korean missiles, nor had it extended the operational range of its SCUD-Bs.[xxxii] According to General Victor Stănculescu, the senior officer responsible for military technology and procurement for the Romanian Armed Forces throughout the 1980s, the only foreign supplier of missiles to his country was the Soviet Union:
[Claims that] we had missiles for attacking Hungary are tall tales. We had Russian missiles with an operating range of 300 km at the military unit in Tecuci [more than 475 km from the Hungarian frontier]. … The missiles in Floresti were simple ground-air missiles with a range of 17 kilometers. So, to your question, my response is “Nem Igaz!” which in Hungarian means “Not True!”[xxxiii]
General Stănculescu likewise underscored that the Romanian Army “had no plans for any operations in the direction of Hungary,” that “there never existed the possibility of war with Hungary” during the Cold War, and that all of the SCUD-B missiles were trained elsewhere.[xxxiv]
One consequence of relying on non-Romanian Soviet bloc sources as authority on Romanian intentions was to leave a series of “the dog that did not bark in the night” phenomena that should have counseled caution regarding allegations of Romanian military or state security threats unexamined.[xxxv] For example, none of the records from the Warsaw Pact’s Foreign Ministers Committee meeting of October 1989 reflect any discussion or concern of a Romanian-advocated intervention.[xxxvi] Nor was there any “barking” regarding the same at the Defense Ministers Committee meeting in November 1989.[xxxvii] Romanian Warsaw Pact documents, which became available in 2015, are likewise notable for their lack of any discussion of a possible foreign military intervention.[xxxviii]
Along these same lines, no offensive military preparations or re-deployments within Romania were observed at the time nor has evidence of any emerged as of 2016. Nor have any documents or transcripts surfaced at the level of the Romanian Communist Party Central Committee or Political Executive Committee – or, for that matter, at any other political level – that suggest advocacy or even discussion of foreign military intervention against Poland in 1989. The archives of the Romanian defense ministry and the Romanian Armed Forces general staff have similarly failed to reveal any evidence of such discussion or advocacy. And the operational commands are likewise silent regarding any sort of foreign deployments.
Indeed, assuming Romanian advocacy of military intervention abroad requires that one ignore almost thirty years of military policy, preparations, deployments, indoctrination and training that were in part designed to make the Romanian Army singularly unavailable for such a mission.[xxxix] Frequently reaffirmed legal and constitutional barriers prohibited Romanian military forces from undertaking operations beyond national frontiers in the absence of a military attack by “imperialists,” and then only by an act of parliament. Even superficial consideration of how Romanian troops might possibly reach Poland – the only remotely tenable route requiring the circumnavigation of all of Europe either on or over the sea – reveals the absurdity of the proposition.[xl]
Interestingly, when claiming that it had abandoned its stance against military intervention, Budapest and Warsaw referred to Romania’s former condemnation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 but not to its more recent and continuing condemnation of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They also failed to mention Romania’s singular rejection of foreign (i.e. Soviet bloc) military intervention against Poland in 1980-1981 and again in 1983, when Bucharest’s attempt to insert a statement protecting the Poles from foreign intervention in a Warsaw Pact communiqué was rejected even by the Jaruzelski leadership.[xli]
|Foreign Minister Horn and|
HSWP Chairman Nyers
When Hungarian officials in Budapest insinuated that Romania had abandoned its stance against outside military intervention and was now advocating a military intervention in Poland, the Romanian ambassador unequivocally denied it:
I insisted, at once, to clarify to my interlocutor that we could not accept accusations that the RCP, that its leadership, has the intention to interfere in the domestic affairs of Poland and that through this it was renouncing the principle of noninterference in the domestic affairs of other states, and of sovereignty, as affirmed in the message of the HSWP [Hungarian Socialist Workers Party].
Likewise, I took a firm position against the speculative interpretations that are being made on the margins of the RCP message, demonstrating that Romania has not given anyone lectures, nor has it stigmatized the fraternal countries and parties.
The Romanian Communist Party and the Romanian Government have placed the unmitigated respect for the principles of full equality of rights, of sovereignty, of independence and of noninterference in the domestic affairs of other states at the foundation of their foreign policy.
The message of our party and state leadership sprang from concerns produced by the recent events in Poland, a fact also recognized in the response letter of the Hungarians.[xlii]
The record of the Soviet Central Committee discussion on Ceauşescu’s request, and Gorbachev’s response, confirm that Bucharest was calling for a “meeting” rather than a military intervention.[xliii] Neither of these documents mentions any Romanian suggestion of outside military intervention whatsoever. The journal of Soviet Ambassador Tiazhelnikov, which evocatively describes Ceauşescu’s emotional state, is also quite clear on the non-military intent of the midnight consultation in August 1989. According to Ambassador Tiazhelnikov:
The leadership of the Romanian Communist Party and Socialist Republic of Romania believes that socialist Poland still could be saved. It is possible and necessary to prevent the greatest blow of contemporary imperialism against the cause of socialism.
[They] consider that after the formation of a new government in the People’s Republic of Poland (the Polish United Workers Party, the Polish Trade Union and the Army) it is necessary for the allied states, for all of the socialist countries to accord Poland economic and financial assistance with the aim of overcoming the profound crisis.
In conclusion, N. Ceauşescu expressed the hope that the leadership of the CPSU-USSR will examine operationally and with attention this appeal, and that M.S. Gorbachev will find the possibility of meeting with him on August 20.[xliv]
Once again recalling a report from Radio Yerevan, the Romanian leader did raise the issue of military intervention at the extraordinary session of party leaders in Moscow at the beginning of December 1989. But the manner in which it did so was very much the opposite of what Soviet, Polish and Hungarian sources alleged. In essence, the Romanian leader delivered a coup de grace to the chimera of any Romanian-advocated military intervention Poland. In his separate meeting with the Soviet leader on December 4, 1989, Ceauşescu told Gorbachev:
I believe that the Soviet Union, and I am referring primarily to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, could have a certain role – not by force of the military – to help produce a better orientation [in Warsaw].[xlv]
[i] Somewhat paradoxically, Ceauşescu exalted the cooperation of the left with bourgeois parties in Portugal in 1975 in order to prevent the Portuguese left from becoming a Soviet instrument (as Portuguese communist leader Cunhal then appeared to be.) In consequence, Romania became the only Warsaw Pact member to sign a treaty of friendship and cooperation with a NATO member state during the Cold War. See “Romania: Ceauşescu’s remarks during visit to Portugal bound to irk Kremlin” in US Intelligence Board, National Intelligence Bulletin, 3 November 1975, p. 8, CIA.
[ii] Minutes of Meeting of the HSWP Political Committee on 16 May 1989-Excerpt on WP issues, 16 May 1989, pp. 5, 9, in Békés and Locher (2003), PHP.
[iii] Records of the PCC Meeting in Bucharest: Speech by the General Secretary of the PCR (Nicolae Ceauşescu), 7 July 1989, German language version, pp. 151-152, PHP. Author’s emphasis. Unfortunately, this portion of his speech is replaced by an ellipsis in the English translation on the PHP website. For the entire document see the German language version. According to the Bulgarians, Ceauşescu sought to include both Warsaw Pact members and “other socialist countries” for a “joint analysis” of “the problems of socialist construction and ways to overcome the difficulties.” Ceauşescu proposed “that a meeting be held, not later than October this year” to “analyze problems of social and economic development and the construction of socialism and would work out a real program for common action.” Report to the Bulgarian Politburo by the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Petar Toshev Mladenov) on the PCC Meeting, 12 July 1989, PHP.
[iv] “Dokumenty Polska-Rumunia,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 29 September-1 October 1989. Gazeta Wyborcza specifies that this is a recounting of an “oral declaration.” The Polish rendition of the last sentence is: “Kierownictwo RPK postanowiło zwrócić się do kierownictwa PZPR, do biur politycznych, do kierownictw partii krajów UW i innych krajów socjalistycznych, by wyrazić poważne zaniepokojenie oraz aby wspólnie zadziałać w sprawie zapobieżenia poważnej sytuacji w Polsce, w sprawie obrony socjalizmu i narodu polskiego.” The original Romanian declaration has not yet been published. However, it was discussed in the RCP newspaper the following day. “De la Varşovia” [From Warsaw], Scânteia, 20 August 1989. See also Florin Anghel, “Considerente asupra România în discursul public din Polonia, în 1989” [Considerations of Romania in Public Discourse in Poland in 1989], Institutul Revoluţiei Române Din Decembrie 1989, Caietele Revoluţie [Journals of the Revolution], no. 4, vol. 6 (2006), pp. 45-53.
[v] A Polish version is in “Dokumenty Polska-Rumunia,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 29 September-1 October 1989. See also Anghel (2006), pp. 45-53.
[vi] See e.g. “Romania has called for military intervention in Poland,” Polityka Weekly News Roundup, Warsaw, Polityka in Polish, no. 38, 23 September 1989 (excerpts), p. 2, JPRS-EER-89-130, 27 November 1989, p. 19; Levesque (1997), p. 120. The allegation has been repeated so many times in so many works it has now assumed the status of “common knowledge.” The fact that the allegations both originated with and were confirmed by the same group of former Warsaw Pact members, primarily former Soviet, Polish and Hungarian sources, in the absence of Romanian evidence did not unduly concern an analytical community oriented by cognitive biases and laboring under the influence of overwhelming disinformation to believe them.
[vii] Stenograma şedinţei Comitetului Politic Executiv al C.C. al P.C.R. din ziua de 21 august 1989 [Transcript of RCP CC Political Executive Committee meeting of 21 August 1989], Arhivele Naţionale, Fond CC al PCR - Secţia Cancelarie, dos. nr. 56/1989; Clio 1989 (Bucharest), no. 1-2 (2005), pp. 168-170; Ioan Scurtu, “Nicolae Ceauşescu şi Evenimentele din Polonia (1981, 1989),” 12 December 2011 at http://www.ioanscurtu.ro/nicolae-Ceauşescu-si-evenimentele-din-polonia-1981-1989/.
[ix] This state of affairs also attested in the reporting of Colonel Kuklinski earlier in the decade and re-confirmed after 1989 by the investigations of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance. See e.g., Kuklinski’s references to Jaruzelski and Romania in The Soviet Union’s Control of the Warsaw Pact Forces: An Intelligence Assessment (SOV 83-10175CX), October 1983, pp. 18-19, CIA. See also CIA Intelligence Information Report: (November 1979) Twelfth Session of the Committee of Defense Ministers of the Warsaw Pact Member States, 20 February 1980, pp. 3, 6, CIA; CIA Intelligence Information Report: (December 1979) Draft Statute of Warsaw Pact Armed Forces and Their Control Organs in Wartime, 25 February 1980, p. 4, CIA. Regarding Jaruzelski’s recruitment by Soviet military intelligence see Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, “The Jaruzelski Case: The Ascent of Agent ‘Wolski’,” World Politics Review, 12 December 2006, “The General’s Dark Past” Warsaw Voice, 15 June 2005; Fakty, TVN (Warsaw), 8 June 2005.
[x] See e.g. Polityka, 23 September 1989 in JPRS-EER-89-130, 27 November 1989, p. 19; Levesque (1997), p. 120.
[xi] Documents on Hungarian reaction are reproduced in Dumitru Preda and Mihai Retegan, 1989 Principiul Dominoului: Prăbuşirea regimurilor comuniste europene [1989 The Domino Principal: The Collapse of the European Communist Regimes], Bucharest, Fundaţia Culturală Română, 2000, pp. 165-167, 170-171.
[xiv] Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to Six Cold War Presidents, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1995, p. 632. The aide referred to by Dobrynin was apparently Sergei Tarasenko, who was disseminating this story to all of his American contacts. See footnote 16 below.
[xv] Mark Kramer, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part I),” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 5, no. 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 197-198. Kramer apparently relied on non-Romanian sources for his conclusion, the formulation of which suggests Romanian preparations for such an operation. He cites as source for this revelation his June 1990 interview with Rafail Fyodorov, first deputy chief of the CPSU International Department during 1989–1990. However, given that Fyodorov claimed at the height of the “2 + 4” negotiations that “no one in the FRG wanted re-unification,” and that he was a military (GRU) counterintelligence agent with long experience working against Western targets, his reliability is questionable. See e.g. Gordon M. Hahn, Russia’s Revolution From Above 1985-2000: Reform, Transaction and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, New Brunswick, Transaction, 2002, p. 285.
[xvi] The foreign ministry official, Sergei Tarasenko, told this to Raymond Garthoff, then working at the Brookings Institute “think tank”. Raymond L. Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War, Washington D.C., Brookings Institute, 1994b, p. 604. Elsewhere in the same volume Tarasenko is described as “Shevardnadze’s closest advisor.” Ibid, p. 289. Tarasenko also mislead Philip Zelikow and Condoleeza Rice by implying that Budapest did not have prior Soviet approval to open its borders for fleeing East Germans in 1989. Philip Zelikow and Condoleeza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1998, p. 69.
[xvii] See e.g. Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceauşescu and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow, 4 December 1989 in Mircea Munteanu, “The Last Days of a Dictator,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 12/13(Fall-Winter 2001), pp. 217, 220.
[xviii] The “Black Legend” closely approximated the methods and goals of Soviet active measures and disinformation (or, rather, visa versa).” It comprised “the careful distortion of the history of nation, perpetrated by its enemies, in order to better fight it. And a distortion as monstrous as possible, with the goal of achieving a specific aim: the moral disqualification of the nation…in every way possible.” Alfredo Alvar, La Leyenda Negra [The Black Legend], Ezquerra, Ediciones Akal, 1997, p. 5. The term derives from the late 1500s targeting of Spain by “political and religious propaganda that blackened the characters of Spaniards and their ruler to such an extent that Spain became the symbol of all forces of repression, brutality, religious and political intolerance, and intellectual and artistic backwardness for the next four centuries.” Philip Wayne Powell, Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations With the Hispanic World, New York, Basic Books, 1971. Many Spaniards aware of their dismal reputation abroad were persuaded by the weight of propaganda that it must be true, thus becoming unwitting accomplices in their own marginalization in Europe.
[xix] See e.g. Jonathan Eyal, “Romania: Between Appearances and Realities,” in Jonathan Eyal, editor, The Warsaw Pact and the Balkans: Moscow’s Southern Flank, New York, St. Martin’s, 1989, especially pp. 39-73, 99, 107. For a critical analysis of such interpretations see Ashby B. Crowder, Legacies of 1968: Autonomy and Repression in Ceauşescu’s Romania, 1965-1989, Athens, OH, Ohio University, August 2007, Thesis, at http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Crowder%20Ashby%20B.pdf?ohiou1186838492.
[xx] See e.g. Whitaker Chambers, Witness, New York, Random House, 1952. Chamber’s autobiography remains extremely influential.
[xxi] Chambers (1052), p. 770; Lock K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz, editors, Strategic Intelligence: Windows Into A Secret World, An Anthology, Los Angeles, Roxbury, 2004, p. 311.
[xxii] In one striking, almost unique, exception, the analyst placed Romanian moves and statements in their proper context and concluded that the regime appeared to be “seeking the convening of a congress of communist parties, rather than military intervention.” Peter Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2005, p. 49.
[xxiii] For example, in his monumental work using both documentary evidence and oral testimony, Jacques Levesque relied on Soviet, Hungarian and Polish sources regarding Romanian aggressive intentions exclusively. Jacques Levesque, translated from the French by Keith Martin, The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1997, pp. 119-121.
[xxiv] When this author pointed out this methodological problem to Mark Kramer at the annual conference of the American Society for East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in San Antonio, November 2014, Prof. Kramer insisted on the validity of relying on Soviet sources as “categorical proof” of Romanian intention. This led to a written exchange in which Kramer misrepresented the conclusions of two Romanian historians and claimed that this author was a “poor scholar.” For that exchange see Larry L. Watts, Dennis Deletant and Adam Burakowski, Did Nicolae Ceauşescu Call for Military Intervention Against Poland in August 1989?, Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) e-Dossier No. 60, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, February 3, 2015, at https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/did-nicolae-Ceauşescu-call-for-military-intervention-against-poland-august-1989; and Mark Kramer and Larry Watts, Continuing Debate: Ceauşescu’s Appeal for Joint Warsaw Pact Action on 19 August 1989, CWIHP e-Dossier no. 61, February 3, 2015 at https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/continuing-debate-Ceauşescus-appeal-for-joint-warsaw-pact-action-19-august-1989.
[xxv] For this unsourced allegation see Mark Kramer “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part I),” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 5, no. 4 (Fall 2003): 23; and Mark Kramer, “The Demise of the Soviet Bloc,” Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 63, no. 9 (November 2011): 1585. While Kramer does cite two New York Times articles after both assertions, neither article makes any allusion to Romanian threats on the nuclear facilities of its neighbors.
[xxvi] Arpad Szőczi, Timisoara: The Real Story Behind The Romanian Revolution, Bloomington, iUniverse, 2013, pp. 315-316. The author, a journalist and activist with the Hungarian émigré organization that accused Romania of genocidal practices during the 1970s and 1980s, cites an intelligence report of December 13, 1989 from the Hungarian embassy in Romania, which also offered up the more specific claim that there were 7 (seven) missiles so targeted. See also interview with former Prime Minister Miklos Nemeth in Arpad Szőczi, “Former Hungarian PM Reveals Role Of Hungarian Secret Service In Toppling Ceaușescu,” January 30, 2015, https://arpadoliverSzőczi.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/december-16-2014-former-hungarian-pm-reveals-role-of-hungarian-secret-service-in-toppling-Ceauşescu/.
[xxvii] See e.g., Col. Adrian Stroea and Lt. Col. Gheorghe Băjenaru, Artileria Română în Date şi Imagine [Romanian Artillery in Statistics and Images], Bucharest, Editura Centrului Tehnic-Editorial al Armatei [Army Technical Publications Center], 2010, pp. 112-116.
[xxviii] Actually, only 12 were permanently trained southward. One, at the missile instruction center at Ploesti, was used for training purposes.
[xxix] According to Ceausescu’s October 1976 instruction: “a draft program will be elaborated for adding, in parallel with tactical missiles, a missile with a maximum range of 500 km into the fabrication process.” For discussion of this see http://suntemromania.blogspot.ro/2013/10/285cum-facea-ceausescu-afacerile-pentru.html.
[xxx] Alex Wagner, “U.S., Bulgaria Reach Deal To Destroy Missiles,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2002, at http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_07-08/bulgariajul_aug02; Vojtech Mastny and Malcom Byrne, editors, A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991, Budapest, Central European Press, 2005, p. 31.
[xxxi] Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service, The Nuclear Potential of Individual Countries, 6 April 1995, at http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/svr_nuke.htm; Hungarian intelligence report in Szőczi (2013), pp. 315-316. China had reportedly assisted North Korea in modifying the SCUD-B to a maximum range of 500 km, which Pyongyang re-baptized the “HWASONG-5”. In reality, the HWASONG-5 had a range of only 320 km. A later version, the HWASONG-6, did have a maximum range of 500 km but was first tested only in 1990. None had been sold or transferred to Romania.
[xxxii] The United States monitored Romanian heavy military equipment including missiles with technical intelligence means during the Cold War just as it did all of the Warsaw Pact members. Shortly after the revolution U.S. and NATO experts checked Romanian military inventories for WMD, ballistic missiles capable of carrying such warheads, and advanced conventional weapons. A second round of verification was carried out during 1992-1993, prompted by new rumors of secret WMD programs. Author’s interview with former Presidential National Security Advisor and Romanian Foreign Intelligence (SIE) Director, General Ioan Talpeș, June 14, 1993. Talpeș had been chief military advisor to the defense minister from mid-February to July 1990, and then national security advisor to the president during July 1990-April 1992 before being appointed SIE Director.
[xxxiii] Interview with Victor Stănculescu in Stefan Both, “Exclusive Document Secret. Diversiunea maghiara inainte de Revolutie: Romania a indreptat 7 rachete spre Ungaria. General Stănculescu: “Nem igaz!” [Exclusive Secret Document. Hungarian Deception Before the Revolution: Romania Directed 7 Rockets Against Hungary. General Stanculescu: “Not True!”], Adevarul, December 17, 2015, 1957 hours, http://adevarul.ro/locale/timisoara/exclusiv-document-secret-diversiunea-maghiara-revolutia-89-romania-indreptat-7-rachete-ungaria-generalului-stanculescu-nem-igaz-1_5672e3187d919ed50e53d58d/index.html.
[xxxv] Describing a phenomenon similar to that recorded by Chambers, the 18th century forger of Shakespeare plays, William Henry Ireland, observed “how willingly people will blind themselves on any point interesting to their feelings. Once a false idea becomes fixed in a person’s mind, he will twist facts or probability to accommodate it rather than question it.” Lock K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz, editors, Strategic Intelligence: Windows Into A Secret World, An Anthology, Los Angeles, Roxbury, 2004, p.304. Commenting on mainstream assessments made during the Romanian December revolution, one analyst noted that it was “a little ironic that a revolution which sought to reassert rationality in Romania created an apparent collective loss of the same facility in the outside world.” Siani-Davies (2005), p. 282.
[xxxvi] See the presentations and reports at “XXVI. Warsaw, 26-27 October 1989,” “Records of the Warsaw Pact Committee of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs: 1976-1990,” PHP. See also Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw, 26-27 October 1989 at Romanian National Archives (Arhivele Naţionale ale României: ANR), Fond C.C. al P.C.R., Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 181/1989, f. 1-93.
[xxxvii] See the presentations and reports at “XXIV. Budapest, 27-29 November 1989,” “Records of the Warsaw Pact Committee of the Ministers of Defense: 1969-1990,” PHP.
[xxxviii] The Tratatul de la Varsovia. Ministerul Afacerilor Externe [Warsaw Pact Organization. Ministry of Foreign Affairs] collection at the Romanian National Archives was made publicly accessible on March 26, 2015. See http://www.arhivelenationale.ro/stiri.php?id_stire=249&lan=0.
[xxxix] The entire defense system of Romania, including military indoctrination and modifications of Marxist-Leninist ideology, was oriented against foreign intervention and interference. That stance was also the basis of Ceauşescu’s influence in the Developing World and Non-Aligned Movements. Even if military non-intervention were not such a fundamental aspect of Romanian policy, it is difficult to imagine by what means Bucharest would persuade the USSR or Hungary to allow the passage of its troops. Not only were Moscow, Budapest and Warsaw working closely and publicly together, Hungary had recently gone very publicly on record as Romania’s adversary and the security organs of the USSR had treated Romania as such even longer. While this confrontation was largely clandestine and unknown to many in the West, the Romanians and the other Pact leaderships were very much aware of it.
[xl] The only route hypothetically available for a Romanian military transport to reach Poland went from the Black Sea, through the Bosporus Straits and the Aegean Sea, past the Adriatic, through the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean, past the North Sea and into the Baltic Sea to the Polish coast.
[xli] Regarding the Documents Prepared for the PCC Meeting in Prague, 3 January 1983, note prepared by Polish Foreign Minister M. Dmochowski, PHP.
[xlii] “Information of the Romanian Embassy in Budapest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” 24 August 1989, 1415 hrs, Document 74 in Dumitru Preda and Mihai Retegan, 1989 – Principiul Dominoului: Prabusirea Regimurilor Comuniste Europene [1989 – The Domino Principle: The Collapse of the European Communist Regimes], Bucharest, Editura Fundatiei Culturale Romane, 2000, pp. 170-171; Archives of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest/1989, vol. 5, pp. 130-132.
[xliii] Resolution of the CPSU CC Politburo No. 132, “Regarding the Appeal of Cde. Ceauşescu”, August 21, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, F. 3, Op. 103, D. 180, L. 63, and RGANI, F. 3, Op. 103, D. 181, Ll. 140-141. Translated for CWIHP by Mark Kramer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121621
[xliv] See Soviet Ambassador Evghenni Mikhaillovich Tiazhelnikov’s journal entry in Stefan Karner, Efim Iosifovich Pivovar, Natalya Georgievna Tomilina, and Alexander Oganovich Chubarian, Конец эпохи. СССР и революции в странах Восточной Европы в 1989– 1991 гг. Документы [The End of An Epoch: The USSR and The Revolutions in the Eastern European Countries in 1981-1991. Documents], Moscow, Rosspen, 2015, Document 241.
[xlv] Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceauşescu and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Moscow, 4 December 1989 in Munteanu (2001), pp. 217, 220.