Political Diary

Sunday, March 31, 1940Rotten weather. I stay indoors and work, bringing my Diary to date. The French and the British hold frequent, definitely long conferences – now in Paris, now in London – attended by militaries and politicians. This incessant activity evinces the huge concern shown by the commands of the two armies in light of the enemy's impending offensive. The French-British air force is ever more active as it keeps dropping bombs on military targets inside Germany. Meanwhile, in our country, as the saying goes, they are playing chess while the house is burning! Carol, – surrounded by his grand advisers including the ubiquitous royal counselors of exceptional acumen in matters of decorations Iorga, Argetoianu and Vaida – is diligently studying a new Statute of decorations, the shape, inscriptions and ribbons that would best suit the new medals Bene merenti and the Bene Merenti Cross! Had this information not been made public by our dailies people would have had no inkling of what occupies the leaders of this state at such tragic moments! Monday, April 1, 1940 Last night, I listened on some foreign radio station to the disquisition made by Molotov three days ago before the Supreme Soviet in connection with the war in Finland and Moscow's foreign policy. Today our papers carry ample excerpts from his speech, especially with regard to Romania. One can note Molotov's major preoccupation to explain the Russian militaries' failure by the fact that the Soviets had to bear the wide front set up by the whole capitalist world rushing to the rescue of Finland with enormous supplies of ammunition and armament. Among others, he mentioned 350 planes, 1,500 canons, 6,000 machine guns, 100 thousand rifles, 650 hand grenades, two million five thousand shells, 160 million cartridges, etc. etc. Molotov assessed the number of Russian casualties at 48,745 dead and 158,864 wounded, while the Finns posted 60,000 dead and 250,000 wounded, "half of the Finnish strength," he specified. "We were liberal with Finland," Molotov further said, "since we did not ask for the war damages to which we would have been entitled, and then we also gave up taking the whole territory of the country which was at our disposal." The swine! They now play at magnanimity when all the time they did nothing but shamelessly claim that between the Soviets and Finland there was no state of war! Now they own to the losses they kept on denying! How could anyone place any reliance on the word of such brazen swine! As to our country, this is what the head of the Soviet diplomacy said: "In Romania, where in 1938 our man, Butenko vanished mysteriously, we have only a chargé d'affaires to represent us. The Soviets did not acknowledge the annexation of Bessarabia, a litigious issue left pending, but have never raised the question of its return at the point of the sword so that there is no reason for the Soviet-Romanian relations to sour." For the rest, Molotov is keen on specifying two things: that the foreign policy of the Soviets is aimed at peace and good neighborly relations, and as far as the war in Europe is concerned, they never pledged anything else to Germany than straddling the fence. Are those declarations honest? Don't they betray a certain unease? The matter must be carefully analyzed. Round eleven, I phone Lupu[i] but he is not at home. Costache Lupu tells me his brother will be busy all morning, and that I could find him only after six in the afternoon. I suspect he is in conference with Tătărescu[ii] in connection with metropolitan Gurie. Before noon I drop by our house in Vatra Luminoasă to see if the finishing works are making good progress. I then sign an additional 200,000 lei contract at the Construction House for wood shutters for the windows. The sidewalks are nearly done but there is no sign of the fences. By six I go to Lupu's where I find Fănel Mihăiescu and Hoisescu. Lupu is telling them how he quarreled with Tătărescu at noon because of Gurie, stressing that it ill-suited him and Carol to drag to court an innocent man of such merit. Then Lupu touched the matter of our relations with the Soviets in the wake of Molotov's speech. Lupu has got the gist of the situation. He feels the Soviets would be willing to talk with us now that they fear a German attack. In his opinion, it is the only explanation for Molotov's moderate, conciliatory tone as he must be worried stiff at the way the war develops on the Western front, especially when besieged with so many rumors about an impending German-Russian war. He tried to assure both Hitler and the French and British at the same time that the Soviets wanted peace and to stay neutral. Consequently, Lupu proposed Tătărescu to determine Carol to put out feelers in Moscow in this sense, possibly instructing our chargé d'affaires there to intercede with Molotov. Tătărescu hit the roof, saying that under the circumstances such a thing was out of the question as it would ruin "all our arrangements with Berlin to which King Carol is very much partial and which have been reached after tremendously big efforts." Lupu drew his attention to the danger this rapprochement to Germany could incur us, on the one hand because of France and England, and on the other because of the Soviets who could not possibly stay indifferent. "Each with his responsibilities," Tătărescu replied. Lupu is waiting for Maniu's[iii] return to see, together with the other members of the bureau, what could be done in this respect. Fănel Mihăiescu says he has tidings from Ghiţă Pop[iv] that Maniu could be back in the capital this very day of the following one at the most.I congratulate Lupu for his interpretation of Molotov's speech: "It's exactly what I think." "Les beau esprits se rencontrent," he added with a smile.  March, April 2, 1940As decided last night together with Lupu, this morning I've drawn up a memoir to Tătărescu because I know that Maniu will have nothing to do with Carol. I conceive it as if it were written by Maniu since I'm convinced nobody else would sign it in the end. I connect the memoir to the grave circumstances visited on this country which prompt the head of our party, and perhaps the Liberal one too, if Dinu Brătianu[v] signs it, to forego all political or constitutional scruples, and address a government leader who holds the post only de facto and not de jure. The paper reviews the foreign policy blunders ceaselessly made by the Romanian cabinet from 1936 on, coming to the conclusion that perhaps Molotov's speech paved the last possible road to reach a modus vivendi with the Soviets. The government is above all warned of the unforgivable mistake of pursuing such close political ties with the German Reich. The Soviets could interpret them as a burgeoning alliance with the Germans and our Western allies as an encroachment of our pledges. Round noon I get to see Lupu. He lunches at Filderman's[vi] together with other worthies of the Jewish Community of Bucharest. At 3 PM Maniu phones me to come and see him at 5. He arrived from Braşov at noon. Together we analyze the foreign situation in detail and we find ourselves in perfect agreement. Just like in the Molotov affair, Maniu thinks that the Russian's discourse was an invitation to negotiations as he is persuaded that the Soviets have actually begun to fear a German attack. "For us," he says, "it is a completely unexpected opportunity to clinch once and for all the question of Bessarabia." I then read to him the memoir drawn up for Tătărescu. I give him a copy to show to Dinu Brătianu whom he is to see that evening at 8. Maniu is delighted by the presentation of the memoir and congratulates me that I have grasped his purport, namely that Tătărescu was recognized only de facto as a head of cabinet and not de jure.The following day at 5 in the afternoon we will have a bureau meeting also attended by Mihalache,[vii] who arrives in Bucharest this evening. Maniu is happy that "Lupu stands his ground, which may influence Mihalache too." Wednesday, May 15, 1940Holland has capitulated. The thing is confirmed at noon. A big battle is under way on the Meuse river. The Germans boast several successes, which have not yet been corroborated though.The meeting of our bureau begins in this gloomy, sad atmosphere. Madgearu tells us that Mihalache cannot come to Bucharest this week. Popovici opines it's a good thing he absents himself from our bureau meetings "as long as he hopes he can still do something for the party". "Wishful thinking," Lupu replies, stating that, judging by the way the Tătărescu Cabinet was cobbled together, he fails to understand what Mihalache can be waiting for, "not disposing of such an embarrassing councillorship." Madgearu tries to defend him, but Lupu does not allow him to go on, briskly cutting in: "You'd better hold your tongue in this matter for he has taken your cue too long and now he's become everybody's laughingstock."Madgearu does not push it further as Lupu takes the floor and speaks about the party's position vis-à-vis the foreign situation. He shows that the country risks to be dragged in the German camp by the current leaders who are just as maladroit as they are keen on saving their own bacon. In the wake of the German offensive to the West, "this rogue of Carol feels he is free today to implement his policy of collaboration with Hitler under the pretext it is only thus that we can protect ourselves against the aggression of the Soviets. The commercial agreements that he concludes with the Germans will bleed the country white. German agents scout the villages buying everything they can lay their hands on, paying in a currency which they know tomorrow will be worth as much as they want." "We," Lupu goes on, "must do out utmost; for this we must first know who we can count on in the undertaking we are going to start so that we do not wake up acting at cross-purposes, like times before. Therefore as a first step I suggest that our friends here, Messrs. Popovici[viii] and Madgearu[ix] sort it out with their friend in ideas, Mr. Mihalache, what position towards the party and towards Carol they will assume. If they can obtain a national government as they hope, fine, if not, they should come back to the party peacefully and carry out what we, Mr. Maniu and I, recommend. Our party can no longer play both ends against the middle, now being against Carol whom we request to abdicate, now spoiling for an understanding with this man who turns his back on us. It is embarrassing both for the party and for us all, to put up with undignified situations; in the end, better fewer and more closely-knit than more and unruly, incapable of common action. Therefore, I am waiting for our friends to clear out things so that we, the others, know what we have to do."I recall now Popovici took the floor after Lupu. Brought to date by the latter, Popovici spoke quite earnestly, and also with moderation. He admitted that he too was constantly at loggerheads with Maniu as regards the matter of Carol's abdication. Not that he did not want it too or did not think it necessary for the country but only on grounds of political expedience. He did not think it possible without a civil war, and that he loathed. Thus, he agreed with Madgearu and Mihalache that a golden mean had to be adopted, likely to bring about an understanding with Carol. "Today I too have become convinced," Popovici continued, "that indeed the road we have chosen cannot lead to the result expected, and therefore I think that Mihalache too will agree with me that we must end it as soon as possible. Still, I ask for a short respite to see what happens on the western front where things seem to be speeding to a denouement which could ease us out of the impasse, too." He said that if the French-British concluded peace with Hitler and the latter sent his troops to Moscow we could get out of it by straddling the fence! Madgerau also supported this thesis, and fully backed the ideas put forth by Popovici.Ghiţă Pop warmly upheld Lupu's theory, eulogizing Maniu's political foresight a tad too enthusiastically. The man himself felt slightly embarrassed. Our friend Ghiţă Pop allowed himself to be carried away by the topic and somehow overdid it, forgetting the Latin adage: Es modus in rebus! I spoke only a little, giving my approval to Lupu's solution "which now, after the statements made by Messrs. Popovici and Madgearu I perceive much easier." I wanted only to specify that a possible peace on the western front, behind the Soviets, was something of an utopia!Maniu then took the floor. "All political mistake – when made in good faith and especially if admitted in time -," he began, "can be explained and even forgiven. Today, in the grave circumstances visited upon this country no more error can be tolerated in connection with its interests. Therefore I thank Mr. Lupu for his welcome proposal and I acknowledge most gladly the pledge of Messrs. Popovici and Madgearu to make Mr. Mihalache realize the need to end all attempt at coming to an understanding with that rascal Carol." Addressing Popovici and Madgearu he then gave them a true lesson of foreign policy, arousing my admiration and that of Lupu. Here it is in brief. "You claim that we should wait a little more as it is possible that things may get cleared up rapidly on the western front. And this would ease us out of the impasse. You are terribly wrong to believe such a thing. The war we are witnessing today has been smoldering for twenty-two years, since the 1918 flare-up could not solve the big problems of European balance. Today, looking at the Versailles Treaty from a historical vantage it appears more of an armistice convention than a peace treaty. All the problems left pending then – and do not forget that Russia did not take part in the Versailles talks as it was undergoing a civil war and had not yet emerged as an orderly state – are now begging for a solution, which further compounds things as the Soviets will come with their demands to the future bargaining table, starting with the Baltic to the Black Sea and the Aegean. How do you think these things could be possibly settled by a few battles, won or lost by this or that state. There will be a long-drawn war and it cannot end other than with Germany's defeat. I am persuaded of this as if it were a mathematical truth. Britain and France are aware of the fact that Germany cannot cope with a long war, given its geographic position, and therefore they will do their utmost to gain time even if they cede other territories: the more the Germans will advance the weaker they will become because time is not on Germany's side. You worry that the German army has taken Norway, Denmark, now Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium, and you fail to grasp the problems these occupied countries raise for the German Reich. You imagine the number of the troops needed to keep the peace in these states, beginning with Poland, up to Norway and the rest of the seashore of Denmark, Holland and Belgium? With what will the Germans feed all these populations if their blitzkrieg fails? I beg you to take into account all these things and not let yourself impressed by a victory or a passing defeat. Britain and France boast huge resources, to say nothing of the United States that will never accept Britain's defeat. I am aware of the fact that German propaganda maintains that the United States would be glad to see Britain kneeling in order to seize the British colonial empire itself. It is one of the biggest political errors Hitler and his joint chiefs of staff could make if they gave this any credit. This is not the time to explain to you how absurd this armchair idea is. To conclude, I will reiterate my deep conviction for which I am ready to stake my neck, namely that Hitler will lose the war and woe on the poor German nation!" Thursday, June 27, 1940 In the morning papers I read the letters by which Iunian and Gh. Cuza enroll in the Nation Party. [...] With Cuza it's obvious but I would never have thought Iunian to be so spineless. I'm hugely disappointed. I have long suspected he is no true-blue democrat but I nurtured the illusion I might be wrong. Lupu knows him very well. He keeps on telling me Iunian is extremely high-reaching and besides his malice clouds his judgment! Now I understand better why this man has always refused to join us in our move against Carol.Round 10, Lupu and C. Mihăilescu, all worked up, come to tell me that yesterday the Soviets gave us an ultimatum, asking us to evacuate Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in four days, as of June 28. We have time to answer by midnight. Journalist Theodorescu-Branişte told Lupu, and Mihăilescu was appraised of this by his friend Bungeţeanu. A fine time for Maniu to be missing! Lupu phones Dinu Brătianu from my place and they agree for us to go to him at 11, and see what can be done. I ring Ghiţă Pop and Ionel Pop, who didn't know anything, and tell them to also come to Dinu Brătianu's. I then call Madgearu and invite him too. He is abreast of the Soviet ultimatum. He replies that he doesn't see the point of going all to Brătianu's place since it is the Cabinet's and the Privy Council's job to supply the Soviets with an answer. To cut a long story short I explain the invitation comes from Lupu, who also asks him to ring Mihalache upand enjoin him to return to the capital at once.At 11, when we get there we find V. Sassu, Gh. Brătianu and Gh. Fotino already in. Right after us there come Madgearu, Ghiţă Pop and Ionel Pop.Lupu suggests that before the meeting of the Privy Council and of the Council of Ministers, our party and the Liberal Party should present a brief note expressing our attitude vis-à-vis two matters: the creation of a national government right away, the definite rejection of the ultimatum, and the army's general mobilization. Everybody is in favor of the proposal, except Gh. Brătianu and Madgearu who show reserve as to the rejection of the ultimatum. They do not think we can wage war against the Soviets who, they opine, have an understanding with Hitler. Nonetheless, they too accept to send the note proposed by Lupu. He draws it up at once. "The undersigned, members of the political bureau of the National Peasant Party and of the National Liberal Party ask the members of the Privy Council to decide on the immediate formation of a national government, the categorical rejection of the ultimatum, and the army's general mobilization." Lupu, Madgearu, Ghiţă Pop and I sign on our behalf, and Ionel Pop on Maniu's behalf. On the Liberals' part Dinu Brătianu, V. Sassu, Gh. Brătianu and Georges Fotino affix their signatures. Two notes have been drawn up, both written by Lupu. Dinu Brătianu promises to give one to Dr. Angelescu, and V. Sassu and Ghiţă Pop to hand the other to Tătărescu.The meeting lasted only three quarters of an hour. Lupu accompanied Dinu Brătianu to Dr. Angelescu's, and I walked out with Madgearu and Ionel Pop. We agreed to meet in the afternoon at 6 at Dinu Brătianu's to learn about the results of our approaches.Madgearu is very skeptical about our capacity to withhold a Soviet attack, especially as he is persuaded that the Bulgarians and the Hungarians will assault us together with the Soviets. Ionel Pop keeps quiet and nods, avoiding a definite position. As a matter of fact, he too is of the same opinion as Madgearu but is afraid to say anything because he fears Maniu. I contradict Madgearu, reminding him that what is going on today shouldn't surprise us because we have long known this is where our policy will get us of spiting the Soviets and weakening the Little Entente, deeming this will ingratiate us with the Germans. And now we have come to this! "To me it is plain as the nose on my face that we have only one logical political solution: to go all to battle and fall, weapon in hand, in the defense of our frontiers. It is only thus that we will gain the world's esteem, and when general peace comes we can hold our heads high in our quality as victims of the Nazis and their allies, the Bolsheviks!" "What you say is very nice, of course" Madgearu told me, "and definitely that's what we should do if we could be sure that Britain will prevail in the war eventually but who can guarantee that? My impression is that Hitler won this one, and there's nothing left for us to do than to come to an understanding with him, no matter how dear it will cost us." We were now in Brătianu Square. I found it useless to continue our discussion, and as Ionel Pop kept silent I put an end to the conversation, said good-bye, and got on tramway 14 that took me home.Mobilization seemed impending so I took out my military gear and aired it a bit. Then I started the necessary preparations in view of the draft. I was thinking it would be more appropriate to take my family to Bogdăneşti, the place being out of the way. Besides, there they would have the chance to breathe some fresh summer air and find it easier to get food. Milica too is in favor of this solution. A difficult time for us and for the country.At 6 I go to Dinu Brătianu's. All those who attended the morning meeting are present now too with the exception of Madgearu, who phoned Lupu he would go to Mihalache's place to summon him to Bucharest. Dinu Brătianu and V. Sassu recount what they discussed with Angelescu and Tătărescu. The former approved the matters contained in the note and promised to read it in the meeting of the Privy Council. The latter wouldn't hear about it. Tătărescu explained to Sassu that we couldn't resist the Russian troops not for a week "since they would pulverize the Romanian population in Bessarabia availing themselves of the war pretext to exterminate it." "Tătărescu confided in me something extremely important," Sassu tells me, "provided, of course, it is not a lie which he is capable of: namely that the King is sure that very soon, with the help of Germany Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia will be recovered, and therefore we have no interest to destroy them now in a war against the Russians." "Who can trust the words of a liar like Tătărescu and an ignominious bandit like his boss," Lupu exclaims. "That would mean Hitler put all his eggs in Carol's basket and then also entrusted such a secret to him, namely that the Soviets would attack very soon. Tell it to Carol and Guţă! Not to us! We're not fooled by such a cock-and-bull story!" Dinu Brătianu thinks the same thing, whereas Gh. Brătianu is willing to take seriously the matter of an impending German-Russian war. He believes a German-Russian conflagration is inevitable in a year or two, and therefore he finds the decision to accept the Russian ultimatum – which the Privy Council and the Council of Ministers took today – to be just. Dinu Brătianu contradicts him, saying that among others, during the noon meeting at the palace chaired by Carol only 25 persons voted to accept the ultimatum, while 11 were against, ignoring the assurances of Carol and Tătărescu. "Mind you that among these 11 there was not a single enemy of Carol!" Dinu Brătianu added."It's a sure thing," I say, "that Germany, in its quality as heir of Austria cannot take in good part the Russians' getting stationed at the mouths of the Danube. One day this will spoil the relations between these two big powers. But not yet! Hitler is up the creek without a paddle, what with the war with Britain and, most likely, with the United States right behind. No wonder if he doesn't feel like getting mixed up with the Soviets right now. He cannot possibly allow anyone to infer that he is preparing to assail the Soviets, even if he actually was thinking about it. The argument brought by Carol and his minion is but a mere conjecture, if not a bare-faced lie meant to see him through this bad patch. Another in his place, if he felt any shame at all, would have packed his caboodle by now and fled somewhere in the world to rid the country of him!" Lupu and Ghiţă Pop fully approve my words while Sassu and Fotino consider me with certain admiration. Sassu tackles the matter of whether we could, nonetheless, wage war against the Soviets, the Bulgarians and the Hungarians, eventually concluding it will be useless. I repeat what I have told Madgearu in the morning, that it is better to die arm in hand and become victims of the Nazis and Bolsheviks as, in the end, victory will not be theirs. Sassu says, echoing Madegaru, he doesn't believe in Britain's triumph. As Gh. Brătianu deems a British victory – now that France is down – chimerical, adding that the Bulgarians and the Hungarians would pounce on us together with the Russians, "which means we will disappear from Europe's map," I reply instantly: "First what makes you so sure that the Bulgarians and the Hungarians will strike tomorrow? The Bulgarians are not so go-as-you-please, even if they are eager to charge. A mere muscle-flexing from Turkey and Greece would suffice to reduce them to silence. I don't see these two countries accepting the Russians at the mouths of the Danube so light-heartedly. Then I don't see the Yugoslavs willing to allow the Bulgarians to beleaguer us. The Balkan Entente, if I am not mistaken, has not yet been rescinded. As far as the Hungarians are concerned I don't see them attacking us alongside the Russians either. In their quality as allies of Hitler's and Mussolini's can they collaborate with the Soviets to destroy us so that the Russians lay their hands on our petroleum and economic resources? I simply don't imagine Hitler or Mussolini giving them such leeway; now we must show them how resolved to fight we are; our Balkan allies will thus be bolstered by our firm decision to wage war, and Hitler, the decisive factor, if he actually undertakes to attack the Russians one day, I am more than persuaded that he won't allow Hungary to take part in a Russian victory over us. But, I repeat, we must be resolved to fight. The solution is to form a national government right away and to have the beast heading the state abdicate." Lupu, Dinu Brătianu, and Ghiţă Pop congratulate me in turn, stating their accord with my views. We part without coming to an understanding. "Let's wait for Mr. Maniu to see what more we can do," Dinu Brătianu opines, closing the meeting. At 9 he is to meet with Dr. Angelescu and other Liberal front-benchers, and Lupu and his brother to dine with Malaxa[x]. I return home where C. Mihăilescu and the Giosanu family are waiting for me.I appraise them of the discussions held at Dinu Brătianu's and the resolution of the Privy Council but am not able to convince them that to accept the Russian ultimatum would be a big political mistake. Giosanu sees the situation with the eyes of a military and is unmoved by my arguments that the Bulgarians and the Hungarians might not attack us. For a few days now my friend Mihăiescu[xi] has also started doubting Britain's triumph. France's shameful capitulation has considerably shaken his convictions, just like the fact that there is not a single French politician to take the initiative and form a government in Northern Africa and continue the war alongside Britain. For them, accepting the ultimatum is the only possible solution to our situation today. We part coldly. I am also very tired. I don't listen to any radio station and I fall asleep like a log. Friday, June 28, 1940It is only today that I read yesterday's papers which published the two pieces of news about Dinu Brătianu urging his political friends to join the National Party and about Mihalache's resignation as royal counselor, which was accepted. The text of his resignation letter was not given though. From yesterday's papers I also learn that de Gaulle organizes in London a legion of French volunteers. At half past eight in the morning I go to Maniu's who has just come back from Transylvania this night. I find Ghiţă Popa and Leucuţia there. They have already appraised him of what went on in the Privy Council and the note we and the Liberals have drawn up enjoining to a rejection of the ultimatum. I inform him of my talks with Madgearu, Sassu and Gh. Brătianu, which he appreciates. Maniu thinks the acceptance of the Soviet ultimatum is downright "criminal." Ghiţă Pop and I accompany him to Mr. Lupu's from there he calls Dinu Brătianu and sets an appointment at his place at 11. He will go with Lupu. At six in the afternoon we will meet at Mihai Popovici's. Mihalache and Madgearu will also be there as they arrive during the day from Dobreşti.I returned home to finish my preparations for the draft. We still do not have complete information on the things occurred and discussed in the Privy Council. There are all sorts of versions available. On my way home I drop shortly at C. Mihăilescu's office. I find him talking to Georgescu-Cocoş, Serdici and Leon. Georgescu pretends Iorga declared for rejecting the Russian ultimatum and that now he too has become aware of the fact that a cabinet including Titulescu and Lupu should have been made up which could have reached an understanding with the Soviets. Georgescu also says that Iorga is angry with the King and Tătărescu for their policy of collaboration with the Iron Guard and with Germany. Leon and Serdici remind Georgescu how guilty Iorga too is of the present situation. "Iorga, my dears, has never been a politician in the true sense of the word." [...]At six we have a bureau meeting at Mihai Popovici's, who has returned this afternoon from Govora where he is taking a water cure. All the members of the bureau are present. Mihalache and Popovici look down in the mouth. Madgearu makes great efforts to hold his head high. Lupu looks worried like on the eve of a parliamentary battle. Only Maniu is calm as usual but only God and I know what is going on in his heart. Ghiţă Pop and I keep quiet because, given the party hierarchy, the current situation cannot in any way be blamed on us. On the contrary! We two have done our utmost to support Maniu and his policy. Lupu, except for a few hesitations, has, in general, been with us. It is Mihalache, Popovici and Madgearu who are hugely to blame in our party, having permanently sabotaged Maniu.Now they are reaping what they have sown. Lupu fulfils today the awkward role of censoring these mistakes. He asks to be allowed to speak right at the beginning of the meeting. For half an hour he hauls them big over the coals, reproaching them all faults they committed since the summer of 1936, since when we missed the single occasion we had to strike a deal with the Soviets. "You sabotaged the entire action Hudiţă and I have undertaken in the summer of 1936 in Paris, in full agreement with Titulescu[xii]. You thought I had created too strong a political platform and could be a peril for our friend Mihalache, for the policy of understanding with the Soviets. When we came back to the country you not only failed to help us to counter Stelian Popescu, who started his famous campaign against us and the Sărindar newspapers but you went so far as to encourage him on the q. t. Who benefited from all this scheming? [...] Carol who thus could rid himself of Titulescu and all the newspapers on Sărindar Street that supported our party's policy and Titulescu. Everything Mr. Maniu and I have endeavored to do ever since in order to force Carol not to push the country into an understanding with Germany you two have thwarted under various pretexts; recently, our friend Mihalache even accepted to become counselor [...] and in agreement with his pals, Madgearu and Popovici, you were about to get enrolled in the totalitarian party of the beast, for several years pressing for an alliance with Hitler. Does the Soviets' Ultimatum take you by surprise now? Ever since 1936 Litvinov warned us several times that the Soviets would not allow the Germans near the Dniester in any way and in any form. Now hold hands with Tătărescu and the whole gang of traitors around him and Carol, and assume responsibility for the disaster visited upon us!"Addressing Maniu, Lupu continues thus: "And you, Mr. Maniu, bear part of the guilt because you failed to use your discretionary power to put us with the back to the wall and force us to sort out our attitudes, to follow you and the policy envisaged by you. Or to quit the party as others have done before. I recognize in all earnest my share of guilt. I shouldn't have stayed put, satisfied with the idea that if most of the front-benchers do not agree then there is nothing for me to do. Thus I have remained indifferent to events that I know for sure are to the detriment of this country. We, Mr. Maniu, as politicians, are responsible before the nation not only for what we did and what we failed but also for what we knew to be good and did not undertake. I hope my three friends don't feel hurt for what I have told them. We are witnessing events that are way too painful for this nation. The consciousness of responsibility burdens my shoulders because I failed to do what I should have done in order to spare the nation all these miseries. I ask my friends to embark on some soul searching now because we are all responsible before our poor nation that has trusted us all along whereas we failed to perform up to par!" Friday, September 6, 1940The Great Day! I slept miserably, two hours towards dawn at best. When I woke up at seven Ispasiu brought me the big news I had been expecting for ten years: The abdication [...] On the Radio they said he abdicated in favor of his son, Mihai, and that Antonescu[xiii] was charged with leading the nation! I dressed up in a hurry and rang home to tell them I was fine, and would be there in half an hour. When I got to my house all the radio sets on my street were broadcasting the tidings of Carol's abdication and general Antonescu's Appeal to the country [...]The event is so amazing that I can hardly believe it. I have too long waited for it and often without too big hopes. Yet I can't jubilate as much as I should have! I try to talk over the phone to my friends but I must wait a lot to be put through. After half past nine I give up for there's no dialing tone any more. Too many people on line, commenting the event of the day, to be able to make any call.By ten Costică Mihăiescu and Lupu show up with sweetmeats and a bottle a champagne, "to celebrate the abdication of the beast," Lupu explains The three of us embrace, congratulate each other, and rejoice like kids around the Christmas tree filled with toys and glittering lights. A few moments we content ourselves with simple explanations: "What a great event", "Good for Antonescu", "Finally the country can breathe freely", etc. "From now on the miseries visited on Romania will be easier to endure," says Lupu. "We have to see what can be done about Transylvania and what Antonescu thinks about this matter." Mihăiescu believes the situation could still be saved by stopping the evacuation of the other areas, and commanding our army to enter the region ceded yesterday.We interrupt our conversation to listen to the latest news on the radio. At eight King Mihai was sworn in before patriarch Nicodim and the new chairman of the Court of Cassation, Gh. Lupu. Antonescu received full powers and the tile of Head of State. The 1938 Constitution was suspended. The ministers in the former cabinet keep their positions until the new government is formed. The law-making bodies have been dismantled. The King's tasks are set by Decree. [...] General Dombrovski is dismissed from the post of mayor general of Bucharest. Colonel Ion Cameniţă is appointed general director of the State Security Department and police prefect of Bucharest. In his Appeal to the country, Antonescu declares that from today on "a new regime, not only a new government is instated" in the country. The formula comes as a surprise to us, and we wonder what he means by "a new regime". From the radio we learn that Queen Elena, Mihai's mother has been summoned to the country from Dresden where she was visiting. At a quarter to eleven we go to Maniu's. Mihăiescu gives us a ride in his car.All the members of the bureau are present plus Ionel Pop, Fănel Mihăiescu and Aurel Dobrescu, who also take part in our discussions. I found them commenting on Stelian Popescu's article about Carol's abdication, published in a special edition of the Universul newspaper, issued one hour before. Ghiţă Pop insists on reading it to us, first of all to take Madgearu, Mihalache and Popovici down a peg who, in various occasions showed willing to collaborate with Carol, and even enroll in the Nation Party. I shall reproduce it almost entirely because each line in this article is a slap on the face of these guys who today realize how right we were, Maniu, Lupu, Ghiţă Pop and I. At a given time we were about to lose Lupu who, luckily for him, quickly realized he would be making a wrong move.Here is this article. "He who was Carol II abdicated. He who the future generations will remember as the biggest pestilence ever visited on Romania. Today, September 6, part of the ordeal this nation has suffered with resignation and manliness has come to an end with the abdication of this degenerate, landed on the throne of Romania. Carol Caraiman, (the new name he assumes from now on) the usurper of his son's throne ten years ago, the Freemason and lover of the dissolute kike Lupescu brought over here to be the companion and inspiration of the degenerate [...] The rule of an alcoholic and amoral epileptic! For ten years we gnashed our teeth and put up with the endless row of dastardly knaves steering the State, all in tune, rapt in admiration at the simplest words of the sadist whose orders they carried out like the holy commandments. The canker has been rooted out! Lend every support to this providential man, general Antonescu…"I for one accept every word in this article by Stelian Popescu, with only one reserve: "the support to be lent to Antonescu," in case he carries out the Vienna Award provisions or wants us to wage war against the Soviets alongside Germany.After reading the article I remember we had a brief discussion on the topic. Mihalache and Madgearu found it "too obnoxious", saying that anyway Stelian Popescu wasn't exactly the moral authority to assert such things. "He put on paper exactly what every single Romanian thinks," Lupu replied. "As to the form it can be excused if we take into account how hated the beast is. Thank God we disposed of him! I suggest we congratulate Antonescu to have managed to rid the country of such an infamous character!"We then passed to information. Every item was reviewed in turn. Popovici, Lupu, Mihalache and Madgearu remarked with considerable pleasure that Carol's dictatorship had been removed and all the political cheats and frauds, beastly Carol's accomplices, had been relegated. The four of them paid homage to Antonescu for this work of political cleansing. Lupu expressed a slight reserve though as to our future relations with Antonescu. "Everything he has done so far is perfect," he said. "The nation ought to bear him eternal gratitude for having rid us of that fraud Carol, and all his minions, and for having eradicated his sinister dictatorship which cramped the country into the frontiers of today. Remains to be seen if after having escaped a dictatorship we will not enter another, just as dangerous, especially as Antonescu is resolved to play into the hands of the Germans, alongside with the other political dregs of this country, the Iron Guard and their henchmen. The fact that he has assumed the title of Leader of the State in my opinion smacks of dictatorship à la Hitler or Mussolini. This is what worries me now when we still ignore all the secrets that enabled him to rid us of [...] Carol." "For all the judicious reserves of Mr. Lupu's," I said, "I agree to all the praises sung to Antonescu; still, I too am afraid we don't end up in the German camp, if the fact turns out to be true that Fabricius[xiv] helped him and he's been in cahoots with him for quite a time." "I also have the same reserves as Messrs. Lupu and Hudiţă," Ghiţă Pop declared.Maniu spoke last. He began by saying that indeed Antonescu had done "a very good job for which we have to be grateful" but then he continued: "The reserves expressed by Messrs. Lupu and Hudiţă are the more grounded as we have all the reasons in the world to believe that his progress was achieved with Germany's help, which implies huge difficulties in the future." "Someone very well placed and therefore likely to know everything that happened at the palace during the night," Maniu continued, "told me at 10 that things in connection with Carol's abdication and Antonescu's appointment as Leader of the State stood completely in a different way than presented by the communiqués. It was not a matter of abdication but of downright dethronement. Therefore only when we learn the whole truth about this event will we be able to make a final judgment and find out in what direction we are heading. One thing is certain, anyway: Antonescu did not keep the pledge made before Brătianu and I, that is to refuse all solution that was not based on Carol's abdication and the formation of a national government headed by me, and Dinu Brătianu as foreign minister. The fact that he has accepted to become Leader of the State, cutting all connection with Mr. Brătianu and I, is an indication that he availed himself of our political and moral authority for a personal end. It is appropriate therefore to wonder who he relies on when he plays such a bold game. In a day or two we'll find that out, most likely. Until then I ask you to be cautious and reserved in your relations with him until we learn his purpose and with whom he intends to collaborate." Saturday, September 14, 1940I see Maniu at half past eight in the morning. He arrived last night from Transylvania. He decided to cancel the great demonstration at Alba Iulia in order to avoid inevitable disorders caused by the Romanian population's deep discontent. All the roads were busy with huge convoys of carts, chariots, cars and trucks filled with people seeking haven after Transylvania had been ceded to the Hungarians. "There's so much pain in the hearts of these people," Maniu opines, "that we must avoid their meeting in too big numbers lest they allow themselves to be carried away by their despair and demand the annulment of the 1918 Union to the Older Kingdom. The moment I learnt that many of these refugees reproach the Older Kingdom to have deceived and forsaken them, letting them at the discretion of the Hungarians – therefore they now want to sever all ties with Bucharest – I realized that holding such a big meeting at Alba Iulia in this kind of atmosphere is wrought with perils."Maniu does not believe a single word of what Antonescu said in the three communiqués referring to the conditions of the abdication. Today he entreaties me to go and see him and, in his name, ask him for the truth on the matter. At ten he leaves with a car, going to Madgearu's vineyard where he will meet Mihalache at lunch. He says that I should drop by David Popescu's[xv] since, according to his information, Antonescu will publish the list of the new government today or tomorrow. Maniu is resolute not to come in direct contact with Antonescu "because of the shameful manner in which he went back on the word he gave him." He wants to see what cabinet he scrapes together and only then will he set a course of action for our party in connection with him and his policy. Maniu does not take seriously Hitler's threats at Britain and is convinced he will be defeated. Sunday, September 15, 1940I see in the papers that King Mihai was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Lieutenant-colonel Dămăceanu, my former colleague in the graduation examination of 1915 (the graduates of the Boarding High School of Iaşi defended their school-leaving papers alongside us, the students of the National High School) is appointed royal adjutant, while major Mircea Tomescu aide-de-camp. At the same time the resignation is announced of Mrs. Gusti, née Militineau, a Jew and a cousin of Mrs. Lupescu! I read in the Universul a long interview granted by old Zelea Codreanu of the Iron Guard, a little wooly and confuse like his mind. Anyway, the cabinet lined up by Antonescu has a strong Iron Guard whiff although there are some non-legionaries among them, such as Leon, Mareş, Cretzianu, and Mihai Antonescu[xvi] but these too are great Jerry-lovers.Radio London itself announces that the other night the Germans heavily bombed the British capital, losing, nonetheless, 300 planes. Two or three more clashes like this, and Hitler will be left wingless, whereas Britain can get seriously supplied by the United States! Thursday, October 15, 1940Today, in the half-hour break at 11, I talked foreign policy with my colleagues for the first time. None of them contradicted