THE possibility of negotiating a full settlement with the Soviet Government has been the subject of searching inquiry on both sides of the Atlantic. It was made an issue in the British elections, and was debated at the last meeting of the United Nations Assembly in Paris. The President of the United States has expressed the hope that if our strength increases, a final settlement may be reached. But there is no consensus in the matter. Many believe that all such discussions are idle. How, they ask, can we reach an agreement with men who test the good faith of their actions by criteria which we abandoned almost two thousand years ago? Others feel that if an agreement can but be reduced to writing, and signed, the long-sought goal will be at hand, forgetting that it is not the promise but the fulfillment that is important. Of this, the current history of Rumania provides mournful illustration and example.
Unlike the neighboring states of Bulgaria and Jugoslavia, Rumania is not Slavic in race or language. Unlike Bulgaria, her foreign policy has never been oriented toward Russia. There has never been the slightest disposition on the part of the great majority of Rumanians to collaborate with Russia on a military, economic or political plane. Accordingly, what we witness in the country today is the direct imposition of Soviet controls on a people whose race, language and previous politics give no indication that such controls are desirable or acceptable. It was accomplished, moreover, under an Armistice Convention, i.e. a negotiated settlement, the expressed purpose of which was to safeguard the "independence and sovereignty" of the country.[i] The experience is a warning to all free peoples against trusting in pacts with the Soviets.
Any attempt to analyze the Rumanian débâcle must commence with the events of August 23, 1944. On that date King Michael, in conjunction with a number of Rumanian military leaders and the support of the leaders of the National Peasant
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