340.1115A/552: Telegram

The Minister in Rumania (Gunther) to the Secretary of State

142. Department’s telegram No. 106, April 19, 6 p.m.24 It is estimated that there are now 550 Americans residing in Rumania divided roughly into two classes: (a) Professionally employed with large American companies, journalists, missionaries and the Legation Staff. Including families which are not numerous these number 125. (b) Naturalized or native born American citizens of Rumanian origin who have either not yet claimed their passports or who have not returned to the United States for financial reasons.

The majority of the first category will either be required or wish to remain here as long as possible although further efforts will be [Page 82] made to have as many leave now as can. The Brazilian Legation last week sent out further warning to its nationals. These Americans are for the most part concentrated in Bucharest or nearby Ploesti.

The second category is scattered throughout the country mostly on small agricultural properties. They are usually unable to speak English and without sufficient ready funds to reach the United States. It is very doubtful that they could be quickly concentrated or moved in a crisis.

My despatch No. 1151 of December 6, 1939,26 discusses in detail the three possible routes of evacuation in an emergency. All of these are practical at present. However, in the case of hostilities the one to be used will depend on the directions from which the attack or attacks come. Should the war become as rapidly comprehensive as in Poland all roads will be dangerous and it is probable that the best course will be to concentrate the remaining Americans at an interior point of relative safety to prevent road casualties from bombardment and machine gunning from the air until such time as movement is possible.

The Department’s perspective is of course wider but judged from this angle danger would not appear to be so imminent as seems to be supposed elsewhere.

  1. See footnote 22, p. 79.
  2. Not printed.