Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

History

Supervisor

Professor Brock Millman

Abstract

In the aftermath of the Second World War British-Romanian relations were strained, marked by accusations of espionage directed towards Britain’s diplomats and requests for recalls. The British Government reacted moderately to these, acquiescing to recall their diplomats but refusing to concede to the Romanians when it came to their ‘flimsy’ accusations. Negotiation was preferred to reprisals especially when certain Britons had to be rescued from the Communists’ hands. In one respect Britain was not that indulgent: when money was involved, particularly the assets of oil companies nationalized in 1948.

Trade remained a priority for both the British and Romanian governments. After laborious negotiations, a trade agreement was signed in 1960 and the ascendant trend continued into the 1970s when Harold Wilson and Nicolae Ceausescu established a close relation. Britain’s interest in Romania was defined at this juncture as being firstly political, mercantile and cultural, indicated in order of priority. As far as Romania remained a ‘thorn’ in the Soviet Union’s back, a means to reach the remote Chinese or a mediator between various sides of the world in conflict, politics was priority. Trade remained an issue for both parties. Cultural relations were almost nonexistent for the duration of this period. Concern for human rights, Helsinki agreements notwithstanding, focused entirely on the predicament of a few persons who wished to marry or to reunite with their family in Britain.

When political interest in Romania declined in the 1980s, Britain’s economic interest still remained. Relations between Britain and the Ceausescu’ Romania remained strong until the Revolution of 1989 that swept away Ceausescu and the Communist regime. Although Ceausescu’s policies of national assertion abroad, and promises, censorship and repression inside, had produced a seemingly a stable state, neither Ceausescu nor London, had grasped that a changing background in Eastern Europe would challenge the existence of the Romanian Communist regime. Once renowned for an assertive foreign policy, Romania was again in the spot of world at the end of 1989, this time for having executed its dictator and bloodily ending a regime.


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