Official Romanian Version of December Events
This telegram from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sent on December 19, comes two days after the shooting of demonstrators in Timisoara and informs Romanian ambassadors abroad of the government's official position on the crisis and how they should handle questions from their foreign hosts about the "so-called events" taking place in their country. Ambassadors were instructed to deny any knowledge of what happened at Timisoara and to strongly emphasize the principle of state sovereignty as a warning against foreign intervention in Romanian domestic affairs. This stance reflected the paranoia of Nicolae Ceausescu's government as well as its increasingly isolated position in the region. In an attempt to downplay the situation, Ceausescu had ostentatiously left for a state visit to Iran on December 18 to underscore his lack of concern with the unfolding events. But the official information embargo ended up heightening the frenzy of speculation already building in the international press, and leaving foreign governments scrambling for clues on how to react to developments in this last bastion of communist dictatorship in the region.
Aurel Duma to Romanian Embassies, telegram, 19 December 1989, trans. Mircea Munteanu, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
Telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest) to all Embassies
19 December 1989
Cde. Chief of Mission,
In case you are asked during the exercise of your diplomatic attributes (we repeat: only in case you are asked) about the so-called events taking place in Timisoara, reiterate, with all clarity, that you have no knowledge of such events. After this short answer, and without allowing you to be drawn into a prolonged discussion, resolutely present the following:
We strongly reject any attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of S.R. Romania, a free and independent state. [We reject] any attempt to ignore the fundamental attributes of our national independence and sovereignty, any attempt at [harming] the security interests of our country, of violating its laws. The Romanian [government] will take strong actions against any such attempts, against any actions meant to provoke or cause confusion, [actions] initiated by reactionary circles, anti-Romanian circles, foreign special services and espionage organizations. The [Romanian] socialist state, our society, will not tolerate under any circumstances a violation of its vital interests, of the Constitution, and will take [any] necessary action to maintain the strict following of the letter of the law, the rule of law, without which the normal operation of all spheres of society would be impossible. No one, no matter who he is, is allowed to break the laws of the country without suffering the consequences of his actions.
Instruct all members of the mission to act in conformity with the above instructions. Inform [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] immediately of any discussions on this topic.
Aurel Duma [Secretary of State, MFA]