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Memorandum Addressed To Roumanian Government By The British Political Representative In Bucharest On 25Th June

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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His Majesty's Government have been following closely events and developments in Roumania in the hope that no opportunity might be lost of improving Anglo-Roumanian relations in political and economic spheres in the best interests of both countries. Public opinion, however, in the United Kingdom has been shocked at the way in which, during recent months, the Roumanian Government have proceeded arbitrarily with its indiscriminate arrests of those who are regarded as their political opponents. Those arrested include old men, priests, professors, students and others who in many cases have no political affiliations and are simply deprived of their freedom indefinitely by or with the acquiescence of the Roumanian authorities on suspicion of being involved in subversive activities.

Both on humanitarian grounds and in view of their responsibility to ensure the fulfilment of the terms of the Peace Treaty, His Majesty's Government are quite unable to pass over in silence the fact that those arrested are neither charged with any precise crime or offence nor, in most cases, even interrogated. Some are released without ever knowing the reasons for their arrest. Further, it is common knowledge that conditions under which political prisoners are detained in such prisons as Pitesti, Aiud and elsewhere, are in themselves a denial of the human rights specifically guaranteed under Article 3 of the Treaty. Lack of food and proper medical and adequate hygenic facilities have resulted in sickness and in certain cases prisoners are reported to have died. This campaign of intimidation has caused untold suffering not only among those at present languishing in prison but also among the families of those over whose heads hangs the threat of arrest on account of their honest political convictions. Even though some of those detained may have been released, there is reason to believe that it is not long before their places are taken by other victims. On nth June the official figure of those under arrest given by the Minister of the Interior to the Prime Minister and communicated by the latter to Mr. Morgan Phillips and Mr. Watson at their interview with him was 1,303, and it is therefore reasonable to suppose the number of those who have passed through prison during the last three months is much higher.

His Majesty's Government strongly reprobate the employment in a civilised country of methods which they had hoped to see extinguished for ever when the German Secret Police were dissolved. That the reputation of Roumania abroad must as a result suffer severely is primarily the concern of the Roumanian Government. It is however of concern to His Majesty's Government that the Roumanian Government have, in their assurances of June, 1946, given full guarantees in regard to the liberties of the individual. Moreover, His Majesty's Government must reiterate that in Article 3 of the Peace Treaty which the Roumanian Government so recently signed, they have accepted an obligation to secure for all persons under Roumanian jurisdiction the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms. The present policy of the Roumanian Government is in direct conflict with their unequivocal assurances and obligations which assure to the Roumanian people rights that cannot be denied or modified by Roumanian legislation or judicial procedure.