A long friendship
Romania and the United States share a long-standing friendship dating back to 1880. That year, on June 14, the two countries established diplomatic relations. Eugene Schuyler becomes the first U.S. representative appointed to serve in Bucharest after the recognition of Romania’s independence, being a resident minister and consul general to Romania, Serbia and Greece, residing in Athens. He presented his credentials to Prince Carol I on December 14, 1880.
The first Consular Convention between Romania and the United States of America was signed on June 5/17, 1881.
On October 1, 1917, the Romanian Legation in Washington is opened. Dr. Constantin Angelescu had been appointed on September 25, 1917, by Royal Decree, the first head of mission of Romania to the United States, as extraordinary envoy and minister plenipotentiary. A few months later, in January 1918, Livius Teiuşanu (1888-1963) joined the representation of our country in the United States, as the first military attaché sent to America.
On October 26, 1918 Vasile Stoica participates as a representative of the Romanian people at the ceremony of signing the Declaration of Common Aims of the peoples subjugated by Austria-Hungary, organized by the Mid-European Union at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a moment that anticipates the achievement of the Great Union on December 1, 1918.
Peter Augustus Jay was the first U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to be commissioned exclusively to Romania. He was appointed on April 18, 1921, presented his credentials on June 30, and served until May 9, 1925.
King Ferdinand I of Romania signed, on August 4, 1924, a Royal Decree on the establishment of a Honorary Consulate of Romania in Maryland and the appointment of William W. Bride as Honorary Consul.
Afterwards, the relations between the two states continued to deepen. On October 18, 1926, Queen Mary of Romania begins her famous visit to the United States of America and Canada. The visit included, among others, visits in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Montreal, Ottawa, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, cities where she was greeted by officials and enthusiastic crowds lining the streets.
U.S. President Calvin Coolidge hosted a reception for Queen Mary at the White House and the Mayor of New York presented her with The Key to the city. In Washington, Queen Mary visited the Romanian Legation, George Washington’s House at Mount Vernon and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.
Queen Mary also had meetings with Indian chiefs from the Sioux and Blackfoot tribes and participated in the inauguration of the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, a museum whose section bears her name and currently holds over 100 objects donated by the queen.
Although originally scheduled to depart on December 11, the worsening health of her husband, King Ferdinand led Queen Maria to end the visit on November 24, 1926, three weeks early.
On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair was inaugurated, with the theme “The World of Tomorrow”, in which Romania participated with a pavilion whose general commissioner was Dimitrie Gusti.
Romania presented two buildings: the Romanian Pavilion (architect G.M. Cantacuzino) and the Romanian House (architect Octav Doicescu).
The artistic component of the Romanian participation consisted of paintings signed by Nicolae Grigorescu, Ion Andreescu, Theodor Pallady, Gheorghe Petrașcu, sculptures by Cornel Medrea, Oscar Han, Mihai Onofrei, Mac Constantinescu, Milița Petrașcu, Ion Jalea, monumental and decorative art objects by Olga Greceanu, Dem Demetrescu, Lena Constante, Nora Steriade, etc.
A large part of these remained in the United States of America and are today at the “Saint Mary” Romanian Orthodox Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio.
In the context of the political-military events of World War II, December 12, 1941 marks a period of interruption of diplomatic relations, which are resumed on February 7, 1946, at legation level.
Thus, on December 12, 1941, under pressure from Manfred von Killinger and Renato Bova Scoppa, the representatives of Germany and Italy in Bucharest, the Romanian government declared war on the United States of America. This was after Hitler declared war on the United States on December 11, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The Americans were not quick to respond to this declaration of war. The U.S. countersigned the declaration of war in question only half a year after it was issued, at the insistence of the Soviet government. On June 2, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt submitted to Congress the U.S. declaration of war against Romania. On June 3 it was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives, a vote mirrored by the Senate on June 4.
On February 7, 1946, diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America were resumed, at the legation level. (Photo: The building of the Romanian Legation in 1926)
An important event to promote Romania, which took place in the middle of the Cold War, was the opening of the ”Folk Art from Romania” Exhibition in New York, on May 5, 1959.
Those who visited the exhibition could admire Romanian folk costumes, Romanian ceramics, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, carpets, fabrics, leather items, etc. Also, the exhibition included several panels: with geographical and economic data about Romania, with photos of old Romanian architecture or with views from the tours undertaken abroad by the Romanian folk dance and song ensembles. At the same time, a stand with specialized books/publications (Romanian folk art), discs with Romanian folk music and philatelic series dedicated to Romanian folk art was arranged.
Five years later, diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America were raised to Embassy level, on June 1, 1964.
Petre Bălăceanu was the first Ambassador of Romania to the United States of America (1964-1967). Previously, between 1961 and 1964, he was Extraordinary Envoy and Plenipotentiary Minister of Romania to the United States.
Petre Bălăceanu had been appointed Ambassador of Romania to the U.S. on August 7, 1964 by Decree of the Romanian State Council.
The first Ambassador of the United States in Romania (1964-1965) was William A. Crawford. Previously, between 1962 and 1964, he was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Romania.
William A. Crawford had been appointed Ambassador in Romania by the U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson on December 4, 1964.
The President of the United States, Richard Nixon, visited Romania between August 2-3, 1969. It was the first visit of an American president to Romania and the first visit to a socialist country after the Second World War. President Richard Nixon was accompanied by his wife, Patricia Nixon, Henry A. Kissinger, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Martin J. Hillenbrand, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and other officials.
The visit took place in the context of Romania’s approach to the West and the condemnation of the aggressive foreign policy of the Soviet Union, which had invaded Czechoslovakia, stifling the Prague Spring.
The first visit of a Romanian head of state to the United States took place between October 13-27, 1970, when Nicolae Ceaușescu was invited by the U.S. President Richard Nixon to the USA on the occasion of the jubilee session dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the UN.
In addition to the official meetings, Ceaușescu visited the Ford car factory, but also the Disneyland amusement park and the Niagara Falls. He was met with hostility by the Romanians settled in the USA.
On January 19, 1972, the American Library was inaugurated in Bucharest, after the Romanian Library in New York had been established. On August 3, 1969, during the official visit of U.S. President Richard Nixon to Romania, an agreement was signed between the two heads of state for the establishment of a Romanian Library in the U.S.A. and an American Library in Romania. Over time, the Romanian Library in New York has gone through a series of name changes and transformations, currently being known as the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York.
On February 10, 1972 the “Romanian Civilization” course was launched at Columbia University in New York by the Romanian historian Constantin C. Giurescu.
Between December 4-7, 1973, Nicolae Ceauşescu’s second visit to the USA took place.
On this occasion was signed in Washington the Joint Declaration containing the principles underlying the relations between the two states, and were adopted the Joint Declaration on economic, industrial and technical cooperation between the two countries and the Joint Statement.
On June 11, 1975, a meeting between Nicolae Ceaușescu and President Gerald Ford takes place in Washington, on which occasion the Romanian President invites President Ford to visit Romania.
Also, Nicolae Ceaușescu meets with leaders of the Congress, with representatives of Jewish organizations and with the authors of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which conditioned the granting of the Most Favored Nation Clause to the nation most favored by the emigration policy promoted in the country requesting the clause. Romania was interested in obtaining the Most Favored Nation Clause, but this was dependent on meeting the conditions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
The President of the United States, Gerald Ford, visited Romania on August 2, 1975.
In the same year, the U.S. grants Romania the Most Favored Nation Clause, to the extent allowed by U.S. law for states that did not have market economy status, the clause being renewed annually. It was removed in 1988 due to the human rights abuses by the communist regime in Romania. An important element in the evaluation of the renewal of the Clause was the compliance with the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment (to the Trade Exchange Act of 1974) which also referred to the policy of the state receiving the clause in relation to requests for emigration, considered part of human rights.
Nicolae Ceaușescu made his last trip to the United States, between April 11 and 17, 1978, at the invitation of President Jimmy Carter. During the official visit, on April 12, 1978, the two presidents made press statements and participate in a photo opportunity with members of the press at the White House.
After leaving Washington, Nicolae Ceaușescu visited the states of Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana and New York, having meetings with personalities from the financial world and representatives of the business environment.
During the visit, several anti-communist Romanian emigrants from New York demonstrated in front of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, against the communist leader.
U.S. Vice President, George Bush, visited Romania between September 18-19, 1983.
On December 27, 1989, during the Romanian Revolution, Embassy of Romania advised U.S. Department of State that from now on the nation it represents is called “Romania” not “Socialist Republic of Romania”.
The first visit of an American official to Romania, after the fall of the communist regime, took place on February 11, 1990, when the U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, visited Bucharest, part of a tour that also included Prague, Sofia and Moscow.
According to a telegram of Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on this occasion, James Baker “welcomed the victory of the Romanian people and expressed his support for the actions taken by the new authorities on the path of renewal, reforms, freedom and democracy”.
James Baker had meetings with the Prime Minister Petre Roman, the president of the Provisional Council of National Unity (CPUN), Ion Iliescu, and leaders of the opposition parties. The message of the Secretary of State was that United States support political pluralism, the reform process and the stability of a market economy, the organization of free and fair elections and for the respect of human and minority rights. He also announced a U.S. humanitarian aid of 80 million dollars for Romania.
On July 24, 1990, the Prime Minister of Romania, Petre Roman, writes a letter to NATO’s Secretary General, Manfred Worner, inviting him to visit Romania. The letter also suggests the accreditation of a Romanian Ambassador to NATO.
On October 23, 1990, Prime Minister Petre Roman meets NATO Secretary General Manfred Worner in Brussels, being the first prime minister from a former communist country to visit NATO headquarters.
The United States and Romania signed, on May 28, 1992, a bilateral investment treaty, which came into force in 1994.
On September 22, 2003, prior to Romania’s accession to the EU, the United States and Romania amended the treaty, which remains in effect.
In July 1993, Romania signed a bilateral affairs agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense and the State of Alabama establishing the Alabama–Romania State Partnership Program.
Since that time both partners have had diplomatic visits and training missions with each other on many occasions with the intent to improve interoperability and strengthen the NATO mission on both hemispheres.
US Deputy Defence Secretary visits Bucharest in October 1993 and presents the US proposal on the setting up of a Partnership for Peace, a program aimed at creating trust between the member states of NATO and other states mostly in Europe, including post-Soviet states.
On January 26, 1994, Romania becomes the first post-communist country to join the Partnership for Peace program, through the signing, in Brussels, by the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Teodor Meleşcanu, of the Framework Document of the Partnership for Peace, proposed by NATO. The document allowed joint participation in peacekeeping and crisis resolution operations, as well as in joint military exercises. Its individual program is signed in May 1995.
Between September 25 and October 3, 1995, President Ion Iliescu’s working visit to the United States took place at the invitation of U.S. President Bill Clinton, a visit that marked the opening of a new page in Romanian-American relations.
1993 – 1996
The Most Favored Nation Clause is re-granted to Romania, on an annual basis, on November 8, 1993.
In August 1996, the U.S. Congress approved making the Most Favored Nation Clause permanent for Romania, following the progress made in the process of economic reform and the creation of conditions for the development of market economy.
One of the historical moments in the relationship between Romania and the United States unfolded on July 11, 1997, with President Bill Clinton’s visit to Bucharest. This marks the launch of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States, which today constitutes one of the fundamental pillars of Romania’s foreign and security policy.
This was followed, on July 14-21, 1998, by the official visit to Washington of President Emil Constantinescu, at the invitation of the U.S. Presdinet, Bill Clinton. On this occasion, President Emil Constantinescu delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress.
On November 23, 2002, the President of the United States George W. Bush visits Romania to mark the moment of our country’s invitation to join NATO, which had taken place the day before, in Prague.
A few months later, on March 10, 2003, the U.S. authorities granted Romania the status of a “market economy”, an important element in the deepening of economic relations, both in terms of trade and U.S. investments in Romania.
This opens up an intense period of meetings at the highest level, both in Bucharest and Washington, and of strengthening the friendship between the two countries.
In the autumn of the same year, between October 26-29, the President of Romania Ion Iliescu pays an official visit to Washington, where he has meetings with President George W. Bush, Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld , the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, members of the US Congress, representatives of the American business environment, representatives of the Romanian community in the USA.
On July 18 -21, 2004, the visit to the USA of the Prime Minister of Romania, Adrian Năstase takes place (New York – UN and Washington D.C.). The bilateral program includes meetings with President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, members of the U.S. Senate.
The President of Romania, Traian Băsescu goes on an official visit to the United States between March 8 and 10, 2005. On this occasion, he has meetings with US President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, Republican and Democrats Congressmen.
Between July 26-28, 2006, a new official visit of the President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, takes place in Washington. On this occasion, the President has meetings with George W. Bush, the President of the United States, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, members of the Romania Caucus of the US Congress, co-chaired by Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania) and Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas). The main objective of the visit is to strengthen the intensified political dialogue and the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States of America.
US President George W. Bush visits Romania (Bucharest and Constanța) on April 2-4, 2008. The visit included bilateral meetings (with the President and Prime Minister of Romania), as well as attending the NATO Summit in Bucharest.
Between October 21-22, 2009, the Vice President of the USA, Joe Biden, visits Romania. The program includes bilateral meetings with the President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, the Prime Minister of Romania, Emil Boc, with the leader of Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mircea Geoană and with the leader of National Liberal Party (PNL), Crin Antonescu.
Romanian President Traian Băsescu pays a new visit to Washington DC on September 13, 2011. The program of the visit includes meetings with US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and CIA Director David Petraeus. On this occasion, the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century between Romania and the United States of America was adopted. At the same time, the President of Romania held discussions with the members Romania Caucus from the Congress of the United States of America, as well as with leaders of the Romanian community in the USA.
The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi sign the Agreement between Romania and the United States of America on the Deployment of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania.
On October 28, 2013, construction works start at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System at the Deveselu military base in Olt county.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits Romania again on May 20-21, 2014. The program of the visit included meetings with the President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, a speech at the Cotroceni Palace, in front of an auditorium made up of politicians, officials, students and civil society representatives and a visit to Romanian Air Force 90th Airlift Base, where he delivers a speech in front of American and Romanian soldiers.
On June 14, 2015, the two countries celebrated 135 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives marked this anniversary by Resolutions. Also, the documentary exhibition “135 years of diplomatic relations Romania-USA” was opened in Bucharest.
The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, proclaimed June 24, 2015 as “Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse” in the American Capital, Washington, D.C., thus responding to the efforts of the Romanian Embassy in the United States.
In the following year, on September 28, 2015, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden receives Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House.
The ceremony dedicated to the certification of the operational capacity of the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) from the Deveselu Military Base takes place on May 12, 2016.
Ten days later, on May 22-25, 2016, Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș pays a working visit to the USA.
From June 5 to 9, 2017, President Klaus Iohannis is in Washington and has meetings with US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, US Senate President Pro Tempore Orin Hatch.
During the year of 2018, on the occasion of Romania’s 100th Anniversary since the Great Union of Romanians, our country was honored with messages from President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo; with resolutions and proclamations from the House of Representatives, 45 governors and the mayor of the American capital, Washington, D.C.
President Iohannis returns to the United States on August 20, 2019 for a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. On this occasion, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Romania and the U.S. Government on 5G technology is signed.
In 2020 was celebrated the 140th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Romania and the United States of America. The U.S. Congress marked the anniversary moment, in the Senate and the House of Representatives, through two bipartisan Resolutions. Also, the U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, an anniversary letter that eloquently highlights the solidity of the bilateral Strategic Partnership, as well as the friendship and strong bond based on common values between the two states. At the same time, on June 14, 2020, a virtual exhibition dedicated to the anniversary was inaugurated.
On October 8, 2020 in Washington, Defense Minister Nicolae Ciucă and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed the Roadmap for bilateral defense cooperation covering the period 2020-2030.
On May 10, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden attends B9 Summit via video system.
During the meeting that took place in Bucharest, President Klaus Iohannis requested, in his intervention, “coherent and unified improvement of the deterrence and defense posture on the Eastern Flank, especially on the Black Sea”. For his part, the American president conveyed the fact that the United States is “committed to defending NATO’s eastern flank, strengthening the region’s energy security and working together to support Ukraine.”
Against the backdrop of rising tensions and security threats from Russia in the region, on October 20, 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin paid a visit to Romania and held talks with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciucă.
In November 2021, a new meeting of the Strategic Dialogue took place at the Department of State. Romania and the US are committed to working together on advancing cooperation on concrete projects in the field of security and defense, economic and trade relations, energy, human rights, cultural relations.
On March 11, 2022, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris is in Bucharest and has meetings with the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis and the Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă. At the end of the talks, the U.S. Vice President reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to defend every inch of NATO territory.