This Memorandum to the Romanian Government was written from the OUN Leadership Foreign Liaison Section (RZZ OUN) on January 5, 1944. It contains a historical foreword and proposals regarding co-operation between the Romanian government and the Ukrainian armed resistance.
In the foreword, the authors provide brief information about the struggle of the Ukrainian people to establish their own state. After the battle of Poltava in 1709, the Ukrainian state lost its independence and soon Ukrainian territories fell under the rule of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Ukrainian people proclaimed a Ukrainian National Republic and a Western Ukrainian National Republic on the Ukrainian territories which had been ruled by Russia and the Austria-Hungary respectively. On January 22, 1919, these two Republics joined to form a single state. Unfortunately, this state collapsed as a consequence of Polish and Russian invasions. Ukrainian territories came under the rule of the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia. However, Ukrainians continued to struggle for an independent Ukraine. At present, this struggle is organized by the OUN and is directed primarily against Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Ukrainians do not have any aggressive intentions towards Romanians or other neighbours. Their idea is the establishment of national states on ethnographic principles, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and co-operation among these states.
A precondition for any kind of co-operation is that Romania accept the right of national self-determination and the Ukrainian liberation movement, stop opposing this movement, give up any imperialistic intentions towards Ukraine and recognize the region known as Transnistria as an integral part of Ukraine. The future border between Ukraine and Romania in Bukovyna and Bessarabia will be established by special commissions of the two states on ethnographic principles. Ukrainians also demand that the colonization of Ukrainian territories be stopped, Ukrainian cultural and educational life be permitted in Romania, political prisoners be freed and support no longer be given to anti-Ukrainians forces on occupied territories.
Report of a Meeting between OUN and Romanian Delegates, 18.3.1944
This document is a Ukrainian report about negotiations held in Kyshyniv on March 18, 1944. The Ukrainian participants were “Hromovyi” (Rev. Dr. Ivan Hrynoch), delegate of the OUN Leadership Foreign Liaison Section and delegation head; “Martovych” (Lev Shankovskyi), delegate of the Initiative Committee for the Establishment of the UHVR; “Karpenko” (Capt. Mykola Duzhyi), delegate of the UPA Supreme Command; and “Yarema” (Tymish Semczyshyn), Transnistria OUN head. The members of the Romanian delegation were Dimitru Baranchu, legal advisor from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and delegation head; Col. Ionesku, Col. Perju and a major whose name is not given, military delegates. Baranchu greeted the Ukrainian delegation and declared that the Romanian government was ready to meet the demands made by the Ukrainians in the OUN Leadership RZZ “Memorandum.” The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the issues raised in the memorandum and come to an agreement on co-operation. “Hromovyi” welcomed the position of the Romanian government and said that the Ukrainian delegation represented not only the OUN, but the all-Ukrainian liberation centre which was in the process of formation. Therefore, the resolutions of the Ukrainian delegation would be binding on the future government of Ukraine.
First to be discussed was the question of releasing Ukrainian political prisoners. This included people imprisoned for Ukrainian books, songs, embroideries, etc., excluding Soviet agents and common criminals. The Romanians agreed to release the prisoners, but not all at once, in order to avoid arousing German suspicion. They also put forward the condition that the freed prisoners not conduct any provocative activities against Romania or her allies on Romanian territory.
In the discussion on Romanian colonization of Transnistria, the Romanian representatives explained that it had never really happened, in spite of calls to this effect in the press by hotheaded journalists. Only a few families of the Romanian occupational administration had actually come and recently, Moldavians from Kuban’, refugees escaping the Red Army offensive, had been placed near Rybnytsia. The Romanians promised to settle these Moldavians in Romania. The issue of Transnistria would probably soon become irrelevant, as the Germans were going to assume administration of this territory.
The Romanians attempted to deny that in Transnistria, especially in Odesa, the Romanian administration based its support on Russian chauvinists, including Soviet agents, and destroyed all aspects of Ukrainian life – schools, theaters, press, organizations, etc. Only when “Yarema” provided factual data on discrimination against Ukrainians did they declare that this policy would be stopped. The Romanians also stated that henceforth, Ukrainians in Romania would be subject to the Statute for National Minorities, similarly to Hungarians and other national minorities.
On the subject of military co-operation, the discussion was longer, because the Romanians were not well informed about the UPA and the UNS, and the Ukrainians’ potential. Following the discussion, Baranchu said that the Romanians could assist the UPA by giving them captured Soviet weapons and equipment under the condition that it not be used against the Romanians or their allies. There was also a discussion about exchange of intelligence and other possible co-operation. The Romanians also agreed to accept a limited number of Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Red Army.
The last point of discussion was the issue of borders between the future Ukrainian state and Romania. This proved to be a major obstacle to agreement. The Romanians demanded that Ukrainians recognize the 1939 borders and made the co-operation agreement dependent on this recognition. The Ukrainians attempted to defer the issue of borders, as the underground leadership was not competent to assume such an obligation, which in any case, went against its basic political principles. Following clarification of these unresolved positions, a break was taken at 14:00.
At 16:00, after lunch, the heads of the two delegations met and the content of the discussion was later recounted by “Hromovyi” to the rest of the Ukrainian delegation. Baranchu reiterated that the Romanians truly desired the establishment of an independent Ukrainian state and was sorry that co-operation had not began earlier. In a friendly atmosphere, the two heads spoke in detail about the future co-operation. However, Baranchu again raised the question of the 1939 borders and demanded their recognition. The delegation heads parted agreeing that Baranchu would prepare a draft agreement, following which another meeting would take place. The Ukrainian delegation received the draft agreement at 19:00, and from 22:00 until 02:00, another meeting was held.
During the night session, they discussed the “Draft Memorandum” on co-operation provided by Baranchu. This draft, prepared in Bucharest, was “outdated” and did not coincide with what had been agreed in the morning by the two delegations. Consequently, the Ukrainians suggested rewriting almost all the clauses and eliminating or adding some clauses. This new version of the “Draft Agreement” was discussed during the meeting. As in the morning session, all the points of co-operation on which there was agreement were settled first. Then began a drawn-out discussion regarding recognition by the Ukrainians of the 1939 Romanian borders; this discussion was continued on March 19, 1944, in a morning meeting starting at 10:00. The negotiations ended with the two sides not signing the “Memorandum”, but declaring that co-operation between them was beginning in the spirit of the established principles. Both sides agreed to present the Memorandum for ratification and to make it the basis of future negotiations.
Draft Memorandum between the Ukrainian OUN Delegation and the Romanian Delegation, Meeting Today, March 18, 1944
This is the Ukrainian translation of the “Draft Memorandum”, which was probably prepared by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and given to the Ukrainian delegation. It became the basis of the draft bilateral agreement to which reference is made in the report about the negotiations.
Draft Memorandum between the Ukrainian OUN Delegation and the Romanian Delegation; agreement was reached on the following clauses:
This is the Ukrainian version of the text of the “Draft Memorandum,” established during the Ukrainian-Romanian negotiations. The document is not complete, as it contains only 7 clauses.
© Yevhen Shtendera
Translation: Zonia Keywan