The President of Rumania, Nicolae Ceausescu, had one again said his country has a right to be independent.
The President of Rumania, Nicolae Ceausescu, had one again said his country has a right to be independent. At the same time, in a speech on December the first, he delivered what has been seen as a warning to Moscow, against interference in Rumania's affairs - saying every country has a sacred right to decide its own destiny without interference from outsider. it is not the first time President Ceausescu has challenged the policies of the Kremlin, and his statement highlighted how different he is to other Warsaw Pact leaders.
SYNOPSIS: President Ceausescu, as Rumania's Communist Party leader, has ruled the country's 22 million people for 13 years. He appears to have solid support through the personality cult he has created. In 1965, at the relatively early age of 47, he was elected First Secretary of the country's Communist party. He has been a member since his schooldays, and, after educating himself, he rose from local to national office. Two years later he became Head of State. Under his previous leader, President Ceausescu had already seen Rumania rebel against a 1962 Soviet economic plan.
His own independent line was illustrated early on, in the 1968 Czechoslovak crisis. His gesture of support in meeting Mr. Alexander Dubcek, came five days before Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia.
President Ceausescu's condemnation of the intervention of foreign troops as interference in Czechoslovakia's internal affairs was supported by Yugoslavia's President Tito. But Rumania, unlike Yugoslavia, is a member of the Warsaw Pact. In the Czechoslovak crisis President Ceausescu refused to commit troops and Rumania alone among the Warsaw Pact countries does not allow member troops on its territory.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon became the first United States President to be received in a Communist country. The invitation came from President Ceausescu, and he has himself been to Washington four times, and established close and profitable ties.
When the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, visited Rumania in 1976, there were hopes for better relations, and an agreement to keep any differences private. That truce lasted until recently. But whatever their differences, Rumania is still an ally of the Soviet Union, which is also its biggest trading partner.
Last year, President Ceausescu visited Cairo, and encouraged President Anwar Sadat to visit Jerusalem. President Ceausescu is the only Warsaw Pact leader to give support, albeit cautious, to the Egyptian-Israeli peace talks.
This year, President Ceausescu was in Britain, breaking more new ground. It was the first ever state visit by a Communist leader. During it, an aircraft deal worth more than 30 million pounds was signed, to build eighty airliners in Rumania.
The visit to Rumania of China's leader, Chairman Hua Kuo-feng, provided the clearest example of President Ceausescu's independent line. The Chinese visit is reported to have enraged the Soviet leaders. But it has shown just how far President Ceausescu is willing to go to pursue his insistence that Communist parties are independent and equal - and answerable only to their own people.