by Burton Y. Berry
Edited, with an Introduction by Cornelia Bodea
The diaries of the former senior political representative of the United States to Romania from 1944 to 1947, Burton Y. Berry, provide a first-hand account of the Communist takeover of Romania, as seen through the eyes of an American diplomat. Born on 31 August 1901 in Fowler, Indiana, Burton Y. Berry completed his studies at Indiana University before joining the United States Foreign Service. From 1928 to 1944 he served in various posts at American diplomatic missions in Turkey, Greece, Iran, and Egypt. In 1944 he was appointed as senior political representative for the United States in Romania, with the personal rank of minister. As General Cortlandt Van R. Schuyler, the chief of the U.S. military representation on the Allied Control Commission in Romania described it, Berry’s “primary task was to establish and maintain informed channels with the king and the Romanian government.” From this position, Berry witnessed first-hand the events that led to the installation of a Communist regime in Romania following the occupation of the country by the Red Army in August 1944.
Romanian Diaries also includes the top secret Report upon Romania which Berry presented to United States President Harry S. Truman in September 1946. The editor of the diaries, Cornelia Bodea, describes this report as “a significant marker of the beginning of the Cold War. In it he presented Truman with solid documentation of Soviet methods at work in Romania, predicting their employment in other foreign lands under Soviet military occupation.” Berry’s diaries cover the period from 9 November 1944, the day he arrived in Romania, until 20 May 1947, the day he left Bucharest.
The editor, Cornelia Bodea, was one of Romania’s most distinguished historians. A student of the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga, she was a member of the Romanian Academy and the author of numerous books and articles.