1 OCTOBER 1988, Page 42

LETTERS Romania remembered

Sir: Your timely leading article 'Remem- ber Romania' (17 September) made an eloquent case for the West to repudiate one of the Eastern bloc's more despotic regimes.

However, you miss an important point. Following Khruschev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956, Romania refused to toe the Moscow line and abandon Stalinist poli- cies. Throughout the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, Romania con! istently cocked a snook at policies adoptec by the USSR and forced upon its Warsa• • Pact satellites Such was Romania's disdain for the re- visionism of the USSR that it refused to have Soviet troops on its s( ' and declined to participate in Warsaw Pact military exercises.

Cynically, Western leaders exploited Romania's 'independence' from the Soviet bloc as a means of fomenting dissension in the Warsaw Pact itself. That Romania was happily subjecting its citizens to the type of Stalinist terror long since abandoned it the USSR was conveniently forgotten i ie interests of superpower realpolitik.

In response, Ceausescu was only too happy to exploit Romania's new-found favour with the West to secure 'soft' loans and favourable trade deals denied to his comrades in Prague, Budapest or Warsaw.

The West's adoration of this squalid tyranny reached fever pitch following Mos- cow's decision to boycott the 1984 Olym- pics in Los Angeles. Romania was lauded for her 'courage! in fying the Soviet Union by deciding to send a team. Of course, more favourable trade deals fol- lowed.

Thus, Ceausescu had been persuaded that he could get away with whatever he

thinks fit,,secure in the knowledge that his 'sturdy independence' from Moscow will guarantee his regime the approval of the West.

Michael Gibson

24 Carden Road, London SE15