Pinstripes & Reds is the first account by an American ambassador to a Soviet Bloc country, that documents the collaboration between the leadership elite of the State Department and the Communists.
Former US Ambassador to Romania David Funderburk stepped down from his post to protest against US policy toward Communist Romania and Eastern Europe.
Ambassador Funderburk details the difficulties faced by anyone daring to challenge the aid-to-Communists policy of Foggy Bottom; the way courageous dissidents are let down by US policymakers and diplomats; and the ways the State Department (& other US government agencies) work hand in glove with some of the world's most ruthless Communists.
Funderburk's service was praised by President Reagan for improving human rights and national security interests: "an invaluable contribution to the goals of [the] administration."
Ambassador Funderburk was unanimously elected as an honorary member of the World Union of Free Romanians, and selected as an honorary head of the Romanian Faith and Liberty Institute, for his courage in challenging authorities to try to help the Romanians and other captive peoples.
Pinstripes & Reds is an eye-opening account which exposes the failure of US policy and describes what must be done to defend freedom, by a leading authority on Eastern Europe.
About the author
David B. Funderburk is a consultant to the US Department of Education, member of the National Advisory Board on International Education, and chairman of the board of the Selous Foundation.
Funderburk received Fulbright and IREX fellowships for study in Eastern Europe; served as a USIA officer in Romania; and received a Ph.D. in history and international studies from the University of South Carolina. From 1981 to 1985, Funderburk served as the US Ambassador to Communist Romania, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
His publications include numerous articles and the books: British Policy Toward Romania, 1938-1940: A Study in Economic & Political Strategy; and If the Blind Lead the Blind.
Since 1975, we have conducted trade with the Socialist Republic of Romania under the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act, which links the assignment of Most-Favored Nation (MFN) status to the establishment of free and open emigration procedures. Time and time again, we have been presented with substantial evidence that the Romanian government harasses and persecutes those who try to emigrate. Time and time again, President after President has chosen to overlook these violations of the basic principles of human rights and to accord the Romanians MFN status, citing Romanian "assurances" that progress would be made. Time and time again, these assurances turn out to be tragically empty promises.
In the period in which Romania has enjoyed preferential trade status with the United States, the Romanian government has attempted to silence critics of the regime. In July, 1978, General Ion Pacepa, former Deputy Director of the CIE (Romanian intelligence service) and special advisor to President Ceausescu, was instructed personally by Ceausescu to conduct secret assassinations by mailing plastic explosives to exiles critical of the Ceausescu regime. Pacepa refused and defected. Since his 1978 defection, he has been the target of at least seven assassination attempts. Paul Goma, the dissident writer expelled to France in 1977, was targeted for assassination in 1982. His would-be assassin, Matei Haiducu, revealed to the French secret service the details of his mission. In 1980, West Germany arrested a man who spied on Romanian emigrants for Romanian intelligence; in February 1981, parcel bombs were sent to the homes of prominent Romanian exiles in Paris and Cologne, injuring two of them and a police bomb expert; in July 1981, Emil Georgescu, an outspoken Romanian program editor at Radio Free Europe was stabbed 22 times. Other Radio Free Europe personnel who have been beaten or targeted for assassination include Monica Lovinescu and Sergious Manoliu. Many more cases can be found during the period in which Romania enjoyed MFN status.
The abuse of religious rights, harassment of emigrant applicants, and assassination of critics of the regime continue unabated. Yet, the U.S. government declines to speak out forcefully. To remain silent while these gross violations of fundamental human rights continue is unconscionable. To my mind, these abuses far outweigh the token gestures of cooperation with which the Romanian government has been forthcoming.
Yet, Romania is often considered to be one of the success stories of the State Department's foreign policy: a country against which the U.S. has supposedly used the "leverage" of MFN to move the Romanians away from the Soviet Union and reduce the number of human rights violations. In Congressional testimony, the State Department cites the increased number of applications for emigration to the U.S., West Germany, and Israel, the fact that Romania went to the boycotted 1984 Olympics, and Romania's condemnation of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as evidence of the success of the U.S. MFN policy. These "successes" are used to convince the President that MFN treatment of Romania should continue.
However, a simple glance at the map of Eastern Europe will tell us how much "leverage" we actually have in encouraging Romanian independence from the Soviet Union. The geostrategic reality is that this country has no open access to the West. It is completely surrounded by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia; countries which have absolutely no tolerance of actions contrary to the wishes of Moscow A basic review of the governmental structure of that country will also reveal how much "leverage" we actually have in reducing the overall emigration problem, the overall religious persecution, and systematic repression of critics of the government. The political reality is that the government of this country is a totalitarian dictatorship run by the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. This man has personally ordered the assassination of critics of his regime, has allowed Bibles to be turned into toilet paper, and runs a police state where cars are randomly stopped and trunks inspected, armed military personnel thoroughly search anyone coming into or going out of the country, and citizens are required by law to report to the police any contact they have had with foreigners within 24 hours.
Former Ambassador to Romania, David Funderburk, is a welcomed voice in the attempt to open the eyes of the American people to the reality of Romania. In his book, Pinstripes and Reds: An American Ambassador Caught Between the State Department and Romanian Communists, 1981-1985, he skillfully explains how one of the most despotic tyrannies of this century deceives the American government into legitimizing Romania's inhumane and anti-religious domestic policies by the continual granting of Most-Favored Nation trading status, while, at the same time, the U.S. ignores the many alarming characteristics of Romania's foreign policy. At the heart of this deception is the State Department's policy of differentiation, by which the U.S. rewards Romania's facade of an independent foreign policy in hopes of weakening the iron hold of the Soviet Union over the Eastern bloc.
It is Funderburk's personal accounts of U.S. policy toward Romania which expose the naivete of this well-intended, but misguided, policy and forces a serious reevaluation of the U.S. position vis-a-vis Romania. His account of the Romanian government's repression of religion, oppression of dissidents, and support of terrorism is eye-opening. One is led to ask how it is possible to believe that a policy of differentiation outweighs the loss of credibility which our great nation attempts to hold as a nation based upon the tenets of freedom and liberty. Funderburk provides the answer through his examination of the accommodating attitude of the elite group of State Department personnel who run their own agenda regarding U.S. policy toward Romania.
David Funderburk is perhaps the most qualified individual to tell the story of the inside workings of U.S. foreign policy toward Romania. A Fulbright Fellow to Romania during the years before MFN was granted, and a USIA staff officer in Romania in 1975, he had both a solid academic background and personal experiences to understand the true policies of the Romanian government. However, as the U.S. Ambassador to Romania for nearly four years, he found himself pursuing the foreign policies of his President while being constantly undermined by both the pinstripers of the State Department who were running their own foreign policy and the Reds of Communist Romania.