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My research investigates Romania’s political, diplomatic and economic relations with the US, and UK during the era of détente. It explores why the three states had a profound interest in working closer with each other, and how much they became involved in the general developments of détente, a process that seemed to loosen the bloc-based power structure in Europe and give medium powers, like Romania, more room for manoeuvre. The fact that the US, UK and communist Romania could establish and preserve fruitful relations in the midst of the Cold War is a significant issue for those studying the Cold War history.

My work will enrich the literature in several fields. First, it will contribute to the Romania’s foreign policy under the communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu. Second, it will draw new perspectives on the summitry literature, focusing on the multilateral diplomacy between Bucharest, Washington and London. It will engage in the debate surrounding the value of summit meetings and state visits: links between political and economic interests, and the significance of personalities, like Nicolae Ceaușescu and Henry Kissinger in policy-making. It will also provide details of the process of negotiation through diplomatic services, including the role of ambassadors, foreign ministers and the various other high-ranking officials involved in negotiations. Third, it will contribute to the existing literature on the British-American co-operation during the 1970s, and will answer questions such as why and how much London relied on Bucharest when developing political, diplomatic and economic links with Beijing throughout the 1970s - as Washington similarly did a decade before.

All in all, my work will provide an example of how authoritarian leaders of small states use bilateral meetings in their own advantage. It will underline the importance of creating diplomatic networks between key individuals to win political and economic benefits. I argue that the idea of real foreign policy autonomy was played very cleverly by the Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu. He engaged in a multilateral diplomacy which helped him secure and enhance his personal position. The linking strategy with the Anglophone powers was part of this approach. 

Keywords: bilateral summits, state visits, networks, diplomacy, the Cold War

I am a PhD student in International History at the University of Nottingham, UK. My current research on Romania, the US and UK in the 1970s has been financially supported by several British and American institutions, including the Institute of Historical Research, the Royal Historical Society, and (forthcoming) the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, USA. 

More broadly, my research interests are linked to the Cold War History and the history of communism.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but booking in advance is required.