Cold War diplomatic passport
1950 Foreign Ministry’s directors official travel document.
The search for interesting passports and historically important items is always the goal when it comes to us collectors, we are always on the lookout for important material, this at times seems to be like a “hunt”, the ongoing quest to locate and at times even save the odd item that lies hidden in some box, draw or other location. As collectors and passionate amateur historians we then try to shed some light to those documents and share with fellow enthusiasts the story behind them.
The Peoples Republic of Romania (Republica Socialistă România – RSR) was officially established on December 30th 1947, following the proclamation of the Socialist republic. This was the same time that the king Michael I of Romania was pressured to abdicate as well.
The Eastern Front battles and offensives of 1944 brought, as a result of the advances of the Soviet Red Army close to the borders of the country, Romania closer to the Allies and the switching of sides, by declaring war on its former ally Nazi Germany (on August 23rd King Michael launched a coup that led to the changing of sides). Since there was no official armistice signed between the parties the Red Army was controlling and thus occupying the country prior to the September 12th Moscow Armistice. The Military Soviet occupation of Romania lasted for 14 years with hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops stationed in the country.
March 6th of 1945 saw the establishment of a pro-Soviet government and for the next 2 years purges took place with removal of former government officials which eventually led to the total Communist takeover and the formation of the RSR.
Romania was stripped “naked” of all material due to the SovRom agreement between Moscow and Bucharest that was reached in early 1945, though this led to the establishment of economic enterprises and entities in Romania, it actually led to the shipment of much of the country’s scarce materials and substances to the east, seen by the Soviet Union as retribution or compensation for damages inflected upon her during the war years.
Regardless of the above mentioned, Romania established diplomatic relations first with other countries within the Communist sphere of influence and hen later with other nations around the world. The passport in this article is fine early Cold War sample that was issued with connection to the country’s attempts to strengthen its position in the international community in its first early years.
Diplomatic passport number 509 was issued to department head at the Romanian Foreign Ministry named Aleksandru Lăzăreanu on March 28th 1950, at Bucharest (he was the Jewish son of well known Romanian figure Barbu Lăzăreanu) – he would later become also deputy Foreign Minister in the 1950’s and would also be in contact with Western diplomats in the country during the Hungarian 1956 crisis, explanting the government’s position or developments in the neighboring country).
The passport has numerous diplomatic visas being issued for world-wide travel, extensively used from 1950 up to 1955, with visas for most of Eastern and Western Europe and South America as well. Some of the visas were most likely used during the period of time when Romania was pushing to be accepted into the United Nations and UNSECO, a move that was credited to Aleksandru himself.
I have added images of this early Cold War Diplomatic passport.
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