January 1, 1948
Were there plans to replace Michael with another king? The New York Herald Tribune is reporting that before deciding to "install a republic" in Romania, the Romanian Communist Party and Soviet diplomats "engaged in a weird series of negotiations" to maintain the monarchy, but were unable to find a "suitable candidate for the throne."
The reports of the negotiations were disclosed tonight "by highly authoritative sources" and is in the tradition of "fabulous Balkan intrigue and the decision to drop the whole idea of the monarchy is just as garish."
Neither of Romanian Communists nor "their Soviet advisers" could decide which of their candidates "would cause the least harmful public reaction," so they chose to abandon the monarchy and establish a republic,
The Romanian Communists "favored" Archduke Anton of Austria, who is married to Princess Ileana of Romania, the aunt of King Michael. The Soviets preferred, according to reliable reports, in restoring former King Carol, Michael's father to the throne.
The Russians were concerned about the "choice of a Habsburg because of the effect the move might have upon central European nations carved out of the old Habsburg monarchy." The Romanians feared that "recalling Carol would result in the peasants staging long-term passive resistance in opposition to him.
Archduke Anton was "personally espoused" by War Minister Emil Bodnaras, one of the Communist triumvirate, with Foreign Minister Ana Pauker and Finance minister Vasile Luca, that has run the country since December 23.
Bodnaras has been a close friend of Princess Ileana for more than three years.
The eagerness to replace Michael "resulted from the young King's unwillingness to comply with a pre-arranged plan to have the National Peasant Party Juliu Maniu publicly executed." According to informed sources, the king "threatened to disclose the plan abroad."
Michael was also showing "increasing signs of impatience with the Communist-dominated government." In the last year, the king "displayed so much opposition on political proposals," that his stand on Maniu, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, that the Communists decided to "oust him from the throne" before he left to attend the wedding of Princess Elizabeth.
The Communists negotiations with Archduke Anton were not successful. The Soviets decided to sound out Carol in Portugal. Among their proposals was the "stipulation of a reconciliation with his former wife, Queen Mother Helen," and a divorce from Elena Lupescu, Carol's present wife."