The Prelude to Hostilities: Projecting Britain in Romania

  • Dennis Deletant


During the years leading up to Britain’s declaration of war upon Romania, cultural diplomacy was a principal means of projecting British influence and involvement in Romanian life.1 The British Committee for Relations with Other Countries — soon afterwards to be known as The British Council — came into being on 5 December 1934 and drove this effort. It was the brainchild of Reginald Leeper, a senior figure in the News Department of the Foreign Office (he became its head in 1935), and it was largely due to his vision and pertinacity that the Council, with the support of senior figures in the Foreign Office, was established. Its main objective was to win friendship and respect for Britain abroad through cultural and educational activities.2


British Council British Institute British Committee Cultural Diplomacy Romanian Life 
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  1. 1.
    Ioannis Stefanidis (2012), Substitute for Power: Wartime British Propaganda to the Balkans, 1939–44 (Farnham: Ashgate), p. 132.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Arthur John Stanley White (1965), The British Council: The First 25 Years, 1934–1959 (London: The British Council), p. 19.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    See the correspondence between Sir John Simon and Lord Halifax, March 1940, TNA, FO 371/24995; I have taken this reference from Maurice Pearton (1998), ‘British Policy Towards Romania 1939–1941’, Occasional Papers in Romanian Studies, No. 2, Rebecca Haynes (ed.) (London: School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London), p. 73, note 33.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dennis Deletant 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Deletant
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityUSA

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