Nicolae Titulescu

Nicolae Titulescu (March 4, 1882, Craiova - March 17, 1941, Cannes) was a well-known Romanian diplomat, who, as foreign minister (1927; 1932–36) for his country, was one of the leading advocates of European collective security. He was President of the League of Nations for two terms.

He passed through his childhood at his father's estate in Tituleşti, Olt County. Upon graduating with honours in 1900 from the Carol I High School in Craiova, he studied law in Paris, obtaining his doctorate with the thesis Essai sur une théorie des droits éventuels. In 1905 he returned to Romania as a professor of law at the University of Iaşi, and in 1907 he moved to Bucharest.

Titulescu entered politics in 1912 and was appointed minister of finance in 1917. In the summer of 1918, together with other prominent Romanians (Take Ionescu, Octavian Goga, Traian Vuia, Constantin Mille) he formed, in Paris, the National Romanian Committee, with the purpose of promoting in international public opinion the right of the Romanian people to national unity, the committee being officially recognized as the plenipotentiary de facto organ of the Romanian nation. After World War I, he attended the peace negotiations at Paris and signed the Treaty of Trianon (1920).

Following Romania’s success at Versailles and Trianon, Titulescu became a major player on the world stage, and took the leading role in the creation of the League of Nations in 1921, an organization he would twice later lead, in 1930 and 1931. In this role he pursued his policy of resolving conflict through multilateral negotiation.

He was again appointed finance minister in 1920, and his unpopular fiscal reforms helped topple the government in December 1921. From 1922 to 1926 and again from 1928 to 1932, he served as Romanian minister plenipotentiary in London. As foreign minister he championed Romania’s accession to the French-sponsored Little Entente of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, engineered its attachment to the Balkan Entente (1934), consisting of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey, and pursued a policy of friendship with France and the U.S.S.R.

In 1936, King Carol II removed Titulescu from all official positions, asking him to leave the country. Settling first in Switzerland, he later moved to France. While in exile, Nicolae Titulescu continued through conferences and newspaper articles to propagate the idea of the preservation of peace, perceiving the danger of a war that was to come all too soon after. He returned to Romania in November, 1937, partly through the efforts of Iuliu Maniu. In 1937 Titulescu took refuge in France, at Cannes, denouncing the Romanian Fascist regime. Nicolae Titulescu died in Cannes (or in Souvrettes, Switzerland, according to Petre Pandrea) following a long illness, in 1941. In his will he asked to be buried in Romania; this became possible on 14th of March 1992, when his remains have been reburied in the Sfânta Ecaterina cemetery next to St. Nicholas Church, in Braşov.