Noon: my transgressions

Among the Romanian bureau members present, Dumitru Pop, the Vatra representative (who went on to lead the Vatra parliamentary faction) alone attacked me. He ran through the already well-known mendacious accusations. He claimed that I had organised the “separatist” protests of the students of the Bolyai Lyceum and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy (i.e. demanding education in the mother tongue). I immediately declared that all this was a patent lie. I said it was precisely me who had openly opposed the radical Hungarian demands and through the January 19 resolution of the Mureş County Council of the National Salvation Front, had urged that the separation of the schools only be carried out at the beginning of the new academic year, on September 15.

He asked why I had claimed in the Hungarian broadcast of Bucharest Television that Romanians had painted the slogan over the statue of Avram Iancu in Târgu Mureş. I said that I had never asserted that the perpetrator was a Romanian, but only that whoever wrote the slogan did not know Hungarian grammar. I declared that I was a lawyer and did not, on principle, make any statement about the identity or nationality of an unknown perpetrator, contrary to irresponsible journalists.

Pop said that I had made very annoying appearances on Bucharest Television. He mentioned the interview of March 16, claiming that in that interview we did not condemn the map showing pre-World War I Hungarian borders, and that this meant we were revisionists. I said that my interview had contained something entirely different, and made the true text known.

I added that events such as the ones of today do not strengthen democracy, but that we Hungarians do not want to answer by similar demonstrations. To which Pop said: So I am making a threat! Exactly the opposite, I replied.

Nistor Man, the representative of the National Peasant Party, accused me of unspecified “transgressions”. The other Romanian speakers, the actor Vlad Rădescu, the historian Mihai Grozavu (National Liberal Party), and engineer Valer Galea (National Salvation Front) declared that I had done nothing for which they should remove me. They asked me not to put them in the unpleasant situation where they would have to vote against me and against their convictions, and while under the influence of mass terror. They asked me rather to resign.

I accepted their arguments and agreed on the condition that the organisers of this demonstration of March 19 would also be told to resign. All this was solemnly agreed. (I knew that if the occasion came, I would be able to prove the role of Judea and his accomplices in organising the demonstration.)

During the meeting, the door of the hall was opened from time to time and we were told that I should hurry up with my resignation because the crowd was impatient and would take revenge for the delay. (The discussion took approximately 80 instead of 20 minutes.) After the meeting of the bureau, I asked Dr. Sabin Rusu, the Romanian representative of the Union of Former Political Prisoners, whether future political prisoners would be eligible to become members of his Organisation, but he obviously did not know what the right answer should be.

At approximately 12.30, I again stood in front of the crowd. I spoke but little. I first said that the demonstrators did not know my true activities, because they had been misinformed. I added it was clear that here, in Târgu Mureş, we had to live in unity.

“Seeing that such demonstrations did not contribute to stability in the town...” (loud hooting, shouting that I was a chauvinists and traitor), and when I was able to continue, “since my person is so contested by you, for the sake of unity, I tender my resignation.” (Applause.)

After me, Major Vasile Ţîra told the demonstrators simply: “we are the masters in our own country” and again assured the crowd that the army was with them.

After my resignation, I reported to President Ion Iliescu on the government telephone line about what had happened. He expressed his regret (“vai ce rău îmi pare că aţi fost demis” [how much I regret that you have been removed]). I answered that I did not care, because I would not have been able anyway to carry out the useful activities which I would have wished. Hearing the regrets of President Iliescu, it would have been nice to know upon what, two hours earlier, General Scrieciu had based his announcement to the mob that the leadership of the country had already endorsed the demand that I quit.

I remembered that a few days before, Mr. Iliescu had taken exception to the claim by some leaders of the RMDSZ that the entire Vatra was a Fascist-chauvinist organisation. The Head of State corrected them, saying that no such summary judgement should be passed based on the unfortunate declarations of some Vatra leaders. At the time, I mentioned to President Iliescu that the Romanian Television and most of the Press had played a nefarious role in bringing about the critical situation in our town. He answered that the television and the Press were against the Front, and were under the influence of the National Peasant Party.

The visiting government commission was also immediately informed of what had happened, and its two members – Dumitru and Verestóy – disliked what they heard. They promised to report everything exactly to the Bucharest leadership. The government deputation stayed in the town until 23:00, but did not intervene that evening to try to defend the RMDSZ headquarters or András Sütő.

When my working hours were over – at 15:00 – I left the building of the Council for Unity by taxi. I left Attila Jakabffy in my office, asking him to stay next to the government telephone line until the evening because the atmosphere seemed to be explosive. Attila, who had gotten away without having to resign himself in the morning, risked his safety by remaining at the headquarters. He maintained constant telephone contact with the leaders of the county and of the country – and of course with me too.