Nicolae Petrescu-Comnen (Romanian pronunciation: [niko'la.e pe'tresku kom'nen]; Gallicized as Petresco-Comnène, Petrescu-Comnène or N.
Comnène, born Nicolae Petrescu; August 24, 1881 – December 8, 1958) was a Romanian diplomat, politician and social scientist, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Miron Cristea cabinet (between May 1938 and January 31, 1939).
He debuted in France as a public lecturer and author of several books on political history, then returned to Romania as a judge and member of the University of Bucharest faculty.
Comnen spent most of World War I in Switzerland, earning respect at home and abroad for his arguments in favor of nationalism, his publicizing of the Greater Romanian cause, and especially for his support of the Romanian community in Dobruja.
During the Paris Peace Conference, he was dispatched to Hungary, proposing political settlements that would have made the Treaty of Trianon more palatable to Hungarian conservatives.
Also noted as an eccentric who published poetry, he was often ridiculed for his claim to a Byzantine aristocratic descent from the Komnenos.
Comnen returned to serve briefly in the Romanian Assembly of Deputies, during which time he became a prominent anti-socialist.
He was a National Liberal and close to that party's leadership, before embarking on a full-time diplomatic career, originally as Romania's envoy to Switzerland and to the League of Nations (1923–1927).
He had a steady climb during the early interwar, with alternating missions in Weimar Germany and at the Holy See.
His activity centered on debilitating Hungarian irredentism, and, progressively, on the easing of tensions between Romania and the Soviet Union.
As Romania's ambassador to Nazi Germany, Comnen preserved a neutralist line, recognizing Romania's dependence on German industry while seeking to expand cooperation with France and Britain.
Comnen was assigned to lead Foreign Affairs during the early stages of King Carol II's authoritarian regime.
His ministerial term was highly turbulent, overlapping with the expansion of Nazi power, Western appeasement, and a sudden deterioration of Romanian–Soviet relations.
Comnen recognized the Anschluss, helped "liquidate" the Abyssinian question, and tried to obtain guarantees from Romania's hostile neighbors at Bled and Salonika.
A full crisis followed the Munich Agreement, during which Comnen worked to preserve both a Czechoslovakian state and the Little Entente.
He tacitly gave the Soviet Air Forces access to Romania's airspace, and refused to participate in a partition of Carpathian Ruthenia.
Comnen was ultimately deposed by Carol—allegedly, because he had questioned the king's rationale for repressing the rival Iron Guard—and replaced with Grigore Gafencu.
Again dispatched to the Holy See, he was sacked by a Guardist government after Carol's downfall in 1940.
He never returned home, but remained in Florence, a supporter of the Allies and agent of the Romanian National Committee.
As such, Comnen worked with Gafencu in the diaspora movement against Communist Romania.
Earning accolades for his new contributions as a humanitarian, he published works of recollections and studies in diplomatic history.
In his last years before his death in Florence, he had turned to promoting a pan-European identity.