BERLIN -- Rumanian officials signed a protocol binding their country to the German-Italian-Japanese alliance today. The protocol was signed by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop for Germany; General Ion Antonescu, head of state, for Rumania; Gino Buti for Italy; and Ambassador Saburo Kurusu for Japan.
The signing followed by three days the signature of Hungary to a similar protocol, accepting the place assigned to her in the "new European order" of the axis powers. Although the protocol signed by Hungary made no mention of military aid, Nazi informants said later that it bound Hungary to take up arms for the axis powers if any other nation, "Such as the United States," joined the war on Great Britain's side.
The protocols, however, apparently did not make the Balkan countries full-fledged partners in the three-power alliance, signed at Berlin September 27 and binding Germany, Italy and Japan to cooperate economically and militarily for 10 years.
The protocol with Rumania had little strategical significance, since German troops already occupy Rumania and the Rumanian army has been mostly demobilized.
It was understood that Slovak officials were coming here during the week end to sign a protocol and that Bulgarian officials would come to sign early next week. An alliance with all four of the countries would open the whole southern Europe corridor to Germany as far as the Turkish border.
Antonescu conferred with Adolf Hitler for three and a half hours yesterday and was guest at a reception given by Ribbentrop last night.