The Secretary of State to the Commissioner at Vienna ( Grant-Smith )

Sir: The Department begs to inform you that you have been appointed Commissioner of the United States to Hungary.3 Your [Page 411] salary will be your regular salary as first secretary, $3,000 per annum, and you will be given a post allowance of $3,500. In addition you will be allowed such expenses as may prove necessary in the performance of your duties, the amount of these expenses to be settled with the Department after you reach Budapest and are able to make a detailed estimate. In payment of your salary and expenses you will draw in two separate accounts on the Secretary of State.

You are to proceed at once to Hungary, establishing your headquarters at Budapest, but you may break your journey for consultation in London, Paris and Berne. Your duties will undoubtedly include dealing with matters of much delicacy and demanding immediate action. Since communication is slow and difficult, the Department must in these cases rely on your tact, discretion and good judgment. You must at the same time realize that although the present government of Hungary has been provisionally recognized by Sir George Clerk4 in the name of the Supreme Council, no formal recognition has yet been given by the government of the United States and that you are not accredited as a diplomatic representative to the Hungarian Government. While exercising the utmost caution not to commit yourself and this government to preference for one or the other of the many political groups which” seek to control the government of Hungary, you will be expected tactfully to encourage such constructive movements among the Hungarians as would appear to lead toward the firmer establishment of representative government. The coming elections for a constituent assembly in Hungary will be a very critical period and the Department is anxious that you should keep closely in touch with the situation in order to report fully on the apparent strength of the various currents of influence, the source from which they spring, and the probable result on the national life. Your sympathy with constructive measures should be evidence to the Hungarian people of the interest of this government in the orderly development and growth of the Hungarian nation.

The Department depends upon you to furnish full reports on the developments in the internal political situation in Hungary and on the trend of Hungarian opinion with regard to the surrounding states and other nations. It will expect you to assist in any proper manner the interests of American commerce and to keep the Department informed as to opportunities for the development of such commerce. The American Ministers at Prague, Warsaw and Belgrade and the American Commissioner at Vienna have from time to time furnished the Department with valuable information [Page 412] about Hungary. They have been instructed to continue these reports and to send copies to you.

So far as financial matters are concerned, it is essential to be noted that in the absence of legislation by Congress and before the ratification of a peace treaty with Hungary, there is no authority in law permitting this government to extend loans to the Hungarian government, nor are there funds or supplies under the control of this government available for distribution in Hungary. You may state, however, that since trade and communication between the two nations have been resumed, this government opposes no objection to the collection of funds and supplies in the United States for distribution as relief within the borders of Hungary or among such Hungarian prisoners of war as have not yet been repatriated.

Until other arrangements may prove advisable, subsequent to your arrival in Hungary, the Department will communicate through the American Embassy in Paris and requests that if you find other means of communication either by telegraph or by mail more direct and reliable, you will so advise the Department immediately. At reasonable intervals the Department is willing that you should employ couriers between your headquarters and the American Minister at Prague or the American Commissioner at Vienna, in order to make such communication certain and under such understandings as you may reach with these two gentlemen.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. Appointment dated Dec. 4.
  2. British Minister to Czechoslovakia, Sept. 15, 1919; special delegate of the Supreme Council of the Peace Conference to Hungary, Oct. 15–Dec. 2.