763.72115/3757: Telegram

The Commissioner at Vienna ( Halstead ) to the Secretary of State 68

255. … Austrian Government intends to send Bela Kun and one associate to Russia tonight via Germany on a train conveying Russian prisoners home who sail July 9, from Danzig. The Russian Government threatened that if Kun were not immediately sent to Russia it would stop the return of all Austrian prisoners until Kun had arrived in Russia. Having received no reply to my note of July 9 to Foreign Secretary Renner which expressed the Department’s views set forth in its telegram of July 2, 8 p.m. I have written requesting a reply and indicating that it would be unfortunate if any decision were made in Kun’s case before I had an opportunity to communicate with and receive a reply from Washington. It seemed desirable to indicate that if it were certain that reciprocal return of Americans in Russia was impossible I should be prepared to recommend that the Government of the United States withdraw its suggestions in that regard. The purpose of the Austrian Government in not notifying me of its decision was manifestly to prevent delay in a case upon which it regarded immediate action as imperative in its own interest. The Department will realize the tremendous pressure the relatives of Austrian prisoners in Russia have exerted for their return. It is evident that the Austrian Government by holding Bela Kun cannot change the Soviet attitude toward Americans and by persisting in that course could only injure its own people. Personally I regret Kun’s release but it could not be avoided.

  1. Sent via the Ambassador in France.