The Minister in Hungary ( Montgomery ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1084

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that in a conversation with Dr. Tibor Eckhardt90 a few nights ago I told him that I was giving considerable thought as to

whether there is any agreement between the Hungarian Government and the German Government with regard to Czechoslovakia,
whether Hungary will attempt to send its Army into Slovakia should the Germans enter Bohemia,

and that although Mr. de Kánya91 had repeatedly given me assurances, I still wondered whether there was not some secret understanding, the knowledge of which was being withheld from me. I thereupon asked Dr. Eckhardt frankly if he would tell me the real truth. Dr. Eckhardt [Page 56] assured me that there was no secret understanding of any kind, that he had discussed this question with the Regent, Prime Minister Imrédy, and Foreign Minister de Kánya and that it was the agreed policy that Hungary would remain completely neutral in the event of a war and would take no action towards Czechoslovakia that would disturb the peace of Europe. Dr. Eckhardt further told me that this policy was based upon the following three points:

Yugoslavia and Rumania are bound under the Little Entente agreement to aid Czechoslovakia in case of attack by Hungary, and Yugoslavia in particular is not averse to taking over some Hungarian territory should the occasion therefor arise;
Hungary cannot afford to go into any war and desires to remain neutral. To act in conjunction with Germany would make her an ally of that country, which would be extremely dangerous, and if war resulted Hungary would be dragged into it;
In case of the breaking up of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia would naturally return to Hungary. Poland desires a common frontier with Hungary and would use every influence to that end. If Hungary does not disturb the peace of Europe her chances of getting back some of its lost provinces are better than if she involved herself at the start.

A few days after my conversation with Dr. Eckhardt a member of the staff of the Legation called on Baron Apor92 and questioned him on the same subjects and he, like de Kánya, denied that there is any agreement between the Hungarian and German Governments, stating that “the moment Hungary made any agreement with any large power, from that day on Hungary would be dominated by that power”, and then added most emphatically, “No, Hungary must make no agreements, we must play a lone hand.”

I am convinced that the above represents the present policy of the Hungarian Government and that unless pressure of public opinion forces it to do otherwise, or there should be some change in the Government, it will not take any hasty or ill considered action.

Respectfully yours,

John F. Montgomery
  1. Leader of the opposition in the Hungarian Parliament.
  2. Koloman de Kánya, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Baron Gabriel Apor, Secretary General of the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.