Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

With reference to the letter of April 4 addressed to the President by the Archduke Otto, and the President’s covering memorandum of April 743 requesting comment on the Archduke’s proposals:

Action by this Government along the lines suggested by the Archduke would require consideration of several matters of major importance, to wit:

The plans outlined by the Archduke Otto in Annexes II and III to his letter amount in substance to a proposal that the direction of the resistance movement within Hungary, and the operations leading to the restoration of the Crown of Hungary to the Archduke, be conducted from the United States, with the active participation of agencies, military and civilian, of this Government;
The support required for the proposed Hungarian Council of Resistance which would be established in Washington, would involve even more than the “recognition” the Archduke is willing to forego, in that the detail of liaison officers, the use of American communications [Page 867] services, the authorization of publicity and propaganda agencies, and the allocation of blocked funds (Annex III), would place the Hungarian Council directly under the auspices of this Government;
The proposal contemplates an exclusively American sponsorship for the conduct of the Hungarian resistance movement, whereas this Government has agreed that our dealings with Hungary, as with the other enemy states in Europe, will be in full consultation with the British and Soviet Governments.

The implications of these considerations suggest that neither from the point of view of public opinion in this country nor in view of our political and military engagements for acting jointly with other governments in the conduct of the war in Europe, would it be to our national interest for this Government to agree to the proposals advanced by the Archduke.

It should be observed that steps have already been taken to achieve some of the aims set forth in the Archduke’s proposals. Immediately after the German occupation of Hungary the Department authorized our representatives in the neutral capitals informally to assist in enabling the various Hungarian diplomatic missions and underground agents to coordinate their plans for building up the resistance forces within Hungary. These were provisional and emergency steps, but they served their purpose in enabling the Hungarians abroad to survey their prospects for contributing to Germany’s defeat. The British are informed of what these Hungarian representatives are planning, and the Russians are probably now coming into the picture as well. The British, in fact, have now notified the Department of their views as to a more definite policy, and hope that Washington and Moscow will express their general agreement and thus make it a joint policy. In summary the British proposal discourages the recognition of a free Hungarian movement, but favors steps to build up the Hungarian officials who have repudiated the present regime, with emphasis on strengthening the resistance elements within the country, leaving Hungary’s future to be worked out by the people at home if they unite in active resistance to the Germans.

The Department has not replied to the British suggestion, but would recommend it to the President as being in substantial accord with the Department’s views, and preferable to a unilateral support, on our part, of any particular Hungarian group. It would be appreciated if the President would indicate whether he approves. Moreover, the advantages of a joint policy, with its additional value as an example of cooperation of the principal Allies in European questions, are apparent.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. See footnote 37, p. 860.