864.4016/5–1645: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Representative in Hungary ( Schoenfeld )

70. Preliminary views of United States Government relative to expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia were expressed in note to Czech Government last January8 as follows:

Solution of this problem must take into account not only the needs of Czechoslovakia but also general considerations connected with future peace and security of Europe and particular problems facing Allied occupation authorities in Germany.
Transfer of minorities should only be carried out pursuant to appropriate international arrangements and under international auspices.
Processes of transfer should be gradual to facilitate orderly settlement of transferred persons.
Pending such international arrangements no unilateral action should be taken to transfer large groups.

Department considers these principles equally applicable to the case of explusion of Hungarian-speaking minorities from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia or Rumania (reurtels 14 and 21 May 16 and 141 May 10 from Squires9).

Question of responsibility of these Hungarians for crimes against the states of which they are citizens concerns primarily the governments of those states. Department, however, would regard as unjustified any attempt to treat all members of an ethnic minority group as criminals against the state subject to expulsion solely on the basis of their ethnic origin. In connection with the International Military Tribunal which it is proposed to organize for the purpose of trying the major European war criminals, the United States Government [Page 929] proposed the adoption of a procedure which would assure just and expeditious trial of major individuals and of organizations accused of atrocities and war crimes in Europe. There is no disposition on the part of this Government to regard entire ethnic minority groups as included among such organizations. Czech Foreign Minister10 stated on May 21 at San Francisco that only those Hungarians who had plotted against Czechoslovakia and had fought on the side of the Nazis would be punished and that those who had been friendly to Czech cause could continue to live there with full citizens’ rights.

You may inform the Hungarian Government of the substance of the foregoing. For your own information the Department is proposing to the Soviet and British Governments that joint representations be made to the Czechoslovak and Yugoslav Governments requesting they refrain from unilateral action in expelling or transferring to Hungary the Hungarian-speaking minorities in those two countries. We are proposing also that appropriate instructions be given by the Allied Governments to ACC’s in Rumania and Hungary. Meanwhile informal representations are being made to Czech and Yugoslav Governments along present lines.11

It is understood that the term “Hungarian minority” referred to in the present telegram includes only permanent residents and not displaced persons or recent immigrants.

  1. See instruction 41, January 16, 1945, to the Chargé to the Czechoslovak Government in Exile at London, vol. ii, p. 1246.
  2. In telegram 14, May 16, from Budapest, Representative Schoenfeld reported on a conversation with Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Gyöngyösi in the course of which the latter asked what the policy of the United States Government was with respect to the proposed expulsion of Hungarian minorities from Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia (123 Schoenfeld H. F. Arthur). Telegram 21, May 16, from Budapest, reported that the Hungarian Foreign Ministry had asked the British Political Representative in Hungary, Alvary D. F. Gascoigne, to ascertain the British Government’s position with respect to the expulsions of Hungarian minorities from Czechoslovakia (864.4016/5–1645). Telegram 141, May 10, from Leslie Albion Squires in Budapest, transmitted to the Department as telegram 2273, May 21, from Caserta, reported on measures by the Czechoslovak Government to force Hungarians to leave the country (764.00/5–2145). Squires was the head of an advance party of the American Mission in Budapest.
  3. Jan Masaryk.
  4. Instructions to the Ambassador in Yugoslavia to make representations along the lines set forth in this telegram were contained in telegram 124, June 4, 7 p.m., to Belgrade (840.4016/6–445).