840.4016/11–2745: Telegram

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

979. My telegrams 968, November 24,39 and 830 October 29. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister40 told me last night Czechoslovakian Govt was pressing for early visit of Foreign Minister to Praha to discuss expulsion of Hungarian population from Slovakia in exchange for Slovak population in Hungary.41 Foreign Minister said mistreatment of Hungarians in Slovakia had recently grown worse so that he doubted any useful purpose would be served by his visit to Praha at this time. It was his impression Slovak authorities were acting more or less independently of Praha and Hungarian minority question seemed to be involved in internal politics within Czechoslovakia. If he should decide to proceed to Praha he would probably leave early next week but in meantime Prime Minister will be obliged to make statement before newly elected National Assembly which will convene November 29 and Foreign Office planned to submit note to Czechoslovak Govt emphasizing that recently intensified action of Slovak authorities affecting Hungarian minority does not create propitious atmosphere in which to conduct fruitful conversations.

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister asked my advice as to whether latter should go to Praha under present conditions. I answered as before that our Govt would welcome direct settlement between Czechoslovak and Hungarian Govts (Deptel 562, October 1942) but that I was not sufficiently informed as to political situation in Czechoslovakia [Page 941] to be able to express opinion as to prospects of successive [successful?] negotiations.

Foreign Minister said Slovaks here are almost unanimously against their transfer to Czechoslovakia as illustrated by recent incident when Slovak high school was opened in a provincial town and no Slovak registered for attendance, their leader explaining privately that Slovaks were not anxious to be identified as such in view of possibility of their transfer from Hungary.

In response to my inquiry as to present view of Soviet Minister43 here, Foreign Minister said Pushkin denied that Czechoslovak authorities or Slovak Communists, principal agitators against Hungarians at present, has [have] received assurances from Moscow of support for proposed expulsion of Hungarian minority. Meanwhile, conditions involving Hungarians in Slovakia are deteriorating rapidly and increasingly grave incidents were taking place. Recently Slovak press had also been inciting anti-Hungarian action which was bad augury for success of any conversations between govts. I gained impression, however, that Gyöngyösi will proceed to Praha to show Hungarian good-will even if not successful in securing abatement of Hungarian persecutions while conversations are proceeding.

I hope shortly to send Dept report of confidential investigation made on behalf of this Mission in border areas.44

Sent Dept, repeated London as 58 and Praha as 26.

  1. Not printed; it reported that Foreign Minister Gyöngyösi, at a press conference, had stated be would leave for Praha on December 2 (760F.64/11–2445).
  2. Zoltan Tildy became Prime Minister in the Hungarian Cabinet announced on November 16, 1945. Foreign Minister Gyöngyösi retained his post in the new Cabinet.
  3. Telegram 630, November 27, 10 a.m., from Praha, reported that Ambassador Steinhardt had been informed by Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Masaryk that the Czechoslovak Government bad invited the Hungarian Foreign Minister to Praha to discuss an exchange of minorities (760F.64/11–2745).
  4. Same as telegram 316, October 19, 3 p.m., to Praha, p. 937.
  5. Georgy Maximovich Pushkin.
  6. Despatch 671, December 7, 1945, from Budapest, transmitted to the Department a summary of the findings of an investigation made in the areas along the Hungarian-Czechoslovak frontier during the month of November 1945. The despatch stated that the report, which had been prepared by a former Hungarian newspaperman, could not be evaluated as either a thorough or an entirely unbiased study of the situation of Hungarians in Slovakia and was to be regarded only as supplementary to the documentation on the subject previously submitted to the Department (840.4016/12–745).