840.4016/12–1045: Telegram

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

1060. Deptels 79756 and 799, December 7. I called on Hungarian Foreign Minister this afternoon upon his return from Praha and spoke to him in sense of last mentioned.

Gyöngyösi said he had spent 4 days in Praha in constant negotiation with Under Secretary Clementis of Czechoslovak Foreign Office who is Slovak himself. Masaryk had left ostensibly for London 2 days before Gyöngyösi’s arrival and later had impression Czechoslovak Govt desired Hungarian matter to be discussed with Slovak officials. Gyöngyösi had also seen President Beneš whose attitude was “stiff” and who insisted that in view of past experience Czechoslovakia had had with Hungarian [Hungary?] good relations with new Hungarian state could only be built up upon consolidation of national state in Czechoslovakia and elimination of minorities.

Gyöngyösi said that within 2 days of beginning of negotiations substantial agreement was reached regarding plan for exchange of populations. Hungary would take Hungarians already expelled from Slovakia and Hungarian prisoners of war still held by Czechs and so many additional Hungarians as made up total Slovaks willing to leave Hungary. Gyöngyösi pointed out that in 1941 Hungarian census some 75,000 had declared themselves as Slovaks and that there were probably a maximum of 120 to 150 thousand Slovak speaking people in Hungary. He estimated that not exceeding maximum of 40 to 50 thousand Slovaks would be willing to leave this country under the proposed exchange plan.

Foreign Minister said Czechoslovak Govt was willing to proceed with exchange plan by itself but wished whole matter settled at once. Czechoslovak Govt was not willing to grant bulk of Hungarians remaining in Czechoslovakia above number to be exchanged any [Page 946] minority rights. Czechs had however undertaken to suspend until January 15 decrees confiscating Hungarian property. They were unwilling to concede withdrawal of decrees requiring forced labor to which Hungarians were being sent in northern Slovakia and Bohemia and away from border districts. Czech intransigence regarding treatment of surplus Hungarians afforded little hope that settlement could be reached by direct negotiations but Hungary remained prepared to go ahead with exchange plan. Gyöngyösi felt international action would be necessary on larger aspects of the problem including suspension of persecutions to which Hungarians were now subjected while such action is under consideration.

Gyöngyösi said he would furnish local Soviet representatives soon full account of Praha negotiations.

Sent Dept; repeated to London as 66 Moscow as 122 and Praha as 31.

  1. Same as telegram 10634, December 7, to London, p. 943.