Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Matthews)

The Hungarian Minister15 called this afternoon at his request primarily to express the appreciation of his Government for the attitude taken by the American Delegation at Paris, particularly General Smith and Mr. Thorp, concerning the Hungarian Treaty. He asked that this expression of appreciation be conveyed to the Secretary. He said that, frankly, our position on the Czech amendment and with regard to Hungarian reparations had given great encouragement to moderate elements in Hungary, particularly the Smallholders Party, and had served as a tonic to morale such as Hungary had not had for a year. He said that, frankly, this attitude and the feeling that Hungary was not entirely deserted would make it possible to sign the draft treaty which, otherwise, no government other than a Communist government could have signed.

He said that both the Secretary and General Smith in public statements had expressed the hope that Hungary would be able to settle her problems with her neighbors and both General Smith and Ambassador Harriman had proposed inclusion in the Hungarian and Rumanian Treaties respectively of a provision encouraging direct negotiations between Hungary and Rumania. These had not been adopted but Mr. Szegedy-Maszak hoped that a new effort might be made to include some such general encouragement at the CFM Meeting in New York to draw the final Treaty texts. I said that I would look into the matter.

I asked whether any steps had been taken toward the early implementation of the Czech-Hungarian conversations concerning the Hungarian minority in Slovakia and he replied in the affirmative. He said he had just received a message that the Hungarian Government has invited the Czech Government to begin the conversations provided for even though the six-months period does not begin until the Treaty becomes effective. He said that his Government was doing this in order to show its willingness to negotiate. In reply to my further questions as to the probable Czech attitude he said that while he thought Masaryk was in favor of an amicable agreement and would be willing to make some territorial adjustment in favor of Hungary in return for Hungary’s acceptance of some of the Hungarian minority now in Slovakia he did not feel that this was true either of Beneš or of [Page 953] Clementis.16 Since he considered that Masaryk had little influence in the Government he was not optimistic about results.17

He then spoke of Hungary’s economic situation. He expects that the food situation will improve and that this winter will be better than last. He said that at the UNRRA Meeting in Geneva the Hungarians had proposed a plan whereunder in return for certain credits to purchase agricultural machinery and draft horses to rehabilitate Hungarian agriculture Hungary would turn over a portion of the resulting increased food supplies to other countries in need. Nothing happened with regard to this although it had been widely praised and now UNRRA is about to end. He was wondering whether some such arrangement could not now be made whereunder the food, in return for an American credit, could be supplied to Austria, Germany, Italy and Greece, countries in which the United States still has some supply obligations or interests. I said that I thought it would be worthwhile for him to discuss this question with Mr. Thorp and he indicated his intention of so doing.18

H. F[reeman] M[atthews]
  1. Aladár Szegedy-Maszák.
  2. Vladimir Clementis, Czechoslovak Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. For additional documentation regarding the interest of the United States in Hungarian-Czechoslovak negotiations for the exchange of minorities, see vol. vi, pp. 361 ff.
  4. For subsequent documentation regarding the Hungarian request for aid from the United States, see letter dated November 8 from the Hungarian Minister, vol. vi, p. 342.