CFM Files

United States Delegation Memorandum23


Subject: Possibilities of a Czech-Hungarian Settlement.

In regard to the last paragraph of the underlying memorandum re possibilities of a Czech-Hungarian settlement:24

The Hungarians here in Paris have indicated they would be only too willing to arrive at some such solution. Auer, Hungarian Minister in Paris, will publish a conciliatory Article in the Herald Tribune Tuesday morning, August 20. Cession by the Czechs of territory, however small, is the sine qua non, for the present middle-road regime (which we now favor) will have difficulty surviving if its delegation returns from Paris without having been able to break the “Trianon frontiers”, a fixation which has beset Hungarian thinking in foreign affairs for two decades.
Masaryk has already indicated publicly he also would accept some such solution in a published statement made in 1943 as well as privately in Paris a week ago. However, part of his delegation, particularly Clementis (Foreign Ministry Under Secretary, who is a Slovak) opposes and this group is desirous of carrying out the full deportation of the Hungarian minority without delay.
Count Michael Karolyi, ex-President of Hungary, has recently discussed the Czech-Hungarian problem with Benes in Prague. Karolyi is now in Paris and Auer states Karolyi plans to make an overture [Page 837] to Masaryk by telephone on Tuesday afternoon, August 20. Auer states further that if the Hungarian Delegation is rebuffed and concludes there is no possibility of compromise, it intends to protest the election of the Czechs as rapporteur to the Hungarian Commission and will probably then leave the Conference.
Any influence which we can now bring to bear from the top level on the Czech Delegation might well impel the Czechs to seek a solution with the Hungarians bilaterally, which solution could then be written into the peace treaty. The British, who apparently have given up temporarily the hope of detaching the Czechs from the Soviet sphere, have now told us that they are no longer unwilling to exert pressure on the Czechs along these lines and would be interested in making parallel representations. An indication that the Soviet bloc might not be adverse to such a settlement is found in Kisselev’s and Vyshinsky’s speeches, August 15, in the 18th meeting of the Conference.25 Kisselev said: “It would be well to eliminate these sources of trouble which may cause further difficulties between Czechoslovakia and Hungary at some future date.” The Soviet Delegate stated his delegation intended “to take an active part in the search for the most equitable solution”.
Should the Czechs put forward their territorial claim against Hungary in the Hungarian Commission and raise the question of the expulsion of their Hungarian minority, and should they meanwhile have proved receptive to our suggestions, the U.S. Delegation on the Commission might put forward the following in regard to Article 1, part 4 which the Council of Foreign Ministers agreed should be regarded as tentative pending the presentation of the Czech and Hungarian views.

“The Commission has considered carefully the statements of the two governments and believes it desirable that the problem of the Hungarian minority in Czechoslovakia be settled once and for all. It therefore recommends to the Conference that the two governments concerned be urged to seek at once a mutually satisfactory agreement both on the question of their frontiers and the transfer of populations. The Commission will then consider the desirability of recommending the incorporation of any agreements so reached, in whole or in part, into the peace treaty for Hungary.”* 26

  1. Presumably prepared by Frederick T. Merrill, Secretary, United States Delegation. This memorandum was addressed to Ambassador Smith, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Reber. and Mr. Bohlen.
  2. No document identifiable as the memorandum under reference has been found in Department files.
  3. See vol. iii, p. 221.
  4. Czechoslovakia on October 12, 1938, offered to Hungary the Csallokos territory, an area of 1300 square kilometers with a population of 121,000. It is agreed by all authorities that this region is settled by an overwhelming majority of Hungarians. This is probably the maximum territory Czechoslovakia would be willing to cede to Hungary.

    Of the 450,000 Hungarians then remaining in Slovakia, 100,000 will elect to move into Hungary under terms of the 1946 population exchange agreement, 150,000 to 200,000 are apparently willing to accept Czechoslovak citizenship, leaving only some 150,000 to be accepted by Hungary as part of an agreement involving an exchange of territory. [Footnote in the source text.]

  5. For the substance of the United States position actually advanced, see the United States Delegation Journal account of the 9th Meeting of the Political and Territorial Commission for Hungary, September 9, vol. iii, p. 410.