840.4016/1–446: Telegram

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


19. Mytels 1 and 7,9 January 2. We learn on good authority that long conversation between Rakosi10 and Tildy11 paved way for unexpected Cabinet acceptance of German deportation decree based on principle collective responsibility. Five members of Cabinet, including Gyöngyösi and Ries,12 voted against proposal. Szakasits13 and Ronai14 who also opposed were absent. Reportedly Gyöngyösi wished to resign but was persuaded resignation on German issue impolitic and Cabinet was apparently swayed because ACC here had demanded removal maximum figure. Bevin’s speech naming 500,000 was also used as argument. Unfortunately further presentation of [Page 130] our point of view (Dept’s 879, December 2715) arrived too late to affect decision.

Whether Soviet chairman ACC deliberately misunderstood 500,000 figure as a Potsdam directive rather than merely a maximum for planning purposes is unknown. Preface to Govt’s decree states decree was being issued with regard to execution of a decision of Allied Control Council (Berlin) on November 20.16 That decree is now based on collective responsibility and may be result of honest confusion as to Allied aims (mytels 1104, December 1517 and 1129 [1120], December 1718 and despatch 645, December 519) but there is also possibility that Czechs may have made representations in Moscow after Praha negotiations on Hungarian minority raised spectre of Hungarian claims for land (last para mytel 1104, December 1520). Consequently local Communists may have been directed to support present decree prepared under direction of Communist Min of Interior.21

Gyöngyösi believes there may be this connection and is dismayed that Hungarians have now accepted the collective principle. Moreover, it may be Pan-Slav policy to remove all Germans in Central Europe westward of cordon sanitaire line (mytel 1124, December 1922).

Sent Dept; rptd London as 5; to Moscow as 5; to Berlin as 3 and Praha as 1.

  1. Telegram 7 transmitted the essential provisions of the government decree dated December 22 regarding eviction of the German minority from Hungary. It provided for the expulsion of all who declared that they were of German nationality, who re-Germanized their Hungarian names, or were members of the Volksbund or any armed German unit. Certain exceptions were allowed based on age, occupation, etc.; also, persons affected by the decree were forbidden to dispose of their property which was to be held in escrow. (840.4016/1–246)
  2. Mátyás Rákosi, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary.
  3. Zoltán Tildy, Prime Minister of Hungary.
  4. István Ries, Hungarian Minister of Justice.
  5. Árpad Szakasits, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary.
  6. Sándor Rónai, Hungarian Minister of Commerce.
  7. See footnote 5, p. 128.
  8. The text of the plan for transfer of German populations from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland into the four occupied zones of Germany is contained in telegram 1147, November 30, 1945, from Berlin, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 1316.
  9. This telegram stated that the Hungarian Foreign Minister reported confusion in the government over whether to deport 500,000 Germans, basing the figure on strict nationality lines, or 300,000, if only objectionable categories were expelled. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 1324.
  10. See footnote 7, p. 128.
  11. Not printed; it transmitted text of a note from the Hungarian Government, dated December 1, 1945, on expulsion of the German minority, which is reprinted in Kertesz, Diplomacy in a Whirlpool, p. 247. The note distinguished between expatriation of objectionable categories and expatriation based solely on ethnic origin. The Hungarian Government expressed itself as being in opposition to the latter as well as to any kind of collective punishment.
  12. This paragraph expressed the thought that the Soviets might be pressuring Hungary to expel as many Germans as possible since the resulting vacuum would allow for the repatriation of all Hungarians from Slovakia. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 1324.
  13. Imre Nagy.
  14. Not printed; it transmitted a recent report that the Soviets had settled 1300 Ukrainian families in Western Hungary. This was alleged to be the first step in a Slavic cordon sanitaire in Western Hungary linking the Slovaks and Yugoslavs. (840.4016/12–1945)