740.00119 Control (Hungary)/7–746: Telegram

The Chief of the United States Representation on the Allied Control Commission for Hungary (Weems) to the War Department35

secret

Attention SSU of USFA. Weems ACC Hungary in Warcos for JCS, WDOCD and OPD, info MTOUSA, USFET, USFA, OMGUS, ACC Rumania, MA Yugoslavia, MA Poland and MA France.

Ref No. Z–3316. War please pass to all. Please deliver this message to Warcos.

Interference by Russians in Hungarian national politics has now reached point where Government crisis may result shortly.

General Sviridov, Acting head of ACC, is reported by several reliable sources to have handed a note to Ferenc Nagy, Prime Minister, demanding:

(a)
The dissolution of the Boy Scouts, the Kalot (Catholic youth organization) and the Christian youth organization.
(b)
The elimination of Count Gyula Dessewffy and Bola Parraghi from all public and press activities and the reorganization of the press in general and that Antal Balla, Minister of Information, be removed from office.36
(c)
The immediate ouster of Undersecretary of Justice, 1st van [Zoltan] Pfeiffer.37
(d)
That strong measures be taken against the Catholic Church.
(e)
The immediate arrest of Smallholder Deputies Gyulay and Filler regardless of Parliamentary immunity and their trial on political charges.38 The note was not signed as Chairman of ACC but as “representative” of the Soviet High Command although Sviridov is known to have only one position, that of ACC Acting Chairman. The note reportedly stated that failure by Hungarian Government to act would compel Sviridov to take action. The following information has been received from source Carrick:
On the fifth of July Prime Minister Nagy assured Carrick that:
(1)
An agreement has been made between the Social Democratic Party and the Small Landholders that a working program will be agreed upon during the coming days which should hold good for one year. It will also bind the Communist Party.
(2)
Regarding the Russian and Communist demands to expel 13 members of the Small Landholders Party he will stand pat. He is willing to request certain members to abstain from public appearances but will not expel them. Source’s remarks: Since Nagy did oust editor Balla from the Kis Ujsag, since he is now even forcing Dessewffy to sell him 49 percent of the paper, and since he did agree to eliminate four Lieutenant Governors not satisfactory to the Communists, it is source’s impression that under pressure from Tildy he will comply with all Russian and Communist demands if he can find means to save his face. However, members of his party may revolt and force his resignation. End Carrick.

Comments: If Nagy had refused to grant these requests, the Russians would undoubtedly have incited the Communists to cause strife, etc., and bring about the dissolution of Parliament. This, coupled with the present collapse of the economic system, would no doubt lead to civil strife resulting in martial law with Communists seizing the Government. Now that part of the demand has been fulfilled, the Leftists will demand the removal of additional deputies from Parliament in the same manner that the 22 Smallholders were expelled recently. These demands, timed with Sviridov’s note, appear to follow a pattern of the Leftist parties to whittle down the Smallholders majority of 57 percent. The Leftist party might demand this as a condition for remaining part of the coalition and in this way obtain a majority. Against this coalition only a group of Rightist deputies would be in opposition and it is a question how much they would be permitted to voice their views once the Russian interference had been experienced. The 22 deputies who were expelled have formed a new party previously reported known as the Catholic Democratic Party headed by Count Joseph Palfy. The Russians have just arrested Count Geza Palfy,39 cousin of Joseph,40 and Ivan Lajos, and will probably continue to arrest any person who voices any opposition to their program. If Nagy resigns, the Communists would force a Communist Government to be formed with more complete Communist police control than they now have. The scheduled September elections would be postponed and a Communist state would evolve. Raids are now being made by Communist police against all persons of prominence or means who are anti-Communist. Anyone who has dollars is suspected [Page 320]of dealing with Americans and is arrested and his money confiscated. The Russian requisitions of food continue and the food situation is bad. Pressure is being placed on UNRRA to withhold food until new currency is put into circulation on 1 August. The latest pengö note is one quintillion and new denominations are being printed daily. In fact, the economic structure can be said to have collapsed. There is the chance that Prime Minister may be ordered by the Russians to remain in office with the present coalition in order to execute the Russian program. Otherwise his life might be placed in jeopardy. The Russians probably do not consider the present time opportune by them for the more drastic changeover to a Communist government.

Military: In connection with the above, reports reliable sources continue to come in to effect that a military alliance with Russia is being planned. See our Z–3114.41 It appears now that extreme pressure is being put on government to form Eastern European military bloc consisting of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary, either mutual assistance or non-aggression, tied to Russia with agreement to use Russian arms equipment and to be trained in Russian pattern. All the above illustrates the continuous pressure being placed on Hungary to force [out?] all orientation to West.

Comments on personalities. Message Z–3317 on way.41

  1. The source text was transmitted through Department of State channels. Brigadier General Weems succeeded Major General Key in June.
  2. Parraghi and Balla were members of the Smallholders Party and Dessewffy had been a member until he was expelled in the spring of 1946. Balla and Dessewffy were editors of the Smallholders Party newspaper Kis Ujsag, and Parraghi was editor of the non-party newspaper Magyar Nemzet which was anti-Communist in orientation. Telegram Z–3317, July 7, 1946 from Weems in Budapest, reported that President Tildy dismissed Balla as Minister of Information on July 3 (740.00119 Control (Hungary)/7–746).
  3. Pfeiffer was a member of the Smallholders Party.
  4. Sviridov’s letter recommended that the Hungarian Government “call to account” Smallholders Party Deputies Laszlo Gyulai, István Rácz, and László Filler. Telegram Z–3317, July 7, 1946, from Weems in Budapest, reported that the Hungarian National Assembly had previously rejected the State Attorney’s request to suspend Filler’s parliamentary immunity in connection with charges that he was implicated in anti-Communist disorders in a provincial district. Weems’ telegram further reported that a party of Russian officers had arrested Filler at his home on the night of July 2 (740.00119 Control (Hungary)/7–746).
  5. Count Pálffy was a landowner and a leading monarchist.
  6. József Pálffy was a former leader of the Democratic Peoples (Catholic) Party.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.