Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting, June 9, 1947, 9:30 a. m.1


A. Political Persecution in the Balkans

1. It was agreed that a terse, prompt and public protest should be made to Rumania concerning the recent mass political arrests.2

It was further agreed that ex-Premier Nagy of Hungary should be permitted to come to the U.S.

It was further agreed that Minister Maynard Barnes should not as he desires, return to Bulgaria to seek to obtain the release of Petkov, the recently arrested leader of the Agrarian Party.

It was further agreed that the U.S. should not alter its present plan to recognize the Bulgarian government following the coming into force of the peace treaty.

2. In the course of discussion, the following points were made:

Public protests on each occasion of undemocratic action, violating international agreements are useful, not so much in the hope of remedying the situation or just to make a record, but because of the effect on leaders of both sides in other countries similarly situated and as part of our “war of nerves”.
The protest should not take the diplomatic tone of pretending that the country concerned had unintentionally overlooked commitments with which, when called to its attention, it will of course comply.
Messrs. Cohen and Bohlen reiterated the view that recognition should not be used as a moral weapon but that a public statement should be issued, perhaps coincident with Mr. Chapin’s3 arrival in Budapest, pointing out that recognition implies no approval of a [Page 164] government or its policies but that these will be judged individually on their merits.4

[The remainder of this meeting was devoted to an entirely different subject.]

[On June 11, the Department of State issued to the press a statement setting forth the concern of the United States over the violation of civil liberties in Bulgaria in connection with the arrest of Nikola Petkov. For the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 22, 1947, page 1218. In accordance with instructions from the Department of State, Acting Representative Horner transmitted a copy of this statement to Prime Minister Dimitrov on June 14.]

[On the occasion of his signing of the instruments of ratification of the treaties of peace with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania on June 14, President Truman issued a statement expressing his regret that the commitments undertaken by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union at the Crimea Conference remained unfulfilled in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania, For the text of the statement, see Department of State Bulletin, June 22, 1947, page 1214.]

  1. Present at this meeting were: Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Under Secretary of State-designate Robert A. Lovett, Counselor Benjamin V. Cohen, Legal Adviser Charles Fahy, Director of the Policy Planning Staff George F. Kennan, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State Charles E. Bohlen, Director of the Office of European Affairs H. Freeman Matthews, Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs John Carter Vincent, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs Loy W. Henderson, and officers representing other bureaus and offices in the Department. These minutes were prepared by Ward P. Allen of the Executive Secretariat.
  2. For the text of the subsequent note from the Acting United States Representative in Rumania to the Rumanian Foreign Minister, delivered on June 24, expressing the concern of the United States over the deprivation of civil liberties in Rumania, see Department of State Bulletin, July 6, 1947, p. 39.
  3. Selden Chapin, Minister-designate to Hungary, who arrived in Budapest on July 2.
  4. At its meeting on June 12, the Secretary’s Staff Meeting agreed that in case the question was raised concerning the reasons for sending Minister Chapin to Budapest, reference to the clause in the peace treaty charging the fully accredited diplomatic representatives of the major powers with certain duties in connection with the treaty would furnish an adequate explanation, coupled with a statement that recognition of the government did not mean approbation (711.00/6–1247). For additional documentation regarding the interest of the United States in the maintenance of democratic government in Hungary, see pp. 260 ff.