740.0011 EW(Peace)/7–1947: Telegram

The Minister in Hungary (Chapin) to the Secretary of State


1211. With reference to Legtel 1174 July 111 there follows text of telegram prepared by British political mission giving résumé of comments agreed upon at meeting in regard to Sofia telegram 17 June 27:2

“Sofia telegram number (blank) was discussed at meeting with US Legation on July 11. US commissioner3 and American and British service attachés-designate were present.

2. We are in general agreement with our Sofia colleagues. But our problems are rather different if only because, on continued assumption of interval between entry into force of Hungarian and Austrian treaties, Hungary (like Rumania) will have Soviet lines of communication to troops.

3. Our general view is that:

Whatever may be Hungarian Government’s own desires its fulfillment of treaty will be governed by Russian wishes.
Soviet Government will, as April discussions4 showed, try to defeat all efforts to make Ministers Council (Article 39 of treaty) an effective body.
Advance discussion of procedure etc., would probably be barren and would be dangerous if, contrary to April indications, agreement were reached for Americans and we should be bound by it whereas Russians would merely use it to suit their purposes.
It is most important that anything savouring of Soviet dominated Allied Control Commission should not be born of Articles 39 and 40. Rather is it better that Russians should have entire responsibility for their unilateral actions.
We therefore favor not trying to make Russians to agree to formal constitution of Ministers Council and its dependencies but rather pursuing with Hungarian authorities our individual and common interests in consultation on an ad hoc basis, and when good case presents itself trying to see what can be done in consultation with Russians (reference my letter 97/29/47 of May 27 to Mr. Williams). This course also offers hope of better results.

4. We strongly agree with paragraph 2, subparagraphs d and f of Sofia telegram under reference. We think it essential we should not be left out on a limb after taking strong line on any individual question. In particular we should like guidance on problem of Soviet troops retained for maintenance of line communications with Austria. On ground of security of these troops, Russians may make all sorts [Page 20] of demands extending even to control of travellers entering and leaving Hungary. Such demands should, we think, be firmly resisted on basis that there is nothing to justify them in the treaty and that presence of these troops is a matter between Soviet and Hungarian authorities, and that we are concerned only with latter. In general we should, we think, avoid anything in our relations with our Soviet colleagues which would tend to recognize special position for them, vis-à-vis ourselves.

5. We do not see eye to eye with our Sofia colleagues about freedom of movement and access to factories, establishments etc., for inspection. We consider that from the outset we should regard this as our right and require it of the Hungarian authorities with whatever diplomatic identity documents may be necessary. We deprecate any suggestion of doubt on this point. We realize that when, on ratification day, we ask for such documents Hungary may, at Russian instigation or otherwise, try to limit their validity. We would recommend joining battle on this issue, and in the event of failure with Hungarians then to suggest ad hoc meeting with Russians on basis of Article 39. On other hand we realize that ninety day period referred to in paragraph 6 of Sofia telegram presents special problem which we suggest could be overcome by service attaches and others giving wide berth during that period to particular areas where Russian troops are known to be stationed.

6. Following are comments on less important points arising out of quoted paragraphs of Sofia telegram:

Paragraph 3—subparagraph b hardly arises here because wording of Article 12 of treaty seems to give reasonably clear definition of “armed forces” authorized. We feel that guidance is particularly important as regards subparagraph c.
Paragraph 4—we agree that at least formal effort be made immediately after ratification day to constitute Council of Ministers, and feel that subject of subparagraph a would be fitting for purpose. On other hand, for reasons already stated we strongly deprecate raising subject matter of subparagraph b until it has become a dispute between Hungarians and ourselves.
Paragraph 5—on assumption that there will be closest Anglo-American consultation, and that Russians will not play anyhow, we see little point in this.
Paragraph 7—we of course entirely agree.

7. This telegram has been drafted in consultation with service attachés-designate and US Legation. Latter is telegraphing similarly to Washington.” [British political mission.]

  1. Not printed; it made a preliminary report on the meeting of July 11 of British and American representatives in Hungary to discuss the proposals contained in telegram 479, June 27, from Sofia, p. 15 (740.0011 EW(Peace)/7–1147).
  2. Same as telegram 479, June 27, from Sofia, p. 15.
  3. Brig. Gen. George H. Weems, United States Representative on the Allied Control Commission for Hungary.
  4. The reference here is presumably to those meetings reported upon in part in telegram 593, April 10, from Budapest, p. 11.