860F.00/6–1247: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State

secret

680. Notwithstanding intimations in American press to contrary (649, June 91) I do not anticipate that recent events in Hungary2 will constitute a “pattern” for future successful Communist activity in Czechoslovakia. As I have pointed out to Department on several occasions in my opinion too much optimism was engendered early 1946 by unexpectedly large anti-communist vote in Hungary and too much pessimism by somewhat larger Communist vote in Czechoslovakia than bad been generally expected in US.

Making due allowances for fundamental differences in temperament of two peoples, their traditions, composition of their respective governments during past year, continued presence Soviet Army in Hungary as against evacuation of Czechoslovakia more than 16 months ago, relatively satisfactory food conditions in Czechoslovakia and progressive economic recovery, there would seem little basis for assuming coup engineered by Communists in Hungary could be successfully duplicated in Czechoslovakia in immediate future.

While there will doubtless be increased Communist pressure within Czechoslovak Government, I am confident that barring unforeseeable developments and in spite of minor concessions that may be made moderates in Czechoslovak Govt will continue maintain their strengthened position. It remains to be seen whether events in Hungary will (accelerate or retard loss in its public following which Communist Party in Czechoslovakia has admittedly sustained during past 6 months.

I may add that in my opinion repeated intimations in American press that Czechoslovakia may follow Hungary into Communist camp ‘are certain to work to [the disadvantage of the?] non-Communist cause in Czechoslovakia while serving no useful purpose in furtherance of US policies.

Steinhardt
  1. Not printed. This telegram commented upon press reports of the arrival at Karlovy Vary of Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky. Steinhardt observed that Vyshinsky was apparently only undergoing a health cure. The telegram concluded:

    “In view of the relatively stable internal situation in Czechoslovakia, I regard Hit improbable that any such revolutionary events as recently occurred in Hungary are likely to be repeated in Czechoslovakia in the near future.” (860F.00/6–947)

  2. For documentation regarding the concern of the United States over the elimination of democratic forces from the government in Hungary, see pp. 260 ff.