860F.00/9–2947: Telegram

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

secret

1309. Leaders of Slovak Democrats and National Socialist parties estimate that Communist policy in present campaign to obtain greater dominance is still fluid and precise application in coming months will depend on world situation. If east versus west antagonism becomes deeper Communist efforts will become greater. Much will depend on course of negotiations regarding Germany at London Conference of Big Three.1 I concur in this estimate.

National Socialist leaders believe Communists temporarily taken aback by opposition of rank and file of Social Democrat Party to Communist-Social Democrat pact forming Socialist bloc within National Front.2 Slovak Democrat Party currently under heaviest fire is definitely worried.3 Communist campaign to force ouster from party of two Catholic General Secretaries Bugar and Kempny continued on [Page 233] twenty-fifth at stormy meeting of National Front.4 No action taken against these two as Interior Minister Nosek unable to prove his accusation that Bugar and Kempny were implicated in second alleged plot centering in Bratislava, working for Sidor and Durchansky5 abroad. National Front continued same question on twenty-sixth. Democrat leaders believe from Communist document they obtained secretly that Communists plan no violent action for time being. Document recognized campaign to arm masses of Slovak partisans had failed and stated other means to overcome Democrats would be made. Indication of continuing tactics is interview of Dr. Husak, Slovak Communist, published today in Rude Pravo. Husak stated “There can be no order in Slovakia until purge is successfully concluded.” This probably means ouster of Bugar and Kempny is chief immediate aim of Communists.6

Slovak Democrat source stated about 1000 partisans are being armed but they will be dispersed in small groups attached to regular army throughout Slovakia until Benderovci bandits liquidated.7 Democrats are less concerned with arming of partisans because of their dispersion also because friction between them and army units already reported and can be expected to continue.

Democrats are reasonably satisfied with conduct General Ferjenčik, Slovak Interior delegate, and recognize he is in difficult position as subordinate to Nosek. They are also satisfied with strong stand of National Socialists in recent weeks.

Steinhardt
  1. The reference here is presumably to the Fifth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers which was held in London, November 25–December 15, 1947. The records of this session, at which the subject of a peace treaty with Germany was taken up, are included in vol. ii, pp. 676 ff.
  2. Telegram 1260, September 18, from Praha, not printed, reported that the Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party had met on September 16 and had issued a communiqué confirming the agreement with the Communist Party but reasserting the independence of the Social Democratic Party. It was understood that a large majority of the Executive Committee disapproved of the pact but felt it could not be disavowed (860F.00/9–1847).
  3. Telegram 1246, September 15, from Praha, not printed, reported that the Slovak Minister of Interior had announced that 80 persons, including some state employees, had been arrested in Slovakia on September 13 on charges of complicity in an anti-State conspiracy (860F.00/9–1547). Subsequent telegrams reported that additional persons had been arrested and that the Communist press had accused the Slovak Democratic Party of involvement in the conspiracy.
  4. Telegram 1310, September 29, from Praha, not printed, reported that the Slovak Minister of Interior had announced that high public personages were implicated in a second anti-State plot centered in Bratislava and proposed that the parliamentary immunity of Slovak Democratic Party delegates Bugar and Kempny be lifted so that they might be brought to trial (860F.00/9–2947).
  5. Karol Sidor and Ferdinand Durchansky had been Ministers in the so-called Slovak State during World War II. At this time they were in exile.
  6. Telegram 1392, October 17, from Praha, not printed, reported that Bugar and Kempny had voluntarily agreed to relinquish their parliamentary immunity so that they might stand trial and clear their names (860F.00/10–1747).
  7. Telegram 1113, August 21, from Praha, not printed, had observed that the Benderovci, which were partisan groups composed largely of Polish and Ukrainian dissidents, had been active in Slovakia and eastern Moravia. Ambassador Steinhardt commented that the Communists were exaggerating these activities for political purposes, particularly by attempting to link the Benderovci with the Slovak Democrats (860F.00/8–2147).