864.00/1–2447: Telegram

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


111. In conversation last night with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister1 former said he did not regard recent conspiracy disclosures [Page 262] as marking new crisis but merely as continuation of crisis induced by Communists as long ago as last September. He said majority party was reaching point where no further concessions could be made. His policy of appeasement in year he has been in office was justified, he felt, because of opportunity it afforded for progress in economic field but he realized such policy could not be continued indefinitely and stand must be made at some point. This stand would probably have to be made on point of Communist attempt to destroy Smallholder majority in National Assembly last bulwark against complete Communist domination already existing in administration.2

Prime Minister was aware of repercussions of continual internal political crisis on international position of Hungary especially with reference to possible outside aid. His position was the more difficult because he “knows” Communist Party enjoys support of Soviet occupation forces.

Gyöngyösi said frankly he did not consider present crisis as the worst Hungary will have to face and he believes much more acute phase of conflict lies ahead.

I am informed from other sources that proposal has been made at Tildy’s3 initiative to modify [electoral law?] so as to subject deputies to dismissal from National Assembly at behest of party leaders. Political committee of Smallholders Party, however, is said to see such scheme as opening way for nullification of voters mandates at whim of party leaders and in effect to further Communist encroachment.

Nagy was again in grave and anxious mood. Gyöngyösi pointed out that as govt through appeasement has moved further Left popular masses, especially Peasants have swung increasingly to Right as natural reaction. Rákosi4 in speech January 22 uttered thinly veiled threat of mass demonstrations if necessary.

Alluding to announcement of recent credits to Finland by US5 Gyöngyösi said it seemed to him no less necessary for western powers to strengthen position of Smallholders in Hungary by active support than it was natural for Soviet Union to support Communists and I suggested that American credits to Finland might have been made [Page 263] without reference to internal political situation there but that continued political agitation in Hungary must have adverse effect on Hungarian prestige abroad.

  1. János Gyöngyösi.
  2. Throughout January and February, the Hungarian Communist Party demanded the expulsion from the Smallholders Party of those persons purported to be implicated in the alleged conspiracy against the Hungarian State. Telegram 337, March 6, from Budapest, not printed, reported that on February 5, the Smallholders Party expelled 13 party members, including some deputies who were already under arrest or whose parliamentary immunity had already been suspended. An additional four Smallholder deputies resigned at the same time. According to the telegram under reference, these actions reduced Smallholder Party membership in the National Assembly to 202 seats out of a total of 420 (864.00/647).
  3. Zoltán Tildy, President of the Hungarian Republic.
  4. Mátyás Rákosi, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary General of the Hungarian Communist Party.
  5. For documentation regarding the extension of credits to Finland, see pp. 256 ff.