The Department of State to the British Embassy


The United States Government has for some time been concerned regarding the situation which has arisen between the Czechoslovak and Hungarian Governments over the exchange of populations between the two countries and has carefully considered the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire 247/5/47 of January 17, 1947,1 which suggests the desirability of the United Kingdom Government, the French Government, the Soviet Government and the United States Government offering to the Czechoslovak and Hungarian Governments a Four-Power Commission for the purpose of supervising the implementation of the Czechoslovak-Hungarian Agreement of February 27, 1946, and of arbitrating where necessary on points of difficulty.2

[Page 266]

As mentioned by the Embassy, the peace treaty with Hungary contains certain provisions designed to assist toward the solution of the Czechoslovak-Hungarian minority problem.3 In addition there are indications, to which the Embassy also refers, that the Czechoslovak and Hungarian Governments may currently be in the process of reopening discussions with the object of obtaining implementation of the February Agreement between them. Pending the coming into force of the peace treaty and pending the outcome of the direct discussions now apparently contemplated, it is the view of the United States Government that it is inadvisable to consider Four-Power action along the lines suggested by the British Government. The United States Government is further persuaded to this opinion by the previous exchanges of views which took place between the United Kingdom, the Soviet Government and the United States Government in regard to this problem wherein it was the general attitude of the three powers that the difficulties should, if possible, be resolved by direct negotiations between Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The United States Government feels that it is preferable to postpone consideration of Four-Power action until all reasonable possibilities of direct settlement have been exhausted and that the present situation suggests that there are still grounds to hope that direct negotiations may achieve some results.

At the same time, the United States Government, mindful of the difficulties inherent in the situation and desirous of lending its assistance toward the prompt solution of the problem, is prepared, as a step which might expedite action in the matter, to inform the Czechoslovak Ambassador in Washington of the importance which attaches to the early satisfactory resolution of Czechoslovak-Hungarian differences in this connection and to express the hope that the Czechoslovak Government will diligently proceed with discussions with the Hungarian Government to that end. While evidence available is not entirely conclusive, it seems clear to the United States Government that the attitude of the Czechoslovak Government and certain actions of a unilateral nature which it has taken in regard to the Hungarian minority in Czechoslovakia have contributed materially to the difficulties being: encountered.

[Page 267]

The United States Government will be pleased to learn whether the British Government is disposed to express a parallel view to the Czechoslovak Ambassador in London.4

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Czechoslovak-Hungarian Agreement under reference had not been carried out and controversy had arisen between the two signatory Governments over the interpretation and execution of its terms and the treatment being accorded to the Hungarian minority in Czechoslovakia. For documentation regarding the concern of the United States over the dispute between Hungary and Czechoslovakia on the question of exchange of populations, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. vi, pp. 361 ff.
  3. The reference here is to article 5 of the Treaty of Peace with Hungary.
  4. In a communication dated March 8, not printed, Peter Solly-Flood, Second Secretary of the British Embassy, informed Walworth Barbour that the Foreign Office had decided for the time being to refrain from seeking Four-Power intervention in the Czechoslovak-Hungarian dispute in view of the possibility that direct negotiations between the two Governments might yet bear fruit. The Foreign Office hoped, however, that the United States would postpone its projected approach to the Czechoslovak Ambassador in Washington. It was the view of the Foreign Office that such an intervention with Czechoslovakia alone would erroneously suggest that Czechoslovakia was primarily to blame for the current dispute (760F.64/3–847).

    The United States Government did not, in fact, make any approach to the Czechoslovak Government on this matter. In late May, Czechoslovak and Hungarian negotiators reached agreement on a protocol for the implementation of the Agreement of February 27, 1946.