864.00/2–547: Telegram

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

secret   priority

178. In private meeting last night at Csornoky’s1 residence with Prime Minister, Nagy told me political committee Smallholders had decided on additional expulsions or resignations from party and has approved statement of party program to be published today. Nagy did not specify individuals involved in new purge nor precise details of program. He said, however, this program must form basis of agreement with leftist bloc if coalition govt is to be maintained and he expected it would evoke violent attack from Leftists. Smallholders he said had reached limit of possible concession if party was to meet obligations to Hungarian people who had voted for it in Nov 1945. This responsibility had been imposed in free election here by creating situation in Hungary different from that of neighboring countries among which he mentioned Bulgaria, Rumania and Poland where will of people had been deliberately frustrated. Hungary carried banner represented by leaders of real majority in all those countries and Nagy was keenly aware of this added responsibility.

When I asked why Smallholders had not acted on this conviction as long ago as last March Nagy said at that time peace settlement had not been reached and there was also margin of concessions in internal affairs at disposal of Smallholders for tactical purposes. Peace treaty had now been formulated and further concessions to Leftists by Smallholders were no longer feasible.

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Prime Minister said he had alternatives of negotiating agreed program with Leftists within coalition or of taking his majority party into opposition against a Leftist Govt or else of setting up exclusively Smallholders Govt. Last alternative was not practicable because Leftists could paralyze country by extra-constitutional methods. On other hand Leftist Govt could not function except with consent of Smallholders. He would therefore seek agreement within coalition on Smallholders program but not at price of any reduction in number of Smallholders Cabinet portfolios.

Overshadowing entire problem Nagy said was deliberate purpose of USSR to coordinate Hungary by any means available. He asked me first whether political assistance could be expected from US if necessary to hold off Soviet interference by appropriate instructions to US representative ACC and secondly whether economic assistance from US might be expected. As to first point I said I could not “without instructions speak for my Govt’s readiness to deal with Soviet Govt directly through ACC or Otherwise in this matter to insure hands off policy by USSR. As to second point I said I knew there was keen interest in Hungarian stabilization and that to this end constant attention had been given to possibility of extending economic aid to Hungary within limits of executive authority in US. I asked Nagy to indicate more precisely what he had in mind and he said he would give matter further thought to resume discussion later.

He expressed relief and satisfaction at my assurance US Govt was deeply interested in Hungarian stabilization. When I intimated expediency of adopting bold and candid policy which offered best assurance of gaining public sympathy both within Hungary and in world at large Nagy said he realized this. He said every step now contemplated would be taken with full publicity for that purpose. He expressed personal appreciation of correct attitude of US as contrasted with direct and ruthless methods Soviet Govt felt free to use in Hungarian internal affairs.

It remains to be seen whether Nagy is prepared to precipitate and face strong reaction of Leftist bloc to Smallholders counter-offensive with attendant risk of active Soviet displeasure.

  1. Dr. Victor Csornoky, Counselor of the Hungarian Legation in the United States, on leave of absence, and son-in-law of Hungarian President Tildy.