Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Chief of the Division of Southern European Affairs (Barbour)

Participants: Lord Inverchapel, The British Ambassador;
Mr. Peter Solly-Flood, Second Secretary of the Embassy;
Mr. Acheson, Acting Secretary;
Mr. Barbour, SE

The British Ambassador called on Mr. Acheson on March 21 by appointment made at his request. Among other subjects discussed, which are reported separately, the Ambassador raised the question of the situation in Hungary and left the following Aide-Mémoire:

“Ref. 420/—47


In their Aide-Mémoire of the 1st March1 the State Department expressed the view that the problem of the maintenance of Greek and Turkish independence and territorial integrity is closely related to problems of common concern involving other countries in Europe and Asia. They suggested that informal conversations be entered into in Washington at the earliest possible moment between the United States and British Governments with regard to these problems. In conversation with the British Ambassador on the 8th March Mr. Acheson mentioned Hungary as one of the countries in question.

2. The British Government are giving urgent consideration to the United States Government’s proposal and hope to reply to it very shortly. Meanwhile, in view of the urgent nature of the Hungarian question, they wish to suggest immediate discussions on that country without prejudice to their reply to the United States Government’s proposal for wider discussions.

3. The British Ambassador is instructed to express the hope that the State Department will explain fully their views concerning the internal situation in Hungary and present and future American action in regard to it in order that the British Government may consider their future policy in the matter and give the State Department their ideas in return, with a view to the coordination of the policies of the two Governments.

Washington, March 21st, 1947”

In elaboration of the considerations prompting the British to suggest immediate consideration of Hungary, the Ambassador pointed out that the Foreign Office had not been in full accord with certain unspecified points in the latest (March 17) US note to the Soviet [Page 293] Chairman of the ACC in Budapest and that the Foreign Office would appreciate clarification whether further steps were contemplated by the US in this connection. Mr. Acheson explained that we regretted our inability to confer with the British in advance of delivery of our two notes of March 5 and March 17. In the first instance it was our information that action had to be taken with the greatest urgency if we were to forestall the resignation of the Hungarian Prime Minister. Accordingly, the Secretary approved transmission of the note the day before his departure for Moscow and it was dispatched forthwith.2 In the case of the second note, it was necessary to get the Secretary’s approval in Moscow and immediately upon receipt of that approval the British were informed.3 As regards further steps under consideration the Ambassador was informed that we had nothing specific in mind at this moment of a political nature but that we were continuing to press for action on a number of economic measures which we hope will assist in stabilizing the position of the Hungarian Government. In this connection reference was made to the implementation of our policy of restitution from Germany and Austria, it being mentioned that 127 tons of silver is to be dispatched from Frankfurt to Budapest without delay. The Ambassador was also informed that we anticipate approval of an Export–Import Bank cotton credit amounting to something over $6 million within the next week or so and it is our hope that we will be able to satisfy some of Hungary’s relief needs under the provisions of the relief appropriation bill which is now being considered by the Congress.

With regard to undertaking further discussions of a general nature concerning Hungary, as referred to in the Ambassador’s Aide-Mémoire, it was agreed that in the first instance Mr. Solly-Flood and Mr. Barbour would explore possibilities and procedures in that connection.

  1. The two aide-mémoire of March 1 are printed in the documentation on United States economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey in volume v .
  2. See telegram 211, March 3, to Budapest, p. 273.
  3. See telegram 492, March 12, to Moscow, and footnote 1 thereto, p. 279.