740.0011 EW (Peace)/10–1647: Telegram

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


1690. In conference with Helm and members British Legation (mytel 1676, October 131) it became apparent that British Legation approach to problem of treaty implementation fundamentally different from that of Department contained Deptels 990, September 17 and 1048, October 7.

Chief difference lies in British Legation view that task of Legation treaty officers is not so much “enforcement” as “observation” upon basis of which protests could be made if terms of treaty were violated or not carried out. Helm suggests that from theoretical point of view it is possible to “enforce” an armistice, whereas through very act of exchange of ratifications of a treaty, victorious powers surrender their right of intervention through recognition of sovereignty and hence must limit themselves for implementation to normal procedures governing differences between states unless specifically provided otherwise [Page 35] in treaty. He points out that aside from this legalistic and theoretical interpretation of duties of treaty implementation officials, we are faced with very real practical difficulty in having no means of pressure or “force” at our disposal with which to impose “enforcement” in event Hungarian infringement backed by Soviets.

As alternative Helm believes basic objective of fullest possible treaty implementation of military clauses can be achieved through careful observation my Military and Air Attachés who in normal course would ask Hungarian General Staff for relevant data. He pointed out that should Hungarians violate treaty they certainly would not supply confirmation of it in formal reply to our demand. He opposes formal request outlined Deptel 1037, October 2,2 especially since information already available to our military so that demand would be merely formal gesture resulting in no addition to our available facts and might possibly lead to Hungarian refusal to reply until data requested on tripartite basis. He suggests that formal approach could be useful if held in reserve and that Hungarians be given time to accustom selves to newly acquired sovereignty and from necessity of referring everything to Soviets for approval.

As final point Helm suggested that we might be reluctant to have Soviets embark on program of demanding information of Italy without our concurrence. I agree with Helm that on practical grounds approach to task of treaty implementation3 as one of enforcement does not appear profitable in long run and believe formal representations should be reserved for violation cases. While I agree with Department that official information is of indefinitely more value than unofficial, I join Helm in doubt that Hungarians will provide documentation of their own violations.

There is of course no question of withholding requests for information reference procedure for presentation of war claims or for copies of Vienna award et cetera which requests of entirely different nature. Fortunately since action in Hungary presumably is to await outcome of initiative already taken in Sofia, there appears to be no compelling necessity to submit official request immediately to Hungarian Government. However, since the views expressed by Helm differ on both theoretical and practical grounds so materially from those which I understand are the Department’s, as expressed in SWNCC 244/7,4 I request further instructions.

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Sent Department, repeated London 163, Rome 149, Moscow 141 and for possible comments to Bucharest 52, Sofia 29.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 2, p. 30.
  3. Materials on the implementation of the Italian Peace Treaty are included in the documentation on Italy presented in volume iii .
  4. Dated September 10, p. 21.