740.0011 EW (Peace)/3–2448: Telegram

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

secret   urgent

476. Helm has received series of telegrams from British Embassy Washington and Foreign Office London indicating Foreign Office and Department plan to instruct me (1) to call on Hungarian Foreign Minister requesting categoric reply whether Hungarians intend supply military information previously requested and (2) to convoke [Page 314]meeting 3 heads of missions if Hungarian reply negative or evasive. Helm has been instructed to concert with me in both steps.

As for (1) Hungarian Foreign Minister1 has already made position clear on 2 occasions in writing and I see no benefit or prospect of success in further representations. As for (2) it is not clear in these telegrams whether we are to ask Soviets for decision as to whether we are individually entitled to request military information under treaty or whether we are to request Soviets to associate selves with us in request but it is apparent we are not to press subject to arbitration. My reaction as follows:

(a)
If either Department or Foreign Office consider case too weak for arbitration, I see no point in raising matter with 3 heads of mission. This certainly will entail rebuff which even if not given publicity here will certainly become known to local authorities with consequent unnecessary additional loss prestige.
(b)
Further inclined this view as our reason for raising issue here much weaker than in Bulgaria since we certain Hungarian armed forces below treaty strength. This backed up by categoric assurance received by British Military Attaché from Hungarian General Staff that total present is 14,000 men. In this connection Soviets might merely state well-known fact that Hungarian forces below treaty strength and point out that treaty does not provide for additional information requested. This would forestall even case for demonstration obstructionism.
(c)
Am further inclined to foregoing in view London’s telegram 1163, March 22 to Department2 which strongly suggests inadvisability raising issues on which we likely to receive rebuff.

In light of above and especially the attitude expressed in c, unless Department has reasons not apparent here (and of which I would appreciate being informed) for pursuing matter to heads of mission, I strongly recommend alternative 5 listed mytel 386, March 10 with no further oral or other representations to Foreign Minister.

Chapin
  1. Erik Molnar.
  2. Not printed.