711.6427/4–3048: Telegram

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


720. Further to mytel 716, April 30.1

Even before receipt this morning Deptel 442, April 292 Legation had intimation Hungarians up to some trick maneuvering recent agreement. Developments during day strengthened this feeling including receipt Foreign Office note dated today “amplifying” “unprecise” text of March note (Legtel 347 March 43) to effect that phrase “Legation plane may come to Budapest as often as Legation desires” means that “request of Legation for clearance aircraft” will be given “due consideration” by Hungarian authorities as often its made.

Our comments: Hungarian action demonstrates beyond shadow of doubt we cannot expect to do business with satellites. However much they desired to make this arrangement enabling them to gain access to west and however genuinely subordinate officials worked to conclude arrangement (both which was evident to us) in moment Polit Bureau decided to use occasion for promotion Polit objectives, they wiggle out of any commitment without hesitation and without slightest scruples.

While we now should consider this matter terminated we have the satisfaction of having been very generous in trying to meet Hungarians more than halfway. We now also in position to charge Hungarians on suitable opportunity with bad faith and lack of responsibility.

Legation does not intend to answer Hungarian note and simply ignore air agreement question in future. Should Hungarians raise any question it is suggested we take casual attitude of not being interested or concerned.4

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At same time we recommend full reconsideration of our aviation policy toward satellites in light of Hungarian experience. Deak feels and I concur that

British, French, Swiss, Benelux, Scandinavian countries and Italy be informed about Hungarian negotiations with, a view to impress upon them (a) irresponsibility of satellites, (b) desirability of coordinated policy and action to oar satellites access to Western Europe—especially in case Italy. He also feels immediate strengthening of joint US-UK understanding and securing French adherence most necessary for protection our interests;
Every effort be made and precaution taken to preclude satellites and Hungarians in particular from obtaining, directly or indirectly, aircraft, parts navigational aids, communication facilities, tools et cetera.

Sent Department 720; repeated London 54, Paris as 78, Berlin as 49, Frankfurt as 52, Vienna as 69, Bern as 39 and Warsaw 12.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the text of note of April 30 from the Hungarian Foreign Ministry expressing Hungarian disapproval of a previously tentatively agreed upon U.S.-Hungarian civil aviation agreement on the grounds that the expulsion of the Hungarian Restitution Commission from the American zone of occupation of Germany by American authorities constituted a violation of the Hungarian Peace Treaty (711.6427/4–3048). The action with respect to the Hungarian Restitution Commission had been taken following the failure of the Hungarian Government to respond satisfactorily to several American protests regarding the mistreatment of American personnel aboard a Hungarian repatriation train as it passed through the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany in late January 1948.
  2. Not printed; it gave authorization for the conclusion of a civil air agreement with Hungary on the basis of the terms already tentatively arrived at in Budapest (711.6427/4–2848).
  3. Not printed.
  4. Telegram 474, May 10, to Budapest, not printed, expressed appreciation of Minister Chapin’s firm line toward the Hungarians. While willing to leave the next move to the Hungarians, the Department was not disposed to allow the Hungarian note of April 30 to go unrefuted (711.6427). The Hungarian allegations were therefore rejected in a note delivered to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on May 21.