864.404/2–849

Memorandum by Mr. Marshall S. Carter, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State 1

confidential

Clark Clifford2 called the Secretary this morning at ten o’clock. He thought the Russians had given us an excellent opportunity in the Cardinal Mindszenty case.3 From the letters and publicity Clifford had seen it looked to him as though the Russians had walked into a hornet’s nest. He believes that the Russians have made a colossal blunder and wondered if there was not some way the President could utilize this. He has no concrete suggestions but thought we might effectively gain by issuing a statement at an appropriate time. He said there may be something against it but felt it was well worth looking into. Clifford said that it was apparent the last three days that this [Page 460]was not wholly a Catholic reaction but prominent Protestants had also joined, indicating that it was no longer a religious matter in its entirety, but was in effect “freedom vs. tyranny”. If there is sufficient reason without establishing a bad precedent it might provide an opportunity to dramatize the basic difference between our two philosophies.

The Secretary agreed that in his opinion the Soviets had made a bad mistake and he would go right to work with the appropriate Department officials as to whether or not a Presidential statement would serve a useful purpose.

Please take appropriate urgent action accordingly (the Secretary indicated that I should discuss this matter with Hickerson). I have not done so but shall await the Department’s reaction based on this memo.

M[arshall] S. C[arter]
  1. Carlisle H. Humelsine, Director, Executive Secretariat, Office of the Secretary of State, referred this memorandum to Director of the Office of European Affairs Hickerson for action.
  2. Special Counsel to President Truman.
  3. Regarding the arrest and trial of Cardinal Mindszenty, see the editorial note, p. 451.