The Secretary of State to the Minister of Ireland (Nunan)1

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the message from the Irish Minister for External Affairs contained in your note of February 2, 1949,2 and to express my appreciation of Mr. Mac-Bride’s courtesy in conveying his suggestion that the President intervene in behalf of Cardinal Mindszenty.

Most careful consideration has been given to that proposal. However, while such intervention might have had a favorable effect, it is believed that a more likely result might have been to crystallize the attitude of the Hungarian Government against the Cardinal and to increase the probability of his execution. In that connection, it was recalled that in the case of the Bulgarian opposition leader Nikola Petkov, the Communist Bulgarian Prime Minister, whose reaction might be expected to be typical of the thinking of Communist-dominated satellite authority, stated that the execution of Petkov was “necessitated” by the intervention of the Western Powers.3 In the circumstances, it was concluded that the President’s intervention for Cardinal Mindszenty would be inadvisable.

You will no doubt have noted that the President’s views with regard to the prosecution of Cardinal Mindszenty were publicly expressed at his press conference on December 30, 1949 when he endorsed the comments made by the Acting Secretary of State on December 29 condemning the action of the Hungarian authorities.4

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Charles E. Bohlen
  1. This note was prepared in accordance with a memorandum of February 2 from the Secretary of State to President Truman which the President approved on February 4 (864.404/2–249).
  2. Not printed; in his message External Affairs Minister Sean MacBride referred to the efforts he had made with the Hungarian Government to obtain permission for an Irish representative to visit Cardinal Mindszenty, and he stated that it had occurred to him that President Truman might intervene personally with the Hungarian Government on behalf of the Cardinal (864.404/2–249).
  3. Regarding Petkov, see footnote 3 to telegram 642, August 1, from Sofia, p. 340.
  4. Regarding the statements under reference in this paragraph, see editorial note, p. 451.
  5. Counselor of the Department of State.