123 Chapin, Selden

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Rusk)

confidential

Participants: Mr. Sík, The Hungarian Minister
Mr. Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State
Mr. Thompson, Deputy Director for European Affairs

The Minister said he was calling under instructions from his Government to inquire urgently what our intentions Were with respect to Minister Chapin in view of the fact that the trial of Cardinal Mindszenty had shown that Minister Chapin was involved. The Minister stressed that an urgent reply was requested.

I pointed out to the Minister that we considered the charges against Minister Chapin to be without foundation, and that as he knew the Government and people of the United States had been shocked and revolted at the conduct of this trial.

Mr. Thompson pointed out that the Minister had reported that despite the implications against him the Hungarian Government had not acceded to his request that a representative of the Embassy be allowed to be present at the trial. He said the Minister had also reported that he had requested the Hungarian Government to furnish a transcript of the trial and the use of any recordings that had been [Page 464]made. He inquired whether the Minister could state whether or not these had been furnished to Minister Chapin.

The Minister replied that an official transcript of the trial was not made by the court and that the Hungarian Government used the reports provided by the Hungarian press agency. The Minister did not give a clear reply to my question as to whether or not the Hungarian Government accepted this press agency report as official but said his Government considered that the finding of the court, which had been published, clearly involved Minister Chapin. In reply to my question, he said he did not have a copy of the finding of the court nor could he say whether or not a copy had been furnished to the Legation.

I said I would refer his inquiry to the Secretary. The Minister pressed me to fix a time when I would give him a reply, but I confined myself to stating that I would let him know whenever I was in a position to give him a reply.1

Dean Rusk
  1. In a memorandum of February 11 to Assistant Secretary Rusk, John D. Hickerson, Director of the Office of European Affairs, suggested the following response to Minister Sík:

    “We have no reason to question the conduct of our Minister to Hungary, in whom we have full confidence. We have no intention therefore of taking any action with respect to the vague allegations which have been published in the Hungarian press as a result of the trial of Cardinal Mindszenty. You might also point out that this Government fails to understand the action of the Hungarian Government in refusing to allow Minister Chapin to have a representative from the Legation present at the trial in accordance with his formal request The views of this Government with respect to the trial itself have already been expressed by the Secretary of State.”

    Hickerson’s memorandum bears the following handwritten comment by Secretary of State Acheson:

    “I agree. In the light of what I said at the last press conference, you can be even more vigorous. I think I said that the charges were false and outrageous. DA” (123 Chapin, Selden)

    On February 11 Minister Sík delivered a note to the Department of State stating that Minister Chapin was no longer agreeable to the Hungarian Government and requesting his recall. On February 12 the Department informed Sík that Chapin would be ordered to Washington for consultation, but that the United States reserved its position in the matter.