123 Chapin, Selden: Telegram

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


700. From Chapin.1 On my arrival last night orally was requested and agreed to meet press at Embassy. At press conference today made following comments:

[Page 465]

“I should like to say first—and you may quote me on this—that it is a wonderful feeling to be able to breath the fresh air on the free soil of France which—like my own country—always stood firm against oppression of any kind and defended the freedom of the individual.

As you know, my Government ordered me home for consultation. I am sure you understand that under these conditions it would be inappropriate for me to discuss at this time, the circumstances surrounding my consultation order.

As far as conditions in the country are concerned which I left yesterday, I would like to say this much: That no one today, except the blind and the twisted can fail to see that the Hungarian people is under the complete, total domination of a group of Moscow-trained Communists whose sole allegiance is to the Kremlin. I can say—and you may quote me on this—that unless a person has actually lived in Hungary (or any of the curtain countries) and learned from personal observation the facts of life, he or she cannot possibly conceive what life is like. I cannot tell you because the truth is beyond imagination and defies description.

Regarding the Mindszenty trial: You all have seen President Truman’s full endorsement of Secretary Acheson’s statement.2 I only can add that in the light of my own knowledge of the facts and of the background and circumstances surrounding the trial, I consider that the Secretary’s characterization of this trial was stated in measured and restrained terms.

As to the various charges and accusations levelled by the so-called Hungarian Government and the Communist-controlled Hungarian press against me and members of my staff—these are deliberate and fabricated lies, beneath contempt.”

  1. Minister Chapin, whose recall had been demanded by the Hungarian Government on February 11 (see the previous footnote), left Budapest on February 17. His resignation as Minister was accepted by President Truman on May 25. On September 20, Chapin was named by the President to be Ambassador to the Netherlands.

    This telegram was transmitted through the facilities of the Embassy in Paris.

  2. Ante, p. 461.