264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./2–550

The Minister in Hungary (Davis) to the Hungarian Foreign Minister (Kállai)1

No. 34

I have the honor to refer to the Hungarian Government’s reply of January 7, 1950, to the note which I communicated to you under date of January 3 concerning the case of Mr. Robert A. Vogeler.2

I am instructed by my government to state that it regards the abovementioned reply of the Hungarian Government as wholly unsatisfactory. The Hungarian Government cannot, in the view of my government, avoid its international responsibilities and obligations in the Vogeler case by asserting this matter is entirely an internal affair of Hungary. The United States Government considers that it has every right to concern itself with the treatment of this American citizen, who has been detained for over two months without access to American Consular representatives or, so far as I am aware, to legal counsel. The United States Government will continue to concern itself with Mr. Vogeler’s situation and until his release will hold the Hungarian Government responsible in every particular as regards his well being.

In an interview on January 193 the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary informed me that, in spite of the repeated representations of the United States Government Mr. Vogeler would shortly be brought to trial. The United States Government cannot accept such action as justified, especially since the Hungarian Government has refused to give me any explanation of the charges against Mr. Vogeler and has refused all of my requests concerning an opportunity for American Consular Officers to see him.

The Deputy Prime Minister further informed me that the trial of Mr. Vogeler would be public in order that the world might judge the correctness of Hungarian justice and assured me that Mr. Vogeler would have full opportunity to defend himself and might have as many Hungarian lawyers as he desired. In the light of these assurances, I am directed by my government to invite your attention to the following:

Without prejudice in any way to its continuing demand for Mr. Vogeler’s prompt release and liberty to depart from Hungary or to the reservation of rights respecting possible claims contained [Page 986] in my note of December 20, 1949,4 the United States Government asserts the right of Mr. Vogeler to the services of legal counsel retained on his behalf irrespective of the membership of such counsel in the Hungarian bar. In this connection, the United States Government requests that the Hungarian Government agree to the immediate entry of a private American lawyer and such assistants as he may require, whose purpose will be to consult at once with Mr. Vogeler and the Hungarian legal counsel retained on Mr. Vogeler’s behalf and to associate himself, together with his assistants, in the preparation of Mr. Vogeler’s defense. Arrangements are now being made for the retention of such an American lawyer, whose name will be communicated promptly to the Hungarian Government.

The United States Government insists that American Consular Officers and the legal counsel retained on Mr. Vogeler’s behalf be afforded immediate and thereafter continuous access to Mr. Vogeler with assurance of adequate opportunity to converse freely with him, prepare his case, and inquire fully into all matters which the Consular Officers, his legal counsel, or Mr. Vogeler may consider pertinent for discussion. The United States Government requests also that the Hungarian Government give unqualified assurances that the legal counsel serving Mr. Vogeler will be wholly free to represent their client in a forthright manner and to conduct the latter’s defense in a manner best calculated to serve his interests. Further, the United States Government requests that Mr. Vogeler’s legal counsel and the American Consular representatives observing the trials shall have free access day by day to the verbatim record of the proceedings of the court in this case. The United States Government also desires assurance that representatives of the American Legation, Consular or otherwise, will be allowed to attend the trial and that American newspaper correspondents wishing to proceed to Hungary for the same purpose will be permitted to do so and will be admitted to the sessions of the court.

During my interview on January 19, the Deputy Prime Minister also informed me that the trial of Mr. Vogeler would disclose the “involvement” of members of the Legation in this case. I must insist that any such allegations, if they are to be made at the trial, and an explanation of the grounds on which they are based, be communicated to me at once as a matter of right and courtesy, since such charges obviously affect the relations between our two countries.

The Hungarian Government is requested to make a prompt reply in the above matters in order that its intentions may be clearly understood and full opportunity given to Mr. Vogeler’s counsel to prepare [Page 987] adequately for his defense and in order that the conduct of the trial may correspond with the Deputy Prime Minister’s assurances.5

Accept [etc.]

Nathaniel P. Davis
  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department of State in despatch 167, February 5, from Budapest, not printed.
  2. For Minister Davis’ note of January 3 under reference here, see p. 980; regarding the Hungarian reply of January 7, see footnote 2, ibid .
  3. Regarding the interview under reference here, see footnote 1, supra.
  4. Department of State Bulletin, January 2, 1950, pp. 21–22.
  5. In a brief reply on February 6, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry stated that Hungarian law permitted only Hungarian lawyers to undertake the court defense of Robert Vogeler. Foreign correspondents would have an opportunity to attend the trial which would be public. For the full text of the note, see Department of State Bulletin, February 27, 1950, p. 325.