264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A. /2–650

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

Participants: The Secretary
The Hungarian Minister, Mr. Imre Horvath1
Mr. Yost, EE2

After an exchange of the usual amenities, the Minister stated that he is leaving for Hungary in a few days in order to bring back his family to the United States. He said that his wife and 17-year old daughter will accompany him here while his 24-year old son will remain in Hungary. He remarked that he had left Hungary for the US last September in such a hurry that he had not been able to make the necessary preparations to bring his family with him.

After a few remarks on this subject, I said that I would like him to take the opportunity of his visit to Budapest to speak to his Foreign Minister about a matter over which I am deeply concerned. I said that I was speaking of the case of Mr. Robert A. Vogeler, a reputable American businessman, who has been held in prison by the Hungarian Government for a period of many weeks, access to whom has been denied to our Minister in Budapest and who I now understand is to be brought to trial. I said that behavior of this kind on the part of any Government is completely outrageous and unacceptable. I asked the Minister to convey my very deep concern on this subject to his Government.

The Minister replied that there was little that he could do on this matter since he understood from the newspapers that Vogeler would soon be brought to trial and we would then learn what action was to be taken. I replied that I was quite aware that there is little that the Minister could do personally but that what I was asking him was to report to his Government the fact that the President and I are both outraged at this inexcusable treatment of an American citizen. I said [Page 988] that I was aware that the Hungarian Prime Minister3 is a “tough character” but that I can also be tough and that if the Prime Minister were here I should speak to him in much stronger terms than I was now speaking to Mr. Horvath. I pointed out that American public opinion is very much stirred up over this question and repeated that there are certain standards of international behavior which every Government is expected to observe and which are not being observed by the Hungarian Government in this case. The Minister replied that he would certainly report my remarks to his Government.

Dean Acheson
  1. Horvath presented his credentials to President Truman on October 17, 1949. This was his first conversation with the Secretary of State.
  2. Charles W. Yost, Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs.
  3. The Secretary was presumably referring here to Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Mátyás Rákosi.