264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./4–2150: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Hungary


180. Ur 253, Apr 11 rptd London 61.1 Agree ur evaluation Berei’s response re Vogeler and, although apparent willingness Hung auths discuss Vogeler’s release conjunction certain other issues may prove propaganda trick, consider it worthwhile explore possible basis for Hung agreement release Vogeler. Fol, if you concur, for ur guidance further discussions Hung FonOff:2 [Page 1004]

In gen, you shld seek avoid prolonged bargaining and argument which might later serve Hung propaganda use damaging to US prestige. In our view, concessions we can appropriately offer in exchange if or Vogeler’s release involve primarily reconsideration those measures already taken or contemplated as retaliation against HunGovt for its treatment Vogeler. In circumstances, we believe while degree flexibility shld be maintained in dealing with present and any further issues which may be raised, impression shld in no way be given we are prepared appease HunGovt because our concern for Vogeler.
In discussing matter Hung consulates US, you shld reiterate offices were closed by US Govt because of refusal HunGovt permit our consular reps perform their protective functions. You may then add, however, US Govt prepared, upon release of Vogeler and his departure from Hung, permit Hung consular offices in NY and Cleveland to be reopened and function so long as our rights under consular treaty are respected.
Re question “freezing assets” suggest you call attn fact property acquired in US by Hung or natls thereof after Dec 7, 1945, is free from any US controls and only Hung assets which are now blocked or vested in US are those acquired on or prior to that date. If FonOff’s query refers action US Govt Feb 24 revoking gen license 32A, you shld carefully explain precise meaning revocation 32A (Dept 107 Mar 7 and Depcirgam Mar 8 11:45 a m3), point out that sums involved in former transactions under this license were negligible, and add action in no way constituted extension blocking to free Hung funds. In event FonOff shld question action taken by US Govt re 32A, you shld refer rights granted US by Para 1 Art 29 Peace Treaty.
Alleged VOA interference with Radio Petofi (ur 255 Apr 124) being investigated and will be subj separate tel soonest. For ur own info, we do not believe it will be possible change frequency Munich transmitter.
As regards restitution Hung property Ger, you may state to FonOff that US Govt prepared, immed fol release and departure Vogeler, facilitate delivery all Hung goods in US Zone Ger which have been found available for restitution. As you are aware (Frankfort’s tel 1000 Feb 2 rptd Budapest 5 and urdes 707 Sep 7, 1949 enclosing text US note Sep 6 to Hung FonOff4), value of property available [Page 1005] for restitution not large, being estimated approx $360,000. See also immed fol Deptel.5

For ur background info, Dept still plans, as soon as signed printed copies (Dept 157, Apr 46) become available, forward ITT–Ernst brief on Vogeler case to Leg for delivery FonOff. As previously indicated, submission brief to HunGovt wld be entirely without publicity. Believe this action, if unpublicized, wld in no way prejudice contemplated discussions FonOff and might, on contrary, serve useful purpose in convincing top level Hung auths case built up against Vogeler will not stand critical examination.

Suggest you keep Brit colleague informed re content and timing ur approaches Hungs in order Brit, in pursuing their efforts on behalf Sanders, may be able take advantage whatever opportunities these developments may present.

Sent Budapest, rptd London, Frankfort, and Rome for Davis.7

  1. Supra.
  2. In telegram 282, April 25, from Budapest, not printed, Chargé Gerald A. Mokma reported that he had that day called on Hungarian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Berei and Foreign Ministry Political Department Head Sik and conveyed the substance of point 2, the first two sentences of item 3, and the first sentence of both items 4 and 5 of the telegram printed here. Berei, who promised to refer the entire matter to the appropriate Hungarian officials, reacted initially by pointing out that the four questions discussed were merely sample problems outstanding between the two countries. Chargé Mokma observed that in general Berei’s reaction was one of smug satisfaction at the nature of the American approach (264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./4–2550). Telegram 197, April 29, to Budapest, not printed, replied that Mokma’s conversation with Berei indicated that the Hungarian Government might progressively widen the scope of American-Hungarian issues in search of concessions in return for the promised release of Vogeler. The telegram further stated that the Department did not contemplate attempting to buy Vogeler’s freedom by a series of measures of appeasement in other fields (264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./4–2550).
  3. Neither printed; the circular airgram under reference here informed that the Attorney General on February 24, 1950, revoked General License No. 32A, which had authorized the sending of limited support remittances from blocked accounts in the United States to persons within Bulgaria, Hungary, or Romania. Some newspapers had erroneously publicized the action as constituting a freezing or blocking of all Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian funds in the United States, whereas it actually applied only to currently blocked accounts of citizens-residents of the three countries. No restrictions were imposed on other Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian assets previously unblocked under General License No. 94 of December 1945 (611.40231/3–850).
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Telegram 181, April 21, to Budapest, not printed (264.6241/4–2150).
  7. Not printed. It stated that the Department of State had reviewed the draft of a legal brief prepared by the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and attorney Morris Ernst on the Vogeler–Sanders trial. Subject to certain revisions, the Department was prepared to forward a printed and signed version of the brief to the Legation in Budapest for delivery to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry (264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./4–350). Instruction 31, June 19, to Budapest, not printed, informed the Legation that officials of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and attorney Morris Ernst had subsequently decided against the presentation of the brief. Ernst had instead addressed a personal letter, together with an accompanying memorandum, to Vogeler’s Hungarian attorney for record, Imre Bard (264.1111 Vogeler, Robert A./6–1950).
  8. Minister Davis was in Rome for a meeting of American Ambassadors, March 22–24. For documentation on the meeting, see in vol. iii, pp. 795 ff.