No. 728

264.1111–Vogeler, Robert A./3–2751: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Hungary 1


256. Pursuant gen plan action Vogeler case agreed prior ur return Budapest,2 Munich relay VOA Hung program can be terminated effective midnight Apr 7 and Salonika only used medium wave thereafter. VOA wld preannounce forthcoming change throughout period beginning Apr 1. Dept accordingly proposes, subj ur final concurrence and ur choice alternatives listed item 1 below, that you sched appt Berei, referring previous discussions Vogeler case (urdes 448 Dec 16, 432 Dec 12, and 394 Nov 293) and stating you have instrs from ur govt which may interest Hun Govt and enable final settlement matter. Timing appt wld of course be determined by ur choice alternative under item 1. Ur statement US position to Hung FonOff wld cover fol pts:

1. Radio Interference:

  • Alternative A. Procedure envisaged this alternative wld be initiate negots Hungs on basis accomplished fact. In this instance, therefore, you wld arrange appt Berei Apr 9 or soonest thereafter and take fol line: US Govt, being concerned no less than Hung Govt with problem radio interference, has decided terminate relay VOA Hung program through Munich and transmit through other channel which will avoid such interference. As Hung Govt probably already aware, this change announced Apr 1 and VOA Hung program has been relayed through new channel since Apr 7. US Govt accordingly assumes [Page 1447] problem radio interference, as raised by Hung Govt re Vogeler case, is now effectively disposed of and perceives no reason this time why existing arrangement cannot be continued.
  • Alternative B. Method this alternative wld be endeavor ascertain probable Hung attitude prior announcing or making any change VOA Hung program relay. In this case, you wld accordingly make appt Berei soonest and state: US Govt, being concerned no less than Hung Govt with problem radio interference, contemplates termination Munich relay VOA Hung program at earliest date and transmission program thereafter through other channel which will avoid such interference. Is US Govt justified assuming this change, when initiated, will effectively dispose issue radio interference as raised by Hung Govt re Vogeler case? If Hung reply this query affirmative and agreement reached release Vogeler, change wld be carried out, time permitting, accordance above-mentioned dates Apr 1 and Apr 7 or later dates as might be necessary.
  • Alternative C. Purpose this alternative would be in effect make any change VOA Hung program relay conditional upon actual release Vogeler, Under this procedure, you wld call on Berei soonest and state position as fols: US Govt, being concerned no less than Hung Govt problem radio interference, contemplates termination Munich relay VOA Hung program and transmission program thereafter through other channel which will avoid such interference. US prepared implement this change operations immed upon release Vogeler and his safe arrival US sector Vienna.

FYI, any these alternatives acceptable VOA. However, Dept inclined regard alternative A as least likely complicate negots and preferable from US public relations pt view because it divorces US action most clearly and completely from Hung demands. However, there is question whether alternative A provides us with as much bargaining leverage with Hungs as C or even B. Ur comments requested most urgently re foregoing.

2. Restitution: US Govt cannot continue indefinitely hold open offer made in June 1950 agreement4 to facilitate delivery Hung property found available US zone Ger for restitution Hung. It is necessary US make definitive disposition this property immed future, not only because of burden which its maintenance involves for US and Ger auths, but also, particularly, in view changing relations between occupying Powers and Ger Fed Republic. US Govt will not further maintain above-mentioned property in present status beyond Apr 22 and, if way not cleared by that date for return property to Hung, must then proceed liquidation property by sale and place proceeds in blocked acct in Ger. In circumstances, it is to advantage Hung Govt that it renew acceptance, as does US Govt, this phase agreement June 1950 as embodied leg note 144 May 26 (urdes 549 May 26, 1950).5 Hung cultural property remaining [Page 1448] Ger falls into category separate from non-cultural property found available for restitution and is therefore exempt from liquidation procedure which must be applied noncultural items in absence US-Hung agreement by Apr 22. US Govt will, of course, also facilitate return such cultural property Hung fol release Vogeler and his safe arrival US sector Vienna. Leg shld endeavor avoid discussion status which proceeds wld have in event liquidation property but, if Hungs press questions this regard, shld state matter can only be discussed and dealt with at such time as liquidation property may take place.

3. St Stephen’s Crown: US Govt is not prepared discuss return St. Stephen’s Crown as condition Vogeler’s release. This property was not removed by force from Hung but was surrendered to US auths for safekeeping and is being held in trust by them. It is therefore outside scope of restitution and continues to be treated as property of special status. US Govt does not regard present juncture as opportune or otherwise appropriate for taking any action re its disposition.

4. Hung Consulates and Travel US Cits Hung: Position US Govt on other pts dealt with in agreement June 1950 is maintained: US is prepared, fol release Vogeler and his safe arrival US zone Aus, to permit reopening Hung Consulates Cleveland and NYC and again to validate passports private US cits for travel Hung.

Hung Govt, if disposed accept foregoing proposals, may, as on previous occasion (ur 324 May 15, 19506), insist on written statements covering pts agreement. In this event, you are authorized accede, keeping in mind fol suggestions:

Text note nr 143 May 26 re reopening Hung consulates and travel private US cits Hung (urdes 549 May 24 [26], 1950, enc 1) remains entirely applicable and might therefore stand under old date May 26, 1950 or be sent again under current date. Matter not of great importance, but since we have consistently maintained that full agreement was reached last June US propaganda purposes wld be better served perhaps if agreement on these particular pts at least were to stand as of that time.
Text note nr 144 re restitution (urdes 549 enc 2) still substantially applicable, but new note shld probably be sent incorporating assurances subsequently given leg note nr 165 June 16 (urdes 614 June 16, 19507) with insertion phrase “including Hung cultural property” after words “available for restitution” in both first and second sentences note nr 144.
Text first para Aide-Mémoire re effective date for implementing arrangements for restitution (urdes 549 enc 3) remains applicable with appropriate change reference first line and insertion “including Hung cultural property” after “available for restitution”. You may use own judgment re retention final para on safeguards Vogeler’s departure, but Dept suggests [Page 1449] that, in view previous Hung sensitivity this score (ur memo conversation with Berei May 26, 19508), oral understanding this subj sufficient or even preferable.
Aide-Mémoire re radio interference (urdes 549 enc 4) no longer applicable and shld be replaced by statement conforming line taken under item 1 above. Leg shld avoid any statement this connection whereby US action in shifting VOA Hung program Salonika cld be directly construed as acceptance Hung demand.
Aide-Mémoire re revocation gen license 32–A (urdes 549 enc 5) presumed to have settled this matter and any further reference to it wld appear unnecessary.
Text Aide-Mémoire re discussion questions which may arise connection restitution deliveries (urdes 549 enc 6) remains applicable with insertion phrase “including Hung cultural property” after words “available for restitution” in both first and penultimate sentences. Dept believes, however, that it wld be preferable not revive this matter unless Hungs insist on US stating its position.

Substance items 2 and 3 above being sent HICOM Frankfort for its concurrence soonest in order leg may proceed as sched with approach Hung FonOff. Leg shld in any case defer action pending HICOG’s clearance this phase.

In view unfortunate publicity Vogeler negots June 1950, Dept believes advisable that info re forthcoming negots be kept under strictest security control. You may wish await results ur approach Hung FonOff before acquainting ur Brit colleague developments but may use own judgment. Present tel not rptd Vienna but Chief of Mission there shld, of course, be alerted by leg by secure means if negots proceed favorably and release Vogeler appears imminent.9

  1. Drafted by McKisson (EUR/EE); approved or cleared by Campbell (EUR/EE), MacKnight (P), and Kohler (IBD); and signed for the Secretary by Bonbright.
  2. Minister Davis was in Washington for approximately 6 weeks from mid-January until early March 1951 to serve on the Foreign Service Officer Selection Board. During his stay in Washington, Davis discussed the Vogeler case with officers of the Department. No records of those discussions have been found, but see despatch 737 from Budapest, Document 735. During his stay in Washington, Davis also apparently called on Secretary Acheson to report on his mission to date, but no record of that meeting (presumably on January 31) has been found.
  3. None of these despatches is printed. For telegram 300 from Budapest, December 16, 1950, which reported on Davis’ meeting with Berei on that day, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, p. 1021.
  4. Regarding this agreement, see footnote 2, Document 723.
  5. Not printed, but see footnote 2, Document 723.
  6. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iv, p. 1007.
  7. Neither the note nor the despatch under reference here is printed. The substance of the note is described in telegram 386 from Budapest, June 15, 1950; for text, see ibid., p. 1012.
  8. Not printed.
  9. In telegram 453 from Budapest, March 28, Davis expressed concurrence with Alternative A set forth in this telegram. (264.1111–Vogeler, Robert A./3–2851) Telegram 259 to Budapest, March 29, stated that, in line with the procedure envisaged in Alternative A, the Voice of America would proceed with the scheduled measures. The Department assumed that Davis would approach Berei on April 9 or as soon thereafter as possible. (264.1111–Vogeler, Robert A./3–2851)