No. 737

Editorial Note

In June 1951, the Hungarian Government acknowledged that it was evacuating politically unreliable persons from principal Hungarian urban areas. The Legation in Hungary described the evacuation (or deportation) as follows:

“In an effort to destroy the remaining influence of the former middle classes, the Budapest regime callously deported some 30,000 persons from Budapest (and sensitive areas along the Austria and Yugoslav frontiers) between May 21 and July 25. The deportees were sent to miserable villages in North and East Hungary, some to concentration camps, to eke out their existence under slave labor conditions. In reaction to shocked world opinion, the Hungarian Government justified its moves by referring to the deportees as ‘fifth columnists’ whose departure from Budapest ‘rendered the espionage activities of American diplomat agents more difficult.’” (From “Summary of Political and Economic Developments in Hungary in 1951,” extracts from which are printed as Document 745)

In a statement issued to the press by the White House on July 27, President Truman condemned the deportations and stated that the United States regarded them as a further flagrant violation of the Treaty of Peace with Hungary and that the United States intended to take all possible steps to expose the situation to public view and judgment and to render the Hungarian Government accountable to the world. (Department of State Bulletin, August 6, 1951, page 208) The Secretary of State made a similar statement at his press conference on August 1. (Ibid., August 13, 1951 page 251)