No. 742

711.5622/12–1851: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

top secret

441. 1. Abbott telephoned noon today inform Dept urgently substance Hung FonOff reply US note Dec 18 (Budapest’s 424 Dec 18 rptd Moscow 242 and Dept 235 Dec 14 Budapest rptd Moscow 4153). Hung note, after reiterating previous allegations and noting US refusal punish “persons responsible”, states four flyers remanded [Page 1475] Hung court for trial charges premeditated violation Hung frontiers. Note has just been made public by Hungarian govt.

2. In view foregoing development, which increases gravity situation, Leg and Emb are requested act accordance fol instrs:

3. Leg Budapest: You shld call soonest Hung FonOff and state that US Govt, in light Vishinsky remarks before UN Pol Comite Dec 19 (Dept 244 Dec 19 to Budapest4) as well as initial Sov action in forcing down plane and placing crew and aircraft Hung custody, is urgently taking matter up Sov FonOff through Amemb Moscow and pointing out that continued detention USAF crew with Hung note Dec 21 and public announcement forthcoming trial flyers by Hung court are creating dangerous situation with extremely grave implications all concerned. You shld emphasize most emphatically along lines suggested para 2 Deptel 435 Dec 20 to Moscow5 (being rptd Budapest immed fol tel) that US Govt wishes Hung Govt be fully aware of risks involved and to understand that people of US will regard action against flyers by Hung Govt as intolerable and that their reaction will be corresponding intensity. In conclusion, you shld state US Govt assumes in circumstances that Hung Govt will consider its further course with utmost care and expects the Hung auths will arrange release plane crew without further delay.

4. Emb Moscow: In presenting Gromyko considerations outlined Deptel 435 Dec 20, you shld call his attn specifically Hung note Dec 21 and public announcement Hung intention bring flyers trial as reckless steps which can only deepen gravity situation. You shld add that, in view this development, AmLeg Budapest, acting on instrs, has informed Hung FonOff US approach Sov Govt and has urged that Hung Govt release and return crew without further delay. You shld express in strongest terms hope US Govt that Sov Govt, in recognition grave dangers inherent this rapidly worsening situation, will bring its influence bear upon Hung auths for immed release and return crew and plane before matters deteriorate any further.

  1. Drafted by McKisson (EUR/EE), cleared by Bonbright (EUR), and signed for the Secretary by Barbour (EUR/EE). Also sent to Budapest.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 6, Document 740.
  3. Document 740.
  4. Not printed, but see footnote 2, supra.
  5. Supra.